Phase out over-the-air signals? (was: Re: WCRB to simulcast on 88.7 in R.I.)

Bill O'Neill (
Mon Jun 6 16:40:01 EDT 2011

On 6/6/2011 11:37 AM, Aaron Read wrote:
> Personally, as someone who has worked both in radio engineering and in
> cellphone/wireless tower siting, I am not terribly concerned about the
> iPhone destroying AM/FM as a business anytime in the next 10 years.
> Most likely not in the next 20, either, and like I said...I wouldn't
> be concerned too much until well past 20 years, but I don't make
> guesses that far out.
I was listening to WDEV (96.1 Warren // 550 Waterbury) a couple of weeks 
ago as central VT was being nailed with 4-5 inches of rain in as many 
hours and there was massive flooding in Montpelier, Barre area. Well 
into the early morning hours, the local host stayed on with their local 
meteorologist, Roger Hill who was in-studio since his home-based office 
was without power, and they took calls from listeners, put the utilities 
officials and public safety people up in real time. Up and down the rest 
of the voice-tracked dial, I heard output that my iPod does just as 
effectively.  Radio, when it does what no other medium can do (including 
television), defines itself by doing. Not by talking about it. But by 
actually doing it.

Here it comes.... "It's expensive. Sales can't hit the monthly operating 
income nut to justify the utilization. Nobody else is full service 
anymore. The meta-narrative does not compute."

"Radio is losing listeners as the faithful die off and new fail to join 
in." That is true. But don't blame the people outside of the radio 
station for that.

"People tune in for music." No, they don't. They tune in for music as 
presented with other stuff. They can get music without other stuff 
without even trying today.

Is there room for as many successful signals in most markets? I don't 
think so. And that, again, is due to the negative impact that tossing in 
the towel on local service with live people in at least peak times or 
crisis times has had.

Radio is suffering from self-inflicted cumulative trauma. But it's not 
dead. So, there's hope.

Bill O'Neill
Vermont (formerly Mass.)

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