At the close of 2011, News Generation conducted a survey of 150 news/talk stations in the top 100 radio markets, both English and Spanish, to find out how they see the year ahead in radio. The preliminary results are in. What topics do they expect will lead station coverage in the coming year? For the English language station, the Economy (53.1%) edged out the (Presidential) Election (45.8%), but these two topics together dominated their responses. For Spanish language stations, their anticipated topic coverage was more dispersed with the top rankings going to Entertainment (37.5%) and Health (25%), followed closely behind by the Economy (15%) and Education (15%).
What kinds of stories would stations like more of to include in their locally produced newscasts? Across both English and Spanish language stations, if it’s a national story, it needs to be BIG to warrant a specially produced piece in their local coverage. And most said these national stories simply must affect their local communities. This could be through a local interview or story angle. “Timely news releases/interviews that affect our community.” “Good, factual interviews with a local angle.” Interviews with local spokespeople on relevant, timely issues of the day.” Spanish language stations echoed these requests for more interviews and would also welcome ones specifically related to health and education that impact the Hispanic community.
So what’s the takeaway? One thing is for certain. 2012 will not be a business as usual year on the airwaves. One survey participant said they’d like “Interviews that inform and challenge the events, ideas and cultures of its listeners.” Another suggested, “Real, meaningful stories, not commercials.” Great guidelines to keep in mind in the new year.