Radio Meltdown (CBS for Sale, IHEART upside down and Cumulus a penny stock)

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  • #18811
    Alfredo_T
    Participant

    Since virtually nobody is using people to build up hype about new music today, I would think that this would create an opportunity, no?

    #18812
    Andy Brown
    Participant

    Radio was fun because the entire business model was different. It had little to do with anything else. Consolidation of ownership created a huge debt load for the group licensee and as a result, the business model had to change. That sums up most of what has happened on the commercial dial in the last 50 years. Even the largest non commercial broadcasters have been caught up in this. Scaling back people saves big money but the diversity of product suffers. It’s not rocket science. There are much fewer people working on the creation of content and even less on operations (automation) creating a bigger gap between the consumers and the product. Entire groups now program for a very small percentage of actual listeners which itself has shrunk to never before seen lows. This small percentage are people with meters. What hasn’t changed is the barrel of lies coming out of the marketing end of the business. If you want to believe the crap they say, that’s your business, but the bigger picture is hard to miss. Just re read the title of this thread.

    Meanwhile, non comms have grown in number but the growth in LPFM is a two sided sword. It’s good to see the availability of the service to fill the space on the dial that previously overprotected primary service stations, but the driving forces in the industry (Prometheus, RecNet, Common Frequency) have succeeded into talking a lot of small, poor non profit organizations to apply for and subsequently get granted with many new LPFM’s that just aren’t going to get built and a large proportion of those that manage to get on the air are being controlled by well meaning people that have no clue what to do and can’t afford to hire anyone, resulting in more automation of syndicated programming and/or lots of volunteers that have no understanding of what radio is and couldn’t care about building a cohesive station, instead focusing on their own shtick resulting in poor programming from the standpoint of building a consistent theme. In fact, many controllers of these volunteer stations don’t want even the slightest hint of conformity or cross industry cooperation with popular music. What I’m alluding to here is that while community formatted stations are valuable in any market, more then one of them in the same coverage area is not a good solution and will only make it harder to raise money as after all, you then are competing for the same underwriting group that like that particular brand of craziness.

    Not that this post is meant to be a review of any particular station, but here are some observations:

    KXRY (not an LPFM but has to compete with them as new ones come on the air): Well these folks have been on the air long enough to know what a legal ID on the hour is yet I still often find them not doing one. They will announce every identifier (X-ray.fm, 91.1, 107.1, Portland) but often do not give the call letters followed by the city of license. One of these days they will get hit with a thousand dollar fine and maybe then they will remember to do it.

    I find much of their jocks don’t know how to speak into a microphone, turning their heads often and changing their distance to the mic without adjusting their gain. Maybe I’m the only one that gets annoyed when you can’t hear what the people are saying, but I doubt it. Another big failure is the tendency to ramble on and on about stuff that frankly, no one, not even the listeners that like the music being played, cares about. What happened to using the music that they get to choose to do the talking. Adding on over liberal heaps of bullshit about some unknown band’s history is just piling irrelevance on top of unimportance. A few simple words can get the job done if you are trying to inform and enlighten. Rambling on and on for several minutes is just an audience tune out. Especially when the voice fades in and out as the jock distracts themselves with album back cover information and moves their head down and to the side to read. Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone, but it does apply far too often if the goal is audience building. This applies to people at KBOO as well. In fact, you can expect more and more of this to happen as more LPFM’s come on the air and find that they can’t afford syndicated programming and exist with live volunteers. The Portland Radio Project sounds much more professional, but frankly I find their selections far too commercially beat to death already so why are they playing it? KISN LP sounds professional but their mix of oldies includes, again, far too much music that was beat to death when it was contemporary or recurrent and it’s just either boring to hear again or just too bubble gummie. Also KISN is guilty of playing some stuff that is just plain garbage. Just because it was pressed to a single by a major label does not make it palatable. Sure, XRAY and KBOO play a lot of crap, too, but most of the time it is unknown crap. That keeps me into it a few minutes longer, anyway.

    If you listen to the left end of the dial back east, the quality of programming is much more mature, the announcing by the jocks is much smoother on the average and overall more professional sounding. It’s probably because these non profit stations at colleges and universities have been in existence a long time. Out here, that just is not the case. It’s clearly a new frontier so I don’t make a habit of critiquing this part of the industry frequently, but sometimes it must be said. The failure of the commercial stations is giving the non commercial stations a big opening but as of yet, they have failed to capitalize on it. It will take years for the commercial licensees to rebuild their reputation so the time is ripe for lower powered stations with the assist they get from streaming to really move to fill the void. It’s quite an accomplishment to build and operate one of these affordable radio outlets, but they are not all going to survive doing the same thing as evidenced by the commercial monsters trying to do that and failing.

    #18977
    DanOregon
    Participant

    I noticed that KUGN 590 dumped their morning show for syndicated programming. I get the business is struggling, but does the FCC require ANY local programming anymore? Seems like the point of radio (from a national interest/FCC perspective) should be to have a reliable form of communications in the event of an emergency.
    Now about the most “local” programming you get on a lot of stations are those EBS tests.
    When you see big stations pull the plug on news and local programs you really wonder what the point is anymore.

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