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Re: News/Talk Feedback



Abyss5X5@aol.com wrote:

> Iíve been a semi regular reader of the postings here and rarely a contributor
> but feel compelled to respond to a variety of postings Iíll lump into the
> category of news/talk radio.  Forgive me if I bore the music only fans out
> there but thatís the way it goes.
>
> Reading the many opinions and thoughts posted makes me wonder how many major
> market radio general managers, program, and/or news directors there are the in
> the regular contributors to these postings with the messages of how the
> current managers of the mentioned stations should be running their businesses.
> All of you please raise your hands, please.   Hmmm, thatís what I thought.

I'm sure not one... but media is different, I think. When you do broadcasting, I
think you're using public airwaves, and I think that is an implied invitation to
criticism from listeners/viewers. Same if you do news.

> Does that excuse stations for not doing a better job during that storm?  Not
> in my book.   But should a station be condemned for not being a 24/7 wall-to-
> wall news station?  I think not.

Absolutely agree. There are *two* issues that intermixed, I think -- would it be
good/feasible for Boston to have an all-news and should the existing radio have
done a better job reporting the situation that day. The answers in my book -- and
I think by now I have a good handle on the situtation from the various reports --
are yes if the market will support it, and absolutely. (While I do not doubt that
there were backdoor options to many traffic problems, that's mitigated by quite a
few things. First, many areas outside Boston were hit harder. Two, not everyone
knows those alternate routes. (In my area, my wife could not find alternates in a
storm, and ours is a lot smaller.) Third, Boston's one of the harder metro areas
in the nation to navigate alternative routes in a traffic mess, at least for those
who were not born and raised in the area. (I've had to try it in every big US
market -- IMO, only DC metro is harder, though I grew up in NYC and therefore
cannot fairly judge it.)


> [Y] ou mean to tell me youíd put this new
> person on overnights because thatís where the greatest need is?   Anyone give
> any thought to adding that extra person during the day when most news actually
> breaks and most people actually listen?

Of course not. I'd use my resources at peak periods in the vast majority of
situations. But I'd also be certain I could call on them on occasion on the
weekends. I'd also try to work out an ability to call on TV station resources in a
cooperative manner. (In this market, WROW 590 and WNYT-13 do that, for example. Of
course WRGB-6 and WGY 810 and WROW 590 and WTEN-10 did so when they were co-owned,
but even without co-ownership such cooperation in breaking news is hardly unheard
of.)

> I often find the argument that "this medium or that medium" has gone down hill
> and "isnít what it used to be"  very amusing.  Does the majority public not
> get what it asks for?  Is there a reason Jerry Springer is now the most
> popular TV talk show host replacing Oprah in that role?  Has not the invention
> of push buttons and TV clickers created a generation of radio and TV
> listeners/viewers that jump from one station to another the moment their
> attention span wanders or a commercial comes on?

Ah, the synergy of mass media and the public. It's actually an old debate --
should broadcasters air what people seem to want (follow the ratings) or should it
serve a higher purpose and lead? Of course, the predominant view is to the former,
and there is the matter of obligation to shareholders to maximize value. But there
should be *some* recognition of the fact that this is a public service, and too
few stations today consider that at all.

> When understanding how radio works today youíd realize that jumping into a
> crisis talk or news format is not a hardship for news/talk stations.  If
> theyíre doing it correctly they make more money during those times then when
> in whatever their regular format is.   So, saying that one company or another
> is too cheap to jump into crisis coverage shows a lack of understanding on
> what is set up at these stations.  They all have contingency  advertisers that
> get inserted into these types of things.  So they get more listeners and more
> revenue.  There is actually more pressure from the sales department to jump
> into the storm type of coverage that actually warrants doing so.

That may well be (witness CNN, which only draws real numbers in a crisis or a
tabloidish story like OJ or Woodward). But it seems from those in Boston who are
speaking out that for some reason, that did not happen here in a situation where
greater coverage (and I don't mean the incredible and unrealistic level that one
or two people propose) was warranted.

> Maybe we should put the 70 year old guy back on.
> Heís probably the only one on the station that can identify with the 25-54
> year olds we need.

Ah, a pet peeve. I think ad agencies are nuts. :)

They use target demographics that are simply outdated. Buying power, per every
government study, peaks later today than it ever did. Discretional buying power
actually now peaks in the 50s. Yet they still use the same old tired numbers from
20-30 years ago to crave a young audience, so much so that a #50 TV show with a
median viewership in their mid-40s gets less for a 30-second spot than a #90 TV
show with a median viewer age of 28 gets. Now *that's* nuts.

- --
Douglas J. Broda
Broda and Burnett
Attorneys at Law
80 Ferry Street
Troy, New York 12180
(518) 272-0580
dougbroda@mindspring.com
Coming soon: http://familylaw.hypermart.com

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End of boston-radio-interest-digest V2 #101
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