Radio News Blues

In an article titled “Radio News Blues,” Tom Laskin –a staff writer for the “Isthmus:” — reports that “local reporting is dying in Madison (Wisconsin) and across the country.”

“Upwards of 1,000 of about 5,500 U. S. (radio) stations dumped their news operations between 1994 and 2001, according to Vernon Stone, professor emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.”

“While the number of news/talk stations continues to grow around the country (more than 1,300 stations now embrace the format), radio stations have taken a hatchet to their news staffs — staffing was cut by a whopping 57% between 1994 and 2001, according to the Radio-Television News Directors Association.”

Mary Quass spoke to this point in the interview I did with her this week:

“We stripped everything out of our music formats years ago. I believe we need to be able to look at our products and say what can we provide that our audience wants in a today kind of fashion? And if that means that we go back to doing news on the hour –but that news is relevant to the audience– then, you know what? That’s what we ought to be doing.”

Hmmm. I wonder if broadcasters will someday wistfully recall a time when listeners tuned to them for hourly newscasts.

It`s good news week,
Someone`s dropped a bomb somewhere,
Contaminating atmosphere
And blackening the sky,
It`s good news week,
Someones found a way to give,
The rotting dead a will to live,
Go on and never die.

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