I saw a post on Facebook recently and liked it so much I felt compelled to repost it.
No, it wasn’t a video of a cat, a high school fight or anyone suggesting that we “cash them ousside.” It was from a radio personality from another city, in another state. It went like this:
“You hear the phrase “shop locally” all of the time now. Local businesses want you to shop with them instead of online or at big box stores to keep your dollars in the community and support your neighbors. I try to do it as much as I can, but the other day I entered a downtown store where they were listening to Spotify and it got me thinking about the future of my job. I work for a locally owned radio station with free music for all, but yet my industry is slowly being abandoned for online music services, satellite radio, and digital advertising with giant internet corporations, which could directly impact my employment. So If you’re a big advocate of shopping locally and supporting local business- listen locally as a music consumer and advertise with local radio if you’re a business owner to support your friends and neighbors in the radio world.”
I thought it was a valid point. Most of my radio colleagues did, too. No surprise, there.
But there were a few people explaining why local radio is completely not an option. I’ll admit, I took offense to the criticism at first. But, it goes with the territory. Radio is one of the few professions that complete strangers tell you on a regular basis that you’re doing your job wrong. Can you imagine going to something like a mechanic who’s got 15-plus years in the gig and telling them that they’re turning the wrench the wrong way? Never. But, we’re here for the people, so I value all opinions.
There were the usual complaints: first and foremost was that we play the same thing over and over. While there’s a certain amount of truth to that, I’ll add that most stores sell the same thing over and over, too. Restaurants sell the same food over and over and bars sell the same drinks over and over. Furthermore, if more people like a certain item, hamburger or drink, that business will stock more and sell more of that item.
Radio is the same way, especially Top 40 radio. New music formats are based on the principle of ensuring that our listeners hear their favorite song whenever they turn on the station. With that logic in mind, it tends to work out pretty well.
The second argument was that we play commercials. I gotta tell ya, I got no comeback for that. At the end of the day, radio is a business. A business with the exact same goal as the local businesses that the Facebook post was about: To make money. But a lot of those commercials are for the local businesses in question. They spend money with us, get their message out to their consumers, the consumers spend money with their business. And the wheels keep turning.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I love feedback, both positive and negative. But it goes without saying that “I love your station! You play all my favorite songs” goes down much easier than “You play the same five songs over and over!”
I understand the opposition. Just like I understand the opposition to shopping locally. It’s much easier to buy whatever it is that I need online. I’d probably save a few dollars, it’d be conveniently delivered to my doorstep and I wouldn’t have to change out of my Spider-Man pajamas.
But, therein lies the point: While shopping locally might be a tad more inconvenient, I’d much rather support my neighbor’s business than a huge corporate conglomerate that isn’t even based in our state. So, I’ll take the little bit of inconvenience if it means I’m supporting my fellow Augustan. While my station isn’t owned by a local company, our entire staff is local with the exception of The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show. We live here, our kids go to school here, we shop here, etc.
I’m not saying that you have to love our radio station. I’m not even saying not to listen to the streaming and satellite services. Even I cave to buying things online from time to time.
I’m just saying don’t forget about us or the other locally programmed and staffed radio stations. There’s real, live people here with real lives. That’s where I feel like local radio far outweighs streaming and satellite. They’re not going to tell you what the temperature of Augusta is or how the Haunted Pillar finally came down. They have never been to First Friday and they most certainly don’t know anything about golf traffic.
For those that listen daily: Thank you. You are appreciated more than we could ever explain. For those that don’t: Come on by sometime. You don’t have to stay, but we’ll sure be happy to see ya.