- April 2, 2016 at 3:21 am #10502Carl BlareParticipant
Total posts : 1540
KGO AM 810 is a 50 kW San Francisco news station… well, not any more. The entire news staff has been dismissed as times change.
KGO LAYS OFF NEWS STAFFApril 2, 2016 at 3:33 am #48231ThelegacyGuest
Total posts : 45366
Well sounds like AM is going poop poo for commercial Radio. Time for the Hobby Broadcasters to save AM.April 2, 2016 at 1:03 pm #48233timinboveyGuest
Total posts : 45366
I have JUST about had it with news stories, forums, commenters, etc who keep declaring the “death of radio” and comments about how “AM is dead” or “dying”. I have just spent about an hour this morning responding to similar comments and articles in radio forums and magazine articles.
Corporate radio is going to hell in a handbasket, there’s no doubt about that. Locally owned, locally operated, locally programmed radio, near as I can tell is doing quite well, thank you.
I’ve worked for locally owned and programmed stations for 43 years. Every station I’ve ever worked for continues to thrive, and continues to provide local programming. These range from a 500 watt day timer, to a couple 100,000 watt FM’s and everything in between. EVERY ONE of them is still doing well. I presently work at an AM/FM combo, separately programmed of course. a 5000 watt AM, and a 100,000 watt FM. Both locally programmed. Listenership grows, sales records are set every year. We’re doing just fine. As I’ve mentioned in this forum before, I can rattle off 20 stations or more in the ND, SD, Iowa, minnesota, Wisconsin areas that are locally owned and programmed and doing just fine. See, it doesn’t make a headline in the trades when “Small Minnesota Radio Station Sets Another Yearly Sales Record” or “Radio is ALIVE! Local Programming Thrives” No one would read that. A former coworker of mine JUST this weekend celebrated 30 years, and over 4,400 local sports broadcasts at the SAME STATION! Clearly, THAT station is dead, eh?
I know nothing about KGO but I can tell you that world/national/big city news on local radio is tough, because nowadays so much of the “big news” is thrown at us from SO many directions. So a news station having trouble doesn’t surprise me. Clearly they need to rejigger their format. Sort of like how newspapers are dying by the hundreds every year. But yet the Bovey paper, covering a town of 661 people is in great shape, just built new offices, prints the whole thing in color, and include ZERO state or national news. They cover Bovey news. And maybe a bit from Grand Rapids (8 miles away) if it applies dorectly to Bovey residents. In the meantime the Grand Rapids paper was purchased by a big publishing conglomerate and is lo longer locally published (Grand Rapid sis about 15,000 people).
The station I work for in Grand Rapids is SO locally oriented it’s mind boggling. Yes, we produce our own local news, we do daily local interviews, we choose and program out own music, and we cover a ton of sports because our market is a HUGE sports area (personally I could care less about sports but it grabs listeners and generates revenue).
Local radio, I suspect will continue to thrive. When you’re in a big city take some time to seek out the smaller, lower powered stations on the AM band. You’d be surprised how many there are, and how many are locally operated and programmed.
As much as we’d like it to, Hobby Radio will not save AM. REalistically now, KGO lays off their news staff — surely not because they WANTED to, but because it was no longer viable. So, a Part 15 is going to pick up a news staff and take up the slack? And if they can’t generate the necessary ratings or revenue on a 50kW station, how do you expect to do it on a Part 15? You can do what I do. Cover your own small town or local neighborhood in which case you’re providing something LOCAL that affects the immediate area where you are broadcasting. Of course, covering things that local and focussed is a lot of work, siply because the information isn’t readily available. Covering state, national, and evey city news is easy as theyre are SO many sources for the stories. You can re-write, edit and use ’em. But no news source is covering the church bake sale, theft of bicycles from the soda shop, or the new stall at the antique mall. Right there are three things that would take you an hour to gather, write and produce. Minimum. Do that a few times a day to keep the news fresh, and do it every day after day, and it’s a bit much for a one or two man Part 15.
For the most part the stations you read about in the news either haven’t changed with the times, or are trying to be a “catch all” station out to get the most listeners (e.g. lowest common denominator) or are corporate stations with no local programming or involvement in the community.
Clearly the downfall of radio was the day the FCC said “we don’t care how many stations one owner or corporation can have”. We quickly lost a large part of diverse programming. Not ALL of it, however. Not ALL stations were eaten up by Clear Channel or Cumulus, etc.
KGO of course is owned by Cumulus, one of those big corporations trying to stay alive. There’s talk KGO will go to a talk format. Which means they just lost paying dozens of salaries and will probably pick up talk programs that are already on hundreds of their stations and will cost them little or nothing to put on the air there. As you probably know, most talk radio is free programming in exchange for the airtime for the included commercials. So, in an effort to keep Cumulus in business, you’ll see lots of their stations undergoing some huge cuts. People are the most expensive thing to pay for in any business.
What you’re seeing, here then, is the weakening of corporate radio. NOT “AM”.
EXcuse the typos — lots of ranting all over the interwebs this morning!April 2, 2016 at 1:27 pm #48234Carl BlareGuest
Total posts : 45366
Tim’s view of the AM radio world registers strongly with me and it is very heartening.
I am so certain that Tim is exactly right about the real state of radio that my own comments, starting right now, are no longer going to be about “The Deconstruction of Radio”, but instead look forward to the return of radio to its local origins.
Radio was originated as a local concept… an electronic means of reaching the public from the town radio station; the city radio station; and at the largest scale, the regional radio station which reached out to farm country in surrounding counties.
In the early days the national voice came from networks which gave the Nation a radio presence, but only as a component of local stations and staffs. Networks never replaced local radio the way corporations have been doing.
Corporate owners took the soul out of radio stations trying to make them automated factory assembly lines like fast food franchises, but the junk programming has not been tasty.
Still, being specific about KGO, a news station in San Francisco, even though corporate owned, is a very local concept and if well run should/could be a continued success… the fact that it has crumbled makes me think the corporate landlords are not very good thinkers. I also view abrupt and instant layoffs as immoral, unethical, inhumane and callous.April 2, 2016 at 2:01 pm #48237timinboveyGuest
Total posts : 45366
Cumulus is doing everything they can at ALL their stations to dramatically cut costs to try to stay afloat. There is a LOT of grumbling about layoffs among their “DJ community” as well.
Putting on syndicated talk radio (that they also own already) cuts all those salaries. FWIW I did note laid off employees who stated they ARE receiving “severace packages” or some sort, so at least they weren’t simply sent home empty handed.
You are exactly right. Radio was local or regional, with a national presence in network news and of course in the “golden age” with network radio shows (OTR) but that was not the bulk of the programming. It may have been the leading edge to today’s mess however. One exec says “Hey, look, we can put this ONE program on 200 stations! What a cost saver” then once that network was allowed to own hundreds of stations, look what happened! The balance of local to national/network tipped and couldn’t go back.
I am hoping the taking back of the airwaves by more diversified peoples happens over the next decade or two.
TIBApril 2, 2016 at 4:59 pm #48248MrBruceGuest
Total posts : 45366
I have a local AM radio station on 1310KHz WICH here in Norwich Connecticut, http://wich.com/ It contains 99% all local live in studio programing, consisting of music played by live DJs, often played off of vinyl records (usually 45s), local sports events, local news and a local 1 hour “Potpourri” talk show Monday through Fridays. 1% of their programing is a syndicated program or two. Click the link below for more info.
Never is the station on an automation schedule, the programing schedule is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the over night hours are staffed with a live on air DJ playing music.
For AM, I think this station does a great job of keeping it local. It uses a 3 DA antenna system, ERP is 5000 watts 24 hours a day, simply changes the 3 DA at sunset to broadcast a tear drop lobe into the Atlantic Ocean to the south-east.
When I tune into this station, I sometimes find it hard to turn off the radio or change the station.
This station is owned by Hall Communications, it owns and operates local radio stations WCTY 97.7, WKNL 100.9 and WNLC 98.7 and for the most part, these stations are local entertainment at it’s best.
Bruce.April 2, 2016 at 5:02 pm #48250wdcxGuest
Total posts : 45366
Locally orgininated programming.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.