Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Watchin' TV on the Radio

Hurray x 2 ! I have another follower ! Thanks, Tom. Good to know you're still a sweet guy!

Driving 'round the mountain some months ago, my attention was captured by the speaker on the car radio, heralding the birth of a new, local radio station.
Now here in these parts, anything new is cause for excitement.
Add to that the fact that I love radio, and well, I was simply beside myself. My brain began to process the plethora of possibilities offered to the community by a new venue of communication!
Imagine my surprise (I nearly had to pull off the long and winding road!) when my disbelieving ears heard the on-air personalities advising listeners to look at the videos that accompanied the stories, as though I was watching television on the radio!
Holy cow! Or perhaps more accurately, Holy Hillbilly Hyjinx!
Turns out that the new station, celebrated by the Chamber of Commerce and other local luminaries, is broadcasting HLN (Headline News, which was known as CNN Headline News until late 2008).
The broadcasts are laced with local commercials, news and weather. I believe the "station voice" is that of a popular, local on-air personality from a different, established local station.
I understand that some folks desire news of the outside Nation and world. But, wow, what a missed opportunity for local commentators and talents to be heard and to shine!
Imagine a "Down Home" segment featuring local folks sharing local history, customs, and the like. How about a late night spot showcasing local bands and musicians?
In particular, I thought of a former newspaper reporter (not me!) who I've heard broadcasting local news spots on several local stations.
As a reporter, I can tell the woman was going out and researching the stories and is very dedicated to local happenings, as a hometown reporter should be.
I haven't heard her lately on any radio station. I certainly hope she isn't gone! And if she is still around, I bet she'd relish having a local radio show of her own. And I'd love to hear her!
Now before someone assumes that I'm being unrealistic regarding the power, determination, dedication, and ability of the average, local person to build a radio station line up from the ground up, a back story is in order.
Back during my days as a newspaper journalist in East Hampton, NY, our editor went on the air every week to discuss the paper's top stories and other content on local radio stations, with local on-air personalities who any one could run into in the super market, the local restaurant, and so on.
If the editor was unavailable, he'd ask one of his reporters to go on in his place. And I will tell you, when he asked me to go on the air, I loved it!
In later years, I worked for both the paper and for a pair of local radio stations that were built from the ground up by local people.
One station had the coolest progressive rock format and a cavalcade of local personalities. The Town Supervisor, along with my editor, would both stop by once a week to chat with the morning guy.
The other station's format was popular, soft rock and morning talk with local personalities, local advertisers and local people calling in and winning contests. It was wonderful!
I once hit the road in the station van with an on-air personality dressed in a gorilla suit. The object was for listeners to spot the gorilla and pull over for prizes and recognition on the air. It was invigorating and hilarious!
There were similar radio stations and experiences in Indian River County, Florida, where I worked for a community newspaper and did remote, live broadcasts and on-air spots.
The community and local news people (including me!) were immortalized for our contributions and resilience during a two-week period in September 2004 when two hurricanes, Jean and Frances, both hit the community dead-on.
A local radio station published a commemorative Hurricanes of 2004 book, and if I remember correctly, an accompanying DVD.
So why not give the local talent here in NEPA a chance to jump into a gorilla suit - or better yet- onto the air waves- and shine, shine , shine?!

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