Thursday, November 02, 2006

Local Radio Falls Prey to Big Business

We had been reassured at a point in time that the acquisition of all radio stations in Chillicothe by Clear Channel would be a good thing. We listened as Mix 93.3 (affectionately remembered as B94) went from a bitter rival of WKKJ to their "sister" station. Again, we were assured that this would not affect anyone. As the music of Mix shifted from Phil Collins to N'Sync an eerie wind of change started to blow. We said goodbye to the easy listening of Kenny G and hello to the whining of Britney Spears. That was bad, but not the worst of it.

Whoever says that competition is a bad thing needs to start keeping score. Since the long arm of Clear Channel swept through our city the music was not the only thing to suffer. Pretty soon I began to notice the "award winning" news of WKKJ started to go downhill. It was a slow process at first. They were a couple hours behind on reporting a story. Then it became a day behind. Now, it is either poorly covered, or not at all. What is wrong with this picture?

Is it true then what some said back when this whole thing started? Was Clear Channel bad for this city? This listener thinks so. With a decline in news coverage, local events, and the lack of professionalism on air proves that it is all about the money. Though this is true with any business – most disguise it better than they do.

It was a sad day on the anniversary of the murder of Larry Cox. Most importantly it was sad because we lost a hero, a friend, and an important icon in this city. It was also sad that on that rainy day Clear Channel Chillicothe chose not to send anyone to the courthouse to cover it; just two blocks away. I had to watch the coverage on a Columbus television station or read about it in the paper the next day.

The day that John Parsons was captured I scanned all of the Chillicothe stations to hear updates or any kind of information. They had on regularly scheduled programming. There was nothing on their website either. Luckily NBC in Columbus had great coverage and I found updates on the Gazette's website as well. They finally started covering it - well after the time it happened. I thought that radio was better than print because it happens now. I guess I was wrong.

Local radio needs to get their act together and start caring about the news again.

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