Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Back On The Air

218 Back on the Air

Small is beautiful. There are things you can do on the air in Moote Pointe that you can’t do in New York. They care that you show up, that you don’t commit slander, that you don’t diss the city of license. But other than that, they go away and leave you alone. At least so far.

One thousand watts of AM radio. Sixty one watts after sunset, at which time you cannot here the signal in the studio, about ten miles from the transmitter. They pull a 1.8 in the ratings, compared with something like 5 for their FM and 13 for the market leader.

Not a lot of risk of being listened to.

It’s okay. We had that in New York, too. And that show cost more to get on the air for 42 hours a week than this place probably bills in a year. So already, small is not only beautiful, but efficient, because this show costs next to nothing.

It’s in a little house on what passes for a busy street in these parts. It’s cold. It’s got a great view – mostly of a couple of similar houses across the road. It has a secret parking lot. That is, you have to be Columbus to find it. And some days you have to have a compass. And a snow shovel. In spring and summer you probably need a lawnmower as well.

But there’s plenty to be said for playing radio on these teapots. If you ignore the computerized, transistorized, disc-driven stuff, you could be back in 1958.

And there’s no safety net. No digital delay, no music if the calls don’t come in (and they don’t,) and no Associated Press wire.

At NBC, we had AP, UPI, Reuters, AFP “Daffy” from Germany, Tass, Xinhua, Kyoto, and others. Here, we have the internet. Unless we get caught stealing it, there’s Dow Jones, Bloomberg, NY Times, Fox, CNN, MSNBC, and the local paper. But the computer terminal and the microphone are so far apart you can’t use both at the same time.

There’s a huge clock. An “atomic” clock. It’s not only wrong, it’s never wrong by the same number of seconds. There is a computer clock, too. It’s also too far from the mic to see.

So at ten seconds to the hour, the station identification plays, not matter what else is going on, and then comes Fox News.

The only advantage of that is you can say it’s “…time for the liberal media…” just before the foxcast comes on, also bigfooting everything else.

This may be the only talk station in the country that plays both Rush Limbaugh and Alan Colmes. Of course, Colmes (an old friend,) is on during the 61 watt time of day and Rush is on in “prime time.” But ya gotta pay the rent, right?

And you gotta hand it to people who own this thing. They want to do local talk. That doesn’t happen a lot these days.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

1 comment:

ndc said...

Welcome to the neighborhood, Mr. Richards.