A media writer for Lancaster.com in southern Pennsylvania says that as far as he can tell, hardly any radio stations in the area have live programming during nights and weekends. He understands the savings benefit, but wonders what the stations may be losing.
The writer, Eric Stark, types out a column called Stark Ravings – and one of the things stations lose when they go to canned or syndicated programming is the opportunity to develop fresh air talent. He said he was one of those that took pay barely better than minimum wage to hone his broadcast skills when the drive-timers were off.
Although he understands that the savings involved are obvious, he also believes that there likely isn’t much profit in the practice of turning the station over to machines.
He also said it makes the programming less compelling for the audience.
RBR-TVBR observation: It is tough these days to make sure the number on the monthly results report can be written in black ink – but if at all possible, it would be good for some stations somewhere to try and make a go of it with live programming for as much of the schedule as possible.
Stark is right – the talent of tomorrow has to cut its teeth somewhere, and the attractions of the DJ job offer the chance to put a promising rookie behind the mic without causing any massive swelling of the payroll.
And if hot news or a local emergency break, you’re station is the one that will be able to get word out immediately and make your company a local hero. It’s all stuff to think about.