Morris makes pitch for radio/newspaper combos


NewspaperMultimedia Morris Communications notes that in an era in which newspapers are struggling and most radio stations do not employ reporters, its local newspaper/radio combos make a lot of sense, and is urging the FCC to follow through on plans to ease restrictions on such combinations.

Morris has radio/print combos intact under waiver in Topeka KS and Amarillo TX.

“The breadth and depth of local news and informational coverage that Morris’ stations provide demonstrate the benefits that common ownership of newspapers and radio stations can deliver to the public,” said the company in a statement. “Unlike many radio stations today that do not have even a single reporter on staff, Morris’ cross-owned stations have multiple staff members devoted fully to covering local stories and issues. This translates into more and better news coverage for local radio listeners and increased engagement by stations in their local communities, and shows how allowing newspaper publishers to own radio stations benefits communities and improves the state of journalism.” 

It says that the time has come to dispense with the 1975 rules and allow such combinations to exist.

RBR-TVBR observation: We have never been convinced that newspapers and radio stations are an entirely natural fit. But in today’s environment, many newspaper companies are still measuring success by not by posting revenue gains but by not losing as much money as they were a few years ago. And on the broadcast side, many radio stations simply do not do news at all.

We believe that co-owned newspaper and television stations should be allowed – anything that can help keep a newspaper in print is a good thing at this point in time. But we can see where some might object to a market’s top newspaper and top broadcast news operation being in the same hands – it’s a debate we’re willing to engage.

But we can see no reason whatsoever to object to radio/print cross-ownership. If it can somehow help restore health to the print side, and put news on the broadcast side that might otherwise not exist at all, we are all for giving anyone that thinks they can make such a combination pay off give it a shot.