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Thread: Main Studio Rule...

  1. #71

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    I agree. I happen to think local is best. Try getting that Church function PSA on an EMF station. I recall a time one of the questions asked an applicant was if they would be directly involved in the day to day operation of a station.

    I'm from the school of radio that is if you program the station right, the sales will follow. I think that is still true today (given all the various details). I've worked a number of stations where almost nothing went toward programming (funding and payroll) but the emphasis was strictly on sales, sometime without follow-through on the details of what they sold.

    I recall one instance where sales sold a history segment to celebrate a town's 100th anniversary but never thought about the content until they had thousands on the books, telling the on air side 'just figure out something and quit bothering me' about 24 hours prior. On air was wanting specifics of what was 'promised' but got no guidance. In my book, you figure the details then sell the heck out of it. It was another example at that station of the sales side acting without communicating with programming or even programming's foreknowledge. The station was always chasing it's tail. selling knee-jerk small packages versus tackling advertiser's goals and aspirations via effective radio campaigns that reach those goals. But they survived and did okay versus flourishing and dominating in the market.

  2. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Travis View Post
    Localism doesn't have to be dry, irrelevant or longform public affairs. I hear stations on a daily basis that do tangible, entertaining and engaging things that go beyond news or music and into their communities. A lot of them are local non-comms who have formed a basis of listener support. They're not looking for a loophole, and they're not paying their top people over half a million dollars a year. They're sustaining themselves and taking chances and creating conversations. No, they're not the most popular stations in the market. But they are relevant and worth having as a part of the media ecosystem.
    This seems to be the essence of this discussion.

    There are a few people who want the content additives you call "localism". Most don't, and make other broadcast choices when stations take too much time to chat and talk about things most listeners, today, don't turn on the radio to hear. Many of those choices today are not AM or FM stations... they are Internet stations that don't have any of the arcane regulations and restrictions the FCC has dragged forward from the last century.

    If there is a niche in each market for such content, generally someone will fill it. In certain formats, it does not take huge intelligence to know that for example, doing PSAs for mostly local causes and activities can endear you to the audience. But it's not hard to learn that most "service elements" that radio was famous for in the past are no longer wanted, needed or appropriate for the traditional broadcast model of radio.

    I am in total disagreement with the old FCC-mandated theory and practice that stations had to put news and other content into every programming hour because the public, whether they realized it or not, had to be exposed to "it". Stations should have the total freedom to determine if "serving the listener" is achieved via lots of non-stop music or other, more traditional forms of information and community linked content.
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  3. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Travis View Post
    People can get commercial free top 40 and country from Sirius, Spotify, Pandora, or their cable TV service for a price that's reasonable if what they want is a solid set of well researched music with no commercials, DJs or no DJs, and so on.
    Actually, the sources you name are very minimally researched if at all.

    The on-demand services have no research... they make available everything, and users ask for what they want.

    But in a broader sense, I don't agree with the mentality we seem to have in government and in society that "rules" are the problem and if we were all just deregulated, everything would be better and people would do the right thing.
    I have had the opportunity to work in quite a few large markets where there was absolutely no requirement on content, studio location, localization, service and the general topics discussed here. In every case, the market always filled in the void.

    Not enough news on the FM band? A station would morph and identify itself as the FM news source. Not enough of a particular kind of music? The void would be filled, and unless the niche was too small for commercial success, it would be sustained. Not enough information and entertainment for immigrants? A station could always be counted on to jump in and serve that community if large enough. A need for continuous sports coverage? A station would morph into all-sports.

    In those experiences, several in markets larger than New York and several in markets more the size of Cleveland or St. Louis, the result was always the same: some stations were successful by doing the kind of programming you favor, and others were equally successful doing just the opposite. In fact, in both the larger and smaller of the markets, there was and currently is a wider range of both musical choices and varieties of talk and discussion than anywhere in the US.
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  4. #74
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEduardo View Post


    EMF would have extreme hardship in providing the service they currently offer if they had to staff and maintain local studios for every one of their stations. The expense would be such that likely half or more of them would be forced to be sold or closed.

    While some think that what EMF does is not a true service, listeners disagree. They like the formats EMF offers and the fact that they can have what they perceive to be wholesome entertainment with minimal interruptions. They provide diversity and a quality product that serves the needs of millions of listeners nationally.

    It does not matter what was paid for the station or the size of the market. What matters is that EMF can provide its service only using a model that does not include either commercials or local studios and staffs. When taken in the context of the wide variety of formats and enormous number of stations available today it seems that what EMF does is a very valuable service to one segment of the national community.

    And one more thought: a "community" does not have to be "local". In this case, it's a national community of Christians who seek a particular kind of music and radio entertainment that meshes with their faith and values.
    BBN does the same thing with the Christian music that I like. Not as many stations.

  5. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by gr8oldies View Post
    Most of the markets K-Love/Air 1 is in did not have a contemporary Christian format 20 years ago. EMF came along and changed that, bringing the format to most markets including very small ones. The K-Love listeners I know who travel like the fact they can hear the very same programming everywhere they go.
    In the social media era, it's silly to think that if there were just local DJs who talked about city council meetings and road construction projects between songs, listeners would turn off Ryan Seacrest. There's certainly a place for a local DJ who's in touch with the community on-air, on social media and in person, but local and national programming aren't mutually exclusive.
    Where I live, local stations DID start playing Contemporary Christian music 20 years ago. One in the Charlotte area essentially played the same thing as a larger station in nearby Columbia. But it was called "New Life 91.9" and people had bumper stickers for it. Now both those stations are K-Love.

  6. #76
    As a small market station owner here is my take on the main studio rule:

    Our station was at several local events this month. I work with several groups that have never been to our station, but we promote, attend or cover their events. 99% of our contact is via Cell Phone, email, and in person. We have one station where a main studio is a must, and another where it won't be missed. Once again this will vary from market to market, but stations (especially struggling to make end meet) should have a option.

    I drive by a dozen or so small stations each week. I usually see on car (the manager or owner). When scanning the dial they still provide community information, weather news, etc. The burden of a unnecessary studio could cut their costs, take some pressure of or if the bills are paid this month. It should be a option.

    In markets with multiple station clusters, I don't see their studios going away. You might see those who have properties (such as Mobile/Pensacola) move to a smaller location in one city or the other. I think one of the major groups are already running most of their programming out of Mobile.
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  7. #77
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Travis View Post

    The argument put forward was illogical. A 250 watt class of LPFM would harm radio? I seem to recall the NAB, NRB and Clear Channel claiming exactly that. So a 250 watt LPFM originating local programming, or local automation was harmful.. until they figured out HD radio to translators!
    You simplify a very long and complicated issue with a number of objections, depending on the source. As I recall, the NAB's issue was clutter. Too many stations on an already crowded dial, diluting the value and causing too much interference with existing stations. Commercial radio had already seen what happened with Docket 80-90, and this was originally very similar. It took a while before LPFM became what it is now. But yes, originally it was harmful to radio, and there was no guarantee it would be any more local than what Clear Channel was doing. It took a while, with lots of arguments, lots of filings, lots of periods for comments, and ultimately the NAB lost. So even the highest paid lobbyists in Washington can't get everything they want. Rules were added disallowing syndication, and making it non-commercial. Even with all those changes, most LPFMs today aren't particularly useful or valuable to local communities. There are some exceptions, and they're to be commended. But then there's that issue of funding.

  8. #78
    Quote Originally Posted by vchimpanzee View Post
    Where I live, local stations DID start playing Contemporary Christian music 20 years ago. One in the Charlotte area essentially played the same thing as a larger station in nearby Columbia. But it was called "New Life 91.9" and people had bumper stickers for it. Now both those stations are K-Love.
    A lot of the existing local CCM stations that K-LOVE buys are ones that have struggled and would have sold out or folded in any case. I'd rather see them sell to EMF or some other national group that will keep the CCM format than to a group that even if they're Christian, they change to a format like traditional music or talk, and leave the CCM audience abandoned. In 2005 WYJJ 89.3 in McKenzie, TN sold to a KJV Only anti-CCM group that changed to ultra-traditional music and preachers. in 2011 WNAZ in Nashville sold to Bott, who changed to their regular format of Christian talk. In both cases the previous owners sold out to stations they knew had no intention of keeping a CCM format. Granted, there were other CCM stations in the areas, but they still made no effort to sell to a group like EMF or WAY-FM. If they had, those stations would still likely have a CCM format today.

  9. #79

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    And EMF doesn't always pay a huge price. For a station in the Youngstown, Ohio market, after it sold the AMs, paid $175,000 ($225,000 for 1 FM and 2 AMs, turning both AMs for $50,000). The FM had been targeting Youngstown with a station formatted for youth with a Christian message. As for the station's financial health, let's just say they felt billings was not something they had but a city in Montana.

  10. #80

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    In 2014 EMF paid the nearly bankrupt Marlin Broadcasting over $9 million for WCCC-FM/AM in Hartford, Connecticut. The FM was Classic Rock. The AM (490 watts day/11 watt night) was Classical. They were involved in a bidding war for the station with Connoisseur Broadcasting. Connoisseur ended up paying just under $6 million for Oldies/Classic Hits 102.9 WDRC and their 4 AM Talk quadcast. EMF eventually donated WCCC AM 1290 to a religious school in Minnesota who is programming a Preaching and Teaching format Faith 1290 WNWW. EMF is letting them use an FM translator on 94.1 FM.

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