Radio is a sound salvation
Radio is cleaning up the nation
They say you better listen to the voice of reason
But they don't give you any choice
'cause they think that it's treason.
So you had better do as you are told.
You better listen to the radio.
-Elvis Costello "Radio, Radio"
I was on the air a lot in college . It was something I really enjoyed and an activity I sincerely miss.
The landscape of radio has really changed in the past ten years. The FCC has relaxed media ownership constraints numerous times in the past few years. This has resulted in an even greater homogenization of commercial, non-subscription radio. Syndicated talk programing constitutes the large majority of content on most non-music stations with a rapidly increasing dearth of local content.
The major driving force in the industry is the economy of scale. Talk is cheap. Syndicated talk is even cheaper. Major media enterprises can realize significant profits by cutting news staff and resources at multiple stations and replacing them with a single talking head (complete with sycophantic support staff – not much assembly required). Ad revenues suffer few ill affects from this strategy allowing the handful of companies owning the large majority of stations to dramatically increase their margins.
Local content and locally produced programming has almost entirely disappeared in all but the largest media markets. The syndicated replacements for this content are packaged and presented within a limited ideological scope for mass consumption.
I think what I'm really driving at here are the extents to which the value of the content decreases as the "mass" aspect of the communication increases. I think that it is possible for messages distributed to large publics to have great inherent value. In commercial practice, the demands for profit can have great affect on value.
I have not done "as I am told". I rarely listen to the commercial stations in my area. I get my local news content from the Wichita NPR affiliate KMUW . Kudos to them for actually producing quality local and regional content.
This post is most definitely going into the Rant category.