For some reason, I like Car Talk. Did I also mention I like getting my teeth drilled at the dentist and poking myself in the eye with sticks? I am a radio engineer, after all, and pain is a lifestyle.
So, I’ve been keeping my eyes open (stick and all) for a possible donation candidate, and here it is:
A 19?? VW bug jammed between two trees. This one is at our FM transmitter site in Peekskill, NY. It has been there for several years, probably boosted from a nearby major metropolis and taken for a joy ride out to the country. I checked the trunk (the one in the front) for bodies, and there are none.
So, when can you come and get it? Oh, you will need a chain saw because the trees have grown a little bit since the car was parked here.
Radio is not what it used to be. Sure, the roaring nineties and zero zeros (or whatever you call this decade) where great for the owners. They sold, bought, consolidated, laid off, installed automation, made redundant, and so on. Those that got out before summer of 2008 made a lot of cash.
They also left the industry hurting. Our competition is keen on eroding what ever revenue is still left in radio, and that competition is large and multiple. New technologies like ipods, iphones, PCS phones, and whatever other wireless mobile device they thought up 5 minutes ago,is trying to gain our listeners. Satellite radio, which is more like meh, who cares, is making a small inroads. But worse than all of that, we have ourselves.
The rot is increasing and it is from the inside out. Everyone is looking to cut expenses. The easiest way to do that is automation. Those stations that have not already automated are likely to, which will further exacerbate the radio loosing listeners problem. I mean really, how many more crappy bland “mix” formats, or satellite syndicated talk radio formats do we need. We are already swimming in a sea of mediocrity. And who gets to take care of all this high tech gizmos that keep the stations on the air? Usually the Engineering Department. So, we get more work, for the same, or less (by the time inflation is calculated in) money.
That trend has to stop.
It is not irreversible (yet). The station that stands out, can win, and win big. That is all for now, I look forward to writing about radio engineering.