National Radio

Sean Ross wrote a blog on his company web site about national radio and how it is still a viable form of media. He argues that national radio can really blow your skirt up if it is done correctly. Quote:

To say that national radio could be better isn't to be against great
local radio, or in favor of the elimination of local jobs. Rather, it
is to demand a better tradeoff for the local programming that's being
lost. Whether it was voice tracking a decade ago or syndicated shows
now, the rationale we've been offered has always been that non-local
radio could provide something different and better. So it's time for
broadcasters to ante up. With so many in the business having grown up
with national music programming in some form, we have the collective
brainpower to make national music radio something more than a
placeholder.

I don't disagree. But what he is saying could be said about ANY form of radio! Radio done well is radio done well. The problem is that the people who have been picking the shows to nationally syndicate have lately been rolling snake eyes. I love Opie and Anthony, but only having them on for 3 hours a day on terrestrial was a mistake (Stern went until 11AM in his heyday). I am sitting here racking my brain to come up with another show that was syndicated in the last 5 years that had even a modicum of success. I am really trying here. I like Adam Corolla, but he hasn't had consistent success. Um. Uh..

But where you get into trouble is national FORMATS, and that is a horrible idea. I can sell "Opie and Anthony mornings, Detroit's best rock all day." but piping in "X-Rock" is going to flop every time. It seems like every time you see a statement from a General Manager that name checks MTV or VH-1, that same GM is going to be out of there in a couple of months, with the PD and part time staff riding shotgun.

Every time a radio station attempts an impersonation of a TV station, it gets KILLED. Examples being Blink 102.7 in New York and the Free FM debacle. I worked at an FM talk station in Detroit that one day became Free FM, and trust me it was awkward as hell. The concept was decent: Edgy talk shows that give voice to those who aren't usually on radio. The bad idea: Hour long shows by celebrities. It was a train wreck and really difficult to sell on the air and as it turned out very difficult to sell to advertisers. At one point CBS corporate had our midday show take an hour off in the middle of their show so that they could make way for Jim Cramer to bore audience talking stocks for an hour. Boo-yah indeed.

Good radio in the morning is always a good idea, and sometimes stations need a big name. National Radio is not a bad idea. National formats are a disaster every time.

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