car radio

I have listened to WRJN’s (our local radio station) morning talk/call-in show for a long time. Throughout these past years, the most common reaction I have received other than a “are you freakin kidding me” look has been, “Heather, I am pretty sure you are the only one who does.” Even I, while listening, would constantly harp about the need for change on that station. I mean, it sounded no different than when my grandmother listened 30 years ago. It has been stuck in some radio waved time warp that often annoyed and frustrated me. But I continued to visit nearly each morning because it has been the only option for local talk radio. And what a fucking shame that is.

It is pretty obvious to anyone not living under a pre-historic rock that older forms of media are hanging on by a thread. With iPods, Pandora, satellite…local radio is becoming extinct.  But aboard this sinking ship remains a buoyant format: News/Talk Radio.

Recently, WRJN fired it’s station manager and morning talk show host. And I am not really crying over this because the guy could be offensive, uneducated about current topics and was just really out of touch with the average listener. 75% of the show was about him and his life. He often bragged that he never once sipped a beer or smoked a cigarette. And he clearly saw him self as superior to most. He spent half of each show bumbling around trying to work his computer and seemed to have no clue how to navigate Google. Several times, my husband made me turn off the radio because I wouldn’t stop yelling at it. Hey, better than yelling at him, right?? Anyway, I have not shed tears over this change.

However, this change did not turn out to be a positive one. In fact, I no longer listen at all. Not only did they fire above mentioned dude, they changed the format. Apparently, their only demographic is the nursing home bound and the life support dependent. Most of their programming is now music. And the most contemporary song I have heard is at least 30 years old. Music? Really? This is the route you want to take? We have other music stations and I don’t know anyone who listens to those either.

Pretty soon, WRJN’s demographic will be 6 feet under. Dontcha think appealing to a younger crowd might be a desired path? 65 million millennials listen to radio each week. And many of them seek out news/talk formats. If they want to listen to music, they will do so through the internet or their many MP3 devices.

What I wouldn’t give for a decent morning call in show with local topics. Intelligent discussion and sharing of ideas would be ideal. Give us a host who is prepared and hasn’t lost every news article he wanted to mention. Give us a program we can relate to and of which we can feel a part. For the love of all that is transmitted…we do not need a station that plays 50s bubble gum noise peppered with boring jokes and one-sided banter.

Sorry, WRJN, but you have lost one of your last listeners. At least I rarely feel the need to yell at NPR – so maybe that’s a good thing.

**Quick afterthought…
I rarely apologize for what I write. I have before, but certainly not often. And while I meant everything I said, I feel I was a bit harsh in my critique of the program director/host. He did have some good qualities too. He is clearly a hard worker and an experienced DJ. He seems like a decent person. He did say many things in the past that I thought were pretty cruel and prejudice…but I don’t think he is evil or deserves bad things. I am sure being fired from that job after so many years had to be heartbreaking. So…my compassion kicked in a little. I do wish him well.


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