You don’t need to be an economist to know that media companies are suffering hugely in this recession. Their reliance on advertising makes them incredibly sensitive to downturns.
When you have a radio show that addresses a focused engaged specific audience, you would think that it would be a gift both for the broadcaster and those advertising to that audience. Thus C103’s decision to axe David Young’s “West Cork Today” programme frankly boggles the mind.
Radio broadcast licences have been a goldmine for companies like UTV over the past few years. But at the first sign of a downturn, it looks like they take the short term view and run for the hills? With those licences come legally binding terms and conditions. Perhaps the BCI would like to use this case as an example to Comreg on how a regulator should actually conduct itself.
Having said all of that, the idea of one company having the sole rights to broadcast to a particular niche or geography belongs in the 20th century. The internet makes a mockery of this partitioning. If C103 is unwilling to meet its customers’ needs then the customer needs to take back control.
I’ll be honest, I rarely listen to “live” radio any more. I download podcasts and music in which I am interested and then listen whilst driving with them playing back to my Lidl car stereo. Everything from food to technology to politics. Many of them are actually radio shows, mainly BBC Radio 4 and 5. I’d happily pay for a daily or weekly roundup of local West Cork information that I could listen to when it suited me, not the broadcaster.
How many of David Young’s listeners would be willing to pay maybe €3 a month to subscribe to an internet version of his show (and other West Cork programming)? Both live-streamed and available for download to iPods, mobile phones or PCs? Of course traditional broadcast is the most efficient way to get to the maximum number of people but needs must when the devil vomits into your kettle (to quote Edmund Blackadder).