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Monday, February 6, 2017

RadioWatch

This topic has been on my back burner for a while.  I should get to it before winter is gone.

History:  I'm a huge fan of KYW, an all news radio station in Philadelphia.  All news, all the time.  Great information.  Great presentation.  Great talent.  KYW and WCBS in New York are my "go to" stations, and thanks to my internet radioand Amazon Echo, I have them on almost constantly.

KYW did something radical this winter, and it was so big that it made the newspapers.  KYW stopped doing school cancellations on the air.  Philadelphia does it a little differently than most places.  Every school has a number, and announcers read those numbers on the air.  KYW management reasoned that it takes 14 minutes to get through all the numbers on a very snowy day.  The time is better used giving forecasts and information.  Schools these days issue closing and delay alerts directly to cell phones, and KYW has been pushing people to its web site.

You know what?  Get ready for a shocker.  I'm okay with that.

School cancellations on the radio are passe.  There is a better way to do it.  KYW hasn't shirked its responsibility to inform the public.  Getting cancellations off the air increases web traffic, and that's becoming a big source of revenue for broadcasters these days.  More revenue means more broadcasters keep their jobs.

Here in our area?  Well, that's a much different story.  Like Philadelphia, radio broadcasters push people to the web.  It's quicker, cheaper, and easier than actually having a news staff to inform the public.   The local time that was devoted to cancellations gets filled by commercials, another song, or an announcer reading some cute little time wasting ditty from USA Today.  It beats actual show preparation and work.

Look, I was the guy who read those cancellations on the radio for a long time.  I still get a kick when someone says "I used to listen to you before going to school in the fourth grade."  Regular blog readers know I'm still a bit of a radio geek.

Times have changed.  There are better and more effective ways, than radio, to get cancellations and delays out there.  My problem is that a lot of stations haven't traded one form of information for another.  It's simply a matter of cutting back and doing less public service.

Shifting gears...  My Super Bowl prediction was correct.  I said the Patriots would win and cover the three point spread.  However, I was wrong when I thought the Patriots would do it easily.  Cheating will be part of the Patriots' legacy, much the same way choking in a Super Bowl will follow the Falcons around for eternity.