Reporter laments loss of local radio airstaff


A writer for a local website wonders if disc jockeys are going the way of the dinosaur after a local FM station flipped its format, let go its on-air talent and seemingly scrubbed all of the local out of the programming.

The reporter is Eric Stark of Lancaster Online, who says he himself was on the radio for ten years. He expects that ten years down the road, he may well be giving lectures to 5th-graders, explaining old-fashioned and extinct media concepts such as newspapers and radio personalities.

The catalyst for Stark’s remarks was the loss of three DJs at Citadel’s WMHX-FM Hershey PA, considered part of the Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle PA market. Stark says the format went from Adult Hits to something described as “Hair bands to hip-hop and everything in between.”

There are no announcers and no local content at all, he says, just bumpers between songs. Stark says the jury is out as to whether the format will catch on, but speculates that the likely target audience may not ever hear the station due to ever-present earphones attached to one device or another, precluding use of an AM-FM radio.

RBR-TVBR observation: There are more media options than ever out there. Radio has one huge advantage over most – it is local. It can tailor itself to the tastes of the local population, and can keep them apprised of matters of local interest and importance. Give that up, and radio is primed to lose. It’s that simple.

Sure, there is room for some stations to bring in national talent of interest to the local population. But that room is limited.

Internet sites and iPods/MP3s allow the user to tailor the music in a way that radio can’t. But a good radio station can inform an iPod user on what to download, and strong local content provides a reason to tune in that an internet portal or iPod cannot match.

Turn a station into a glorified jukebox, the internet will eventually kick its butt. Cut out local to cut expenses, you may be cutting your own throat.