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FYI

Media Beat, Dec. 20: Local is King in the News Headlines Today

A sign-off to a very long year that had its ups and downs and thankfully we all lived to see another day!

Media Beat, Dec. 20: Local is King in the News Headlines Today
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Newscasts these days are a bummer, so let's work on how to turn this expected feature into something more and provide the audience with a lift-off that is both a reality check and a lift-off to think about.

How?


Let's start by burning the wire copy about death, politics and war.

Let's do a newscast free of spin, and source it with local content.

How about a newscast lacking in resources that reaches into the community it speaks to?

Let ABC, CBC, NBC and CNN parrot each other.

Let the BBC spin the same with a British twist, and then let’s hunker down and invite local luminaries to spin the local news.

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It's a given fact that your audience has already clued into the rest of the bad news on social media earlier on radio or TV.

What your audience craves is local news.

It’s not expensive to provide what your local audience needs and wants.

Before Timmy’s or in the take-out of choice, your audience wants to be engaged.

Every radio station relentlessly serves its audience with the same genre-specific music.

That’s the sameness.

What makes BLOB-FM different from BLOB-FM someplace else is the content between the drip of hits.

For example, the price of gas at the pump.

Is it up?

Is it down?

And who has the best price in town?

Not the shipping news in the Red Sea or the latest gloomy news about China, Russia or Timbuktu.

Local is king in the news headlines today.

Who else has it?

Not Postmedia.

Maybe if you live in an urban centre, the CBC.

But the Crown Corp. is constrained, which means an endless litany of ...well, need I go on.

If you are impoverished, unassimilated or perhaps not in the groove, the CBC is a spigot that is your open mic offering tea and sympathy, but at seven in the morning, who needs it?

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Then there's globalization, but please that bumper sticker has become beyond passé.

News today has become passé.

Everyone is pumping the same story.

Maybe the listener is to the Left or Right, but either way, they’ve glommed on to what they believe is right because FOX News or their social media feed has told them this is the news of the day.

And that's that.

But you are the news anchor that they listen to, however briefly,

Capture them with local news and events that no one else delivers.

You are the master that can seduce them with something new, interesting and relevant.

As a news director, your job is to provide pertinent news that affects them, and this requires imagination.

Look at your budget.

It probably amounts to nothing after paying for the wire services.

But local doesn't have to cost.

Think about how your voice can stand out from every other newscast.

Dare to be different.

Go local.

Connect with your community.

Invite others who live in your community to share their knowledge about what's going on.

Become a newsmaker and a community hub, and avoid becoming just another parrot.

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Who knows, just maybe, as I recently found out, a terrorist act in the Red Sea can threaten gas prices.

In my hood, the same day the news spilled out in my hood dropped the price of gas by almost 10 cents a litre.

To me, that's news.

I went and filled my tank, and that made me very happy.

I couldn't understand why a terrorist act caused a drop in gas prices, but I left the gas bar quite happily.

And that's life in a small town where the news is local, and the DJs love to tell stories about the goings on in town, whether you like it or not.

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P.S.: Bill and Barry just got married. The after-party is at Beelzebub's. Five dollars at the door. Cash bar.

P.P.S.: Found on Main Street. One white glove. For more info. ask Gladys at the church vestry between 10 and 11 a.m.

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