Sunday, April 24, 2005

Hope for Radio.

Deaddrifts has excited a considerable number of screen phosphors lamenting the pathetic state of broadcast radio. Yet hope may come in the form of a mortal blow from space, allowing a more diverse, independent entity to rise from its grave.

Satellite radio may hurl the fateful spear to fall Levianthan. George Will noted today on radio listenership:

The fragmentation of the media market by technology is especially dramatic in radio. Just a blink ago the widespread lament was that a few providers, such as Clear Channel with 1,200 U.S. stations, were producing homogenized programming for a single mass market. Suddenly there is satellite radio. XM's more than 150 channels include Fungus ("punk/hardcore/ska"), Squizz ("hard alternative") and NASCAR2 ("in-race driver audio"). Sirius's more than 120 channels include one that is all Elvis, 24-7.

Not that satellite radio itself will ultimately be the champion of radio diversity (such a limited resource is bound to be centralized and homogenized) but it will render broadcast radio stations as a smoking pile of devalued debt. Smaller, regional concerns, our theory contends, will be able to buy the devalued stations and frequencies. And local access radio may be restored. While we wait, let's tune into the soothing sounds of Fungus Radio!

1 comment:

Trotsky said...

I have to agree about the sorry state of radio. I don't quite agree about NPR, persay, but there has been a movement away from local programming at many stations. I think that NPR, dispite your beliefs on slant, does a reasonable job of providing news that doesn't always make the 6 or 11 o'clock news. I could easily state that there is a great bulk of conservative leaning radio and TV, Fox for example (No Spin Zone, my bum).

I think that formatting has been the death of the once great FM experience. I enjoy an eclectic mix which is often not supported by current FM programming. That is why I listen to WDET (yes, indeed, Public Radio from the Campus of Wayne State). In contrast to your statement about WOUM, WDET has cut much of their NPR programming in favor of the eclectic music mix. The program is local, with only 5 hours per day Mon-Fri coming from NPR. The rest is unformatted music.

If you try it, you might like it more than you think, especially Willie Wilson on the Weekends.