By Holland Cooke
For radio, “the camera” is iPhone; and nobody knows that better than WTOP, Washington reporter Neal Augenstein, a true digital newsgathering pioneer. His first iPhone is in the Newseum!
I left WTOP in 1991 and Neal got there in 1997, so he was amused to hear that, when I did the expense budget there way-back-when, we had a line item for batteries for cassette recorders. And our newsroom’s one portable phone was the size and shape of a lunchbox. And despite how expensive it was to make a call on that contraption, I couldn’t resist, in 1985, when – as I accompanied one of our reporters — I called my parents just to tell ‘em I was calling from the White House lawn.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, R.I. — The turning point in my own career came in 1974, when WPRO, Providence program director Jay Clark hired me…just so I’d stop calling. Ask him.
Like many of today’s other news/talk AMs, WPRO was then Top 40, and I did 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. And it was a real street fight. At one point back then, five of the stations in market #29 — two of them new FMs – were playing the same songs. All staffed by local DJs 24/7.
“So keep it moving,” Jay winked. Meaning: DO be a personality, but try to get it done over the music whenever possible. Segue THEN talk, so channel surfers didn’t infer talk-over-the-fade-at-the-end-of-the-song as here-come-commercials. ‘Made sense.
And I noticed that the big guys making the big money in big markets took only nine seconds to say what minor league DJs took 19 seconds to spit-out. So we would concoct (or steal) succinct DJ quips that’d prompt a listener chuckle, and, hopefully, make a deposit in the diary keeper’s memory bank. Introducing the Elton John song as “Someone Shaved My Wife Tonight” was win-win kitsch. Those who got it got it; and those who didn’t heard non-stop music.
By Kevin Casey
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — It’s understood by anyone in the radio business that the big news stories of the day – whether they are local or national stories – generate the topics that drive the conversation on news/talk radio. But what are the roles of the newsroom, the reporter and the regular newscasts on today’s news/talk stations? The move of all-news to FM signals, the development of more national and regional radio news products and the addition of newswheel programs to some of the country’s most respected talk stations seem to indicate radio news has received a shot in the arm. But the decimation of many radio news departments that occurred in conjunction with consolidation still affects many radio operations and raises questions about the relevance of news elements to the successful operation of the modern news/talk station.