Jon Hosford may be right about how station owners would deal with a federal mandate for 24/7 studio operation (2/1/08 RBR #22). But his assertion there is "no economic sense in paying someone of even marginal talent to be on the air when…nobody is listening" is based upon a false premise and is a shortsighted view!
Radio stations do, in fact, have overnight listeners. If stations are not generating at least some revenue during those hours, it’s because they are not selling it! Nearly 50 years ago here in Cleveland, a jeweler named Larry Robinson inherited his father’s small store on an upper floor in a downtown office building. Robinson began running spots on one AM Radio station from midnight until 5 AM. The response was so successful he started running spots in other dayparts and eventually added other stations. He opened additional stores; ultimately J.B. Robinson Jewelers became one of the most successful jewelry chains in the United States. Although the company has new owners, Radio is still part of their media strategy. I am certain there are scores of similar stories all over the country.
Now for shortsightedness. Jon Hosford started his career in our business working overnights at a Radio station. I started my Radio career while a student at Ohio University in Athens, working weekend overnight shifts at WCOL-AM in Columbus. I’m certain Jon and I are but two of thousands of fellow broadcasters who got their start — and whose Radio career ambitions were fired up — at stations between midnight and 6 AM. In the changing Radio landscape it is clear developing new talent, on the air and in sales, will be critical elements of success. Overnight Radio could provide an invaluable real life training ground for the next generation.
Many Radio station owners may well conclude it is not profitable to be live all night. But writing off the potential value of that air time without serious examination of the potential benefits would, in my opinion, not make any economic sense.
Stuart J. Sharpe, President
Regional Reps Corp.