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Local radio coverage

December 12, 2011 - Ron Deuter
Might someone explain to me why, on a night when we had a home basketball game in Kingsford, there were two local radio stations traveling to Gwinn to cover Iron Mountain? I don't ask this question intending any disrespect to the Mountaineers or our local on-air talent. I think we are truly fortunate to have the playcallers we do on our hometown airwaves. Each one brings a unique style and passion to the mic. I enjoy listening to games by all. Believe me, we're going to miss these talented individuals when and if any contemplate retirement. Growing up in a big city with hundreds of schools within in a 50-mile radius, it would have been unheard of to have professional radio coverage for just about every game at my school. Again, we are extremely lucky here. Now, I realize our local stations are in competition for listeners and ad revenue, and decisions are made by management accordingly. But I also think common sense should prevail. Take Friday night for example, and its not the first time. There are those who want to follow the Mountaineers, those who prefer to hear the Flivvers and some who wouldn’t mind hearing both. Now we have two stations covering the same game. Doesn’t that fragment an already fragmented audience? How does that make sense for the bottom line or deliver the most value for the ad buyers? Maybe one piece of the pie is slightly larger than another. But if everyone tries to put a fork that same big slice, doesn’t everybody come away with less? I have to be honest here. As a listener, I could care less which station is owned by who and if one station is the official station of one particular school over another. What I care about is that one of the handful of stations we have here has the game I want to hear. If not, my disappointment surely won’t discriminate. If I were a business owner being solicited for ad dollars to support local game coverage, I might think twice if I knew my potential audience on that station could be pared simply because another station is going to cover the same game. Sure, some nights may warrant or necessitate double coverage. But most do not. Even though the stations are in competition, we’re talking here about supporting our local youth — all of our youth. A spirit of cooperation among competitors would go a long way in my eyes, if I were one of the businesses considering writing a check. I think I’d rather give a little here and a little there to maximize my value, rather than give it all to one and reach fewer ears because they’re covering the same game as the other guys.


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