Radio Grows Comunication Skills

Orson WellsHaving been in higher education for the past 7 years, I heard a lot about the need for students to be fluent in the STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

A recent study from CSIRO found that STEM skills were indeed important during the period of 2009-2016, but that in the future occupations requiring communication skills will grow the fastest. As our world becomes more technologically enabled, what will keep humans from being replaced by robots will be their ability to connect, communicate, understand and build relationships.

Google It

We live in a world where skills change quickly and facts can be Googled from one’s smartphone.  In order to be successful in the 21st Century, everyone must be able to work collaboratively and learn to be emotionally intelligent.

Those who possess the skills such as active listening, empathy and teamwork will grow in demand across all work sectors.

While we will still need people with STEM skills going forward, the numbers needed will decline as the work of programming will be done through artificial intelligence by the very machines that need it done.

Jobs requiring a high level of interpersonal and/or problem-solving skills are the ones that can’t be automated.

Radio’s Role in Developing Key Communication Skills

I was working in commercial radio when I was in the 10th grade in high school. What it taught me that school didn’t, was verbal communication skills. Being a radio personality means having to develop public speaking skills and being able to speak extemporaneously.

In radio, you learn how to serve a listener – both over the air, on the phone and on remote broadcasts.

Working in radio brought be closer to the community I lived in. I covered elections, breaking news, births & deaths, and was active in local charities.

Over my high school and college years, my radio work would see me hosting talk shows, buy-sell shows, gathering-writing-&-reporting news, playing Top 40 music, beautiful music, Irish music, Polish music, country music and middle-of-the-road music.

Each radio assignment required different communication skills.

Radio & Education

A quick check of the number of high school radio stations in the United States on Wikipedia shows about 250 currently on the air.

Students who are exposed to radio work as part of their high school education will not only find it to be a fun and exciting experience, they will also be acquiring the very critical communication skills that will help grow personally and professionally.

People who can create exciting, engaging, stimulating and fun radio have what it takes to be successful in life.

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan WHO.jpegOur 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, was called “the great communicator.” President Reagan learned those critical communications skills as a radio broadcaster. First at WOC-AM1420 in Davenport, Iowa.

When WOC consolidated (yes, that kind of thing was happening back in the 1930s too) with WHO, Reagan would go on to recreate Chicago Cubs baseball games.

While doing one of these recreations in 1934, the wire service feeding the play-by-play descriptions of the game went dead. Reagan, knowing that other stations were also broadcasting this game, knew he had to hold his radio audience and would improvise saying hitters on both teams were hitting foul balls off of pitches until the wire was restored.

Radio builds your character in moments like that.

Orson Welles

The Mercury Radio Production on CBS, “War of the Worlds,” brought Orson Welles to the attention of Hollywood. One of the aspects Welles brought to the movie industry was his extensive radio experience. In his greatest film masterpiece, “Citizen Kane,” Welles used a combination of live sound with recorded sound to create an almost three-dimensional audio illusion for Charles Foster Kane.

Radio is what inspired Orson Welles to push the aural possibilities of the film medium.

Theater of the Mind

Radio has the ability to take a listener anywhere.

Radio also has the ability to provide the foundation to take the radio performer anywhere as well.

No matter what you want to do with your life, radio will give you the communication skillset to get you there.

 

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How Will You Measure Success?

Carpet Baggers (Music Man)That seems like a simple question.

But in reality, it’s really complex.

Worse, most people have never asked themselves this question, let alone answered it.

Advertising Strategy

Let me state for the record that I’m a BIG Wizard of Ads disciple. Roy H. Williams is the person known as “The Wizard of Ads.” I have the Wizard’s bestselling book trilogy, taught the Wizard’s methods in my sales class at the university and am a member of the Wizard Class known as the “Fearless Flyers.” (Ask me why, if you want to know why my class was named that.)

A key question to ask any advertiser at the outset of doing business is, “How will YOU measure success.”

Simply saying, to make a lot of money is not the answer.

If money is the goal, then how much money and in what period of time, needs to be asked. It is important that both the advertiser and the seller of advertising are on the same page. Both parties must agree before you can move forward.

12 Core Questions

I recently shared a graphic from fellow Wizard Craig Arthur that listed 12 core questions an advertiser needed to answer when developing an advertising strategy. Let me explore those questions in a little more detail here:

  1. WHAT are you trying to make happen? What’s the destination you are trying to reach with your advertising?
  2. HOW will you measure progress? What will be the method employed to keep track of how things are going? How will things be tweaked to insure progress is being made?
  3. HOW big is the pie? In other words, how big is the market for what you’re trying to accomplish? It’s no use winning if the market potential is so small you still starve.
  4. HOW good are your competitors? In the musical, The Music Man, the carpet baggers (picture above) would constantly say “But you gotta know the territory.” You need to know who the people, businesses, systems, etc. are, that you will be up against.
  5. HOW good are you? This is a tough one. You need to be able to look yourself in the mirror and honestly address your own skills and abilities. Can you provide an outstanding customer experience?
  6. WHO to talk to? Who are the customers you’re attempting to attract? You need to be specific and target.
  7. WHAT to say? Roy says there are no wrong media to use to tell your story, only bad stories. In other words, is your story relevant? If it is, it will reach your target by word of mouth a.k.a. sharing on social media.
  8. HOW to say it? Most radio stations no longer employ dedicated copywriters and production people. Everyone is multitasking. Crafting the message is most critical. Just like in the movies or on TV, the script makes the difference between a hit and a miss.
  9. WHAT will it sound/look like? Having a well written message will sink like the Titanic if it’s produced poorly. Dick Orkin’s Radio Ranch not only produces great copy but employs professional voice actors to deliver the goods.
  10. HOW much to spend? When crafting an ad budget you should keep in mind that you want to hit the target every week. When the data isn’t available, say in an unrated radio market for example, the rule of thumb is 21 ads per week (3/day), 52 weeks a year.  If the ad budget is small, then spend it on only one station and possibly on only one daypart until the business grows to support more.
  11. HOW to schedule it? In all advertising, repetition is key to gaining top of mind awareness in your customer. Radio is best because of its affordability to allow virtually any advertiser to purchase a three frequency with the listener on a weekly basis. To achieve this minimum level of frequency is usually unaffordable in other mediums.
  12. WHERE to say it? Again, Roy believes there are really no wrong radio stations, only wrong messages. Obviously, there are some businesses/products that are an obvious non-fit with a particular radio station format, but in general, any radio station with a cume of 30,000 people or more has the audience size to get an advertiser good R.O.I. (Return On Investment).

As Craig Arthur points out, most advertisers skip questions 1 to 11 and only focus on question 12.

That’s why most advertising fails.

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Why do people buy what they buy?

120If you’re in sales, this is probably the question that haunts you most: Why do people do the things they do?

Daniel Pink recently wrote a book “To Sell is Human” and in the book, he tells us, we are all in sales today. In fact, we may not even be aware that we are selling all the time. Daniel told the Harvard Business Review:

“I’m obviously selling books because that’s a part of my business. But if you go beyond that, I (also spent my) time trying to convince an editor to abandon a stupid idea for a story. I tried to get an airline gate agent to switch his seat. I’ve got kids. So, I’m trying to persuade my kids to do things. I have various people I do business with. And I’m trying to get them to see it my way, rather than their way, to go my direction, rather than their direction.”

“And when you actually tease it all out, I’m spending an enormous amount of time selling.”

We’re All in Sales

Looking at this from a broadcaster point of view, we too are all in sales, NOT just the people in the sales department.

Programmers are selling their ideas to management and if management gives them enough rope, they then have to sell those ideas to their air staff who then has to sell the concept to the listeners.

Events Change Our World in a Heartbeat

Sometimes events change the dynamics of what people want, need and do. The recent hurricanes have certainly had that effect on broadcasting.

In Houston, KTRH was ranked #11. 122Then Houston was hit by Hurricane Harvey and KTRH zoomed to #3, but soon after the impact of the storm began to fade and life in Houston began its long road back to “normal,” KTRH sank back to #15.

I ran a news-talk-information AM radio station back in the 90s in Atlantic City and in spite of our big commitment to local news and information, research showed that people would rather spend their day with one of the many FM music stations. However, they knew in times of coastal storms or other emergencies, our AM radio station was the one to turn to.

Radio cannot live waiting for the next emergency.

iPhones vs Androids

We all know that iPhones have not activated the FM chip to receive OTA FM radio broadcasts in their older iPhones. Plus Apple’s newest iPhones (7, 8 & X) don’t even have an FM chip in them to activate. So, if having an FM chip in their smartphone was important to Apple’s customers, why do people keeping buying iPhones? Maybe it is because they use them for other things.

In the USA Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS mobile operating systems are sharing the market about evenly says John Koetsier writing in Forbes. However what we’ve seen over the last couple of years is that what they don’t share equally is commerce. iOS is used to make more online purchases than Android. If you’re selling stuff, that’s an important distinction and its why Apps are usually first developed for the Apple Store and then later for Android devices.

Digital Cameras

I recently read an article that said if digital cameras were to stay relevant, they should connect to the internet. Guess what, they now can. Here are seven of the best WiFi cameras on the market according to Lifewire.

Should they also be able to make & receive calls, texts? Contain an FM chip?

As everything becomes connected to the internet should they also be able to receive OTA broadcast?

Electric Cars

BMW was the first car company I was aware of, that when it introduced its all electric car said it would not contain an AM radio. BMW said they couldn’t isolate the noise interference it would cause to the AM signals.

Funny, but I remember when cars used to have only an AM radio and that isolating an alternator was often necessary to not get horrific noise through the speakers. Is this really that much of a problem or has BMW carefully defined its customer’s wants, needs and desires?

Tesla in introducing their new Model 3 also said AM radio would not be part of the center stack options.

Do you think this will give people pause in buying an electric vehicle?

Go with the Flow

None of these things really represent a change in why people do the things they do. Roy H. Williams, the Wizard of Ads, has been writing about these things for decades.

In his book “Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads” in Chapter 70 “Better Jewelry, Better Jeweler,” Roy poses this question: “If you had to choose between selling what you wanted to sell, or what the majority of people wanted to buy, which would you choose?” Your future success is determined largely by your answer to that very question says Roy.

Bringing this back to broadcasting, AM, FM, digital, TV, cable, streaming is really nothing more than a display case in a jewelry store. It’s what you put into that display case that matters.

Your success comes down to serving your viewer or listener in the very way they want to be served.

If you’re in sync with the people of your broadcast property’s service area, then you will enjoy their business and they will demand you be easily accessible on the latest device.

The curve ball today is connecting your programming to the internet. The internet is a global community. You can’t be all things to all people. If you try, you will fail.

Define your market, know what they want, then serve it up to them. It’s OK to put it on the internet as long as you stay true to the people’s wants and needs that you aim to serve.

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Managing Others

Dick Taylor PresentingFor most of my life I was a radio manager. Then I had the opportunity to be a university professor. What those two professions had most in common was the training of others, employees in the work place and students in higher education.

Be the Change

As a parent, I quickly learned that my children didn’t learn as much from what I told them but in observing how I, myself, acted. I credit my mother and father for this form of parenting because that’s how they raised their three boys.

Mahatma Gandhi put it this way:

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

I swear, I didn’t

My oldest son never uttered a single swear word until he went to school. One day when he was helping me work in the yard, he let out a loud curse.

It was then that I said to him, “you may have noticed that your mother and father don’t use those words. Neither do your aunts, uncles and grandparents. Now if you want to talk that way around your friends, that’s your decision, but around your family, please don’t.” He never used that kind of language again – at least around me.

Swearing, Part 2

Years later I would be a radio Market Manager in Iowa with a lot of employees in my stations. Not too long after I had taken over the property, my Operations Manager came into my office and closed the door. (When people close your door behind them, it’s usually not a good sign.)

I said, you look like something’s serious is on your mind. What’s up?

He said, “you’ve made a big impact on the employees of these radio stations. Everyone is afraid to swear around you because you don’t ever swear.”

I laughed.

Then told him that it wasn’t because I didn’t know those words but because I personally chose not to use them, but it didn’t bother me if others did.

He sighed a big sigh of relief and said he would spread the word.

But here’s the interesting result: people continued to very rarely swear at those radio stations.

Starting on Time

In my university classes I set certain standards by my actions. I told students on the first day of class that I would always start my classes on time. That I would be setting up to deliver my lectures about 15-minutes before the start of class and that when it was time to start I would close the classroom door. That closed door was to keep hallway noise out but never students and if for some reason they were running late, they could always enter the classroom, just be courteous of other students. Virtually every student was in class before the start.

Teaching punctuality came by being punctual myself.

Another lesson in punctuality came with turning in assignments by the day and time they were due. I made it very clear that late assignments would not be accepted. Period.

That’s because in the workplace, in life, everything has a deadline.

Picking Up Trash

One time when I was walking through an airport to my plane’s gate, I picked up some paper that was on the floor near a trash receptacle and placed in the can. The person behind me said, “You either own a business or manage one.” To which I smiled and replied, “Guilty.”

Everyone is watching you. Noticing how you act.

Always do the right thing. Always.

Managing Others Begins with You

To be an effective manager of other people, to train them to do things the way you wish to see them done, you must first exhibit those behaviors in the way you live your life.

Nothing is more powerful than being the change you want to see in others.

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The Largest Financial Decision in Your Lifetime

122I was just reading an article about car buying and it said that buying a car is one of the largest financial decisions most consumers will make in their lifetime.  Really? I thought that was buying a house.

After being a university professor for seven years, I left with a feeling that getting a college education might be the largest financial decision. Today, student loan debt tops $1.3 trillion. The number of Americans with student loan debt is a record 44.2 million.

A record 107 million Americans now have auto loan debt. Worse, 6 million of them are behind on their auto loan payments.

Homeowners are doing little better with only one in four having more equity in their home than debt. Unfortunately, 5.4 million homeowners are seriously upside down – meaning they owe more on their mortgage than they can sell their home for. The rest of the homeowners are somewhere in the middle.

Then again, maybe it’s the cost of health insurance or putting away money for retirement.

Finding a Purpose in Life

Have you found yours yet?

I was lucky, I learned at a very young age what I wanted to do with my life.

It was to be a disc jockey on the radio.

Until one day, after being a DJ for ten years, I changed my mind. Now I wanted to be the radio station general manager.

That lasted over three decades until I changed my mind again. Now I wanted to be a university professor. I did that for seven years before deciding there was something more to life than just focusing on a career.

Business writer and editor Theodore Kinni says that “you can still build a rewarding career, even if you don’t heed the purpose ‘siren call.’ Start with what you’re good at and go from there – quit early and often until you’ve found work that works for you.”

 

“A sense of purpose is like an appendix. If you’ve got one, good for you.

 If you don’t, you’re not missing anything important.”

-Theodore Kinni

Luck & Success

I’m not discounting the need for hard work to be a success in life, but I know a lot of people who worked very hard and still had a hard time getting ahead while others seemed to have a much easier time.

Recently, a report in Inside Radio spoke to the fact that some radio markets were enjoying phenomenal growth while other markets were very challenged.

If you’ve ever worked in a large radio group, I’m sure your property was often compared to others who were making their numbers while yours struggled. No one seemed to care or found it important to understand the local market dynamics and how another’s “Best Practices” were not in your best interests to employ.

Radio Stations & Colleges

Turns out colleges have similar geographic problems as radio stations. Colleges are married to their location in much the same way that radio station licenses anchor broadcast properties.

Have you ever heard of the DCI?

DCI is the Distressed Communities Index and it shows that the U.S. economy is very diverse and fragmented when it comes to economic well-being. The 2017 DCI shows 52.3 million Americans today live in communities characterized as “economically distressed.”

For colleges that operate in these areas, their prospects for recruiting students to fill the seats is very challenging. Not all that different from radio stations trying to produce cash register rings.

Another area that both radio and colleges are being challenged, is the internet and the mobile economy. Whether it’s listening, shopping or getting an education, more and more people are doing it online.

When listening, shopping or education moves online, it no longer competes with the entities, but the best merchants, radio stations and the best colleges in the world.

Internet Dollars or Dimes

For too long, I heard traditional broadcast media complain that going online was trading OTA advertising dollars for internet dimes. And that was certainly true. It’s because we tried to apply the same business model to the internet that we applied to our broadcast business model. Colleges did it too. It was wrong. Internet economics is an entirely different business model.

Look at the top 50 internet websites and you will see they don’t make money the way that traditional media companies or colleges made money. The top 5 didn’t exist before there was an internet.

I’m sure if you dig deeper you will find that the digital dimes are being made by the traditional media companies and colleges, while the digital dollars are being made by those digital startups. In fact, INCOME did just that and compiled a list of the top 20 companies making the most money on the internet.

The real eye-opener is when you scan this list of companies and see how much money they vacuum in every second (Amazon $1084 per second is #1).

Very quickly you realize that internet commerce is made up of a few haves and a zillion have nots.

Once upon a time America had strong antitrust laws. Antitrust laws are really anti-competition laws that were put in place by the U.S. Government to protect you and me from predatory business practices by ensuring that fair competition existed and we live in an open-market economy.

Fast vs. Slow

The beauty of our government is that nothing happens fast. It takes time and a lot of political capital to bring about change.

Fortunately, that slow pace of government wasn’t that much slower than the rate of commerce over the last 225 years. It all worked. Until it didn’t.

Welcome to the 21st Century

Computers are fast. Computers connected to the internet are even faster. Collaboration adds even more to the speed of innovation.

Government hasn’t been able to adjust to this new high-speed world the internet created.

Colleges and radio stations are also trying to play catch-up.

Life is a balancing act.

Things are moving very fast.

No one can ever tell you what’s right for you. And no one knows where all this is going.

And so, I’ll leave you with some great career advice from Dr. Seuss:

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

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Luck, Signal & Being Unique

123Back before the turn of the century, radio station owners often did market research to find viable programming “holes” in a market. Often it didn’t even take research, just an experienced radio nerd with a sense of what was to be popular. Once identified, the task was simply to put it altogether and hit the air.

Beautiful Music to Lite AC

I was in Atlantic City doing one of Bonneville’s beautiful music formats and Jerry Lee was in Philadelphia doing Bonneville’s Matched-Flow beautiful music format on WEAZ (EZ 101-FM).

Jerry Lee has always been a leader in the radio industry and with the research of Bill Moyes, they moved WEAZ from beautiful music to Lite AC and re-branded the station B101 (with new WBEB call letters too). It was a very gutsy move!

Jerry’s success with the new format saw me take WFPG-FM from beautiful music to Lite AC and re-brand as Lite 96.9 a few years later.

Timing is Everything

The year was 1989. The country would soon be headed into a recession. The format switch at WFPG-FM saw us go from #2 in the 12+ Arbitron Ratings to #1. Even better, we took the #1 positions in all the key buying demos.

As the economic conditions tightened in the early 90s, the number of stations deep being bought in Atlantic City regionally/nationally would go from five to three to one. And WFPG-FM was the one.

We delivered our first million-dollar bottom-line year in 1991. We repeated that performance in 1993. Meanwhile, the other radio stations in the market were just about making ends meet.

Signal, Signal, Signal

In real estate, the key to having a winning property is all location, location, location.

In radio, the key to having a winning property is signal, signal, signal.

WFPG-FM had one of the market’s only 50,000-watt non-directional signals at that time. Two other 3,000-watt radio stations were already programming a light adult contemporary format, but when we put that format on our huge signal, they both bailed, one changing to classical music and the other to classic rock. It left WFPG-FM as the market’s only Lite AC radio station and with the most popular music format at that moment in time.

Me Too

What I’m seeing is too many “me too” stations on the air today.

Me too is not a viable strategy.

The future for any venture in a 21st Century world is to zag when others are all zigging.

Look at any successful enterprise and you will see two things:

1) not everyone loves what they do and

2) they’re famous for what they do. (Think Howard Stern)

Howard would make Sirius Satellite Radio something special and unique. 124It’s why they forked over hundreds of millions of dollars to have Howard join their team.

What happened to the OTA radio station’s when Howard left for Satellite Radio?

They had an Excedrin headache for quite a few years.

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Live & Local ?

Stuck in a Time WarpI’ve been attending a lot of radio meetings these past years and one refrain I’ve heard over and over and over and over is that the power of radio is it’s “live & local.”

This week, the FCC voted along party lines 3 to 2 to eliminate the Main Studio Rule.

1934 Congress Establishes the FCC

The first regulatory body to oversee radio was the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) that was established by the Radio Act of 1927. The FRC was created to, among other things, insure that the public airwaves of America were used in the “public interest, convenience and/or necessity.” The FRC was given regulatory powers for licensing all radio stations and insuring the airwaves were assigned to broadcasters capable of providing quality broadcasts. The amateurs were assigned to another piece of the broadcast spectrum which today is known as Amateur Radio Service or Ham Operators.

Amateur Radio like AM/FM radio is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission which was established by Congress with the Communications Act of 1934.

Main Studio Rule

So, this week when the FCC voted to end the Main Studio Rule, what did that mean according to the FCC’s regulations that have been in place in 1934 (and per Gregg Skall) updated in 1988 to make them clearer? FCC attorney Skall wrote back in 1991 in his “Main Studio Rule and Staffing” memo:

The main studio rule as clarified in 1988 requires a station to maintain a main studio within its principal community contour “which has the capability adequately to meet its function…of serving the needs and interests of the residents of the station’s community of license.” That rule has now been further revised to allow a main studio to be located either within 25 miles from its community of license reference coordinates, or within the principal community contours of any station, of any service, licensed to its community of license. (See memo, Revised Main Studio and Public File Rules). Jones Eastern requires the station to maintain a “meaningful management and staff presence” at the main studio on a full-time basis during regular business hours.

You can read the full memo here.

LIVE RADIO

Since the introduction of automation systems, syndication, satellite delivery and computer voice tracking, the LIVE aspect of radio has been on the wane. Even in the #1 radio market in America, New York City, stations may or may not have a live operator behind the microphone when you’re tuned in.

When I was starting out in radio, we used to have to announce whether a program was live or pre-recorded so the listeners wouldn’t be deceived about the broadcast. In the early days of radio, virtually all radio was live and so it was the exception for something to have been recorded.

Today, it’s more likely what you are listening to is not live but syndicated, voice-tracked and pre-recorded.

LOCAL RADIO

With the Main Studio Rule, the goal was at least there would be a live person at the station and the studio would be in the community the licensee was licensed to serve.

Lance Venta writing on RadioInsight wrote “But what will it (elimination of the Main Studio Rule) mean in the short term? Probably not a lot. In the long term, be prepared for a much leaner broadcast facility.” You can read Lance’s entire article “The Radio Station of the Future…Today!” here.

The National Association of Broadcasters has been lobbying for the elimination of the Main Studio Rule, and its executive VP of communications Dennis Wharton said “We’re confident that cost savings realized from ending the main studio rule will be reinvested by broadcasters in better programming and modernized equipment to better serve our local communities.”

Brick & Mortar Presence

FCC attorney Scott R. Flick said that the Main Studio Rule was really a government mandate for radio to have a brick-and-mortar presence in an internet age. “Its existence hindered stations from evolving and adapting to the rapidly changing business strategies of their many non-broadcast competitors.”

It’s ironic that the biggest online retailer, Amazon, is now in the process of acquiring a brick-and-mortar presence as the radio industry appears to be moving in the opposite direction.

Public Safety

When a broadcaster doesn’t have a studio in the local community it serves, it delivers its programming through the internet, satellites, microwaves or wired lines. Broadcasters have been quick to point out how these forms of communication are first to go down in natural disasters.

What seems to be missing in this conversation, is a Black Swan event. Will radio be ready for a Black Swan?

Today’s Big Regulatory Difference

The big difference I see today for radio versus its toddler years is how it is regulated. The Radio Act of 1927 provided the foundation for all broadcast regulation right up until today. While more Acts were passed and made law over the years, the basics remain much the same as when they were first made law.

Some of the key provisions in the original Act that we’ve deviated from today are:

  • Limiting the number of broadcasters to foster higher quality radio broadcasts versus having more stations of poor or mediocre qualities
  • Radio broadcasters would operate in the “public interest, convenience and necessity”
  • Radio would be a regulated medium to assure high quality and operating in the public interest
  • Radio would be commercial and privately owned (a condition that made radio broadcasting in the USA different from every other country in the world)

Those who complain that radio isn’t like it used to be only need look at how broadcast regulations have been changed over the past century; the biggest change being the Telcom Act of 1996.

Make Radio LiVE & LOCAL Again

On May 24, 2004, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held a “Broadcast Localism Hearing” in Rapid City, South Dakota.  The president, general manager and co-owner of KLQP-FM licensed to Madison, Minnesota (population 1,767) Maynard Meyer addressed the commission.  He told them (I’ve edited his comments. The full text can be found here. )

“Localism in radio is not dead, but it is in dire need of resuscitation in many areas.  I have been involved in the radio business in announcing, sales, engineering and management for about 36 years, all of my experience is in communities of 5,000 people or less.  We personally live in the communities we serve so we know the ‘issues,’ we work to address them in our programming and have been doing so for the past 21 years.“

“A few years ago, many stations operated this way, but much of that has changed for a variety of reasons.  I think the beginning of the end of local broadcast service started in the 1980s when the Federal Communications Commission approved Docket 80-90.”

Mr. Meyer went on to explain to the FCC how many communities that “on paper” had a local radio station actually found that the transmitter was being fed from another location tens of miles away.  Mr. Meyer went on to say:

“I don’t think this is the best way to promote local radio service.  From what I have seen through my personal experience, as soon as a hometown studio is closed and relocated, the local service is relocated as well.”

What do you think?

 

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