Giovannoni: “The Economics of Local Programming are Brutal, man.”

Go back to Audience 2010’s central question: How can we provide public service that is both significant and sustainable? The economics of local programming are brutal, man. We don’t need Audience 2010 to remind us of that. But, in looking at the current state of affairs, we thought it opportune to remind people of the inherent brutality of local public-service economics. Local programming is often where most of the programming budget does and certainly where most of the managerial mind-share is. Being so highly invested, many broadcasters resist the fact that listeners tend to value local programming less than they value network programming.

When I talk about value here, I mean value in a public-service sense. Local programming is generally less important in listeners’ lives. They wouldn’t miss it much if it went away. So Audience 2010 just reminds us that local programming suffers a double whammy – relatively high cost with relatively small public-service and financial returns.

— David Giovannoni, Current, 6/12/06

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