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Ira Glass on why Radio’s advantage is not “Local”

Ira Glass is host of Public Radio’s This American Life, which is a reallly terrific program, by the way.

Between questions for an upcoming Q&A with him, he commented on the opinion some hold that “Local” is Radio’s key advantage.

Here’s what Ira had to say:

[Did] you see the article on the front page of the NYT today, where [a major Radio group head] says “At the end of the day, people want to hear what’s going on in their local market”? …This is one of the few areas where public radio might have useful lessons for the commercial guys. Specifically: on public radio it’s true that listeners want a few minutes of local traffic and weather and sports scores during drive time but all our most popular hours are national shows. As satellite radio grows, I’m guessing local music programmmers will face the same situation. Why would I listen to a local rock or hiphop dj if there’s a national show with famous hosts or guests and no commercials at all? From a station perspective, it’ll be hard to produce shows that can compete with that, just as it’s hard for local public radio shows to fund and find talent to compete with our national shows. I dunno. Maybe all this is obvious.

Obvious to you and me, maybe, Ira.

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