News stations should watch for competition from low-power upstarts

Original story posted on Current 10/21/16 Adapted from Mike Henry blog:  Attention NPR News Stations: LPFM Stations Intend to Eat Your Lunch A recent New York Times article that spotlighted the growth of low-power FM stations should serve as yet another wake-up call for local NPR news radio stations. The Times hypothesizes that, as well as being a valuable outlet for ethnic and community groups, LPFM stations are quickly finding paths as truly hyperlocal news outlets in the vacuum left by some NPR news stations that are not adequately covering their communities. […]

By | October 23rd, 2016|Creation, Direction, Interactive|1 Comment

Attention NPR News Stations: LPFM Stations Intend to Eat Your Lunch

On Friday, the New York Times recently spotlighted the growth of Low Power FM (LPFM) stations that should serve as yet another wake-up call for local NPR News radio stations. The Times’ hypothesis is that, along with being the sole outlet for ethnic and community groups, LPFM stations are quickly finding ground and a path as a true hyper-local news outlet in the vacuum being created by NPR News stations that do not cover the local ground. Here’s a slice of their story that should get the attention of local NPR News stations, and NPR News itself: “There’s still a need for local news and information, which many public radio stations have abandoned,” he said. “There’s a lot of stations that just go on automatic pilot and play NPR and satellite downloads. That’s Low Power FM’s ace in the hole.” An early low-power success story is WNHH 103.5 FM in New Haven, Conn., started by Paul Bass, a veteran journalist. Mr. Bass founded The New Haven Independent, an online newspaper, in 2005; it has largely eclipsed the more than 200-year-old New Haven Register as the city’s civic watchdog. The key, he said, was eschewing the news industry’s growing enthusiasm for click bait, hastily shot videos and incessant tweeting, all at the expense of actual reporting. I’ve been on this soapbox since the late 1990s and early 2000s when I spent 5 years consulting what was then called “National Public Radio.” Paragon’s research determined there was a huge hole in American media for an in-depth, credible news source for international and national news. This is precisely how and when the “NPR News” brand was born. Since then, NPR News’ weekly listenership has grown from about 6 [...]

By | October 17th, 2016|Direction, Intelligence|4 Comments

Public Radio Stations Collaborate to Create VuHaus — the Non-Profit Vevo

Original Story posted on billboard 10/13/16 Written by Dan Rys Music discovery is a crowded field these days, with digital services like Spotify and Pandora directing much of their marketing dollars to waving the flag of their recommendation platforms. But increasingly, the old gatekeepers of public radio are flexing their muscles to remind listeners that curation is still best achieved by word of mouth -- or airwave, as the case may be. Artist of the week: Phantogram Last year, six public radio stations -- KCRW in Los Angeles, KEXP in Seattle, KTBG The Bridge in Kansas City, KUTX in Austin, WFUV in New York City and WXPN in Philadelphia -- banded together with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to launch VuHaus, a digital video streaming platform that exists both on web and as an app that hand-curates and highlights performances, interviews and events conducted by its member stations, all in one place. "The public radio stations in VuHaus have been at the vanguard of music discovery for decades, taking risks and investing in the careers of unknown musicians and spinning their records when no one else was paying attention," WXPN general manager Roger LaMay said in a statement. "Our stations are constantly working to uncover the best new talent, regardless of commercial appeal." Crucially, that last part works because VuHaus is a non-profit service, which exempts it from the corporate pressures that require clicks, views and listens to make money. That leaves each station free to deliver videos from artists it deems most worthy, rather than those that will grab the most attention; accordingly, the site has spotlighted hundreds of artists from all over the map, from local and underground acts to more [...]

By | October 14th, 2016|Creation, Interactive|0 Comments

Radio Deserves Better Ratings

I applaud fellow radio researchers Mark Ramsey and Richard Harker calling for an end to radio’s unbalanced and dysfunctional relationship with Nielsen Ratings. I’ve been making the same suggestion for many years. Unfortunately, only the major radio groups can do anything about it, and so far, they have chosen not to do so. You would think they would be bothered by inadequate sample sizes, roller coaster ratings, and a Nielsen stock price that is higher than their own! Apparently not. Radio is horrible at representing itself as an industry, and no worse example exists than radio’s over-reliance on a flawed ratings system. […]

By | August 11th, 2016|Direction, Intelligence|1 Comment