Terry Heaton on the Washington Post’s matter-of-fact streaming of the Alito confirmation hearing: “There is now officially no difference — online at least — between TV stations (and networks) and newspapers.” Is this equally true for radio stations and networks? If so, what might that mean?
Let’s say, for example, that a local newspaper in Anytown, Iowa, covers the very same news events as the local radio station. (Just for fun, let’s say they cover more events because they have more news people.) And they stick a little MP3 recorder in front of the newsmaker and immediately post a couple of paragraphs –including the sound file– to the newspaper website. Along with an image.
The remaining ‘defining difference’ between the newspaper and the local radio station is the method of delivering that news ‘content’ to the good people of Anytown (and the world). It’s still easier to turn on the radio and listen to the story (assuming I happened to tune in at the right moment) than to get in front of a computer to look/listen. Unless the ‘computer’ happens to be my Treo 700 mobile phone.
Thinking about all of this made me wonder about the definition of “radio station”: n: station for the production and transmission of radio broadcasts.
That’s just not gonna work anymore. We need a better definition, fast. I have not worked at a radio station for almost 22 years so I’m not qualified to come up with one. But it can no longer be about hardware (transmitters and towers). It has to be about people.
I think I’d be looking for smart, interesting (sometimes funny) people who live, work and play in the community your station serves; good writers; informed, well-read people who know how to do an interesting interview; people who know how to record/edit good, quality audio (video?).
If you stopped recruiting and hiring those people because it was no longer “cost-effective,” I suggest you find some, quick-like-a-bunny. But will they want to come work at the radio station if they can better use their talents and creativity on the local “newsaper” website?
Randy and Warren (and maybe Nate) are a lot closer to the world of terrestrial radio than I, so maybe they can help me answer a question I’ve been wondering about lately. How hard/easy is it in 2006 to find and recruit people to work at the local radio station? Where do the prospective hires come from? What are they looking for? What kind of skills do they have? Just click the comments link below.