Thursday, May 13, 2010

After the Flood....A National Answer to the Challenge of Local Weather Reporting

Sean Ross always has us thinking of better ways to improve our products and on this week's ROSS ON RADIO, he explores a way to have a nation weather team for radio companies that can gather and report local storms and disasters. Here's what Sean has to say:

After the Nashville flooding, “It’s time for each of the major groups to staff its own national weather center.” That’s Sean Ross in today’s Ross On Radio newsletter, and he’s in a crusading “let’s-fix-this-problem” mood, after reading the descriptions of fellow writer Phyllis Stark about how Nashville radio handled the May 1-2 emergency. Some folks say that local stations came through for them. But many seem dissatisfied – and they’re more than ready to chalk it up to radio’s consolidation, cost-cutting and failure to have sufficient management oversight of weekend programming. Sean argues that not only should the big radio groups have their own national weather service – “Part of the job of these weather centers would be to flag local GMs and PDs when it’s time to disrupt regular programming.” Sean Ross says “Ideally, every local manager should be completely plugged in to what’s happening on each of their six stations at all times and be ready to deploy a five-person local news staff.” (Right about now, you’re saying “sure, right, whatever.”) But he says “the realities of weekend programming” are that some emergencies aren’t being dealt with properly – hurting the local population and tarring radio’s reputation. Sometimes you don’t need a newsroom – you need a live jock and perhaps a producer taking calls. Old pro Scott Shannon knew how to do that on 9/11, and it worked – hot AC WPLJ, New York may not have a big news image, but listeners called in because they trusted the station. Get Ross On Radio every Tuesday and Thursday.
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