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Wall Street Journal Article on Spanish Radio

The Wall Street Journal typically features a multitude of articles
about every industry imaginable: transportation, shipping, manufacturing
finance, agriculture...you name it...except radio.  I know that
www.duncanradio.com displays a graph documenting the decline in time spent
listening to radio since the start of the conglomeratization of
the medium; still, tens of millions of people use radio almost every day,
at home, in the car, even strapped to their heads.  Nonetheless, the WSJ rarely prints lengthy stories prominently placed
about the radio industry.  It happened today (02/27/01). In a front-page 
full-column story with a jump inside, headlined
"Pulse of Latin Radio is Taken by Anglo Fan of Classical Music;
Bill Tanner Isn't Even Fluent in Spanish, but He Knows How to 
Make Stations No. 1", the Journal profiled a high-ranking executive
vice-president of programming at Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc. (SBS)
Although Tanner's background was in English-speaking radio in Mississippi and
Florider, in 1992 he went to work for a Spanish station in Miami.
Hispanic radio at the time was not managed the same way as other formats.
It was more laid-back, seat-of-your-pants, unexamined rules-of-thumb.
Tanner brought to Spanish radio the same techniques he used earlier...
loads of research with a goal of "predictable unpredictability"...
giving the audience a heavy dose of hits along with older songs. 
The article profiled Tanner's success at SBS's FMs in LA:  KLVE and KSCA.  
Mention was made of SBS's $250-million purchase of KFSG
the former 
Four-Square Gospel outlet mentioned recently on LTAR.  Tanner's next task
is to find a programming niche for that outlet.  The Journal gave
its readers today an overview of the conglomerate-owned, bean-counter driven
radio industry that prevails in most markets and across all formats.
Elsewhere in today's WSJ (pg B1) there's a story about the introduction
of MP3 players into automobile sound systems.  Some are CD players like those 
available today; but Rio hopes to introduce a portable hard-drive
that could hold up to 5-and-a-half days' worth of songs! This could 
just be another way listeners can react to cookie-cutter
programming by conglomerate-operated radio stations, and turn that 
duncanradio.com graph from a slope to a ski jump!

Laurence Glavin

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