~~ Allan Prell writes from Baltimore: "It would appear that live and local programming is on the wane. It's a process I don't fully understand. Syndication is cheap and easy, but it does require paying for the big names, several hundred thousand for the major talkers, and giving up a massive amount of inventory. Syndication is easy, station management can say "Hey we didn't say it, some guy in New York or Miami said it." Also it is evident that finding local talent is difficult especially in medium markets. It is so simple to just push the button..." Help may be hard to find because nobody wants to invest in creating it. Maybe radio wants to die-off like one of those no-fucking-allowed cults in organized religion's hey day.
~~ Allan Prell might have been lubing us with the above information to get a plug (we never her from him unless he wants something) He pleads, "Do me a favor and let your readers know thay can receive a FREE COPY of my tell all Pulling the Plug on Talk Radio by requesting it at firstname.lastname@example.org." It's a fun read, and probably has your name in it -- but if you get a hold of it, we can't steal from it.
~~ Cower 'neath the tower... Take the Vashon Island Tower Tour . Here's where it all comes from: Vashon/Maury Island off the coast of Seattle is where seven AM stations -- six 50,000 watters and one 5,000 watt station originate their signals. For you radio tower geeks, there are pictures and history, too. Did you know? KVI, KJR, KOMO and KIRO are the only stations still using their original call letters. KGNW was originally KQIN. KPTK was originally KING, KEVR. KTTH was KXA.KJR and KOMO used to share the same transmitter site on Harbor Island, before KOMO moved to Vashon in 1943. KJR moved to Vashon in 2003 and shares their site with KGNW. KVI has its own beach which appeals to a much younger demo than does its namesake.
~~ Google "urology jokes" and see which talk radio blog you get to... (Hint: it ain't The Radio Equalizer).
~~ KIRO's grand new website was greeted by cheers and jeers -- but mostly cheers -- by Blatherwatch readers. With the thinning of the KIRO herd, we hope it may not prove it a hat too big for the cowboy. But there are cool things to come, says New Media Director, James Bottorff the one who birfed this baby. "We're actually working on building out a complete audio search tool which will allow you to search past shows as well as interviews, commentaries, features, etc. Should have that done and launched in February. It'll also give you the opportunity to create your own customized podcasts based on show or category (that feature may not come until March). He says they're in phase 0.1 of the site, so some things are still missing, while others may still be a little hard to find.
~~ Blather's Michael Hood spouts off in a recent piece in Will Mari's UW Daily about blogging. That's Hood talking to blogger, Seattlejew (still not sure why he calls himself that) at Drinking Liberally. Notable but not identified in the forefront of the top picture with activiste Andrew Villeneuve, is Aaron Toso, Governor Gregoire's Communications Director. Note the foul substance in the glass in Hood's hand... it's what's made him so cranky and disrespectful, not to speak of rusty. (Photo: John McLellan)
QUOTE OF THE MINUTE: "If I have to see this country go down the tubes, I'd rather see it with a Democrat in charge than a Republican," ~~ Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) to Mike Reagan last week.
QUOTE OF A DIFFERENT MINUTE: "If Hillary wins, folks out there in the email worry that powerful people will exact revenge through the Fairness Doctrine. I just love you, but I want to tell you this: I don't care what they do, I will always be on the air somewhere." ~~ Rush Limbaugh
~~ Is Talk Radio Losing Political Influence? As Big Pants and Little Hannity spout off ineffectually about John McCain, a newly released study by Austin-based Benchmark says it's not the influence is fading, it's that its been overstated in the first place. In a poll of 1,000 Talk radio listeners aged 18-65, respondents were asked what role, if any, talk radio has played in influencing their vote over the past few years: 86% said the medium had "no influence," 9% said "very little influence," and 4% said it had "moderate influence." Only 1% of respondents said talk radio had "strong influence" over their voting decisions. "Talk radio is at its best when it entertains listeners, not when it tries to exhort them to change political behaviors," said Benchmark CEO and veteran researcher Dr. Rob Balon. "Our findings do nothing to damage the credibility of any one talk host; rather, they suggest that preaching from the bully pulpit can be very tedious to talk listeners. The industry rewards ratings first: not being able to engineer the downfall,or the ascendancy of a particular candidate." Hat tip to Al Peterson at NTS Aircheck.
~~ Remember KIRO's staged debates in front of live audiences they called the Battles of the Talk Show Hosts? Now it'd be just Dave & Dori, as spellbinding as that would be. No need for a hall, they could have it in Dori's car. Read here with sad longing and a couple of laughs about the last ever BOTTSH which took place in 2006.
~~ Made in america: why spend the money on the real thing?
WISDOM OF THE [RADIOINFO] BOARDS:
BONGWATER: You'll never see a heyday of mega revenues with the lousy way stations have been programmed and mismanaged since the '90s. Corporate radio REFUSES to innovate and evolve beyond the conventional or have a bigger vision for stations beyond mere $$$-like keeping the very medium alive and at least HALFWAY relevant. And it's only reaction to it's own debacles is to fire the people who had nothing to do with their own bad decisions in the first place. So death to it. There's better, more rewarding things to do in life.
LITTLEBOYBLU: "... radio at this stage is no different than almost any other industry. Culturally, there is SO MUCH focus on "pleasing the higher ups" ... and the higher ups are all about pleasing shareholders ... and shareholders have little tolerance for a long-term vision. Even all that stuff tends to come down to ill-informed analysts making predictions that... have to be retracted two days later when the actual performance differs significantly from forecast. All that stuff [is] much more transparent since the 1980's (remember Michael Douglas ... "greed ... is good"!!) when we suddenly got this huge obsession with every company being a Wall Street cash cow and [we] haven't looked back since."
BONGWATER: (On radio work environment) Fear doesn't work, it's a lousy motivator and with radio-alternative technologies booming everywhere, why even bother working in such an unstable environment as corporate terrestrial radio? Even fast food restaurants have a lower employee turnover than most corporately owned radio stations these days.