Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Radio Waves Podcast #123

Radio: April; 15 
 
At Least it’s Not Here
 
KLIF/Dallas-Fort Worth temporarily changed its name last weekend to Bieber 93.3 in celebration of Justin Bieber’s Purpose Tour arriving for a concert at Dallas’ American Airlines Center on April 10th. The branding was both on-air and on the station’s website all weekend long.
 
“We’re huge Beliebers!" KLIF programmer Dustin Kross told industry website AllAccess.Com. "Changing to BIEBER93.3 is the perfect way to connect to our audience and other Beliebers while Justin Bieber is in town.”
 
Music and Food
 
KCRW (89.9 FM) will be heading to downtown Long Beach in September for a special music and food event called, appropriately enough, Music Tastes Good.
 
The three-day event will be held September 23rd through the 25th; each day will feature its own theme and the focus will be on local vendors, craft beers and local musicians. Tickets will go on sale in May, while a special free concert highlighting the bands scheduled to perform at the event will take place May 7th at Long Beach’s Packard Building.
 
Cloudy Future?
 
A story on Slate.Com regarding the future of National Public Radio is a fascinating read (http://tinyurl.com/SlateNPR). The basic idea being presented: can NPR survive online entertainment alternatives if current listeners are getting older and potential youngsters are more interested in podcasts?
 
The evidence presented is fairly strong and to the point. Younger people are not tuning into NPR, which itself was once a bastion of young “left-wingers and hippies.” and was formed out of a desire to see what could be done by experimenting with radio and recording equipment.
 
The problem now, according to the premise of the story, is that the fun, freewheeling attitude of early NPR that attracted today’s listeners is not attracting those listener’s kids. The kids instead like podcasts, which are usually more fun and outlandish than the material broadcast by NPR affiliates such as KCRW and KPCC (89.3 FM).
 
Now, keeping in mind my bias against NPR -- primarily due to so many NPR affiliates taking over radio stations on college campuses which in my opinion should be run by students, not by NPR professionals -- I think the entire article misses the point. 
 
Also keep in mind that I love podcasts ... I do one weekly myself with Michael Stark at the LA Radio Studios in San Pedro. But podcasts are an inefficient way to reach people; broadcasting is still king when it comes to market reach. 
 
NPR would be shooting itself in the foot if it focused on podcasts, even if it primarily ran podcasts of its popular programs such as All Things Considered. The reason is simple economics: podcasts -- with rare exceptions -- don’t make money. And the more NPR relies on podcasts for listening, the fewer listen live to the radio. And the few listeners to live radio, the fewer donations to member stations, along with decreased program underwriting.
 
But like so many of today’s commercial stations essentially forcing listeners to online, iPod or satellite entertainment, the solution is to attack the real problem: launch programs that take the spirit of the popular podcasts and put them on NPR. Bring back the freewheeling days of early NPR (which I don’t remember but will take on face value from the Slate story). In other words, give people a reason to tune in. If you build it, they will come.
 
And I can’t believe I actually wrote a story supporting NPR...

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