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Re: voice-tracking is the symptom, but it's not the disease-- re send
> One part of what Donna wrote that I disagree with is
> that the technology is responsible for the state of
> radio. Just becasue hard-drive automation enables a
> broadcast group to use a personality thousands of miles
> from a market to--in 35 minutes or so--voice-track a
> four-hour shift, thus allowing the personality time to
> provide customized local content for stations in eight
> markets (none of which the personality may ever even
> have visited) doesn't obligate the broadcast group to
> use the approach. The technology may enable--or even
> encourage--management to mismanage its business, but the
> technology is not at fault; management is.
Really? Then why was digital automation developed in the first place? It was to
replace live jocks, pure and simple. It's not due to mismanagement. Automation
systems have been out there for years, but it's only been recently that they've
been advanced to the point that they can be utilized for long periods of time
while still sounding live. If station owners had this technology twenty or thirty
years ago, it would have been utilized back then and live jocks staffing a station
24/7 would have vanished long before now.
As someone who once programmed, I know what it's like to try to find jocks to
cover overnight, weekend and boardtech shifts. It was difficult way back when.
Nowadays it's darn near impossible. Automation allows stations to employ a
smaller, more stable, higher quality airstaff and put out a better product over
all airshifts. Just because it's "live" doesn't mean it's "better." Would I
rather have live jocks on every airshift? Sure. Is it economically feasible and
would it allow for consistant, higher quality programming over every airshift?
There are some stations that do automate virtually every airshift. Only time will
tell if these stations will be successful. With a bare-boned staff, one can make
the arguement that as long as the station can post some halfway decent numbers in
a few key demos, it will make money, which has always been the name of the game.
What difference is there between voicetracked automation and talk stations that
employ syndicated hosts like Rush, "Dr." Laura, Imus and Stern? At least
voicetracking can be localized, while a syndie show cannot.
Voicetracking is a tool that broadcasters of all kinds have wanted for a long
time. Just as live, in-studio performances gave way to DJ's spinning recorded
music in the 50's, voicetracking is replacing live jocks. It's a change in the
industry and it won't go away.