[JPL] Recent Radio Articles

Eric Hines EHines at message.nmc.edu
Tue Jul 11 15:05:11 EDT 2006

Behrens: Well, your "good" is in terms of financial and ratings
consequences, right?

Giovannoni: I don't use the term "ratings." I use the term "public
service." Public broadcasters don't chase ratings*they aspire to public
service. And they seek listener-sensitive money to sustain that service.
Both public support and public service require significant audience and
significant listening. It's the significance of the programming that
sets us apart from commercial broadcasters.

This habit of Giovannoni's has always infuriated me. If ratings are
precisely the same thing as "public service" how is it that the public
band was ever established? Clearly this is NOT what Congress had in mind
when it set up non-comms as public service stations. I'm sure they felt
that commercial radio would do as much of this kind of "public service"
(getting big audiences) as possible. Non-comms were established as an
alternative to that.

Ratings are one component of public service, not the whole thing.

Behrens: Public broadcasters have always gone after smaller audiences
than commercial broadcasters. Within public broadcasting, station
managers can also decide for some other reason that if they've got
important work to do, even though it will lose some audience*

Bailey: [Laughs.] You want to rephrase that?

Giovannoni: Don't put in that question. It doesn't make you look good,

Bailey: Did you say public radio managers can make a decision that it
would be important to put on programming that loses audience?

Behrens: Well, they're doing that now by not carrying American Idol.

Bailey: [Laughs.]

Giovannoni: Your question assumes that a program's "importance" is
inversely related to the number of people who want to listen. Audience
98 put the last nail in that coffin. It's a false dichotomy.

Years ago, our shows attracted too few listeners to be commercially
viable. But viable commercial audiences have gotten smaller * while
public radio's audience has grown. Our audience isn't small by radio
standards anymore. Commercial broadcasters want it. And as they openly
court our listeners, the days of programming that loses audience *
programming that's just "too good to listen to" * are over.

COMPLETELY dodging the question. Behrens in no way assumes "a program's
"importance" is inversely related to the number of people who want to
listen." That's an idiotic distortion of the question: If ratings are
the same as public service, why doesn't public TV just run American Idol
or something similar?

We're mot talking about "too good to listen to," we're talking about
"good enough to distinguish from commercial radio." In Giovannoni's
universe, is it worth sacrificing even a tenth of a rating point for the
sake of quality? How can it be justified if public service is measured
in nothing but bodies? Why should public radio exist at all if Clear
Channel is the king of public service?

The dirty secret here, and the one these guys are desperate to distract
us from is this: the slide in recent public radio numbers came on
precisely when the vaunted Audience 98 began to have its impact on
public radio programming. The numbers are slipping not because managers
don't listen to these guys, but because they listen to them too much.

Unimaginative programming and unimaginative managers who think they're
applying the lessons of metrics: that's why the system is seeing a

These guys have got to get a grip on some basic questions--why does
public radio exist? why do people voluntarily fork over money to fund
it? how can public radio continue to deliver what these people are

And these questions are NOT THE SAME as "why do people SAY they like
public radio" or "why do people SAY they fund public radio" or "what do
people SAY they want from public radio"

A lot of this comes down to mission--to perceived public service
defined otherwise than David "Mr. Oversimplistic" Giovannoni will allow.
If Giovannoni and Bailey can't wrap their minds around this, they should
take their skills (and their wildly exaggerated "rigor") elsewhere.


Eric Hines
General Manager
WNMC 90.7 FM
1701 East Front St.
Traverse City, MI 49686


Eric Hines
General Manager
WNMC 90.7 FM
1701 East Front St.
Traverse City, MI 49686


>>> jean at futureofmusic.org 07/10/06 3:52 PM >>>

This week's sponsor: Lisa Hilton's MIDNIGHT IN MANHATTAN


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Greetings all.  A couple articles came across my desk last week that I
thought you may find interesting.  The first is a conversation with
researchers George Bailey and David Giovanni from the Audience 2010
about how loyalty has been slipping in public radio.  The second looks
the effects of new formats such as peer to peer file sharing on
Jean Cook

When listeners step out on pubradio, even a little disloyalty can hurt

Survey Probes Impact of New Formats on Traditional Radio

Terrestrial radio is being bombarded with a variety of alternatives,
the game is still early. Assessing the terrain, Bridge Ratings has
released survey results detailing how new media channels are impacting
traditional broadcast listener levels. Overall, satellite and internet
tended to reduce the amount of time people spend with terrestrial
with 35 percent of satellite radio subscribers and 55 percent of
streamers tuning in to traditional broadcasts less frequently. But
formats were complementary. According to the survey, 51 percent of P2P
traders and 42 percent of MP3 downloaders responded that their on-line
consumption habits caused them to spend more time listening to

Newer formats may still be evolving, though their impact is definitely
felt by terrestrial formats. "For the first time," notes the Bridge
"we are seeing the impact of digital media use on traditional radio."
Breaking down its findings by format, Bridge observed that talk radio
listeners generally regard podcasts as "an excellent complement to the
terrestrial version" of their favorite radio show. Additionally,
format listeners tend to use broadcast radio programming as a filter
determine what music to search out and download online. These last
indicate, at least to some extent, that broadcast channels can help to
promote and influence on-line content consumption habits. The results
indicate that broadcast radio faces the stiffest competition from
channels, like internet and satellite radio, whose predominantly
programming formats closely resemble that of their terrestrial cousin.

Story by news analyst Joseph Clark.


This week's sponsor: Lisa Hilton's MIDNIGHT IN MANHATTAN


A sinfully sultry mix of originals and standards'' is what JazzTrenzz
reviewer Karl Stober had to say about composer/pianist Lisa Hilton's
latest release, 'MIDNIGHT IN MANHATTAN', (Ruby Slippers Productions).*
Inspired by a late New York night, she has once again created a
recording full of evocative moods, strong melodies and expressive
arrangements.* Creating a new band* for these sessions, 'Midnight In
Manhattan' also features famed Brubeck saxman Bobby Militello, John
Friday on drums and long time bassist Reggie McBride.* Eighteen-time
Grammy winning engineer/producer Al Schmitt recorded and mixed with
Hilton in Studio A/Capitol Studios keeping a natural sound that
compliments the straight ahead tracks. 

Trained in contemporary and classical piano, Hilton contemplated jazz
greats for inspiration.* ''I've always been inspired by the melodies of
our great American songwriters of the 30's, the rhythmic hooks of
classic jazz of the 50's and a bit of our blues from the South''
comments Hilton, ''but I do think that jazz can be inspired by this
musical heritage and still sound cool today.''

Hilton's music continues to earn numerous awards and honors.* Her music
is distributed by Navarre and is available at most retail and online
stores.* Her website is: www.lisahiltonmusic.com. 


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