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Thread: Localism and Radio

  1. #21

    Re: Localism and Radio

    Sometimes the FCC is their own worest enemy and for sure Bill Clintion didn't do us any favors taking the limits off of radio ownership(only 24 stations owned by any one corporation and only 7 in major markets) of course he also took the caps off of crude oil and gas prices and look how many years that took to backfire. As for the FCC I have an LPFM station which is supose to enbody localism which by the way is one of the main reasons I started the station but with the economy so very bad and LPFM's not allowed to run commericals we can no longer afford to cover the local ballgames, church events, and alot of the community functions live like we once did and if we did commericals we would be told we are trying to make a profit on a non profit station, so the true local events have to now go undone with no money to cover them muchless pay the electric bills, plus BMI, ASCAP, and SEASAC if you play music not mention cell phone bills if you do live events ect.... and who stops it the FCC.

  2. #22

    Re: Localism and Radio

    If you ran commercials, the fear is you'd make changes that would make your station no better than the commercial stations, programming to the largest audiences because that's what advertisers want.

    What you have to do is demonstrate value for funders so they recognize you're providing a local service that isn't available anywhere else. That way, they see what you do as a donation to the community, which they can use in their own publicity. You should be able to post signage at the games and events, showing your name and theirs. The point of a community station isn't for you to do things you think are important, but do things the community feels is important, and demonstrates it by funding it. You have to be there in their face at their meetings and tell them you have the facilities, they have the money, let's make a deal. Running commercials is no panacea, especially in this economy. If you're not the #1 or #2 station in the market, you're going to find yourself in the same hole. As for BMI and ASCAP, look for locals to perform original music.

  3. #23

    Re: Localism and Radio

    I live in NW Pennsylvania and I am not happy with our radio stations. Being an oldies fan, my only choice for radio would be a college station that is barely audible in my car -- let alone at home or work. My choice for radio is either Sirius or internet radio. The selection is great and I have a huge variety of channels to choose from. Localism means nothing to me. The only time I tune in to a local channel is during a weather emergency --- tornado warning or to see if school has been cancelled due to snow.

  4. #24

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    Re: Localism and Radio

    Quote Originally Posted by joybandit

    I live in NW Pennsylvania and I am not happy with our radio stations.
    In reading your post, you have laid out what is a challenge in many ways other than radio. This is the era of individualism. I want a car that just mine... not like other people have. I want clothing that is me. I want a food menu that is me alone. We used to be a nation of people who tended to "do what was expected of us." Many small towns that were once thriving are now little more than places where people sleep. No car dealer because everyone in town wanted a different brand and model of car. No men's clothing store in town anymore because we all went out to town to multiple stores to find something different. (We all kind of dressed alike back in the day we all bought down on the town square, or ordered from Sears-Roebuck.)

    We all long for some weird situation where we can have the best of today blended with the best of yesterday. Doesn't work. Go back 50 years and in most areas you had your choice of music: Standards. Rock/Pop. Country. Somewhere nearby a station play one of those three and as a listener you were happy. Today we have this Heinz 57 variety of music so every station gets this tiny sliver of audience. In good years the stations make a living or maybe even really good money.... but they do so by cutting out a lot of things we used to take for granted. With 57 varieties of music, your favorite music may come from 57 miles away with 33 flavors of static and noise. Welcome to the 21st Century. Ain't it wonderful. You get to be you. I get to be me. But we all seem to live in our own little root cellar and I fear we are losing the ability to be friends and neighbors. So who cares if local radio has no listeners and carries no obits anymore. The guy who died may have lived two root cellars over but we never got to know him, so who cares.
    Life is too short to waste time dancing with ugly posts

  5. #25

    Re: Localism and Radio

    Don't forget that 'local' is just a few notches away from 'individual'.

    With the emergence of more and more media 'channels' or devices, potential audience numbers for any one particular channel will continue to decline.

    The trend is away from 'mass' audience devices towards 'individual' audience devices. Radio, television, newspapers and magazines are giving way to iPods, computers, cell phones, and Kindles.

    As audience dwindles on a per-channel or per-page basis, so does the market value of the content of those channels or pages.

    Meanwhile, writers, producers, performers, salespeople, technicians and receptionists want their paychecks. For broadcasters, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, the FCC and possibly the RIAA will get their cut. For publishers, the printing and distribution costs go nowhere but up. Everyone has to pay rent, insurance, taxes, utilities.

    In many cases, the income derivable from audience support or commercial advertising for a traditional broadcast station or newspaper will ultimately prove to be insufficient for the enterprise to be self-supporting, no matter how many budgetary corners are cut. So it either goes out of business, sells out to another hopeful operator or continues as a 'labor of love'.

    Only the most established, esteemed, inventive or aggressive of the old-fashioned mass media will survive. But 'survival' is a long way from what we all used to call 'success'. Even the Grey Lady and the Tiffany Network may have to call it a day at some not-too-distant point.

    Ironically, it appears that the most successful business model for the new 'individual' web media is the 'mass' packaging and selling of individual 'labors of love'. How much does Google pay for those billions of website and weblog links? How does YouTube compensate its millions of video posters? How few pennies do those thousands of performers or producers get from iTunes in return for each download of their work? Facebook recently even tried to claim outright ownership of the personal data and photos freely posted by a worldwide multitude.

    Remember that Google, one of the oldest and most successful of the 'new media', is only ten years old. Facebook was started in 2004. Twitter first appeared in 2006. Things are moving fast.

    Clearly, the era of the professional broadcaster or publisher is suddenly on the wane. Those of us who cling to our familiar ways and means will have to bow to the inevitable pretty soon. Unanswered so far is the question of where the professionally-produced news or entertainment content of the future will come from if none of the producers can make a living at their craft. Will Google hire them after the New York Times folds?

    In the short term, I think the 'old' media might have to adopt the methods of the 'new' to extend their relevance. Audience-generated or controlled content might become the norm rather than the exception. Not just because it's cool, but because it's cheap.

    Associated with this trend is the subservience of the traditional media form to the new one. Some newspapers, like the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, have recently abandoned the printed page entirely in favor of the internet. In broadcast, both radio and TV increasingly direct the audience to their websites for celebrity details, expanded coverage of events, or unedited interviews. At some point, the broadcast program may serve principally as a billboard for the website. Clear Channel is clearly heading in this direction.

    In the long term, physical newspapers could conceivably dwindle all the way back to simple broadsheets, turned out on platen presses for the few remaining paranoid antiquarians who refuse to expose themselves to the intrusive glare of the Internet. Broadcast radio could end up as the lonely domain of hobbyists, cranks, and preachers, fogged by digital interference and largely forgotten. This is a Twilight Zone that some AM stations have already entered into.

    Nevertheless, I'm certain that as long as there are neighbors who are ready, willing and able to listen, a 'locally programmed' broadcast station will always be a good thing. However, whether it's a unique music mix or a civic-minded talk format serving the public interest, such a broadcast station will largely have to be a 'labor of love' for those who are ready, willing and able to create the programming and keep the signal on the air.



















  6. #26

    Re: Localism and Radio

    I understand what your saying but one thing to remember is that all things have to have a starting point, for numbers it is 0 or maybe 1 other wise the rest of the numbers mean nothing. What I mean by this is that as we move away from standard values and into individualism we loose alot in fact most things that bond us together as a people. Common interest is only common so long as you and someone else have something that you like that is the same not different and want to share it. If you carry individualism with so many choices to the point that it is impossible to find any common interest over say maybe one or two subjects then you are in danger of loosing your 0 or 1 so to speak your starting point and without that everything else in your life means nothing to most people and possibly even to you. What your talking about boarders on this kind of logic and if that is true then the only out come that can evenutally happen is chaos. That doesn't sound like a good future to me, all things have limits one way or another.

  7. #27

    Re: Localism and Radio

    Quote Originally Posted by Gatekeeper007
    Sometimes the FCC is their own worest enemy and for sure Bill Clintion didn't do us any favors taking the limits off of radio ownership(only 24 stations owned by any one corporation and only 7 in major markets) of course he also took the caps off of crude oil and gas prices and look how many years that took to backfire. As for the FCC I have an LPFM station which is supose to enbody localism which by the way is one of the main reasons I started the station but with the economy so very bad and LPFM's not allowed to run commericals we can no longer afford to cover the local ballgames, church events, and alot of the community functions live like we once did and if we did commericals we would be told we are trying to make a profit on a non profit station, so the true local events have to now go undone with no money to cover them muchless pay the electric bills, plus BMI, ASCAP, and SEASAC if you play music not mention cell phone bills if you do live events ect.... and who stops it the FCC.
    It was the Republican congress that passed the Telecom Bill of '96, not Clinton, and that it was the Lowry Mays-led NAB that wrote the draft legislation and lobbied for its passage. Clinton signed it as a small part of the much bigger phone/wireless bill, but it wasn't something he was pushing. Hate Democrats if you want, but get your facts straight.

    As for your comments on not being able to sell commercials, please see my thoughts in reply to your post on the other ("if radio is dying...") thread in this section.

  8. #28

    Re: Localism and Radio

    Interesting thread. We need to remember that word local is a shorthand for shifting mix of elements that attract listeners. In its essence, localism is giving the community a reason to listen to you and not anyone else. That means providing compelling programming (whatever its source), information that is immediate, unique, and relevant to a specific persons, and providing a sense of place. None of these things are easily nailed down. If they were, Clear Channel, Cumulus and Citadel would have someone or a computer cranking things out like sausage. But, you can easily identify when all the right elements are in place in the right amount when the average listener can say WXXX (or KXXX) is (Name of City), and you can't simply copy station and do it in a different market.


    It's always taken a skilled programmer and experienced staff to pull it off.

    As for Gatekeeper, it isn't about commercials/underwriting. It's about doing something that folks are willing to open their pockets for. Remember that folks LOVE the idea of local sports (or local music) on the radio. But they sure as well won't listen to it in great numbers. That simply means you need to figure out what really gets the local businesses excited and steer your programming towards that. NPR sure as heck does it. And it doesn't mean you have to copy what other stations are doing, but it does mean you need to do some homework about what would make your station ESSENTIAL.

  9. #29

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    Re: Localism and Radio

    DudeFan: I come not to dispute the ideas and elements you offered, but I do want to call to your attention you tried with one big wide paint brush to give the same answer for what Clear Channel should do in say a top ten market, and then suggest that Gatekeeper007 should do likewise.... just scale it down a bit.

    Have you taken a look at Gatekeeper's turf? He is running a flea-power station in a (please don't take offense, Gatekeeper) in a flea-circus sized market place. Even if he COULD run full fledged transaction-oriented paid commercials on his LPFM, he still would not generate the kind of revenue to try and be ClearChannel/Cumulus-Lite. He can't add programs because it would be nice, and some people would like it. He has to try and make every single program element a rifle-shot that is on-target for his people, his community. He can't spill much of the milk while feeding the cats.

    His town is Elloree, SC and Santee, SC. Look up the populations. Do the math. Then let me add the topic that we have to discuss with care lest we give the appearance of being insensitive. I looked at a couple of commercial stations that faced this same dynamic. Look up the racial makeup of his county in the census figures. When you are doing local radio in a Southern state where the Confederate flag is still a part of the local culture, you face the following decision: Do I do the "politically correct American thing" and go out of my way to make it clear I am being LOCAL to all races.... or do I cautiously reach out to only ONE of the racial groups and try to operate in my "flea-circus sized market" by serving only half the people. When you possess an FCC license, I suggest you can not EVER admit that you ever even considered that question, but you go to bed every night knowing it is a ticking time-bomb in your life.
    Life is too short to waste time dancing with ugly posts

  10. #30

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    Re: Localism and Radio

    I posted a bit hastily, DudeFan. After your post in the other thread, I followed the bread crumbs back to your nest and I see that you are just up the road from our friend Gatekeeper, and you probably know the geography and the demographics much, much better than do I.
    Life is too short to waste time dancing with ugly posts

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