This Article is About
Who Killed Local Radio?
Join 1000's of Authors at StreetArticles Today!

Who Killed Local Radio?

I remember as a little kid visiting my cousins in New York City with my parents. When we started to get close, NewYork AM radio stations started overriding the local stations we started our ninety-mile trip with. Eventually I'd hear the WABC jingle. It sent a tingle down my spine. I practically jumped out of our station wagon and ran the rest of the way to New York City and shimmied up their transmitter. I'd hear fast talking DJ's with plenty of pre-selling and back-selling the most exciting songs of the late 60's and early 70's. Their timing was impeccable, the sound effects were other worldly and everything fit together. Even the commercials. This was known as Boss Radio and it brought me to my knees.

Actually, every city had it's heritage flamethrower stations with built-in celebrity jocks. New York had Cousin Brucie, Philadelphia had the Geater with the Heater (Jerry Blavit), San Francisco had Dr. Don Rose and LA had The Real Don Steele, to name a few. And these guys rocked the sound of their city to the core. They played what sounded good, not what was on a playlist. And, they played what their audience was begging to hear. That's why radio was so great. Call letters meant something.

Of course the shift to FM changed the sound of radio, literally and figuratively. Since there were no more AM crackles and pops from interference, FM stations stopped with the reverb and sound effects to compensate. Then stereophonic sound hit the scene. And better sound made FM a more attractive frequency than AM for listening to music. Aside from asinine morning shows like "The Morning Zoo" format, stations started to sound more sophisticated. But as the limited FM spectrum allocated to commercial broadcasting filled up, only deep pocketed corporations could afford to purchase them.

And, this is why you can drive into a city like San Francisco, with some of the richest rock and folk music history in the world, and literally be disgusted by what you hear tuning up and down the dial. The only tingle you will get is like when nails are screeching on a blackboard.

Do you like Bonnie Rait and The Red Hot Chile Peppers from the 90's? Great, because San Francisco's most well know rock station, 104.5 FM KFOG, is still playing a few of their 1990's hits ad infinitum. You could wake up from a twenty-year coma and this self-dubbed San Francisco favorite will sound exactly the same. Same artists. Same songs. Same IDs. Same promotions. I think they took "If it works, don't change it" a little too much to heart. Follow that line of reasoning and we'd all still be driving Model T Fords.

Go ahead, make yourself sick. Tune up and down the San Francisco Bay Area radio dial. Every station has at least one duplicate format. Most stations don't play anything "new" until it's six months old, vetted for controversy and audience tested. Although they have different names, every San Francisco commercial radio station has the same formula morning show of a guy or two and a woman all trying to do Howard Stern from twenty-years ago.

Why is everything so homogenized? Basically three major companies own all the major stations in the San Francisco Market; Cumulus, CBS Radio and Clear Channel. As a matter of fact, they are the biggest players in the entire nation. And, most San Francisco stations are programmed in the Mid-West or some other remote locale out of the market. So not only are these stations in a contest to see who can be least offensive to listeners, they also have no idea what listeners even want around the country. For a number of years San Francisco was without an oldies station! That's like Houston Texas being without a Country station.

Furthermore, listenership and revenue are way down in commercial radio. One reason is because Satellite Radio and internet services like Pandora have come to the rescue of true music lovers. Bloated radio executives think it's because they are commercial free. But the real reason is they are programming new music people want to hear. Sirius XM Satellite has multiple stations for every genre. With internet based Pandora you actually tell the site specifically what to play! And the numbers do not lie. In every major US city and many minor ones, Pandora has more listeners than the top rated FM or AM radio station. Contrary to the bloated radio execs, they do have sponsors, which shoots to hell the commercial free argument for its popularity.

And this is just the beginning. Opening Pandora's box has led car manufacturers, who already equip most cars with satellite radio, with internet capabilities, first and foremost to tune in Pandora. Ford has even gone as far as to offer "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" buttons on steering wheels of certain models so drivers can rate their Pandora music selection without taking their hands off the wheel.

Enabling internet to function as a mobile music source is putting the last nail in the coffin for local FM radio. There are too many better alternatives than the tired "Two in a row Tuesdays." The one thing it still has going for it that Satellite or Pandora can never take away is localism. Local stations have local personalities, promote local bands and do local events. And if they listen to their local audience, listeners will sit through a certain amount of commercial breaks.

I love radio. I love how radio waves work. I love picking up distant signals on AM. I love listening to old broadcasts of legendary personalities. I love taking off the case of my receiver and looking inside. I love staring at radio towers in awe of their massive height and structure. I love being in a radio studio. I love being on the air. I love programing a show. I love buying vintage radios. My mistress lives in my car's dashboard or at home on a big shelf. Radio is my wife. It is my life.

I think what corporate America has forgotten is that the airwaves are public. They are just renting them. If you read their broadcasting license, it says they must do everything "in the public interest." Well, the public is not interested anymore.

Street Talk

No comments present
You May Also Like
Being Prepared With A Baofeng Radio
Baofeng radio equipment As you prepare for the end of the world and natural disasters it is important that you are prepared with all the basic supplies that you would need to provide for you and your family. Preppers and survivalists have known for a long time how to make…
By: Don Gallauher in  Communications  >  Radio   Aug 08, 2013  
  Likes: 2

Working With Unhealthy Jealousy - What Couples Must Know
Slightly jealousy gives a partnership some spice, but as well substantially jealousy is usually damaging in any passionate romance. Jealousy happens every time a husband or wife feels threatened by a third particular person whom they thinks can be a rival plus a menace for their romance. Jealousy can both…
By: moschinoonline in  Communications  >  Radio   Jun 02, 2016  
  Likes: 0

Assemble Your Own Wind Power Generator
Wind power turbine is what each one of those individuals who are occupied with this type of option vitality need when they need to do the switch. Furthermore, fortunately, there are numerous such turbines that are accessible in the business sector. Numerous individuals are however not amped up for one…
By: Zeeshan Ahmad in  Communications  >  Radio   Feb 17, 2016  
  Likes: 0

CB Radios
CB Radios provide citizens with a system of short distance radio communications on a selection of 40 channels, all ran on a 27MHz band. The "CB" in CB radios actually stands for citizens' band radio. CB radios were made popular during the 1970's. This allowed normal citizens to use a…
By: Branden in  Communications  >  Radio   Apr 22, 2011  
  Likes: 1

Internet Radio Atlanta- Have You Heard Of It?
When it comes to Atlanta internet radio, it is plain obvious that it is worldwide only because it is on the internet. I do not care what anyone says, internet radio is becoming more popular than traditional local radio stations just because it holds more volume to a particular audiance…
By: Saytue Saye1 in  Communications  >  Radio   Jul 19, 2011  
  Likes: 0

Why Did it Take so Long for CB Radio to Be Legalize In the Uk
CB radio was first reporting on our shores in the early 1970,s with illegal 27 MHz AM modulation sets being imported from America. It popularity increased steadily through the 70,s and into the 80,s even though the use of the actual equipment was against the law and punishable by fines…
By: Rizzer in  Communications  >  Radio   Dec 27, 2012  
  Likes: 0

Why I Love Ham Radio But Hate the Direction it is Going
Ham radio is a fun and rewarding hobby that can provide years of service and learning. Unfortunately we have gotten to a place where ham radio is regarded as and old mans hobby. We do have a younger generation of people coming into the hobby, but we have dumbed down…
By: Don Gallauher in  Communications  >  Radio   May 19, 2014  
  Likes: 3

Recycling That Old Antenna
Using the Antron-99 vertical base station antenna for a police scanner. One day as your are playing on your ham radio gear you get to thinking of when you first started using radio back during the CB craze of the 70's and 80's. With the current solar conditions and the…
By: Don Gallauher in  Communications  >  Radio   Nov 16, 2012  
  Likes: 2

Internet Radio Hosting Using Blogtalkradio Premium
I don't care if this is your first time getting started or is a pro at radio producing; BlogTalkRadio Premium offers a wide range of internet radio hosting packages that make sharing your opioion and increasing your brand apperance easy. All you need is a phone and a computer. I…
By: Saytue EOTM Youngest Saye in  Communications  >  Radio   Feb 23, 2011  
  Likes: 1

How Can Investing In Portable Two Way Radios Ensure Safe Work Environment
Security is one of the biggest concerns for any government in power. The government has invested in varying technologies, top among them being portable two way radios. These are radios that enable two people to communicate effectively as it sends information instantly. Organizations also need to invest in this equipment…
By: Pankaj Sharma in  Communications  >  Radio   Dec 04, 2014  
  Likes: 6

Near Field Communication - The New Way to Pay
I want to talk about the technology that's been making waves in the mobile industry recently. It's called Near Field Communication. It's basically a technology in smartphones and similar devices that allows for communication between devices through tapping or bringing into close proximity with each other. Now one of the…
By: Jan Osbert in  Communications  >  Radio   Feb 07, 2012  
  Likes: 4

When the Lights Go Out
What you need when the lights go out. You know the scenario. Here you are, happily typing away writing another useless article, the wife's computer making all sorts of racket as she plays away at her favorite games. The kids are laughing and watching their favorite Disney movie, when suddenly…
By: Don Gallauher in  Communications  >  Radio   Jun 03, 2015  
  Likes: 10

Solar Panels for Home Use
Why solar panel for home use will not work for me. Living in the Pacific Northwest I've been looking around at all the different options that are available for emergency power use during a storm or extended blackout solar power for home use is constantly popping up. Although this is…
By: Don Gallauher in  Communications  >  Radio   Jul 17, 2014  
  Likes: 2

Is the Commercial Break Broken?
I am going to tell you about fifteen different products, places to go or contests to enter one after the other. When I'm finished I'd like you to recount each of them with their message and contact information. And no, you are not being given a roadside sobriety test. Now,…
By:  in  Communications  >  Radio   Aug 15, 2012  
  Likes: 0

Mixture Of Arts With Saytue Saye
What is a Saytue Saye? I kind of figure that's what you are thinking about looking at the title of this article. Well, Saytue is a person. Actually, she is a Liberian woman that loves poetry, writing, internet and is exptremely deep. In a nut shell, she loves to express…
By: Saytue Saye1 in  Communications  >  Radio   Nov 14, 2011  
  Likes: 1

Article Views: 2048    Report this Article