Is A New Golden Age Of Local Radio Coming?

I tell ya, radio gets no love from anyone these days, it seems. Everyone I know, regardless of city, bitches about the quality of the radio stations in their market. And you’ll rarely find an agency excited to do radio for its clients. The ads are generally terrible, even though they don’t have to be. And few copywriters (me being an exception) want to touch it.

But the FCC is about to unleash many new, “Low Power”, local community radio stations. The Huffington Post has more:

Now that the agency has finalized its rules, it will accept applications and license new LPFM stations sometime next year. These new stations will have to be at least two clicks away from full-power radio stations (as far as 88.5FM is from 88.9FM, for example) and must not cause any interference with them.

While the phrase being bandied about to describe these stations is “noncommercial,” there might be a whole slew of local and regional brands interested in creating programming for these stations, or sponsoring them. Retail stores could offer deals to listeners who might be driving near. Social media could give many of these fledgling stations a boost and get community participation. And all these stations could expand their reach via webcasting.

But you won’t hear much about radio in advertising and social media circles, other than here. ‘Cause radio isn’t sexy. But it was once a powerful force in a community, and it’s not dying anytime soon.

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About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.

  • http://adpulp.com/ David Burn

    I like what you are thinking here, Dan. A lot.

    I’ve suggested many times over that brands launch their own media channels, especially online radio stations, where the reach is global. But I also love this new idea you are floating here that brands go hyperlocal with their audio content and sponsorship dollars.

  • DJ

    Adweek had another take on it. The Huffington Post piece was written by a politician behind the effort.
    http://tinyurl.com/csok63x

    • Dan Goldgeier

      Hi DJ, Yes, I knew the HuffPost piece was written by a Congressman, but I still think the possibilities for Low Power stations are quite interesting. As far as the timing of it, if there’s a loosening of the cross-ownership rules, we’ve already been down that road. I don’t think it’s a
      good thing, but ownership is already quite concentrated and the damage has already been done.