It is radio’s greatest strength. It is the single most important advantage that local radio has over its digital challengers.
That’s what we’re told.
Invariably Live and Local is the battle cry of industry leaders and broadcast CEOs when they defend local radio against radio’s critics.
How can it be that these same leaders are the ones aggressively stripping radio of both?
Live local shows are disappearing with voice tracking (often with out-of-market voices) replacing them.
Untested inexperienced hosts are replacing successful experienced (but expensive) personalities.
Popular teams are broken up with (less expensive) side-kicks doing solo shows.
Various excuses are given for the cut-backs, but we all know that these are cost-cutting moves.
The sole motivation is to maintain profitability in the face of declining revenue.
How do we reconcile the rhetoric surrounding Live and Local with these actions?
As we recently noted, television seems to be weathering digital assaults better than radio.
Perhaps one reason is because television continues to invest in its people while radio is aggressively shedding people.
Randy Stine writing in Radio World recently highlighted the difference by noting that while television has steadily added jobs since the Great Recession, radio has continued to eliminate jobs. See graph at left. (Click on graph to enlarge.)
When will radio acknowledge the hypocrisy of claiming the importance of Live and Local and then taking actions that undermine it?
At this year’s NAB Show Gordon Smith declared:
There is no other industry in the world like broadcasting... ...no other industry has, at its core, such an overarching focus on bringing communities together and serving the public good.
Perhaps he was talking about local television.