1274 Radio in the Internet Age
Rumors of the death of radio have been circulating since the dawn of the television age, which -- commercially -- should be put at 1947.
But the old dog learned some new tricks. Some were pretty good. Some, not so much.
Now with the internet, SiriusXM, the iPod and similar gizmos, radio again is on life support.
To see if we can help cause a remission, some suggestions for programming that either hasn’t been tried or which were once successful but now are considered museum pieces.
Some of the older stations are thriving. WSM, Nashville. KSL, Salt Lake City. WCBS and WINS, New York. These are stations with huge geographic reach. But there are little winners in every corner of the country where the perpetrators actually serve their local communities.
Okay, some formats:
All Classified All the Time: Gordon McLendon tried this in the late 1950s or 60s. But the FCC, before it lost its teeth, put that dog down because in those days you couldn’t do more than 1080 seconds of ads an hour. That’s 18 minutes.
You can do this with a paid staff of three. And you don’t need Rush Limbaugh or Car Talk reruns to fill out the day.
Now, the FCC is chasing pirate operators when it pays any attention to commercial radio and who cares, anyway?
Charge extra if the client wants to record the ad himself.
Weather: If you can’t rebroadcast the NOAA Weather Radio stuff, you can find it on the internet and read it into a digital recorder. Intersperse your commercials and you have a utility, like water or electricity. People always want the weather. But they don’t always want to wait for “weather on the ones” or “weather on the eights.” In the age of instant gratification, they want it NOW. So, that’s what you give them. Your cumes will skyrocket.
If you’re ambitious, you can even run news on the hour. CBS has two versions, ABC has… well, zillions. Even NBC is back in the game. And there’s Fox News, AP News and all kinds of regional affiliations. Just don’t overdo it. Weather!
Finally, a personal favorite. The Thousand Cycle Tone format. Just put on the tone generator and do a newscast every hour or so. If you want to get fancy, vary it with different kinds of white noise.
Morning Drive: A pleasant mix of civilized ringtones. Intersperse time checks and commercials.
Mid morning: Summer breezes.
Early afternoon: Wind and water.
Afternoon drive: Stormy weather.
Evening: Gentle breezes and maybe some bird chirps.
Overnight: Ocean sounds.
Or just play random sound effects all day long.
And all the commercials you can get.
--They could do something similar with newspapers, put in stuff that no one else has, maybe reduce publication to once a week. Oh, wait, that’s called a magazine. And most of them are in the same trouble as radio.
--Rest in peace, Bob Grant, 84, Robert C. Gigante to his family, conservative broadcaster who died New Year’s Eve. Bob was tough to agree with most of the time, but he was smart and funny and rude and clever… a must listen for liberals and conservatives alike. Now, Bob, GET OFF MY PHONE!
--Invest in Colorado tourism. For the next while it’s going to boom as people from surrounding states head in for their legal pot. The crowds on opening day looked like a mix of lines at the Apple store every time a new product is introduced or at the Salute to Jimmy Carter gas pump.
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I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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