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Monday, September 17, 2018

Stormy Weather

This is probably too "inside baseball" for most people, and the rest will wonder why I care.

Let's establish a few things off the top.  I love radio and I especially love those big, beefy, substantial top of the hour network newscasts.  NBC and Mutual are out of business.  UPI is gone.  AP is greatly diminished.  No overnight of weekend newscasts.  CNN is also gone, but it does provide material to a company that produces radio news.  That leaves ABC and CBS.  Both are fine organizations.

Except...

I've been listening to hurricane Florence coverage-- and a lot of it.  It seems the radio networks "go to" stuff is audio snippets from TV news reports.  Really?  It makes me so sad.  Radio is a great medium.  Put boots on the ground.  Describe what's going on.  Don't rely on the audio from the TV people.

Westwood One has a radio news service.  In fact, the White House correspondent is former WNEP reporter Bob Costantini.  Outside of reporters on some of the key beats, the rest comes from CNN TV.

I get the whole corporate synergy thing and getting the biggest bang for the buck.

Name the biggest star in radio.  I'd say "Howard Stern."  But, he's on satellite.  Name another.  Maybe Ryan Seacrest.  Keep going.  It's tough.  Imus retired.  Paul Harvey died.  Casey Kasem left us long ago.  Are there any big radio news stars?

ABC has some fine people-- Cheri Preston, Aaron Katersky, Chuck Sivertsen (who once worked in Scranton), Jim Ryan...  The rest of the people on the ABC Radio web site are reporters and anchors who serve television first.

CBS Radio still has the rock solid Mark Knoller at the White House.

Here's my point.  The remaining big radio news networks still do an outstanding job, but radio, if it is to survive and prosper, it really needs to develop some stand out talent of its own.