But, maybe the technology has just come of age.
Inside Radio reported this morning that AFTRA and Clear Channel will sign a precedent-setting agreement for HD Radio.
The union's national director Tom Carpenter tells IR reporter Tom Taylor that the agreement is “historic” on a couple of levels. It’s the first time AFTRA has signed a national radio deal, and it sets a precedent for how HD multicasts will be viewed by the union and management.
The fact that Clear Channel New York has also just signed a contract with the union which covers voice tracking ends a very public battle which has effects on us all: "Without calling it a victory for the union — Carpenter says the four-year fight over how much voice-tracking to allow on stations repped by the union has largely ended with “some pretty good contracts.” He says Clear Channel agreed to pacts that restrict voice-tracking to nights and certain weekend shifts and to pay a “fair”rate for talent tracking shows for non-union stations. Carpenter believes the biggest reason for the reversal is a change in strategies for Clear Channel. He says the company is doing considerably less voice-tracking than it did a few years ago after realizing it had “abandoned” one of the strengths of local radio — being live and local. Plus it felt a lot of “pressure” to be competitive with satellite radio and other media. " -- 2/2/06 Inside Radio
Hallelujah! Back in 1996 when consolidation ramped up in the newly-public radio business the rhetoric about imported talent and voice tracking claimed that it wasn't being done to save money, but to improve the quality of personality on local radio. That, to me, remains a worthy goal, whether local/live or imported using voice tracks. The best (and most relevant to local listeners!) content STILL wins.
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