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    David Gleason

Older Audiences & Advertiser Appeal (For All Markets)

Re the original subject title:
Some folks here in the Northeast US will remember stations such as WNAR 1110 Norristown PA .... WNLK 1350 Norwalk CT ..... WRIV Riverhead Long Island ..... WHTG 1410 Eatontown (NJ shore) .... WBRE 1340 Wilkes-Barre .....
..... and even some of the 'newer' ones -- the shoehorn AMers like WKER Pompton Lakes NJ, WGCH 1490 Greenwich CT, WPRJ 1310 Parsippany NJ, WNRK 1260 in Delaware.
They each had, and served, their local COL niche -- their mom & pop clientele, their adults. There was even some token national ad prestige and imagery from spots on respected network newscasts.
Point is, LPFM stations originally were instituted to be, essentially, the same service, for the same older audiences of the time.
The suspicion here is that Big Radio all of a sudden didn't enjoy one bit the possibility of potential nickels and dimes headed elsewhere from the pockets of a demo they basically didn't want, anyway. Imagine you acquired some used second-hand flea market, decided it was ballast on your overall portfolio, and had it up for sale -- but wait! -- some think it possibly houses some legitimate antiques that were worth more than you thought.
That can't be the best analogy, of course. But with all the resistance to those original LPFM filings, most glaringly from the NAB (the aging, gingivitis pit bull of big radio) and from NPR ('Hey! Listener support is OUR monopoly territory!') the horror of competition, however minor the $ portended to be, was obvious. Right off the vat, newer regulations, restrictions and purely craven obstacles got mandated for such new stations to exist.
In one fashion or another, the mom & pop-type of community service radio that once existed for decades in its own local, workmanlike way was forbidden from returning or even getting a foothold. The original LPFM vision -- largely suggesting and even anticipating the response, involvement and appeal from an older audience -- got buried by interests who didn't want such demos in the first place.
How long would a normally licensed, commercialized, sensibly regulated, audio version of a corner deli have existed in communities outside the shadows of the skyscraper boardrooms? We'll never know. The two-tiered system of standards for club membership credentials that got unmasked and revealed were at the least a sign ; even perhaps a self-prophecising proof that the 'undesirable' older demos don't count because, well, they don't exist.
 
Re the original subject title:
Some folks here in the Northeast US will remember stations such as WNAR 1110 Norristown PA .... WNLK 1350 Norwalk CT ..... WRIV Riverhead Long Island ..... WHTG 1410 Eatontown (NJ shore) .... WBRE 1340 Wilkes-Barre .....
..... and even some of the 'newer' ones -- the shoehorn AMers like WKER Pompton Lakes NJ, WGCH 1490 Greenwich CT, WPRJ 1310 Parsippany NJ, WNRK 1260 in Delaware.
They each had, and served, their local COL niche -- their mom & pop clientele, mostly their adults. There was even some token national ad prestige and imagery from spots on respected network newscasts.
Point is, LPFM stations originally were instituted to be, essentially, the same service, for the same older audiences of the time.
The suspicion here is that Big Radio all of a sudden didn't enjoy one bit the possibility of potential nickels and dimes headed elsewhere from the pockets of a demo they basically didn't want, anyway. Imagine you acquired some used second-hand flea market, decided it was ballast on your overall portfolio, and had it up for sale -- but wait! -- some think it possibly houses some legitimate antiques that were worth more than you thought.
That can't be the best analogy, of course. But with all the resistance to those original LPFM filings, most glaringly from the NAB (the aging, gingivitis pit bull of big radio) and from NPR ('Hey! Listener support is OUR monopoly territory!') the horror of competition, however minor the $ portended to be, was obvious. Right off the vat, newer regulations, restrictions and purely craven obstacles got mandated for such new stations to exist.
In one fashion or another, the mom & pop-type of community service radio that once existed for decades in its own local, workmanlike way was forbidden from returning or even getting a foothold. The original LPFM vision -- largely suggesting and even anticipating the response, involvement and appeal from an older audience -- got buried by interests who didn't want such demos in the first place.
How long would a normally licensed, commercialized, sensibly regulated, audio version of a corner deli have existed in communities outside the shadows of the skyscraper boardrooms? We'll never know. The two-tiered system of standards for club membership credentials that got unmasked and revealed were at the least a sign ; even perhaps a self-prophecising proof that the 'undesirable' older demos don't count because, well, they don't exist.
 
In one fashion or another, the mom & pop-type of community service radio that once existed for decades in its own local, workmanlike way was forbidden from returning or even getting a foothold. The original LPFM vision -- largely suggesting and even anticipating the response, involvement and appeal from an older audience -- got buried by interests who didn't want such demos in the first place.
How long would a normally licensed, commercialized, sensibly regulated, audio version of a corner deli have existed in communities outside the shadows of the skyscraper boardrooms? We'll never know. The two-tiered system of standards for club membership credentials that got unmasked and revealed were at the least a sign ; even perhaps a self-prophecising proof that the 'undesirable' older demos don't count because, well, they don't exist.
You are blaming the wrong people. Start with the big box stores, and then move on to Amazon and the online vendors.

Local smaller market radio thrived on local direct business. They did not get much in the way of agency buys, but the local jeweler and appliance store and auto dealer bought big campaigns and the station rate card had "annual rates" to reward them.

The big chain retailers killed many of the local smaller businesses or put them in such a precarious financial state that they subsisted and no longer advertised. New shopping centers in the 70's and 80's filled up with national chains, from bed & bath merchandise to jewelry stores. Local "Main Street" merchants failed, and downtown filled with vacant storefronts.

Then Amazon & Friends hit the big box stores and malls with wider assortments and better prices. The few chain stores that did buy local radio quit doing that and the little local stores became even less likely to advertise on radio.

Radio responded in the only way it could. In 1995, 50% of all stations were not profitable. Only by combining stations in clusters could many of them survive.
 
Points noted, David.
And I actually remember past posts of yours which mentioned the percentage of stations that were not profitable. (Matter of fact, I recall at least one discussion that the percentage of non-successes was notably higher than 50%.)

Disclosure: I had run into similar posting problems to here before -- that 'try again later' or 'server is busted' stuff -- so didn't get to edit any final submission rant as usual, hence; I was surprised to see not only that my clamor actually went through but drew a response.
So anyway, yup ; agreed. My assessment / blame post was harsh, and was laid in the cone of just a few degrees on that overall 360-degree paperwork vista. My point was that those very initial asterisks placed on applicants for such stations were altogether too swift and sudden to've come from nowhere but the reaction of a form of worrisome self-preservation. Emerging internet shopping could not have cared less about wee peanut-whistle radio stations.
Bi-partisan support for such small radio voices from (R) McCain, (D) Obama and (R) Feingold had to've weighed somewhat on FCC Chairman Kennard's mind when he stamped 'OK' on the LPFM venture. And Kennard must've been expecting the affront from Big Radio ; he ruled 'non-commercial' almost as if he'd predicted it. And NPR's sole gripe about hearing service frequency problems got laughed out of court almost as soon as they were introduced.

Odd and funny in a way. The mission statement submitted from the group of applicants up this way -- with its decidedly 'adult', AARP/retirement/medical emphasis, and which got it's construction permit in just three days -- was right in exact virtual stride with the sample that Kennard had held out for approval. Thing is -- God's truth, David -- despite all the piecemeal eMails, phone calls, discussion and wisdom behind the group's LPFM filing, not one of the applicants were even about to SEE, READ or KNOW, until weeks later, how identical they were to Kennard's wording and intent on the matter.

Hopefully, internet editing goblins aside, best to you in the New Year!
 
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