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Live and local? I have heard that phrase a zillion times in the last 30 years but I beg to differ. Radio's "Golden Age" was not about live and local. The largest audiences were composed of people listening to night time dramas and comedies supplied by NBC, Mutual, CBS and a few other sources. During the 60's and 70's when Top 40 radio was at it's peak, I don't remember hearing programmers or consultants hammering talent to keep the content local. At that time it was about the music. These days, I don't think I've ever heard anyone tell me they don't listen to radio because the DJ is in Peoria rather than Indianapolis. Many of the most successful personalities of the past 20-30 years are those which were syndicated (Rush, Howard, Bob & Tom), not local. As mentioned by many, people have so many more entertainment options these days. The one thing that is missing isn't 'live' or 'local' talent, it's compelling content. You gotta give them something they can't get anywhere else. I don't know what that might be, but I don't hear it when I turn my radio on.
Radio is not the "tribal drum" anymore, true, but if it is such a weak medium it would have died 10 or 15 years ago. Yes to deeper cuts - but also 'play the hits'. Yes to rising bands - but showcase them. Yes to show prep, but relate it to the listener and make it personal. Local is key, and there is no way possible to make that happen with someone not living there. Oh, and VT's are fine - but be sure someone's there to answer the phone (hearing screams of laughter from programmers young and old here).
Old school) Not up to date