My friend and writer extraordinaire Ken Tucker has a blog. It’s one of my favorites, so you should check it out. About a month ago he posted this piece on the deconstruction of local radio and the move toward a national format.
I don’t know why I’m surprised, but I am, at least to some extent. None of the radio industry trades have offered any analysis of yesterday’s announcements by Clear Channel regarding “Premium Choice” programming (sounds like a satellite television menu offering) and increased attention to localism. Each and everyone of them pretty much reprinted the Clear Channel press releases intact.
I take that back. Tom Taylor on Radio-Info.com does seem to view the proceedings with more than a little skepticism. “Now it’s up to the local PDs (says Clear Channel) to select ‘large portions, single pieces or none of the offered programming’,” Taylor writes. “But if a particular daypart hasn’t measured up lately – do you really think the option would be ‘none’?”
These days the country station in Cleveland, WGAR, only has two local dayparts, mornings and afternoons. Middays and nights are voice tracked out of Baltimore and overnights are syndicated. Cleveland, Ohio. Not Cleveland, Tenn.
CC is also increasing the number of PSAs stations do and making it easier for local officials to reach station management. Go figure.
Dan Miller, a longtime local television anchor here in Nashville, recently died suddenly. Thousands of viewers in the area are still mourning his loss because they saw him as a trusted friend—someone who came into their house every night. Competing stations ran stories about him, and two of those stations even covered news and answered the phones at his former station while his colleagues attended his funeral.
That’s localism. A couple more PSAs on a radio station with a few, if any, local talent is not the same thing.
I just don’t get how radio station owners can continue to fight calls for localism regulation from Capitol Hill and turn stations into satellite operations.
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