Nashua Telegraph writer on Nashua Radio

Dan Pierce
Fri Jan 14 10:57:46 EST 2005

Unfortunately, the demise of local radio has more to do with economics than
anything else.  When I started in the business in 1981 at WCOU-AM/WAYU-FM in
Lewiston, Maine small-time local radio operators could afford to hire people
at minimum wage ($3.33 per hour at that time) as part-timers and pay
$12,000-$20,000 per year for full-timers and still pay for insurance,
medical benefits, workers compensation and the like.  There was an available
pool of people willing to work for such low wages because they saw it as the
road to the bigger markets with better pay.

By the mid-90s this scenario became less and less workable.  The pool of
available people willing to work for such low pay shrank while the costs
increased.  When Congress changed ownership limits there were literally
hundreds of stations just limping along and ripe for the picking by the big
boys, which is exactly what happened.  The lucky small-market owners were
able to make a score by selling their properties and get out of a business
that was becoming untenable for them.

Once the big-time owners took over they began a massive campaign to slash
costs using consolidation of facilities and technological innovations in
order to radically reduce personnel costs (always the biggest line item of
any business budget).  The consequence of that process was, of course, the
demise of many local radio stations.

Of course, some small operators did not get purchased by the big boys,
mainly because their properties are considered to be economically unviable.
Those stations limp along, changing owners and formats, never able to escape
the economic realities that keep them from being profitable.

It's a sad tale, but true.  I know because I lived through it in a 24 year
broadcasting career.

Dan Pierce

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "rogerkirk" <>
To: "Dave Faneuf" <>; "Roy Lawrence"
Cc: <>
Sent: Friday, January 14, 2005 8:39 AM
Subject: Re: Nashua Telegraph writer on Nashua Radio

> Roy Lawrence opined
> >The same could be said for all of York County in
> >Maine. It's the highest populated county in the state
> >and has no radio station of it's own anymore. Each
> >station has moved their studio to Portland, Portsmouth
> >or Dover and as for 92.1 in Sanford, it's now out of
> >state in Lynn, Massachusetts. Talk about a stretch!
> Since we all know that the community service requirements
> have been "relaxed", perhaps the best way to bring it home
> is to require each station to conspicuously broadcast
> at specific times during the day a message (not buried
> like WQSX's Legal ID) that pointedly enumerates precisely
> how much "local" service the station provides it's community
> of license which should also be clearly identified.  That way
> the amount of service is not mandated, but at least it's
> quantified.
> "This is WXYZ-FM licensed to the community Abracadabra. Our
> studios are not located in Abracadabra.  We devote 1% of
> our broadcast day to providing local service to the
> community of Abracadabra."
> Given sufficient stringency in guidelines for determining
> service to COL, a good dose of red tape and a very narrow
> interpretation of the rules, it might be an eye-opener to
> the residents of a community how little local service they
> get.
> Of course, I could also wish for lower taxes and higher
> income, too!

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