Monday, July 09, 2007

Marky Mark wants me to answer his question about who cares about local radio programming.

He wanted to know if I care before he posts a new installment of our on-going volleyball game.

At the risk of being repetitive, I do indeed care about the amount of local airtime and as I have already written, the general public cares, or at least the people I speak with, also would like to see more local time.

Please note I'm not in the favor of the Fairness Doctrine. I believe in the free marketplace, HOWEVER, the airwaves do not belong – unlike publishers' presses – to the owners of radio stations. They are licensed by the government to serve the public good. If Clear Channel or whatever other media company doesn't like that they can go to the unfettered world of the satellite.

Hour upon hour of syndicated programming does not serve the public good. I don't care if it's liberal or conservative.

This isn't an arguement about ideology. It's about an economic model of a public utility that doesn't serve its consumers well.

To recap: no to the Fairness Doctrine. No to government censorship. Yes to mandated local programming, no ideology indicated.

Okay, I hope this clarifies my position. I know the fate of the Western world rests upon it!

The ball has been vollied, but not spiked to Marky Mark's side of the court.

Hey, when in beautiful Holyoke Massachusetts visit the Volleyball Hall of Fame! The birthplace of volleyball!

Housekeeping notes...revised link to Heather Brandon's new blog...added Bill Dusty's publisher...and more!

©2007 by Gordon Michael Dobbs


Mark Martin said...

YAY!!!! Finally!

OK, here goes:

When I asked "if Clear Channel does not care, who does?" I kinda meant who cares that is comparable to Clear Channel, a mover and shaker in that realm that can actually make decisions like the decisions you want to see made. So - can I ask again? Would your answer to THAT question be "the government"?

I guess your lust for mandated local programming is not too offensive. I hate that word "mandated" but I can see a need for it.

But how do you mandate it? Radio stations have a lot of non-Limbaugh, non-Maddow time as it is. Theoretically they could be running local programming NOW, instead of the Red Sox game or "Herbal Footcare Solutions". You're the expert, you tell me - why are they not running "The Mike Dobbs Show" NOW? There are hours available for them to do that. Why not "The Bill Dusty Roundup", or "Mark Martin's SUX Report"?

Serious question. WHY NOT?

I'm glad you are against the Fairness Doctrine! I was confused, I admit it! I thought you were FOR it. THANKS for clearing that up!

Now seriously, really, think about it - how do you propose that a MANDATE force stations to do something they could be doing right now, but choose not to do?

Mike Dobbs said...

For years, the FCC mandated stations to run so many public service announcements, to have so many time checks and station i.d.s per hour. They also regulated how many commercials could be in an hour of music or talk.

Stations were required to have a percentage ( no I can't remember how much ) of local programming...a number of things qualified as local programming including news operations, interview shows, etc.

Local programming made money, by the way. The station I was on was very profitable for its owner.

Again, the idea was to serve your broadcast area with programming that reflected its needs and interests.

These regs were part of the business of radio...just like putting dates on milk containers is part of that business.

During the Reagan years many of these rules were tossed out.

I strongly disagree with the concept of stations having a lot of non-syndicated programming today. Look at WHMP AM. They go local from 6 to 10 a.m. every weekday and the rest of their day (aside from two newscasts an hour) is syndicated. WHYN AM is local on weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. and then syndicated.

No one does local p.m. drive here which should be prime time as well as mornings.

Local programming is more expensive than syndicated stuff, which is offered free to stations provided they run the commercials that come with the program.

For me to have a talk show, a station would have to pay me and an engineer and then sell ads. That's why I wrote about the economic model needed to be changed.

Right now, stations are happy to sell time on weekends to people who want to promote their business. They sometimes also are willing to sell time to a person who will produce his or her own program and re-sell the time to make some money.

If the FCC had the political will to say to stations that a percentage of their broadcast day had to be locally originated things could change. The FCC has this right because WE have the right to have radio that actually reflects the community.

Then you and Bill could have a show which kicks the crap out of stuff I say on my show. And Bissette could be a guest on both shows! And there would still be room for syndicated stuff.

And in my book WFCR is doing a lazy and lousy job being a local station. They are willing to pay big money for their syndicated shows, but not willing to invest in local programming. That's why I don't contribute to them.

I've told their fund-raisers at Chamber of Commerce functions how I feel and they look at me as if I've stabbed them.

Got to go...trouble with the lay-out!

SRBissette said...

Local programming is one of the reasons I do listen to New Hampshire Public Radio (hate to say it, but they're far superior to VT public radio in that department... and in fact are far more supportive of VT musicians, artists, craftspeople and such). Aside from Brattleboro's downtown radio station and a couple of college radio stations, there just isn't much local radio created hereabouts.

Mike Dobbs said...

Mark...Oh Mark?! Where are you?