Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Some more thoughts on the Carr deal
First, so much for "frivolous lawsuits," eh?: ["Carr files suit against WRKO for trying to stop deal with rival"].
Next, Dan Kennedy has a great overview of the decline at WRKO here: ["WRKO's long, painful decline"]. I agree with his point that giving Eagan and Braude the morning slot would have been a better move. This way, they could have offered Howie the Noon to 3 p.m. slot, where he would have easily creamed 'RKO's drug-dealing addict hypocrite Rush Limbaugh. WTKK would be a more powerful station than it already will be with Carr's morning show.

Lastly, before getting back to work, I'm going to rant a bit. I would be remiss if I didn't give Kennedy [and myself] a pat on the back for talking about this issue and the problems with talk radio more than 10 years ago: ["The Death of Talk Radio"]. Yours truly is quoted below:

Teaching people to think and act for themselves, and to take charge of a political process that they normally look at as something done to them, is a powerful thing. And in today's decadent talk-radio environment, that's happening less and less.

Take Anthony Schinella, who wants to talk about empowerment but finds himself shut out. Schinella got involved in talk radio through Jerry Brown's 1992 presidential campaign and the 1993 debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement. He's a bright, articulate guy, and he espouses a hard-edged political view that's seldom heard these days. He's beside himself, for instance, that not one Boston talk show chose to focus on the recently announced layoff of more than 100 workers at Osram Sylvania, in Danvers, whose jobs are being moved to Mexico thanks to NAFTA.

But Schinella can't break in. He just left a once-a-week gig at Tufts University's tiny WMFO, and is starting a Sunday-morning show at the slightly larger WUNR (AM 1600). Yet he has few illusions about breaking into the big time. "There's no Triple A farm system," he says. "There's no place for me to go. There's a wall there." And he wonders who, in the post-Jerry Williams era, will talk about the Big Dig, a new baseball stadium, or any of a host of local issues. "When you limit the number of voices, you limit the real news that people get," he says. "You don't get news from Dr. Laura."

If I may say so, I think I made a good point back then and it only rings that much louder today. The chickens, as they say, have come home to roost. It just took a bit longer to happen. No farm teaming of local talk talent has left a shell of a station and has kept competition in talk broadcasting in the Boston area, the cradle of liberty, the Athens of America, from fomenting.
It may seem like tooting my own horn by running this quote again, but whatever. The point is this: Programmers could have given me - or many others in the Boston area - the opportunity to compete way back when, even on a small scale. But they didn't, despite the quality programming I/we had to offer. If they had, they might not be in a hole right now, mighten they?
There are holes everywhere, as Kennedy notes.
Instead of continuing to bang my head against a wall in Boston's radio business, I delved more into politics and later, got into the newspaper business and started working in that medium [I never really gave up radio or talk. I looked at every possible opportunity, from leasing local time to leasing satellite time to offering to sub for free, trying to come up with some way to get on the air. Nothing worked. It just wasn't meant to be, as they say].
When I found out about blogging in 2002, I started this site, which has been a ton of fun. All this work led me back to radio in New Hampshire, as a reporter, news director, program director and then, station manager, all in 2.5 years. And now, thankfully, I'm back in newspapers.
In the end, it all worked out. But for us radio fans out here, what shortsightedness, eh? Maybe I should copy and paste the entire "The Death of Talk Radio" article for posterity's sake on the site. It is a great example of media journalism.

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