Thanks to Radio Ink for digging deeper and finding some supporting opinions on my October post reminding talent that content is the new targeting and relatable is the new local.
Burns & Associates CEO Alan Burns tells Radio Ink people don't really care if Rush Limbaugh is local.
"In most cases and places, being entertaining is more important than where you originate from. Listeners will say local is preferable, but they’ll listen to what’s most entertaining or most useful to them. But local does matter. You can win with local if you do it well and thoroughly and are in roughly the same ballpark as the other guys on entertainment or information. Clear Channel’s move to more nationalized content will cause some broadcasters to try to do a better job of local service, and that’s good for the industry."
For local to matter, Burns says, you have to do more than just pay lip-service to it. "Just saying the names of three suburbs after the weather won't work. I’ve seen some of CCU’s Premium Choice stations do very well against nominally “local” programming. You have to know the market and care about it, serve it and reflect it on the air, and be everywhere in it. That’s where the national companies and content will have a hard time competing. Clear Channel, and anyone else who wants to emulate what they’re doing, has to be thinking about several questions regarding staffing levels: How many markets can one talent empathize with? Do you have enough people at the local outlet to actually be in touch with the market? Do you have enough people left to generate sufficient local presence?"