“KGSR doesn’t play any local music…they never broadcast live anymore… I hate the new music on KGSR…” or “101X doesn’t even play this band, why are they presenting the show” or “all KLBJ does is talk. They never play any of the good music anymore” and even “Austin Radio sucks”.
-A small but powerful summary of the online love a few Austin radio stations have been getting recently. I am currently writing an article/essay in which I shall defend Austin Radio. But first, if you love music and radio (and want to hear something other than Nirvana, Nickelback, Maroon Five and Sublime) I recommend you do something other than e-whine.
Here are some suggestions:
First, get the new ratings meter… well that probably won’t happen, but you should understand a bit about how they work. Basically, a small device (similar to a pager) picks up frequencies from a station as you listen. The station then gets credit for a portion of that hour (well if you listen for at least five straight minutes). The system of course, has many flaws. Worse perhaps, the sampling number in Austin will be ridiculously small- only a few hundred out of the one-million that live in the surrounding area. Needless to say, an individual with a meter holds a lot of sway. I’m not sure what other dynamics I can get into so just Google it: Personal People Meter.
Second, tell your Congressman and Senators to vote against any kind of Performance Tax. The record industry wants radio stations to foot the bill for their losses and failing business plan. And in case you didn’t know, radio stations ALREADY pay to play music. While you’re at it, remind your elected officials that they owe you. It was, after all, their shady backroom dealing that allowed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and Clear Channel to effectively drive the radio industry into ruin (post 2003 FCC also contributed a bit).
Next, raise some Kane. Petition, protest or find out why one ratings company- Arbitron, is allowed to continually operate a flawed and outdated ratings system (Diary & PPM) while maintaining a monopoly over the radio ratings industry. Radio stations are forced to purchase the ratings books which are provided to advertisers and ad agencies. Ratings basically determine how much a station can charge. This is a multi-billion dollar business and a ratings system known as ‘the best we got’ just doesn’t cut the cheese (that was a fart joke, I hope to have a morning show some day).
Last, have some understanding. When I first got into radio, I would love to play some avant-garde Wilco deep cuts followed up by 12 minutes of ambient noise from Radiohead. But that was college radio. And college radio does not make money nor is it rated very well. Unfortunately, most radio is programmed for the “lowest common denominator’. Not everyone’s a music snob. Not everyone likes local bands. That’s just the way it is. After all, you can just listen to your iPod or CD’s.
So in the world of PPM expect radio stations to tighten their broadcast belts: Smaller play-lists with only popular tracks, less talk, no specialty programs, no live broadcasts and no local bands.
Or maybe not? Austin and the above mentioned stations are different beasts. My prediction? The opposite. After the initial freeze up, PPM will bring more local entertainment, more local talk radio and force stations to utilize the internet and live events to bring in listeners and revenue… but that’s another story.
Oh and if by some chance you should get a ratings meter… perhaps we could go out for a drink?
NOTE: THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED ABOVE DO NOT REPRESENT THOSE OF MY EMPLOYER OR ANY OF THE AFFILIATED STATIONS, AGENCIES OR ADVERTISERS. ALL OF THE INFORMATION, OPINIONS AND CONCLUSIONS DISCLOSED ABOVE ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE FOR FURTHER RESEARCH AT WWW.GOOGLE.COM.
GRAMMAR D’S: I MADE IT THROUGH BROADCAST JOURNALISM SCHOOL WITHOUT AN AP STYLEBOOK SO I APOLOGIZE. IF I MESSED UP, PISS OFF. IT’S BLOG.