Sunday, December 17, 2006

Radio Bru-Ha-Ha

Someone left my blog this spammy comment;
anonymouse has left a new comment on your post "The (Long) Road Home - the First Steps":

If only New Orleans cared about New Orleans If it had been a concert at the High Noon Tuesday evening it would have been a sold out show. Four hundred ninety supporters of Madison's Air America affiliate, the Mic, packed into the venue with more spilling out onto the patio and into the parking lot. Multiple speakers, including politicians and Mic advertisers, took to the stage to express their concerns and frustration over the decision by Clear Channel to dump the progressive talk format and replace it with FOX Sports. But those speakers, while they all brought important messages, weren't the most striking part of the evening. What struck a chord in me was the casual conversation after the event from unsuspecting folks who sounded like they were snapped in the ass with a towel. They were saying things like, "Clear Channel doesn't care about Madison," "why does Clear Channel get to make our decisions," "Clear Channel owns too much." It struck a nerve because it has been a long time since there has been casual talk like that in a public space.
It made no sense in the context of my post and shortly afterwards the same comment showed up on another New Orleans Blog. I rejected the comment but the subject brought up some things I had been thinking about but had almost decided not to post since the events were getting a little stale.

Recently Entercom, WWL and WSMB's parent company, changed the format of WSMB, one of the oldest radio stations in New Orleans (along with WWL). WSMB was originally a partnership of Maison Blanche and Sanger Theaters, hence the call letters. Both WSMB and WWL have great history.

Some of my blogger friends have taken exception to Entercom's decision to discontinue Air America Radio. They all seem to have overlooked some facts. Which are;
  • Air America Radio has filed bankruptcy protection under chapter 11.
  • WSMB was one of the lowest rated radio stations in New Orleans.
I hope Arbirton doesn't mind me reproducing their most recent survey here;

Station
Format
Su03
FA03
SP06
SU06
WQUE-FM
Urban Contemporary
*
*
10.7
11.3
WWL-AM
News Talk Information
*
*
10.6
10.6
WYLD-FM
Urban Adult Contemporary
*
*
10.3
10.3
WLMG-FM
Adult Contemporary
*
*
7.3
7.7
WNOE-FM
Country
*
*
9.6
7.3
WKBU-FM
Classic Hits
*
*
3.8
5.0
WEZB-FM
Pop Contemporary Hit Radio
*
*
6.0
4.9
KMEZ-FM
Urban Adult Contemporary
*
*
3.2
4.2
WRNO-FM
Classic Rock
*
*
4.5
4.2
WTIX-FM
Oldies
*
*
2.3
2.8
KHEV-FM
Gospel
*
*
2.3
2.4
WDVW-FM
Hot Adult Contemporary
*
*
2.1
1.9
KKND-FM
Country
*
*
1.5
1.5
KGLA-AM
Spanish Contemporary
*
*
*
1.4
WYLD-AM
Gospel
*
*
1.2
1.3
WPRF-FM
Contemporary Inspirational
*
*
0.8
1.2
WMTI-FM
Soft Adult Contemporary
*
*
1.5
1.1
WIST-AM
Talk/Personality
*
*
1.0
1.0
KLRZ-FM
Variety
*
*
1.0
0.9
WFNO-AM
Spanish Contemporary
*
*
0.4
0.9
WSMB-AM
Talk/Personality
*
*
0.9
0.7
WYNK-FM
Country
*
*
0.4
0.7
WODT-AM
All Sports
*
*
0.7
0.6
WFMF-FM
Pop Contemporary Hit Radio
*
*
0.4
0.5
KNOU-FM
Urban Contemporary
*
*
0.6
*
WYLK-FM
Rhythmic Contemporary Hit Radio
*
*
0.4
*

Please note that WSMB is near the bottom and falling from 18th to 21st of 26 stations (if I can count, which is questionable). There are two Spanish language stations with better ratings than WSMB.

Air America's parent filed for bankruptcy protection. According to MSNBC;
Air America has struggled financially since its inception. Documents filed with the bankruptcy court show that the company lost $9.1 million in 2004, $19.6 million in 2005 and $13.1 million so far in 2006.
I don't listen to talk radio much. I never did prior to Katrina. I started with the United Broadcasters of New Orleans (a joint project of Entercom and Clear Channel). That's when I started listening to Tom Fitzmorris. In the early part of this year when I drove alone through absolute darkness and desolation to my FEMA trailer behind my gutted house he was the only person I found who was trying to lighten our spirits, reporting every day on restaurant openings in New Orleans as we all struggled to return to sanity. He politely refused to report negative news. That helped me more that I can express. I still listen to WWL sometimes because they have call in shows with local officials.

I found what little I heard of Air America annoying. Rush Limbaugh is subjectively more entertaining, whether you agree with him or not he is, to me, simply better radio. I know a number of my progressive friends who regularly listen to Limbaugh, just to yell at the radio.

But my primary beef with all of this is I still like to listen to Tom Fitzmorris on my way home from work. They have moved his show up in time so I can't listen to him any more. Instead I get Bobby Hebert or Garland Robinett.

I'm also ticked that they changed the call letters of WSMB to WWWL and let the history of WSMB, a pioneer local talk radio station in the sixties, fade from New Orleans.

One final fact, Entercom introduced Air America into New Orleans giving it a chance to find a local audience and if their web site is correct Entercom still has an Air America station in Sacramento, California, that hot bed of progressive activism.

I think I'll just go back to WWOZ.

I probably shouldn't have waded into this and some of my blogger buddies probably won't speak to me again but facts is facts.

1 comment:

Puddinhead said...

My understanding is that FoxNews lost money for the first decade of it's existance. It never had to declare bankruptcy, however, due to the deep pockets of Rupert Murdoch and others willing to pump money into an organ designed to get a point of view accepted. I worry sometimes that those who point to ratings as the "market forces" which should be the single determinant of the makeup of a locality's broadcast spectrum may forget that if all programming is fashioned as to meet the needs of the same majority listenership then a substantial segment of the population (those who aren't included in the top ratings bracket) will be totally unserved through the public airwaves.

I also find Limbaugh anything but entertaining; his schtick strikes me as being roughly equivalent to the adolescent boasting done by the vast majority of bad "gangsta" rappers, just with a different vocabulary.