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Old Dec 26th 2008, 7:49 pm   #1
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Default Why is American radio so bad?

I listen to BBC radio via computer and I never fail to wonder why some enterprising person hasn't created radio drama, etc. that would appeal to the US audience? US radio comedy seemed to be popular in the days before TV but fizzled after visual entertainment took hold.
Before computers were popular (in the cold, dark days of the 70s and 80s) I would listen to "A Prairie Home Companion" on NPR. For 2 hours every Saturday night I would be transported to a place and time populated by Norwegian bachelor farmers and wonder why Garrison Keillor didn't buy his own radio station and play that stuff 24 hours a day.
Luckily I can now listen to Radio 4 in real time. My American friends who have been introduced to BBC radio are amazed and instantly hooked. THEY wonder why their radio is crap. My librarian friend listens to Radio4 at work and can't believe how good it is.

So, why does good American radio continue to be virtually non-existent
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Old Dec 26th 2008, 7:50 pm   #2
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Default Re: Why is American radio so bad?

It just is.
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Old Dec 26th 2008, 7:51 pm   #3
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Default Re: Why is American radio so bad?

stop messing about and get Sirius
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Old Dec 26th 2008, 8:02 pm   #4
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Default Re: Why is American radio so bad?

Quote:
stop messing about and get Sirius
Agree absolutely. It beats terrestrial radio hands down.

But, it seems the OP is on the lookout for Radio 4 style drama, the sort of Radio equivalent of Masterpiece theatre, which Sirius doesn't touch. That's what you get for not having a licence fee....
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Old Dec 26th 2008, 8:05 pm   #5
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Default Re: Why is American radio so bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jensmate View Post
I listen to BBC radio via computer and I never fail to wonder why some enterprising person hasn't created radio drama, etc. that would appeal to the US audience? US radio comedy seemed to be popular in the days before TV but fizzled after visual entertainment took hold.
Before computers were popular (in the cold, dark days of the 70s and 80s) I would listen to "A Prairie Home Companion" on NPR. For 2 hours every Saturday night I would be transported to a place and time populated by Norwegian bachelor farmers and wonder why Garrison Keillor didn't buy his own radio station and play that stuff 24 hours a day.
Luckily I can now listen to Radio 4 in real time. My American friends who have been introduced to BBC radio are amazed and instantly hooked. THEY wonder why their radio is crap. My librarian friend listens to Radio4 at work and can't believe how good it is.

So, why does good American radio continue to be virtually non-existent
I agree with you, I am still listing to various Irish radio stations. I have set up my computer to automatically 'tape' shows from the live Internet streams, as some of them are on at inconvenience times.
Then I can listen to the recorded MP3's as and when I get the time.

My gut feeling is that Radio stations in general here are funded by commercial means, eg. advertising. where as BBC4 is funded by the taxpayer. That can give the station more scope to create good content as it does not need to be concentrating on advertisement revenues. I have tried to listen to the radio here but I find its very commercial driven, and difficult to listen to at times.

I think the same thing can be said about TV. One thing I really miss living here is British TV. The BBC sets the level of programming, and is funded by tax payers, so that means that the commercial TV stations in the UK have to compete as best they can with the standard of the BBC. Over here it is amazing the stuff that gets out on the air. Of course for every 10 TV shows there are some very good ones. I think usually the ones with good funding are better, and these are the ones that make it to the UK in the end. From living here It amazes me how many tv shows there are that I had never even heard of. After watching an episode or two I realise why. ;-)
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Old Dec 26th 2008, 8:57 pm   #6
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Default Re: Why is American radio so bad?

Another possible reason why US radio is so bad is that one company dominates the local radio station market, Clear Channel. It's hard for newcomers to break into the market and having one company responsible for the editorial content is questionable IMO.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clear_C...Communications
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Old Dec 26th 2008, 9:02 pm   #7
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Default Re: Why is American radio so bad?

... because of Clear Channel
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Old Dec 26th 2008, 10:15 pm   #8
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Default Re: Why is American radio so bad?

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Originally Posted by Brit3964 View Post
Another possible reason why US radio is so bad is that one company dominates the local radio station market, Clear Channel. It's hard for newcomers to break into the market and having one company responsible for the editorial content is questionable IMO.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clear_C...Communications
so thats why the stations sound the same no matter where you are in the US? makes sense to me.
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Old Dec 26th 2008, 10:30 pm   #9
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Default Re: Why is American radio so bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brit3964 View Post
Another possible reason why US radio is so bad is that one company dominates the local radio station market, Clear Channel. It's hard for newcomers to break into the market and having one company responsible for the editorial content is questionable IMO.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clear_C...Communications
Thanks for that, I had no idea why 'Rick and Bubba' and the like were so common. I listen to NPR in the mornings on the way to school, it's not too bad.
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Old Dec 26th 2008, 10:35 pm   #10
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Default Re: Why is American radio so bad?

From the Wikipedia article, could someone explain what this means:

"Other controversies have included changing many syndicated shows, most notably The Rush Limbaugh Show, from syndication to "network" status by flipping from well-known stronger news-talk stations to much weaker stations which are owned by Clear Channel, thereby making the show a "network" show instead of being syndicated."

What's the difference between syndication and network status?
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Old Dec 26th 2008, 11:36 pm   #11
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Default Re: Why is American radio so bad?

Depending on your local public radio station(s), they carry some radio dramas (mostly oldies). But even those are getting fewer and fewer because individual programs are funded by the listeners, grants/foundations, and a few government dollars. There is not a market for it so commercial radio doesn't want it....they can't sell advertising during the time slot because not enough people will listen to it.
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Old Dec 27th 2008, 12:11 am   #12
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Default Re: Why is American radio so bad?

I've always thought that they should air fewer ads, but charge more for them.
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Old Dec 27th 2008, 12:32 am   #13
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Default Re: Why is American radio so bad?

Elitist.
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Old Dec 27th 2008, 12:59 am   #14
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Default Re: Why is American radio so bad?

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Elitist.
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Old Dec 27th 2008, 1:02 am   #15
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Default Re: Why is American radio so bad?

Define good and then others may be able to give you pointers where to find such audio entertainment.

For me, I listen to NPR and local college stations. I don't like commercial radio stations.
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