Monday, August 19, 2013

Post 2421 - Monday Radio Rant

It is nearly 11:30 at night.  I should by rights be in bed, but I had a long nap when I got home from work and my sleep pattern has been thrown off kilter.

After work today, we drove through Fairview.  I had heard that Boneheads BBQ had opened a second location there somewhere.  We found it at 3625 Dutch Village Road, right there at the corner next to Mexico Lindo.  We hadn't planned on going in, but we did.  We loved our meal.  There is something about Boneheads that keeps me going back, over and over.  The food is excellent.  The service is better.   And there is always food left over for a meal the next day.  The place beats the hell out of the barbecue joint in Dartmouth Crossing.  That place blows chunks.

Anyway, we got home.  I had to crash for a while.  After I got up, I cleaned up some cat mess in the bathroom, and then proceeded to wash most of the dishes.  I had wondered what had become of the cutlery; one can only wash the plastic ones so many times, so it was a pleasure to unearth all of the regular knives and spoons and forks.  Still can't find the sporks.  Probably because we don't have any.

Before I sat down to write this post, I surfed the web for a while.  I landed on the Facebook page called Halifax Radio Memories.   I love that page.  I scrolled down the page and found a link to a political ad broadcast on CHNS in 1950.  Nice to see the problems that plagued people 63 years ago continue to exist today.  I also listened to (and downloaded) a CBC piece about the terrible layoffs at private radio stations in Fredericton, New Brunswick.  Here's the link.  After the layoffs a couple of weeks ago, there may be one person in the newsroom, but there is no guarantee that this person will have any journalistic background.

I have said it before.  I will state it again.  I have no idea why radio news is a four letter word.  Until 1993, radio stations had to produce a certain amount of spoken word content in the run of a week.  There were call-in radio shows at all 3 major AM stations back in the day.  One would follow another on CHNS.  CJCH had the Hotline (or Phone Forum, or whatever the name was) for many years.  CFDR did as well.  Even when the FM stations came online years later, they would have big news hits and talk shows.  The world did not end.  The sun continued to rise every morning, and set at night.  Children did well in school.  And people listened to the radio all the damn time.

The bean counters all assert that they know what is best.  They lobbied the CRTC for years until it finally relented and greatly relaxed the guidelines for local news on the radio.  Five minutes later, two-thirds of the radio news people across the country were fired.  Newsrooms that might have had 8 or 10 people in them might only have 2 or 3.  

In the intervening years, the emphasis on local news has diminished to the point where I don't know why they bother having news at all.  KOOL FM has "news headlines", dispatched with so quickly as if it were a chore to read them in the first place.  They are hardly alone, and I don't mean to pick on them.  When Evanov started the late Z103 in 2006, they had two full-time news folks . Now, they have two radio stations, and zero news people.   A frill they could no longer justify.   Similar things have happened or are happening at other stations in this market and across the country.  Thank goodness for the CBC, which continues to have reporters and news hits throughout the day, and all weekend to boot.  And I hope like hell that News 95.7 continues to exist, because they have a couple of news reporters plus talk shows.  They are also apparently losing money to the point where they are selling off two sister stations in New Brunswick.

I am not sure where I am going with this, other than to state that there are privately-owned radio stations that nonetheless provide local news, and don't seem to mind doing so.  I have hoped for years now that the corporately-owned stations, which all have deep pockets, start to invest in local news and local content again.  But unless they are dragged kicking and screaming in that direction by some regulatory agency such as the CRTC, they won't.

Because they don't have to.

And they can't be bothered.

Very sad.

See you tomorrow.


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