"It's the programming, stupid!"

Donna Halper dlh@donnahalper.com
Sat May 19 17:12:07 EDT 2012

On 5/19/2012 4:15 PM, Jibguy@aol.com wrote:
> In a message dated 5/19/2012 12:29:05 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, 
> dlh@donnahalper.com writes:
>     I am also surprised that AM broadcasters have not done a better job
>     lobbying for their own interests.  Years ago, the NAB used to
>     stand up
>     for small and local radio owners
> ---------------
> It did?   I must have missed that.  The NAB wanted to make everyone 
> THINK that they were as concerned with local owners.

The early NAB absolutely supported and encouraged local and small 
broadcasters.  But things began to shift during the top-40 era, when the 
FCC permitted group owners to have more stations, and broadcast groups 
became much more important to the NAB than individual owners.  I still 
dream of getting back on the air and/or owning a station, and if AM is 
what is available, then okay fine.  Frankly, with so much boring radio 
out there, any unique format that appeals to a niche audience will get 
some fans.  The problem is making money with it.  For example, consider 
WFNX, which had a passionate niche audience. But it could not get enough 
advertising support.  There are many reasons for such problems, but as I 
see it, deregulation has not just hurt independent owners-- it's also 
hurt other businesses -- record companies, mama-papa record stores and 
local bookstores... all of which used to buy time on rock stations.  
There's been a domino effect, as fewer local businesses means fewer 
people to support even a station they really like.  The NPR model (or 
the WJIB model) can work for some, but there is just no lobbying group 
that stands up for the listeners these days. However, Bob and I totally 
agree that AM radio is not dead.  In fact, radio itself is not dead, 
even if certain bad policies and indifferent corporations are not 
dedicated to keeping it alive.

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