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Archive for the ‘radio’ Category

Happy National Radio Day

Posted by prof e on August 20, 2016

Seems like everything and everyone is now entitled to its own National Day and 15 seconds of fame. Today it is radio in the spotlight. About 100 years old, radio is pretty old-school when it comes to mass media choices in a world of smart phones and social media. But while geriatric radio is not ready for retirement. If anything radio continues to confound those who thought that TV, then the internet, would kill it.

If anything radio has been forced to adapt with the times. Commercial radio is still a strong option during drive time (mornings and afternoons when many of us are trapped in our cars commuting to/from work). Others, like construction workers, often listen to the radio while on the job. But for many of us personal music playlists or streaming music services have stepped in to fill the void when a radio is readily available.

Rev89, the Mass Comm department’s radio station can be heard over the air, or streaming online at their website. We’ll talk about radio and how you can become involved with Rev89 in a few weeks. But for today, celebrate National Radio Day and visit their website.


Posted in radio | 4 Comments »

What happened in Vegas…

Posted by prof e on April 14, 2015

Many companies were demonstrating drone technology

Drone demo on the exhibit floor

Actually, it’s still happening. It’s the annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters and it will be continuing through Thursday. According to their press release, “With more than 98,000 attendees from 150 countries and 1,700+ exhibitors, NAB Show is the ultimate marketplace for digital media and entertainment.” Conveniently for academics, the Broadcast Education Association annual convention runs concurrently and overlaps the NAB for a few days.

I, along with several of my colleagues from CSU-Pueblo, made presentations, attended sessions and workshops, and toured the more than 1 million square feet of exhibit space. Of course I didn’t see it all. Even if I had been there for the entire 4-day run I would have had a hard time seeing all of the booths, exhibits, and displays.

But I can tell you one thing…in just a few hours today I saw more pixels than some people see in a lifetime. There were 4K displays everywhere, and quite a few 8K displays as well. Monitor walls stretched from floor to ceiling, and there were $50,000 digital cinema cameras everywhere you looked. Companies (including: Adobe, Arri, Canon, Dolby Laboratories, GoPro,  Red Digital Cinema, Sony, and Zacuto, just to name a few) were showing off the latest and greatest hardware and, perhaps more important, software used by radio and TV broadcasters and media content producers. One of the highlights this year is the aerial robotics and done pavilion. Other buzz words for 2015 include UHD (Ultra High Definition), ATSC 3.0, Virtual Reality, and SVOD (Subscription Video On Demand, e.g. Netflix and Hulu+).

So, what was my ah-ha moment? During a State of the Industry report one of the speakers made the point that the media production/distribution industry was moving from hardware to software. More and more of the tools that we use to acquire, edit, manage, and distribute content are primarily software tools. Once media content is digital, software allows us to do any number of things to it in the process of making it available to our intended audience. The future of media production will be less about engineering breakthroughs and more about software development. And in the future most of our media and software will live in the cloud. It’s an exciting time to be in this business.

Posted in media industry, new media, radio, tv | Leave a Comment »

Cashing in on Legal Pot

Posted by prof e on February 13, 2014

retail potThe state of Colorado is involved in a grand social experiment. Recreational marijuana is now legal for adults (over the age of 21), and since January 1st is available through retail establishments known as dispensaries. A similar experiment is underway in the state of Washington, but for now I’ll focus attention on the state that I call home.

Plenty of time and energy has been devoted to the debate over the wisdom of making marijuana available over the counter. This post is not about the decision itself, but how media outlets are responding to the opportunity to cash in by carrying advertising for dispensaries. Any discussion about the legality and propriety of accepting advertising is compounded by the fact that marijuana use remains a federal crime. And while federal authorities have promised to look the other way with regard to Colorado’s new law, the fact that radio and TV broadcasters are licensed by the Federal government is having a chilling effect on local broadcasters. According to Justin Sasso, president and CEO of the Colorado Broadcasters Association, the CBA doesn’t think it’s wise for stations “to risk their license–or the legal fees required to fight for their license–if the federal government decides to crack down on broadcasters” (Broadcasting & Cable, Feb 3, 2014, p. 28).

The State of Colorado has a few things to say about advertising retail pot. Last fall the Colorado Department of Revenue issued a 136-page document that stipulates, among other things, that advertisers must have reliable evidence that the audience for the ad does not contain more than 30% under the age of 21. According to the website The Cannibist, the publications High Times and Westword have sued the State of Colorado claiming that the restriction on advertising is an infringement of First Amendment rights. In addition to age restrictions, advertisers may not use outdoor advertising, may not buy out-of-state ads, nor promote marijuana tourism.

Cable TV is subject to different regulations than broadcast TV so if we see TV ads anytime soon we would expect them to appear first on select cable channels. Websites, of course, are subjects to even fewer regulatory restrictions. The Cannabist, a website by The Denver Post newspaper, is staking out territory on the web and will likely become a venue for advertising in the future. The Post even has its own marijuana editor, Richardo Baca.

In some ways this debate is made moot by the fact that marijuana dispensaries have been overwhelmed with business. That, and the free publicity provided by the news media, makes advertising unnecessary for now. However, as more vendors compete for customers, as supply matches and exceeds demand, and the novelty and media attention fades away, advertising will become increasingly important. And then the difficult decisions will have to be made.

Posted in 1st amendment, advertising, media industry, politics, radio, regulation, tv | Leave a Comment »

Rush v Fluke and Broadcast [In]Decency

Posted by prof e on March 5, 2012

In case you missed it, Rush Limbaugh said some pretty terrible things last week about Sandra Fluke, a student at Georgetown Law School. Fluke testified before a congressional committee in favor of legislation that would require that birth control be covered as part of all heath insurance programs. This is somewhat controversial amongst Catholic institutions who believe that they should be exempt from providing a service that runs counter to their official doctrine. Religious leaders from other faiths have joined the debate fearing that government intrusion into this arena could open the doors for further erosion of First Amendment rights to practice their beliefs without government interference.

Rush Limbaugh, an outspoken voice for the conservative movement has never been shy about speaking his mind. In fact, his media career is founded on a bombastic approach that often includes personal attacks. Last week he called Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” and suggested that she post videos of her sexual encounters online for taxpayers in exchange for their funding her activities. Nearly everyone agrees that Limbaugh crossed the line with his remarks. After AOL and a half-dozen or so other advertisers withdrew their ad dollars, he issued this apology.

For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress … Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.

My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.

This is not without precedent and is not limited to conservative talk radio hosts. According to Kirsten Powers, liberal radio and TV commentators have similar track records of misogynistic missteps. This event also is a reminder of the Don Imus incident in 2007 when he referred to the Rutgers woman’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos.” However, as Paul Farhi pointed out in the Washington Post, Imus is not in the same league as Limbaugh. Limbaugh is the most popular talk show host in the country. His 8-year, $400 million contract virtually guarantees that Premiere Radio Networks will continue to give Limbaugh a microphone. In fact, some believe that this might even help to fire up his base. According to the New York Times, Premiere issued this statement:

The contraception debate is one that sparks strong emotion and opinions on both sides of the issue,” the company said. “We respect the right of Mr. Limbaugh, as well as the rights of those who disagree with him, to express those opinions.

What do you think? When strong emotion meets opinion, where should broadcasters draw the line?

Posted in 1st amendment, radio | 22 Comments »