Bad advice on how to deal with Traffic.com

From Inside Radio:

“You just can’t beat a human.” Yesterday’s Brave New World vision of high-tech traffic from Traffic.com prompted this note from WTOP, Washington programmer Jim Farley — “You just can’t beat a human who knows the roads and the patterns, listens to the scanners, airplanes and mobile units, has the phone numbers of all the DOTs, can see all the traffic cameras and most important of all, fields calls from thousands of loyal listeners who report the tie-ups on their cellphones.” Farley says that all describes his guy Bob Marbourg (“the heads of the Maryland and Virginia State Police tell us Bob seems to know about the problems before they do”). It’s the kind of thing radio does best — and should promote.

Do yourselves a favor and don’t EVER promote that “technology can’t beat a human.” Listeners don’t care about whether a human is processing this data in his head or technology is providing a solution that is, to a degree at least, non-human.

What listeners care about is that their needs are met in the easiest, most effective, most accurate way possible.

You can’t turn back the clock, folks.

If you want to argue that the guy who fields calls is more “accurate” than traffic.com, then go ahead and argue that (if it’s really true). But don’t argue that the cold hand of technology can’t possibly compete with the warm heart of a guy in a chopper with some binoculars.

Because what if it can?

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