Radio shot itself in the foot with the Telecommunications Act of 1996. We've suffered through 21 years of Clear Channel/iHeart and others laying off countless talented radio professionals so one could pretend to be a local jock in numerous markets. Now you can be cold called into buying airtime from a faceless account executive you may never meet in person. One bookkeeper works 80 hours for a salary to balance the books for multiple markets. I could go on.
It's not just my former employer. Star 100.9 here in Richmond? Yes, they have and promote Bill and Shelly, two friends of mine, in the morning, and as usual, they're terrific. After that? It's a jukebox with no personality, no local content, and the same tired, overplayed songs from the 1970's and 1980's.
My wife's car came with six free months of Sirius/XM, my first opportunity to really listen to the satellite radio service. While I've heard music on there I haven't heard on terrestrial radio in decades, I wouldn't buy it. I already can tell the patterns of how they play music. In a category so vast as "Classic Rewind", with all the great rock songs of "the cassette era", I shouldn't hear "Abacab" by Genesis twice in under 24 hours. The terrestrial way of thinking hurts satellite.
Newspaper continues to be a victim of the digital age and the fatal mistake of allowing news and journalism to be digested online for free at the turn of the century, making millennials wonder why people in my generation love their paper with their morning coffee. I fully believe that one day, the generation behind me will regret not having a physical newspaper, when they start asking how they get a copy of the photo and article on their child's high school basketball game from "A" media outlet, not being able to just run to the convenience store and grab four newspapers for grandparents and friends.
Now, as I've said for years, local TV is next. We all know there simply isn't enough news in Richmond to fill six hours a day. That's why you see lots of stories recycled, and sometimes, you see "stories" that aren't stories, that have absolutely no business inside a newscast, presented to you as "alleged news". With all the controversy lately over fake news, I think the term "alleged news" is right on the mark, describing such things as, "...coming up, a preview of tonight's Dancing With The Stars that you'll see right here on ABC27....". That's a station promo masked as packaged "news" content.
Now, for your assignment.
The article below explains how recent changes and proposed changes are going to make us have to reinvent how we cover local news across all platforms. Not just with what's covered in this story, but due to other changing events, I'm changing how RVA Sports Network covers sports, even within the digital realm. If you were a popular digital platform in 2004, chances are you won't be in my arsenal soon, or, if you are, you'll serve a much different purpose.
All of my colleagues in these various industries, this is a good read. Be ready. Click here.