A new survey of 50 randomly sampled radio news directors, reporters and assignment editors in the top-50 markets, finds that nearly three out of four radio stations and networks (72%) surveyed have experienced layoffs or consolidations in the last year. When asked how stations have handled the reporter shortage, 77% said they have had to assign more work to the reporters still on staff. Others report they have become more reliant on affiliates and networks or re-arrange newsroom schedules.

For most newsrooms, the effect of layoffs and consolidations seems to result in less time to prepare for news reports. In fact, only nine percent of stations spend 30 minutes or more preparing their news reports on a regular basis, with nearly half of respondents reporting that as little as five to ten minutes can go into each report.

With layoffs and consolidations becoming more common, radio reporters are relying on outside sources for news content. When asked what type of content they look for on news websites: 39% of respondents said they look for both timeliness and local angles; 33% say timeliness; and 28% say local angle is important to them. When asked which websites they visit most often for gathering news content, radio stations report the top five websites as: 1. www.ap.org; 2. www.abcnews.com; 3. www.cbsnews.com; 4. www.upi.com; and 5. www.wsj.com.

Three out of four stations and network affiliates surveyed reported having visited Internet sources, like www.broadcastnewsresource.com, News Generation’s content website, for story ideas. Forty-six percent said if they knew that there was a website with story ideas, soundbites and interview segments, they would visit it.