Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pearl Harbor and Radio

"We interrupt this program" They never interrupt programs with news anymore. This is not to say that we lack news of significance. It's more of a structural and cultural change. Radio has all but abandoned Morning news for the morning zoo.

On TV our morning news programs contain more fashion, gossip and feel-good human interest bits than anything else. Our radio stations run automation, voice-tracking and satellite feeds. Programming decisions are made from afar with a minimum of decisions made in the community served.

You might point out that radio disseminated emergency information during Hurricane Katrina and the California Wildfires. But those were prolonged events. the floods lasted months, and the fires as well. In the past radio reacted more quickly to news events. I cite for example, Pearl Harbor and Radio. More here.

The NBC Red network even managed to get live reports from the roof of KGU in Honolulu. Though their reporter was cut off by a telephone operator seizing the line for emergency use.