A lot has been said in recent years about the decline in popularity of the “traditional” news sources – newspapers and the evening news. Usually, the culprits named are the internet, cable news channels, and a general explosion of new ways to get your news – like this blog, for example. But while the new sources certainly have had an impact, much of the damage to the traditional sources is self-inflicted.
Case in point: KNX 1070 “NewsRadio”
I was born and raised in Southern California. For myself and millions of those like me, immediate news meant one thing and one thing only – KNX. If something happened, that’s where you went to get the up-to-the-minute facts. Feel an earthquake? Tune to 1070 and get the magnitude. See smoke on the horizon? Check KNX to find out where the fire was. Whatever was happening – no matter where it was happening – you knew if you tuned into KNX you’d hear about it before long.
More than just informative, it was reliable. You knew that at :15 and :45 you could get the latest sports scores; at :20 and :50 you could get a business update, and at the top of the hour you could hear the network news. There’s great comfort in reliability, especially in difficult times.
Apparently, though, reliability isn’t sexy. As part of the homogenization of radio brought about through corporate mergers, CBS fired the management teams at KNX and corporate sibling KFSB and placed them under a single leader. This supposedly-talented individual dismantled all that was familiar at KNX until it reached the sorry state it is in now.
He split up established anchor teams and brought in new talent – some with no news experience whatsoever. The key characteristic of the new folks seems to be that they can yakk it up with their coworkers. This morning, for example, this supposed news station broadcast the cackling of their team as they reviewed People Magazine’s list of eligible bachelors. A 5-hour block of midday time has been given over to talk radio, with the only news being a minute at the top of the hour. Same goes for the weekends, when six hours are devoted to cooking and computer talk. It’s enough to make you scream.
I’m not one of those guys who longs for the past just because it’s the past. But when something works, you don’t screw with it. One listen will demonstrate what a pathetic shell KNX has become of it’s former self – and the ratings prove this out. I’d like to think someone will wake up and see the light, but I doubt it.