An ongoing series to find out why one of the smaller states may had been the very state that lead us – that is also the United States into the hellhole politically. This subject is on “the media”.
“The media” gets a bad rap, and I suspect the phrase “the media” like it being “the enemy of the people” is unfairly characterized, but its improperly directed at the wrong groups. The people behind the institutions are often the targets, but it’s really the way the media has become a commercialized entity where the content is a slot machine, that like a modern day slot machine in Vegas is “rigged”. Lax rules in the industry by the FCC, helped make radio a painful medium no matter if it’s Class A AM or Class C FM. The content for a lack of a better word, sucks.
In order to be part of a productive member of a democratic society, one must be informed of their surroundings of their local institutions.
While some of the rules prior to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 were considered to be “anal” (like having a backup studio provisions), those same “anal” regulations was also what made our country a democracy, not some corporate/fascist governance that we have now subjected ourselves to. People are blindly obedient to comparing the media industry to any other industry, and what was never done in the media industry is OK because if it’s allowed in the widget industry; it can be applied to media.
Well if you treat a media company like a company that produces lightbulbs, there’s always an itch to scratch to lower the costs of producing content, and it’s not just people, but it’s also the resources, or an entire unit to produce important content that is greater than amusement.
I’ve been a life long resident of New Hampshire, and WZID the long time beautiful music/adult contemporary station has been a blowtorch to the people around a very decent coverage basically the southern part of the White Mountains, to the Boston city line, and from Keene to the Seacoast. The signal’s coverage can reach half million if they so wanted to get a wide audience. Around 1998, the station doubled down on the old female demographic, and presently the station is now a menopaual-to-death demographic. Not very diverse at all.
Their news department during a period of time in the late 1990s to the early 2000s highlighted the importance of covering events that was not just wrecks and fires, and the daily sex offender in the news, that WMUR-TV had exploited a half a decade before. There was once upon a time where WZID would send most likely their morning anchor to Concord and you’d see their mic flag at the State’s Legislative Office Building for comments on whatever was the most important pressing story in the state politics. What made their reporting unique was they were able to get sound cuts decent enough to sound “new” for the following day on New Hampshire in the Morning even if you had watched the 11:00 bulletin from Newsnine the evening before.
The top and bottom of the hour news updates were solid as gold for radio at that time. As a kid at the time, the stories were long, but remember for radio, running a 90 second cut was considered to be very long for that time. While I do not have any airchecks of reporting, the station employed the anchors to write well too, because a lot of this required writing wrappers around those same sound cuts recorded the day before.
Some of their reporting they did, was very important for the generation who may have been exposed to WZID in their parent’s car today that they weren’t even alive before. Claremont comes to mind. Hell even Nate Greenberg made headlines when I had to listen to the station in places where I had no choice. WZID also did enterprise reporting, which for radio stations for that time, especially on FM was rarity, on health and other repetitive topics. In some ways, the reporting was comparable to what you would’ve heard on CBS radio, which was ironic because WFEA would carry the CBS News On The Hour (and sometimes I would tune to ‘FEA just to hear their local news after the World News Roundup at 8:00.) In a way the people in Manchester had an influence on what format they should go after, and it really was a CBS radio feel for sure.
Today WZID does news on both the morning and afternoon drive, but it’s basically just rip-and-read stories. This is typical of say a Kiss108, but not for a station that for all intensive purposes has a statewide reach in the core regions.
Ironically WZID’s owners haven’t changed. It has been under Saga Communications control in some form over that same time, while management has stayed local, which cannot be said the same with the competing i<3 cluster across the Bridge Street Bridge nearby CMC.
It’s really sad that in only 20 something years (I was about to enter fourth grade 25 years ago) to only in that amount of time to see how local media has stooped to; and much worse in previous generations.
In order to be part of a productive member of a democratic society, one must be informed of their surroundings of their local institutions. Now it’s just info-tainment information masquerading as “news” but I am not referring to the Kardashians either. They’ll dump a criminal with misdemeanor with the highest infractions as if they worse felon on society. Don’t even expect to hear if they will have soundcuts, or just read copy right off the wires.
People piss on the media, but their anger is not in the right direction, and sadly the media will never take any criticism because those few bad apples ruined it for all of us.