Local Radio: Make Yourself Heard!

Shouting Child

The FCC has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on a number of proposals that would dictate how broadcasters serve their local communities. Many of these proposed rules would place additional regulatory burdens on local radio and television stations.

Basically, this means that they are considering the reinstatement of rules which were abandoned in the 1970s dictating not only local content, but how and when it may be presented on the air. The only way to correct the faulty assumption that local broadcasters are out of touch with the needs of their communities is for them to hear from you, our readers.

“Now is the time for every broadcaster in America to make sure the FCC understands the extraordinary lengths that stations go to serve our communities,” said NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr. “From emergency weather warnings to AMBER Alerts, broadcasters are a lifeline to communities in need. Local stations are also cherished partners with countless charities, raising tens of millions of dollars through on-air fundraising. Broadcasters need to educate the Commission on our efforts, and to make certain that public policymakers get a complete picture of our unparalleled commitment to localism and public service.”

Local radio raises billions of dollars every year for causes ranging from animal welfare to disaster assistance. The idea that local radio is out of touch with community needs is a myth that needs to be dispelled. In addition, depriving stations of autonomy in deciding how much local content they may produce and air will have a homogenizing effect on the airwaves, one that would be detrimental to the industry as a whole.

“Your involvement and the advertising we received through (WKHL) in support of this significant endeavor was critical to our accomplishment and we are most appreciative.”
—Marty Hauhuth and Polly Lynch of Positive Directions, a local substance abuse treatment center, in a thank-you letter to WKHL-FM in Stamford, Connecticut for the station’s role in organizing and promoting a July benefit concert

That looks like local content with a positive impact to me. As does this:

“With all the complications from Hurricane Frances, the one bright star was our local
radio station (WWJB-AM 1450). All the radio hosts dedicated their time to keep us
informed throughout the power outages. They were a voice in the dark reassuring us, and
all my deepest gratitude goes out to them for all they contributed to relieve our despair.”
–Diane C.

Everyone who listens to the radio is familiar with the variety of fund drives, fundraisers, and community projects embraced by broadcast radio. The number of charitable foundation and organizations that have entrenched relationships with our media is simply staggering and includes groups such as The March of Dimes, The United Way, and others. Please take the time to contact the FCC and make your stand on this vitally important issue known.

Make your voices heard, the deadline for comments is April 28, 2008:

Learn More | File Comments | View Previously Filed Comments

Photo courtesy of fotologic, used under this Creative Commons license


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3 Responses to “Local Radio: Make Yourself Heard!”

  1. Death of Radio? Far From It! « Radio 2020 Says:

    […] Radio 2020 A Guide for Broadcast Industry Professionals on the Future of Radio « Local Radio: Make Yourself Heard! […]

  2. kv zichi Says:

    Please … yes, there are GLARING examples of individuals who ‘get it right’ and citing those might imply local content regulations are not necessary, but unless and until the FCC changes the rules about ownership radio and TV will never REALLY reflect the market again.

    Hey, you say it yourself in a later article: “Jerry Lee is at it again! … his station B101 is one of the only independently owned stations in a U.S. major market.”

    ONE OF THE ONLY … your words. What does that mean? It means that Clear Channel and Infinity are the only ‘voices’ you will ever realistically hear. Local example: my community just suffered a tornado strike that downed power lines, had trees down in the middle of the roads throughout the area and sparked local officials to declare a state of emergency and impose a curfew.

    The local media, all owned by out of town conglomerates, didn’t even send reporters to the scene. CNN did to get sensational footage of the devastation to air nation-wide, but we couldn’t get word out to the people locally that ‘things are bad, stay inside and let the emergency workers clear things, we need volunteers TOMORROW not today, the water is still safe to drink, etc …. NONE of that made the local media because NONE of them wanted anything other than a toothless person saying ‘she lifted the whole mobile home up three feet’ for their 15 second sound-bite in the news. …

    The FCC caved for big business and now they want to ‘make nice’ by requiring local content? Local broadcasters are FULL of counter examples, like Dick Purtan and the rest, but the bottom line is that ON THE WHOLE the radio business is NOT doing it’s job. And listeners are going to satellite and podcasts in droves because of it.

    Provide REAL local content and this might change, For now, well, I’m willing to be pleasantly surprised!

  3. George Williams Says:

    Thanks for joining the discussion!

    I am terribly sorry to hear about the situation with the tornado strikes in your home town. I can also understand your feelings of ill will towards those in the media that you feel have failed you. It is a feeling I can relate to as a New Orleans native who has been through disasters like Katrina and the Levee failure that followed.

    During our disaster there was a lot of misinformation and histrionics in the media for quite some time. Radio was really the only useful means of finding out anything practical (i.e. was the water safe to drink yet, where were the National Guard deployed, etc). This just shows that no matter what generalized comments I may make, there will always be exceptions. As Mark Twain said, “No generalities are true, including this one.”

    There seems to be a trend back towards improving content and connecting with the listener base lately, several of my posts reflect changes being implemented in this regard. I hope that you do find yourself pleasantly surprised as things progress.

    Thank you for bringing a new perspective to the discourse with your comments, please continue leaving them!

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