Tuesday, April 08, 2008

No news radio

In his book on the Kennedy assassnation, Hugh Aynesworth lists the reporters he thinks did good work that week-end in Dallas. Most worked for te local papers. A half dozen worked for radio stations. One station, KRLD, had four reporters working on the story.

I wonder how many stations could do that today. Cost-cutting and consolidation have left many local radio stations with little news-gathering capability. Their studios are ghostly affairs-- mostly empty with computers managing prepackaged newsbreaks, talk radio programs, canned music, and commercials.

Call me a hapless romantic, but i am saddened by the reduction newsgathering. We are better off when more reporters chase a story. In addition, the empy studio is a problem during a local emergency. Television and the internet disappear when the power goes out. A battery (or hand-cranked) radio becomes the sole source for news.

My recent experience has been disappointing on that score. When we've been without power during ice storms or hurrican remnants, the radio was no help at all. The local stations, even the big "news-talk" station, kept repeating the same uninformative news updates.

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