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CAN ONE RADIO NEWSPERSON DO THE JOB OF 8?

Radio news departmentA Loyal Reader Writes:

We have a “facilitator” (cost cutter) who apparently wants to centralize newscasts on our group of 8 locally focused radio stations…so, one news reader doing casts for all, and only one local reporter in each location. Potentially a loss of 8 jobs. How do you counter such a view?

Sadly, I have no effective way of countering your cost cutter’s viewpoint.

I know, you’re tempted to try to explain to the “facilitator” how reducing your news staff to a bare minimum delivers less value to the community.

You’re tempted to point out that delivering a less valued product hampers the stations’ abilities to charge premium sponsorship rates.

But you need to keep in mind 2 crucial factors:

1. The facilitator’s job is to cut costs wherever and however he can. He doesn’t care about ratings or revenue, only about cutting costs.

2. This is an inevitable result of consolidation of the marketplace. The whole point of consolidation is to gain access to “economies of scale” — for example, having one person do the news reporting for 8  stations rather 8 people for 8 stations.

It’s the McDonaldsization of Radio.

Its effect on the quality of local broadcast content is to continually drive it downward in an unending quest to keep operating costs as low as possible.

Especially for publicly held companies, the lure of immediate positive effects on the bottom line (“We spent less money last quarter”) trumps the potential for long-term gain via investments in a station’s resources and capabilities.

Result? Far too many radio stations invest too little in its product while simultaneously saying “yes” to any offer that promises quick cash: bad advertising campaigns (occasionally of dubious legality), bad sales promotions that harm the station and alienate listeners, etc.

Do I like it?

No.

But somewhere along the way I’ve learned not to fight battles I’m almost certain to lose.

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  • Tony Harding November 19, 2015, 8:52 pm

    Why do people listen to Apple-FM, Wenatchee, WA and not some audible station from Seattle? Because it delivers local content that resonates with local people. That enables local advertisers to advertise on the station, because it has a local audiance. The facilitator should maximise profit. That is not all at one end of the balance sheet. Reducing costs in this manor may (will) reduce income too. It will also result in No News days, if they are not very careful, due to leave & illness.

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