Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Terrestrial Radio Format I Want For Los Angeles

Terrestrial radio ain't what it used to be. Anyone can you that. Tom Leykis gives much insight into how sausage is made when it comes to terrestrial radio, and he frequently points out that the two largest companies are, together, mired in staggering debt. With satellite radio, various apps providing customized listening, and MP3s, etc., and, on the flip side, advertisers having more delivery methods than ever, terrestrial radio has some major troubles. I really like Leykis' model, and his show is so much better since it came back as an Internet show.

In Los Angeles, CBS ended up with both major "all news" stations, AM 1070 KNX and AM 980 KFWB. I remember when I used to listen to KFWB. They had a 20-minute news cycle, with sports twice and hour, and traffic reports every ten minutes. This was 24/7/365. Then things started to change, and I stopped listening, except for when they picked up Dr. Laura after her long run on KFI (and before she went to satellite, where her show is even better.) KFI has gone downhill since she left, except for, perhaps, giving Gary Hoffman the 5-6am weekday hour.

Since CBS owned "too many" radio and television states in the Los Angeles market, KFWB had to be treated as the stepchild. Now it is taking on a sports format, so it can play catchup with Clear Channel's AM 570 and ESPN and whatever other sports stations there are. (Can you tell I don't listen to that stuff?)

Here's what we need in the Greater Los Angeles radio market: An all-traffic station. I'm serious. Now, maybe eventually Internet delivery to moving vehicles will get to the point and penetration where people will be able to do this via automation using their smart phones or part of their vehicle dashboard, but for the time being, Los Angeles needs an all-traffic station. Most traffic reports currently heard on terrestrial radio in Los Angeles are woefully inadequate. They are not timely, or too short, or whatever else - but since they're really there so you can hear a billboard, the companies don't really care.

But if there is an entire station, one with a far-reaching signal, that focuses primarily on traffic reports and covers the entirely of the Los Angeles-Ventura-San Bernardino-Riverside-Orange County area, it would be worthwhile to listeners and worthwhile to advertisers.

Rush "hour" in the Los Angeles area is MANY hours, twice per day. And when it isn't rush "hour", there's construction and cleaning. Traffic is bad on the weekends, too.

With a format like this, we can get detailed information about where an accident is, how many lanes are closed how far the backup is, what speeds there are, and an estimated time of clearance. We can get detailed suggestions of ways around the traffic problem. We can get more information about problems on surface streets. Presidential visits, parades, and other special events can also be detailed. And yes, the time can be filled in with weather reports and other news, especially news that might have an impact on traffic. We can even get told which freeways and streets are wide-open.

Please, someone make this happen. It's not like the existing frequencies are all filled up with highly successful formats.

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