Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Where has all the local radio news gone?

By Suzanne Kashuba

I’m an admitted news junkie – it’s like a hobby. I like to stay informed – knowing I’m barely scraping the tip of the information iceberg. I get my news from myriad sources: the Web, newspapers, magazines, TV—even radio. Radio? Remember when radio stations routinely covered local news?

In today’s resource-starved media landscape, very few radio stations actively gather the information that arguably matters most – news about, for and relevant to the locals. It’s the news that answers those practical (albeit selfish) questions that keep us “in the know:” What does it mean to me? My neighborhood? My kids’ education? My pocketbook? My health and safety?

Yet, original local newscasts are fast melting from the radio airwaves. In 2009, the “Columbia Journalism Review” reported: “On radio, with the exception of all-news stations in some large cities, most commercial stations do little or no local news reporting. … only a relatively small number of … public radio stations … offer their listeners a significant amount of local news reporting.”

Here in Western New York, WNED-AM 970 is one of three radio stations (along with WBEN and WBFO) that maintains news gathering operations.

Seven professional news gatherers make up the full-time WNED-AM 970 News team.

Significantly, three were recently honored by the New York State Associated Press Broadcasters Association for exemplary work in 2010. [WNED competes against commercial and public radio stations in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and the Capital District (Albany area).]

Daniel Robison:
1st Place, Best Enterprise Reporting (Nuclear Waste at West Valley); Special Mentions (2): General Excellence in Use of Medium (Solar Goes to School) and Best Feature (Befuddling Bioinformatics)


Chris Caya:
1st Place, Best News Special/Documentary (Flight 3407 Anniversary); Special Mention, Best Continuing Coverage (Flight 3407 Investigation)


Jay Moran: Special Mention, Best Interview (Carl Paladino)



A media rarity – and a talented crew to boot – that’s this news junkie’s idea of a significant community asset.

Do you turn to radio for your local news? If so, how do you feel about the quality of news coverage? If not, why not?

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