North American radio news - The Snow In The Summer or So-So

30 March 2018
Local Radio Times

With the clocks being helpful, we've been listening to North American local radio news, mostly in gobbets of about 20 minutes. Here are some thoughts:

VOCM (St John's) at 0530 local. Fifteen minutes of local and global news, travel, and local sport. Emphasis on local content, sober and serious and well-produced. Quite an old-style bulletin, but kept the pace up. Perhaps there's room in the market for something younger.

CJB (CBC St John's) at 0530 local. 5-minute networked news bulletin, then local news. Throw-aheads to the various local breakfast programmes around the province, and a dash of music. We check in with the 0730 half-hour quite a lot, by which time it's lively and conversational.

News 95.7 (Halifax Nova Scotia) at 0500 local. "All news" radio in the Rodgers template: short and punchy packages, nothing longer than 90 seconds, uninterrupted news for nine minutes at the top of the hour. Enough noise and chatter from the stings to wake anyone up. Sport bulletin a re-transmission from 680 News Toronto.

CHML (Hamilton Ontario) at 0500 local. "All news" radio in the Global template. A breezy mixture of local, provincial, national, and international news. Effectively a 10 minute bulletin (with adverts 14 minutes). Some filler (entertainment, money markets, sport; headline recap at 20 past felt a bit of a waste). Seamless double-headed presentation, and less heavily produced than Rodgers' offer - the music beds don't scream "urgent! listen to me!"

South Shore Radio (Marshfield Massachusetts) at 0500 local. Local news and brief sports coverage, most felt like it was a re-tread from yesterday evening. The presenter was filling for time, he let the music bed play for ages without saying anything, and after a punchy stager ("South Shore's Morning News with Absent Woman and This Presenter"), he said nothing for a good 30 seconds - an eternity on radio. Trailed lifestyle items almost four hours ahead.

KFOR 1240 AM (Lincoln Nebraska) at 0800 local. Networked news, local news, local sport. Greg and Carol talk about shared experiences - who Nebraska will play in the basketball. A little music to separate the hard news from the softer talk bit. Liked this style.

Shine All 9s KSHN (Liberty/Houston Texas) at 1200 local (heard for 60 minutes). Texas State Network news, 15 minutes of provincial and national reports, very slick presentation. Then 15 minutes of local news, mostly "what's on" and council announcements. Concludes with brief local sport, and agricultural markets news. The sting ahead of each break in the local segment could get tiresome, but that's the only complaint. Entertaining and relevant. The hour closed with 20 minutes of quality tunes from the last 25 years.

WDEV Vermont Radio (Waterbury, Vermont) at 1600 local. CBS network news, local news with crisp delivery and colourful inserts. Pace similar to Rodgers' all-news station at times, but slowed right down with a long advertorial of someone talking on the phone. Telephone lines are shite! Don't put them on air if you can avoid it! Business news at :17, an events listing at :29, sports at :32 with a very old presenter - the segment's formatted as a discussion with the main newsreader. The sportscaster backs himself into a corner with a fading memory, and can't move on from the story of a dead jockey. There's a lot of talent here, but the pace is a problem.

WZBD (Berne/Fort Wayne Indiana) at 1700 local (heard for 45 minutes). Local "news" amounts to the local police reciting their arrest log, and the local councils promoting their activities. Felt like this was just regurgitating what they'd been told, no journalism to be seen. Sound quality was dire, too many reports over crackly telephone lines. Followed by sports, stock market report, farmer's market reports. Tiresome, and we're not going back.

Newsradio WKOK (Sunbury Pennsylvania) at 1800 local. National news, followed by local news. Weather, but no travel updates, brief network sport. Syndicated features from CBS news and Kim Kommando. Lots and lots of promos and PSAs. Sounds like the big effort is in the morning...

WKOK at 0700 local (heard for 35 mins). National news, local news, local sport. From :15 to :25, a single-topic discussion, intended to bring light rather than heat. Radio 4 needs to hear this, it's so much better than The Today Programme. Local read of network business news to the bottom of the hour headlines. WKOK's chosen not to do traffic news, which sounds weird.

WBAP (Dallas Texas) at 0700 local (heard for 40 mins). Nine-minute news bulletin, locally read including national news, then topical discussion. Nothing longer than 3 minutes, they're in "explain" mode. Traffic every 10 minutes, local sport at :35.

AM 1250 (Steinbach Manitoba) at 0800 local (heard for 30 mins). A very local station, including the recycling days and school district timetable days. Local news, followed by CP network news. Lots of weather forecasts for an agricultural community, there's farm news and sport. Three local hosts for the breakfast show capture the area's feel - Steinbach is a Mennonite enclave, and that pacifist Christianity pervades turns of phrase. Newsreaders appear to be working shifts across Golden West's other stations in the area, but doesn't feel any less local.

Comments? | Permanent link