All-Talk No Listen

Jeff Boudreau posts from Boston on an article in the Boston Globe that says WGBH’s move to all-talk may not be doing all the station hoped, as it duplicates the shows already airing in the city on WBUR. Says the article: “Some listeners say they aren’t committing to just one station because they have similar programming. After all, they both bill themselves as ‘Boston’s NPR Station.’ . . . Long term, that ambiguity may hurt both broadcasters as they dip into the same well of listeners at a time when the number of local underwriters and corporate sponsors isn’t growing.” Read it here. The station finished 21st in the market in the latest round of Arbitron guesses, while WBUR finished 8th.

Particularly interesting were some of the comments to the story. Says one: “WGBH has taken the advice of consultants who were out of touch with me and everyone that I know. Eviscerating the music programming of good folk and acoustic music, good classical, downsizing and restricting the comments of a great jazz resource in Eric Jackson, has made ‘GBH a lost jewel. I’ve contributed to the station for 30 years, but I’ll be looking for somewhere else to put that money this year.”

And another: “Both stations are ‘public’ radio stations, meaning of course they are getting some of our tax dollars for their operations, yet they constantly interrupt their broadcasts for ‘announcements,’ which are supposedly not commercials or pitches to send tax-deductible contributions. They want it both ways — take commercial advertising away from other radio stations and still get tax dollars and contributions. How about becoming a true ‘public’ station and ditching the ‘announcements’ or give up the pretense of a ‘public’ station and compete head to head with the comm’l stations.”

As is being seen in Austin at KUT, the individual listeners are being given short shrift, to the point at KUT that their tagline changed from “listener-supported” to “community-supported,” as all the recruits in their green mohair suits pursue the almighty bidness dollar.


2 Responses

  1. Dear “Fred”: The Arbitron numbers I am seeing do not correlate with your statement, please provide a URL to your source.

  2. Check the latest Boston ratings. Nothing but good news for WGBH.

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