‘Terrestrial’ Radio Still Relevant to Many
The author is general manager of KKAY,
an AM station in Baton Rouge, La.
I find myself
compelled to respond to the letter by Mr. Tim Britt in the March 1 issue of
Radio World, “A Dim Radio Outlook.”
Tim, I will
agree with you that HD Radio may not gain traction. I do disagree with your
assessment that terrestrial radio has no relevance to most people.
I am sure that
a great many young people have no use whatsoever for AM or FM radio. I believe
this to be a sad fact but times do change.
I have an AM
station, mono and only a thousand watts day and 67 watts at night. My station
does quite well because we provide what Pandora, MOG and the rest of the
tech-na-junk won’t provide: local programming.
We air youth
sports, parades, on the spot events, very localized weather. We allow local
officials instant access to our programming with the flip of a switch at the
EOC, police department, fire department and a few other places.
problem is the systematic destruction of AM radio by the FCC by not allowing
standalone AMs first choice on LPFMs or AM translators, and the refusal to drop
all other rule making for radio until there is a quick solution to the problem.
think my listeners should jump to new technology. This probably will not happen
because most of my listeners are elderly. Many don’t even own computers. But
they do shop and do business with our clients.
I take issue
with the supposedly “free” music on Pandora and the rest. This hurts the
economy. Retailers are running out of advertising options. Print is cost-prohibitive
for many of them, and in a lot of cases a weekly paper simply doesn’t do.
We stream our
audio and this is a help; so not all of the tech-na-junk is bad.
corporate giants are pushing for more ownership of stations, which would
diminish local radio further. We recently had some bad weather in our area. Out
of the 25+ stations in our market only one was on top of the weather situation;
we were. The others were too busy cutting costs with satellite programming. I
found that even at 67 watts, we had some people who heard our broadcasts about
the weather. This is the tragedy and life-threatening situation the FCC has
created and continues to ignore.
24/7 and the phones are answered 24/7. We have announced lost children, way
before an Amber alert can even be considered … the elderly who go missing and
lost pets. There has been many a night when the phone rings and it is someone
who just needs a friend to speak with.
seriously your Pandora and MOG can provide very much of what I have just
We’re not “big
city,” just folks who love radio and enjoy being a vital part of our community
in spite of the FCC, corporate giants and the tech-na-junk.
I grew up
loving radio in the early 1950s with a little crystal set, something foreign to
many people. I just pray I don’t live long enough to scan the AM or FM bands
and hear silence.