July 3, 2011 - On Tuesday of this week, I brought you some select quotations from Kathy Rowe, a veteran of CHMR (MUN Radio) and a woman with no shortage of funny, witty opinions about local radio. That post prompted a lot of comments and direct messages in Facebook, which is appropriate, since Kathy’s comments were compiled from her Facebook updates.
I received one note from an industry insider; a deejay and manager with a local station. To paraphrase, this person said ‘Give us a break!’ So I did. I offered them an opportunity to reply in my blog. The individual knows Kathy – well, everyone knows everyone in this town – and didn’t want to turn this into a “pissing match,” so I allowed anonymity in this case.
Here is the response, from a radio person, to Kathy Rowe:
Enjoyed reading your blog about Kathy Rowe’s comments on Facebook. I like them myself! She has a knack of getting across her point in a humorous way which is not always possible in Facebook text. Just wanted to comment on some of her remarks about commercial radio.
Stations don’t fake caller requests. We don’t need to because there’s a ton of them. We don’t wait for the song to be requested 5 or 6 times before we’ll play it. The point of playing a request is to make one person happy. If one person calls for it, it hasn’t been played recently and it fits the format of the station then it will go on the air. However, it’s true we don’t play something outside our format. Why would someone play Kenny Rogers for example on a current Top 40 station? People listen to a particular station because they expect to hear particular music.
While there are ratings periods in which stations will attempt to lure listeners to their station with prizing, it’s hardly so-called ‘snack pack of chicken’ coupons that are given away. Most prizes are trips all over the world to see bands. Also cash, cars, cruises and the like. This is not unlike any business marketing. Also, most ratings contests are fun. Scavenger hunts, finding things, playing a game. Most of our listeners tell us that the prize is secondary to the fun they have playing the contests. The point of doing this is not so people will listen to the station because they could win a prize. It’s to lure them onto the frequency and then stay because of what we program every day.
Yes, there are lots of ads on the radio. We’d all like them to disappear. However selling radio advertisements is a radio station’s only revenue stream. We are not funded by the public or commissions and we don’t charge a fee like Satellite radio. It’s free for the public because sponsors pay for it.
Bottom line is there is no evil suit who has a personal stake in “Sweet Home Alabama” controlling everything. We do thorough research on our audience and what they want to hear. We do the things we do because the audience demands it.
Still I appreciate Kathy’s comments. We need more people like her and yourself, Geoff, to encourage debate about the standards and responsibility of media in Newfoundland. Again, I also find Kathy’s comments hilarious, too.