I think you’ve missed the real outcome of forcing a studio to be manned 24/7. The Commission did not say the "staff" had to be on-air. That means the vast majority of stations will go find the cheapest minimum-wage employee they can to sit and answer the phone for those hours. I can guarantee the 30+ stations my company owns will. There’s just no economic sense in paying someone of even marginal talent to be on the air when, like you pointed out, no one is listening.
The other outcome is this. We all have enough problems getting full-time professional announcers to operate EAS correctly. Now, let’s try to keep the overnight person of the week properly trained. It’s just not going to happen, and I am positive it’s not going to help fix the issues that started this policy either.
I guess one good thing could come out of it. I *was* that overnight baby sitter in the early 80’s. Now look where I am. Wait, maybe it’s not such a good thing! 🙂
Everyone in the business knows this is a terrible idea that won’t begin to fix the problem. That’s why it will happen.
Sorry to burst your bubble. Even if the Commission mandates staffing, I don’t believe you’re going to be returning to those nostalgic days of free-form overnighters!
Dir of Engineering