Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More radio musings

I heard this on the news last night, and saw it in this morning's Chronicle as well...

San Antonio-based broadcasting company Clear Channel Communications on Tuesday cut 1,850 jobs, or about 9 percent of its work force, according to a memo that Chief Executive Officer Mark Mays sent to employees.
The company is making a “significant portion” of the cuts in its ad-sales department as it reacts to the current recession, Mays said. However, he added that the pullback spans all departments in its corporate, radio and outdoor advertising divisions.

Via Leslie T. Travis, it looks like the cutbacks have affected at least a couple of stations in Bryan-College Station already; the Chron also reported that Clear Channel was going to make more use of syndicated programming in addition to the voice-tracking that'll be used in Aggieland. I know Clear Channel sees all this as necessary, and I won't argue that point, but again I have to wonder at what point the money saved is worth whatever number of listeners think the station's owners are losing touch with the local community. That is one pretty big advantage that terrestrial radio has over satellite, I think, and it seems to me that with every round of firings they're pissing more and more of that away. Granted, I do think some syndicated content is pretty good; just as an example, I thought it was great when Rowdy Yates at KILT in Houston got a syndication deal for the classic country show he does on there every Sunday night, and when they announced last week it was going to be on one of our local stations (KAYD 101.7) I thought that was even better, as I wouldn't have to deal with the static listening to it on KILT. But, again, to have that syndicated content five or six nights a week to me just kills one of the biggest reasons for sticking with terrestrial radio. It's not so bad when those syndicated hosts are in touch with their local markets — as these guys were, at least once upon a time — but when you're just piping a show in that sounds like it could come from anywhere — or, for that matter, in the case of voice-tracking, playing pre-recorded material — it's worth asking, would something better be worth paying for? As you'll see if you've been reading over the last week, my personal answer is, "Hell, yeah it's worth paying for." I think it'd be interesting to find out how many other radio listeners feel the same way, especially in the wake of moves such as the ones CBS and Clear Channel have been making as of late.
Speaking of content worth paying for...Heyyyy! Now playing on the Roadhouse, Sirius Ch. 62: Del Reeves, "Good Time Charley's," 1969! George Strait recorded this on his 2001 cd The Road Less Traveled. I always wondered how the original sounded. Pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. You think I'd have EVER heard that on free radio? Like I said, it's the best $12.95 a month I've ever spent.