Page 1 of 2

This just in: LOCAL RADIO DEAD!!!

Posted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:37 am
by bigstew
Its 6:45 AM and you are driving your children to school in the middle of tropical storm in July, somewhere along the Gulf Coast. The wind is blowing, rain coming down sideways in sheets, and it is difficult to keep your car in between the barely visible lines on the road! You tune in to your local country station as you drive in. A place where you once were able to find out what the forecast was for the day, what schools were closed, and what local community organization was having a bake sale at the local church! Not today!!! Your radio is piping in a morning show from 600 miles away in Nashville Tennessee! You arrive at the school just before the first bell rings for little Johnny’s class, and the school is closed!!!! The trusty station you have listened to for years is not letting you know what is happening in your world! Local radio as it was once knew it is a thing of the past.

How is it any multimedia conglomerate can say they are servicing the community they live in? Radio was a medium that was an information source for the citizens at large. Now it is a vehicle to generate profits for a board of directors, shareholders, and executives that make ridiculous salaries! What happened to servicing the community? Recent reports show that Clear Channel, a company that is riveted with debt, is moving an executive from San Antonio to New York City, Increasing his Salary by 250,000 annually, giving him a 100,000 moving stipend, and a housing allowance for 18 months (His salary is already 1M a year). What did this man do for your local radio station that provides services to you? Nothing! As a matter of fact, large media companies as a whole have outsourced talent to syndicated programming, and non local personalities from around the country. That 1.25 million dollar salary could have saved upwards of 25 salaries of LOCAL talent and management that can help your community.

Local radio is truly an endangered species! What does it say about Country Radio when we talk about syndicated programming that doesn’t serve our communities? No longer is that morning DJ from your favorite station eating out at the local pub with you in the evenings. As a matter of fact, chances are that DJ doesn’t even live in your state! Neither does the mid day, afternoon, or night DJ! The whole station is a smoke and mirrors show for your listeners. You think to yourself, I will just throw a liner in after a stop set and tell everyone about a community event, which will make it sound local! Do you really believe that as a programmer? Remember how you used to consume radio before you worked in the business. That liner is nothing more than a commercial to your listener! They tune it out!

You find yourself in a position where you are programming a station, maybe even an out of market station, and you have already convinced yourself that a produced promo or liner will suffice for getting community events out there. Now you move on to your imaging, you find yourself in a battle with the cross town station, who may or may not be in the same position you are with local talent. You think to yourself, I will put some imaging on the air that mentions local towns in the listening area! That will make the listeners think it is their country station. Wrong again! The listeners don’t care!!! Imaging is a subliminal branding that lets people know who you are for diary recall. If you believe anything more, then you are fooling yourself! Your imaging should be short, direct, and to the point. Sell your station, and your music position. The occasional cute liner is good to break up the same ole same ole, but all in all the listener wants to here compelling content, or music! Now ask yourself what is compelling to them? Someone talking about local things that affect their day to day lives would be compelling, more so than a poll asking what kind of cheese someone likes (that was a real poll on a nationally syndicated morning show). Again I ask you…. Do you remember what it was like to be a listener?

The point of this rant today is just this, you will fool your audience for a while with syndicated and voice tracked shows. They may even accept them as part of their daily listening habits. However are you really servicing them as a full service radio station? A place where you could get the time and temperature in the morning, where you could find school closings, local traffic information, relate to a local personality that can talk about experiences in the community? The answer is absolutely not! How is your station getting out into the community and meeting your listeners without an air staff? Are you replacing them with unknown people from your promotions department? Listeners in country radio are loyal, when someone leaves you, it is hard to get them back! Invest in your station, in your community, and in the future of radio in general! Hire good local talent, and keep them whenever possible!

In closing, get out of the station! Listen to your product, and try to do it like a listener! You will be amazed what you hear!

~Big Stew
www.facebook.com/bigstewradio

Re: This just in: LOCAL RADIO DEAD!!!

Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:39 am
by jimmya
Great Post Stew!

Re: This just in: LOCAL RADIO DEAD!!!

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:15 am
by admaker2
Excellent post, Stew!

NO! I won't say that!

Sorry, my word-*** inner voice is demanding you be arrested and tortured for using the word "here" when you meant "hear".

Re: This just in: LOCAL RADIO DEAD!!!

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:44 am
by alienrobotz
Amazingly accurate post Stew......and the same has happened over here in the UK, large impersonal multi corporations without an ounce of real radio knowledge screwing up FM...Ah well we have the internet where anything can happen.

Re: This just in: LOCAL RADIO DEAD!!!

Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:15 am
by thelegend
Those big time executives and corporate programmers at Cumulus and CC really do think it's better to pipe in their so called PRIME talent. They really do believe these talents are the shit because THEY picked them!. The fact is these talents are just mediocre at best. Most of the voice trackers will bore you to death and the so called drive time syndicated shows are BOOOORING. It's a new generation of kids and middle aged talent who just sit there and blab about their frikkin dog or their snobby kids on air EVERY FRIKKIN MORNING.

Will it change? I think so but not for awhile. Eventually the crooks at Cumulus and CC will exhaust their resources. One can only file bankruptcy so many times before some fed up employee goes crazy and _____________ well you know. I'm surprised it hasn't happened already.

Re: This just in: LOCAL RADIO DEAD!!!

Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:29 pm
by Criptor
Stew I agree. you are right, and I've been saying this since I was in college in 2002 - 2006. Hell even High school. It gets worse though, when someone smarter than the guy running the "smoke and mirrors" game like you so adequately put it comes in to help out, they not only shoo the guy out but they ban him from working in the area. So the best the guy can do is call into the shows and correct all their mistakes on air hoping some moron will listen, but they don't. Suffice to say there's more talent in the audience than in the booth. Now what would the owner of the Cubs say if someone threw a strike from the bleachers, when the pitcher can't even do it from the mound? in baseball they'd hire the man, in radio, they'd ban him from the park.

Re: This just in: LOCAL RADIO DEAD!!!

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:13 am
by Radio1240
....or just get the hell out of this business and reinvent yourself..and you won't have to worry about your next meal....radio will self destruct... just a matter of time...how far can any corporation push the envelope...just see what happened in 2006 with the financial situation in this country...Wall Street pushed until it broke...law of average...

Re: This just in: LOCAL RADIO DEAD!!!

Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:21 pm
by mustang
Worse yet, The talent does live in town, but they voicetrack anyway! Put the Live in ALIVE and local!

Re: This just in: LOCAL RADIO DEAD!!!

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:17 pm
by deanaflores
Live and local is too expensive.

I thought I understood country radio, but years of being out of radio full time have shown me that I never knew country radio. Audiences are either entirely dumb or everything we were taught about them in the 90's was wrong. I spent an hour on a call with a consultant earlier this year and was nearly knocked off my feet with what he was telling me.

I'm glad I was able to get out and reinvent myself. The stress was bad enough in the 90's. I can't imagine what it's like now.

Re: This just in: LOCAL RADIO DEAD!!!

Posted: Mon Aug 08, 2016 4:21 pm
by countryboy
And yet hundreds of country radio stations are live and local. All of the CBS, Entercom, Saga, Alpha, Cox, Summit, and Townsquare stations swear by live & local staffs. But yes, everything you learned about radio in the 90s is wrong. If you're on the air now, you don't have to cue up records any more. You don't have to run carts. Instead you better spend a lot of time on the phone with listeners, and working social media. If you don't know digital audio editing, find another line of work. And you need to love the same things your audience loves. If you're not in their life group, you're out of luck.