It's the little show that might; the show that risks its life 5 days a week; the show the Blathercommenters love to hate; the show that raises envious bile among its radio cohort each and every day it breaths and lives to tell about it.
Too Beautiful to Live (KIROFM m-f, 7-10p) is 1 year old today. There will be audio
TBTL is one of the most-watched new radio shows in the country and contrary to the sop that it's a show about nothing, it's about just about everything except politics. This no-format format is more libertine than libertarian, more part-tay than partisan.
As Burbank says: "[Radio is] either... yelling and getting everybody frothed up about something the Edmonds City Council did, or it's talking about boobs."
TBTL doesn't sound like anything else on earth, and has 10's of listeners to show for it.
But our old mentor, "Societal" Norm Blathesworthy, socio-media professor at the U of Missouri says through gritted dentures, "It cannot live!"
(Photo: "Societal" Norm)
We hear from TBTL-haters every day. We hear that it won't last 30 days more, 90 days more. We get comments like this:
"web-radio hybrid" [read: radio show with a blog]
gets BY FAR the least comments
of any of KIROs blogs and has stagnated
with the same ratings Frank Shiers was getting, despite
a massive promotional push and huge investment in staff
salaries. This is a show that's now in reruns and 90 days
away from permanent cancellation and it's NOT a biggest loser?
Why do I have the feeling TBTL is going to appear in the "winner"
category? This blog has become a cross between an axe
grinding and a make-out session.
But we say it over and over. We are totally in the tank for TBTL. We're old (and proud of it) but it's not aimed at us, and we don't even listen to it much. But we want it to win, because it's important, we thinks, for radio to turn the page in order to attract a younger demo, and spread out on to new media platforms. TBTL is attempting that in ways no one else has, and it's smart of Bonneville to make this investment. (It helps they're in a position in this economy that they can).
There are new metrics for measuring earballs and making money on the new platforms that audio entertainment is inevitably relocating to. Problem is -- nobody's quite sure exactly what they are. Bonneville is apparently willing to let TBTL live until they figure it out.
difficult, we're sure, for radio professionals to watch as they or
those around them lose their jobs while TBTL, this hard-to-describe
piece of work, survives. But no one can deny, the listener pie has
shrunk, and it's not all the fault of the bad business models, and
greedy investors. It's also because of decades-old, comfort in a risk
averse programming stasis that's produced sound-alike radio.
Somebody's gotta do something different, and that's what Luke, Jen and Bonneville CEO Bruce Reese are doing. Here's to 'em!