Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Well, he makes a really good point...

....Houston Chronicle reporter R.G. Ratcliffe, that is, here:

Newspapers around the country have responded (to the industry's changing fortunes -- ed.) with hyper-localism, covering their own hometowns better than anyone else. For instance, the Los Angeles Times declared Hollywood a local story.

And that's arguably the one strength the newspapers have, just like terrestrial radio does -- localism. They can cover the hometowns and the surrounding area better than anyone; after all, of course, it just doesn't make any sense to send some AP stringer from Houston to the local city council meeting when you have people here to cover it. And the folks who work for the newspapers are in much better shape than those who work for radio, I would think, because there are only so many local writers you can let go of before the whole point of your organization's raison d'etre is called into question -- whereas in radio, it seems that you can voice-track and pipe in syndicated shows to your heart's content. Of course, there's a point at which you can say local radio isn't even worth being able to listen to for free because of the playlists in addition to the aforementioned voice-tracking and syndication -- "this isn't really (insert where you call home) radio anymore and they play the same stuff over and over, what's the point?" I've heard those syndicated shows defended by people who use the analogy of the networks and what they show on prime time across the country in the morning and the evening. And I can understand that, but still it makes "free" radio even less worth it, as does the voice-tracking. I remember even the late '90s when you'd have people able to call in to their local deejays pretty much any time because the stations would have them in there. That's not so much the case anymore. And they're doing what they have to do, I guess, but I figured long ago that if I was going to listen to something people were hearing all over the country (and the world, even) it'd be satellite -- you do hear the same thing everyone else is hearing, but a much, much wider selection. Sure, it's not local -- but a lot of terrestrial radio isn't either. They do play it up when they can, though. I remember once upon a time KAYD here in the Golden Triangle advertised their morning show as "live and local." And as far as I know they still do, and that's great...but even so, once I got Sirius there was just no going back.