One year ago
Aside from having 88 student ratings on ratemyprofessor.com (some affirming, some downright snarky), I suppose my minimal "claim to fame" was being a correspondent and editor for Don Barrett's late, lamented LARadio.com. A year ago, when we had no idea when the pandemic would end (that seems so long ago), readers were asked to comment on what will be post-pandemic radio. Mr. Barrett was kind enough to allow me to be the kickoff essay. I stand by what I wrote back on April 20, 2020, including my opinion of The Bachelor. Please enjoy this memory and feel free to comment:
As I’ve mentioned in the past, my day job (vs. my real job with LARadio.com) is teaching at a local university. I have the opportunity to chat with my students between classes and in lecture when I try to keep them awake with tangential comments. Sometimes we talk about what they’re viewing and hearing on different media platforms. I’ve found my students follow The Bachelor (sigh), This is Us, NCIS (in various forms), CSI (see previous comment), American’s Got Talent, and a number of other tv shows. What do these programs have in common? These are all accessible on what is called “free tv,” “network tv,” “traditional tv,” etc. etc. We’re not talking about tv programs that are generally streamed, or even on cable.
So why is this significant? Provide good content (OK, I still don’t understand The Bachelor) and people of all demographics will tune it. It doesn’t have to be delivered through novel technology as long as it’s something interesting. I think there’s a lesson for radio.
We’ve heard it over and over again, “live and local” makes a difference. Although he’s nationally syndicated, Ryan Seacrest is still regarded as an L.A. show, which my students say they listen to as they get ready for school. It’s quite a production every morning, with tune-in highlights and regular routines. But as I’ve said many times before, I think my students would be hard pressed to name anyone else on the KIIS/fm talent lineup. It’s not because their personalities aren’t talented. I’d argue it’s because (a) there’s minimal promotion of talent, and (b) it’s hard for listeners to sit through commercial blocks of ten (or even more) spots.
Local news on tv skews toward a much older audience. Yet Fred Roggin recently started a feature on Channel 4 (KNBC/tv) highlighting graduating SoCal high school athletes. They may be deprived of one more year of showing their skills on the fields and the courts, but they’re being celebrated by hundreds of thousands of viewers for their achievements. This feature has attracted both younger participants and viewers who appreciate being recognized in spite of the current sportless lockdown.
I agree radio needs to do a better job improving their live streaming and making digital content more accessible. But to restate the obvious, give the listener something they want to hear, and listeners will tune in. Like local and network tv, distinct programs that viewers enjoy and find relatable can and should make a difference.
Want to be notified when the blog's updated? Comments or questions? Send an email to email@example.com.