This spring, we conducted a survey of radio newsrooms in the top-50 markets and found that two-thirds of radio newsrooms have been impacted by the economic downturn. While we had been hearing from radio reporters for several years that cutbacks and layoffs were becoming more and more common, what we were surprised to learn was just how these cutbacks were playing out in ways that listeners might hear on the air—programming choices and news coverage on the local level.
Along with the cutback trend, more than 88 percent of stations report that they no longer have reporters dedicated to covering specific beats. We also learned that as new departments constrict, reporters found that doing their jobs was becoming increasingly difficult simply by virtue of having to do more with less. Same reporting, fewer reporters to do it.
All of these developments come from a slumping revenue stream. Reports of radio’s declining advertising income have received widespread coverage since 2006. While it’s certainly concerning that radio’s funding model will have to undergo a revolutionary restructuring, is advertising revenue an accurate gauge of the relevance of an entire industry?
To read the entire op-ed featured inside the Bull Dog Reporter please click here.