Monday, March 2, 2009

Where Did Everybody Go?

Saturday's passing of Paul Harvey inspired a "geezer moment." I started thinking about radio in general and radio news in particular.

Who are radio's biggest stars? Two immediately jump to mind-- Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern.

Limbaugh and Stern host talk shows. Who's left in news now that Paul Harvey has exited the stage?

NBC got out of the radio news business a long time ago. ABC/Disney sold its radio division to a company called Citadel a while back. CBS is the only one of the big three with an active radio news operation. CNN and FOX also offer news to affiliated stations. The latter two are respectable, but neither have the rich history of the others. Mutual disappeared years ago.

The signature radio newscast has been the CBS "World News Roundup." It's a program that traces its roots back to 1938. The 10 minute "World News Roundup" isn't heard in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. It was the broadcast of Edward R. Murrow, Douglas Edwards, Dallas Townsend, Reid Collins and Christopher Glenn. I defy anyone to name the anchors now. It shows how radio news has slipped over the years. In case you're interested, it's Nick Young in the morning and Bill Whitney in the evening.

I've always felt there is a big appetite for solid radio news, and there are still some good stations putting out a strong product. Unfortunately, they seem to be the exceptions these days. News costs money, and even though people want to-- and need to-- know what's going on, very few companies want to pony up the bucks to make it happen.

It's time to pass the torch, but is anyone there to take it?