Friday, June 19, 2009

It's The Internet, Stupid

Zogby shows that only one in ten would choose radio as their only source for news, but when it comes to "trust" our medium does better and the 'net does worse.


Drop or trim down the length of 'news' and integrate talk and info about what's important right now into everything you do making use of your 'experts,' every minute, every day.

No, it's not as easy as doing six five minute newscasts per day and telling yourself that you still do news, of course, but self-deception can be that way, sometimes.

The need for lengthy news on radio is inversely related to the growth of the internet. That's somewhat new, but just because you have sponsors willing to pay for something, doesn't mean listeners care a whit about it.

That isn't new. Savvy programmers have been fighting that battle since formats replaced block programming six decades ago.


Facebook Thread said...

Lance Tidwell at 3:57am June 19
Shanadoah put this message in a song years ago :)

Tim Hunter at 4:47am June 19
That's the old "We've got to give them everything or they'll go away" type of thinking. They're there for music. If they feel the need for news, they'll go find it anyway.

Don Wagner at 5:42am June 19
Anyone that signs on the web in the morning probably gets all the info they need from their bookmarked page, so, why not tell me about something happening locally that wouldn't appear on MSN, Yahoo or any other page. Seems pretty simple yet no one does it, go figure, it's all about content!

Mark Kassof at 6:27am June 19
Agree in general that music radio is wasting its time doing "so much news," but I see two exceptions... One is that some music stations are also THE source of local info and community involvement in their markets. It would be suicide for those stations to just do 'token" newscasts. (And Jaye, a number of the Country "monsters" fall into this, as you well know!)

In addition, I think its hurtful for almost any station if listeners feel they're out of touch or "in a bubble" by listening to it. They should feel that if something BIG happens, they're not going to miss it by listening. Whether this is achieved by quick updates or personality content is optional.

Jaye Albright at 7:13am June 19
Good point, of course, but I am watching the PPM trends of some of those 'monsters' now and it doesn't look like usage supports that claim. Don't you think a news image is best built on the web, if no one locally owns that other than you and do what you can to support that web activity on the air? Maybe the brand image is supported by being the local info authority, but the actual execution on air has to be so compressed that it's difficult to do enough on air to defend the info position without losing ground on key music images, which drive more usage?

Mark Kassof said...

Mark Kassof at 7:30am June 19
Well, the key here, as you say, is IMAGE. I know, and no doubt you do too, stations that have a long-earned info images that are being serviced by minimal personnel at this point. I'm not saying that's a good community service, but it's perception i.e. reality.

A station has to really screw up to lose that image once established. But I think ... Read Moreslashing on-air news would risk that. And let's face it: While moving the brand equity to the web is the right strategy, let's not get ahead of ourselves! At this moment, relatively few access the web in their cars, and I can't surf the web while I'm trying to rush my daughter out the door for school before I rush myself out.

It's become fashionable for some in our medium to devalue the medium. (Jaye, I'm NOT including you in that category!) Radio is still a great way to get information and entertainment while we're doing something else. I certainly don't want the person in the car next to me web surfing for traffic updates! Best, mk

Don Wagner at 7:41am June 19
I would think you could break in almost anytime to mention something is happening from a news standpoint and direct the listener to the web page for more information as long as your news department is on top of their game and updating the station web page much like NBC does with MSNBC.COM. I would rather have my station web page known as "the" place to go when news happens locally or national updates when necessary.

Tom Webster said...

It's hard to gauge that in a survey, Jaye--I think all that this question really suggests is that when people think of news, they don't think of radio. I bet the percentage of respondents in that survey who indicated they would like to get their news from radio vastly *outperforms* what it should be, given the paltry amount of news that actually exists on radio.

People will rarely tell you they want something that doesn't exist--a quant survey like this can only give you a comparative measure of what is. And what "is," for radio, is a pretty sad effort in terms of local news. The real question is what could it be?

Programming to the results of this survey will just continue to create a self-fulfilling prophecy and ensure that this number continues to shrink. But should it? That is a separate, unanswered question. There is a demand for local news, and that demand will be satisfied by somebody.

Your station? Dunno. But this poll doesn't put that issue to bed, in my mind.

Smokey Rivers said...

Why must you have a news image at all. We have 50 stations in my market. It's like a 50 channel cable TV universe. Not all 50 channels can or should do news. Some will be targeted like "Spike" or "Nat Geo." It's clearly better to be known for doing one thing really, really Country music and lifestyle content. Hit the important stuff in the morning, weather bulletins when needed and leave the heavy lifting to those who can carry that load. Full Service went out with the turntables....with the exception of the KTTS' of the world.