Sunday, April 01, 2007

Same Damn Website, Same Damn Radio Station

Here's a little exercise in corporate individualism. Have a close look at these five radio websites from my local market: La Preciosa 94.5, WMAG 99.5, 100.3 The Buzzard, 104.1 WTQR, and 105.7 Kiss FM. If those pages all seemed eerily similar, consider this: all the stations are currently owned by Clear Channel, a corporation so clued into where their stations actually are that when I type my ZIP code into their "station search", it apparently doesn't recognize I'm in one of their markets.

Clear Channel is a huge corporation--possibly too big, but that's secondary to the argument--and I'd hope they'd at least have a few different templates the station managers could choose from. Besides my opinion that it's a fairly noisy design, it's a real jaw dropper that the only differences in design are color choice and the type of music...oh, and that one's in Spanish. Everything is in exactly the same position on all five pages, with the same damn applets scrolling the machine-tooled playlists and the same reminder on the menu bar that (insert call letters here) now comes in HD Radio, too!

The whole thing is so one-size-fits-all that the bulk of the work could be drawn up Mad Libs style in the course of an afternoon, and probably was. I can only guess that the goal is to apply a homogeneous corporate image across the board, but when viewed in a row, the whole thing feels bloodless and sterile. You get the feeling that people don't need to be involved at all, and sometimes they aren't; during certain holiday Saturdays, when I was helping my stepfather with his paper route, I ended up listening to WMAG's all-night Christmas music and never heard a single on-air personality until the public service programming kicked in at 6 a.m. Nobody warned me, and it creeped me the hell out.

This is all just a long-winded way to tell you that my favorite modern radio is messy, the kind that has the stink of people. WFMU, I'm looking at you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

“Sirius, XM, and HD: Consumer interest reality check”

“While interest in satellite radio is diminishing, interest in HD shows no signs of a pulse.”

http://www.hear2.com/2007/02/sirius_xm_and_h.html

“What kind of digital radio are listeners searching for?”

http://www.hear2.com/2006/10/what_kind_of_di.html

“HD Radio on the Offense”

“But after an investigation of HD Radio units, the stations playing HD, and the company that owns the technology; and some interviews with the wonks in DC, it looks like HD Radio is a high-level corporate scam, a huge carny shill.”

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/2007-03-07/music/hd-radio-on-the-offense

“RW Opinion: Rethinking AM’s future”

“Making AM-HD work well as a long-term investment is seen as an expensive and risky challenge for most stations and their owners. There is the significant downside of potential new interference to some of their own AM analog listeners as well as listeners of adjacent-channel stations.”

http://www.rwonline.com/pages/s.0044/t.557.html

The FCC has just given away our free airwaves to a few corporate thugs, including iBiquity Digital Corporation. Especially on AM, HD/IBOC causes adjacent-channel interference, which I have confirmed listening to WTWP in Wash., D.C.- the digital sidebands are over-powering on 1490 and 1510 and would clobber any existing stations on those frequencies. Few HD radios have been sold, as consumers have not bought into this farce. This whole setup is just to the advantage of the HD Radio Alliance, as they own most of the 1,200 stations broadcasting in HD - the small mom-and-pop stations have lost coverage and will probably disappear. This FCC sole-source, non-competitive contract award to iBiquity is a total travesty !