[JPL] WBEZ

Lazaro Vega wblv.wblu.fm at gmail.com
Fri Apr 21 20:27:24 EDT 2006


"don't think there are any "NPR stations," in the sense of central
programming a-la Clear Channel. NPR provides the programs, as do other
 sources; the local affiliates are free to use (purchase) what they
want  from NPR, PRI, MPR, APR, etc., etc., or to program their fare 
locally."

That's not entirely true, nor entirely wrong. The network does drive
decision making at the local level by setting the tone. And the tone
for years now has been that "tent pole" model of listenership
tendencies that is an all purpose excuse for the move to talk radio.
That is, more listeners would tune in for Morning Edition and All
Things Considered and then audience numbers would "sag" during music
programming.

The network began pushing talk programming to the detriment of music
productions: there's only so much money and energy to go around and
the honchos decided to throw their resources behind the NPR talk
format. When the majority of the talk format programs are not local
how can you say there isn't some type of central programming going on?

NPR has a lot of influence over local stations.  A local jazz station
went day time talk even though a more powerful station with larger
staff resources was already providing that format in the market. Why
would a local station do that? Because the documentation of money
making potential in the talk format coming down in paper work from
Washington put pixie dust in their eyes and they stopped looking at
their local market and only gazed at the projected income. I guess. 
As far as I can tell it didn't materialize. They were raising around
100,000 per funder after more than 5 years in the jazz format, and
now, 6 years after the change, raise between 30 and 50,000.

Music programming on radio is under assault. Which brings to mind
Bunny Berigan at the Palomar Ballroom with the Benny Goodman Orchestra
after the band wasn't coming across to the audience with their dance
book. He basically said, If we're going to go down we might as well go
down playing what we want, [not what we expect the audience will
want]. The result, of course, was an explosive beginning to the Swing
Era.

Follow the artist, let the musician lead.

What a radical concept.

LV


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