Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Post 2272 - A Radio Rant

It is Wednesday, and I am just hours away from several days away from work.  I have to remember what things to pack with me when I go to my mother's, either Thursday night or Friday morning. 

I have to pack at least one laser printer, which is the one I gave up on and will sell to a friend this weekend.  I have 2 other laser printers that are pretty old and which I will almost certainly never need here, but which may prove useful at my mother's.  Yes, it's silly that I own so many laser printers, especially considering that this time last year I didn't have any of them.   And I seldom print anything personal either at home or at work. 

I got home beastly late this evening.  I had Toastmasters.  After that, I went to pick up Patricia at the thing she was at.  She was still doing that thing, so I had more than an hour to kill.  I wandered over to the local Wal*Mart and purchased a media player that can stream all kinds of stuff through wifi and/or through things like the contents of a thumb drive.  That feature will be very useful at the cottage, where we have no internet connection, and likely won't have one for a while yet.  I don't think the device I bought this evening will cut it, so I will probably decide to return it and get one that does what I want it to.

I picked up the latest Frank Magazine today.  My friend Deb Smith was on the cover.  (So was Mike Duffy, who has been complementary about my blog, and doesn't deserve all the shit he's going through.)  She was laid off at C100 radio in the last week or so.  The station decided that afternoon news was a frill, something they could get rid of, and therefore her position was redundant.  I have been writing her this evening.  She plans to take some time off and then get back to work, probably in the media, and likely in the city.  She's too good, too talented, not to be working in the medium.

I do not understand why Program Directors think that news is something that is unnecessary.  Back in the day, radio stations had to provide a certain amount of spoken word content, be it a hotline-type show, or a program that featured interviews with local newsmakers.  In 1993, after much lobbying by private radio bean counters, the CRTC agreed to relax those spoken word requirements.  About 5 minutes later, the majority of radio reporters were fired across the country, because PD's and GM's at radio stations could.  They were replaced by exceedingly long sets of music, punctuated by commercials.  

Music has a place on radio, a significant place, but for it to be at the expense of other important types of programming is bizarre at best, and perplexing at worst.  At least we still have the CBC, and News 95.7 to provide radio news coverage.  I hope they can continue to do so. 

I work with people who are well aware of my radio fetish.  Many of them, either to get my goat or because they really feel that way, opine that they would be happy not to hear any talking on the radio at all, even during morning drive.  They hear some talking, they push a button and switch to another station where music is playing.

I don't have anything polite to say about that.  I think that if you want to hear just music on the radio in your car, then maybe you're better off ripping your cd collection and playing those thousands of songs on your mp3 player, set on shuffle.  I really mean that.  Stop listening to your damned radios, and let those of us who want interactive content, have it. 

Radio, true radio, is not just a juke box with commercials.  It is playful, and funny, and entertaining in every way.  It is  a mixture of music and spoken word and, yes, commercials.  It rewards listening.  It is not background noise played at work.  It is not white noise. 

Q104 gets it right, especially on their morning show.  For a couple of hours there, they play just a few songs in a given half hour.  The rest of the time, they're talking about what they did last night, or popular news items of the day.  The Rant Line at 6:10 and   7:10 is sublimely entertaining.  We love it.   We still miss Greasy Gary, but the Rant Line is just great. 

I do not know why radio news is perceived as a frill, an extra, or why people yakking about interesting things should be censured for doing so.  I don't know why firing some of the last few radio news people in the city is a good idea, other than it saves some money.  And I do not see a point where this trend will reverse itself and radio stations will start hiring news people again.  They enjoy saving money too much.  It improves their bottom line, and they get addicted to that.

If you are interested in reading my thoughts about how these decisions are justified, let me know, and I will share them with you.  

Oh, look for a Halifax radio station to switch formats soon.  All signs point to this happening.   This may be happening sooner rather than later.

Guess that's it for tonight.  Newbie is nuzzling up against me and purring seductively.   I can't resist his clarion calls any longer.

See you tomorrow.


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