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Re: WLYN Now // WUMB!

At 06:35 PM 10/1/2002, you wrote:

>      I would NOT recommend it! Keep your station local
>and sovereign.  'UMB gets enough listeners as it is
>right now.  As for WMWM, simply take a computer with
>WINAMP and automate the station during overnights and
>if "someone doesn't make it in".  By rebroadcasting
>another station you risk the having the other station
>"getting too comfortable" with the arrangement and may
>try to take more time from YOUR operations.
>     Just make sure the station has a dial-up remote
>and that the legal ID makes it on the air as close to
>the hour as possible.
>     AGAIN, keep it LOCAL and sovereign.  Many great
>college stations have been eaten up by NPR wanna-bees.
>  Just look at WAER in Syracuse.  Once a great college
>station, this formerly 6,000 watt FM station is now an
>NPR clone.  WBUR, once a great college station, now an
>NPR news and info station. Don't let this happen to
>your station.  LOCAL!
>Good luck,
>-Peter Q

Peter - FWIW your analogy of WBUR is drastically oversimplified.  I've done 
a fair amount of research on WBUR's (and WTBU's) history and I'm halfway 
confident that had WBUR not gone professional Boston University would have 
sold the license by now.   If they didn't the station certainly never 
would've moved to Needham...probably wouldn't have moved off the old tower 
on the COM building.  And it'd probably sound a lot like WTBU...which is 
full of well-meaning but barely-listenable programming (I oughta know - I 
helped make it that way for four years...I listen to my old airchecks and 
just cringe).

For a license like WBUR's I would call it inexcusable for it to be, 
frankly, wasted like that.   It makes me mad enough when even a small 
station like WMFO is (for the most part) wasted.  We got plenty of college 
stations here...we DON'T have a lot of good news stations.  Really we only 
have WBUR, WBZ and - to some degree - WTKK and WRKO.   I think it's a 
travesty that BU didn't invest in a small (Class D level) license for WTBU, 
although by the time WBUR really booted out all the students (mid 1980's) 
it was already too late for Class D and getting too late for small Class 
A.   Although for (supposedly) the third best communications school in the 
country, their radio class structure is virtually non-existent.  Oh 
well...for a Part 15 station WTBU does pretty well, really.

Also, just using a Winamp playlist on random is not legal - there's no way 
to realistically ensure that Legal ID's will be played at the proper 
times.  And don't kid yourself, a Winamp playlist on random sounds exactly 
like a Winamp playlist - it's VERY obvious to listeners.   But I'll grant 
you there are several very inexpensive (many under $100) automation 
solutions out there that sound pretty good....provided your staff puts the 
effort into setting up playlists (which is easier said than done).

And a dial-up remote is not always an easy thing, either.  Usually a simple 
~$500 DTMF/relay-closure box like a Broadcast Tools DC8Plus is not 
sufficient - you need monitoring too.  That usually means something more 
like a Gentner/Burk VRC2500 - which are more like $3000 or $4000.

This is not to say I'm an advocate of WMWM carrying another station's 
programming on the overnights - or whenever.  I'd recommend against it, 
although I wouldn't necessarily recommend against carrying satellite 
programming like Pacifica news or something esoteric like that.  Depends on 
the listenership and the internal staff.

What I am saying is that automation has gotten a bad rap for two reasons: 
corporate automation that puts the emphasis on the bottom line by cutting 
costs too much - so it sounds bland.....and sloppy automation that puts the 
emphasis on zero effort from staff and sounds bland.  Automation can 
literally sound as good as the real thing...but it takes effort, finances 
and commitment...three things not always found at college stations.

Aaron "Bishop" Read       aread@speakeasy.net
Fried Bagels Consulting   www.friedbagels.com
AOL-IM: ReadAaron         Brighton, MA 02135
"I'm weird, but around here it's hardly noticeable."