Local radio is getting tuned out, thanks Internet

Discussion in 'HD (Terrestrial) Radio' started by Jon, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. Jon

    Jon Geek

    Local Radio Is Getting Tuned Out. Thanks, Internet
    By John R. Quain
    Published November 01, 2011 | FoxNews.com

    Online services have wiped out innumerable businesses. Are local radio stations next?

    A year and a half ago, I wrote that online streaming music services like Pandora and Slacker were threatening to upend traditional broadcast radio -- even in cars. I was right. Now those homespun local outlets seem to be under siege.

    Last week Clear Channel moved to eliminate swaths of local radio programming across the country. The company runs about 850 stations reaching about 110 million listeners a week. Seeking to cut costs -- and focus more on digital services, the company said Monday -- it let go numerous local programmers and DJs across the country.

    No one is saying precisely how many local DJs were canned, but dozens if not hundreds were summarily dismissed, to be replaced by canned, syndicated shows. Not earth-shattering news, but disappointing nonetheless.

    Ostensibly, the idea is to offer more shows across more stations in order to compete with other national media outlets for ad dollars. Individual local stations have trouble bringing in big advertisers and even a national chain, such as Clear Channel's, can't guarantee consistent programming -- unless it makes all the programming the same.

    Hence the haranguing about homogenization and the loss of local flavor and culture. As Clear Channel focuses on national programs delivered across multiple radio stations, a uniform blandness is bound to replace quirky local shows, even though the company still says the programming will remain "local."

    However, the more pressing problem is whether the company can really, truly compete against the likes of Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, MOG, and countless other online music offerings.

    Pandora is the one that popped open the Internet box, creating a free, legal streaming music service tailored to individual tastes. The company thinks it's a killer formula that no one else does as well -- personalized radio. Indeed, Pandora is now in cars from Ford to BMW, smartphones, game consoles and set-top boxes like Roku. It is without a doubt hurting traditional broadcast radio, and Clear Channel's layoffs and increased "digital" focus are a clear acknowledgement of that fact.

    Pandora recently lifted its 40-hour limit on free music listening. Meanwhile, Spotify is gaining in popularity, connecting with stereo systems like those from Onkyo, and forming intimate ties to Facebook (for good or bad). Rdio, which focuses on paying subscribers and following other people's playlists, is expanding into Brazil next week and has its sights on several European countries next year.

    Local Radio Is Getting Tuned Out. Thanks, Internet | Fox News

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  3. jef

    jef Power Pig, Hello!

    Clear Channel, and the other radio conglomerates, ruined radio long before Pandora and Slacker were even a glint in their creators eyes.
  4. Jon

    Jon Geek

    I don't remember the exact day, but I do remember when my favorite station was bought by Clear Channel and merged with another Active rocker in town. It hasn't been the same since.
  5. hyson

    hyson DB Cooper....maybe...

    Radio needs to be ultra local to be sucessful.
  6. HecticArt

    HecticArt Moderator / Top Dawg

    I had the college station on a bit in the car over the last few days. They were playing some good stuff and all over the boards in terms of variety. I have to remember to check it out a bit more often.
  7. IdRatherBeSkiing

    IdRatherBeSkiing This space for rent

    Its not surprising really. In 50 years there will be no concept of 'radio'. There really isn't much in the young people of today anyways. My son does not understand people listen to real radio. He turns his XM on and assumes that is radio.
  8. Casual Fan

    Casual Fan Moderator

    Ultra local is the only "traditional" media that is really doing well these days, whether it's TV, radio or print. Why would you read yesterday's news in the Washington Post on newsprint when you can read today's news as it happens online?
  9. limegrass69

    limegrass69 Confused

    I'm not sure if that's economically viable anymore. It's super expensive to be "ultra local" and the ad dollars just aren't there to support it.
  10. microbob

    microbob Member

    If CC hadn't overpaid for there 1200+ radio stations years ago they wouldn't be in the shape they are in today. In 5 years, they will be an internet radio company with lees than a hundred stations after the company's bankruptcy reorganization.
  11. limegrass69

    limegrass69 Confused

    Maybe, maybe not.

    It still does not change the horrible economics of operating a radio station.
    Live, local DJs, a news department, sales staff, physical plant...the ad dollars are just not there to run radio stations this way anymore. Except in some limited cases, there are too many alternatives at this point. And, yes there are some exceptions, but it's not the rule.
  12. Casual Fan

    Casual Fan Moderator

    Most successful stations are automated most of the day, purchase their news, weather and traffic from elsewhere, share sales staff across a dozen stations owned by the same company, and work out of a basement. The days of WKRP are long over.

    Public radio is the exception. What's interesting to me is the massive footprint our local station has--about 2/3 of Virginia. Economies of scale.
  13. Jon

    Jon Geek

    Public Radio and a few halfway decent stations are about the only reason to listen to radio around these parts. The problem for me is all the frequencies are clogged up so it makes it difficult to get a decent phone signal on an FM transmitter, which I think I need a new one anyway.

    And the majority of those frequencies are cookie-cutter rock or country stations with no real variety one way or the other. There are also stations that have been on the air for years, despite minimal to bad ratings, simply because they serve a market (however limited it is) that advertisers want.

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