| 13 Jul 2024
Study shows fall in radio news in the United States in 2013

NEW DELHI: The amount of local radio news in the United States fell by 10 minutes per weekday in 2013 from a year ago though the weekend remained the same, with the typical radio station running no local news on Saturday or Sunday.

In two or more stations 85.6 per cent there was a centralised newsroom handling the news for all the stations.

According to RTDNA/Hofstra University Annual Survey conducted in the fourth quarter of 2013 among a random sample of 3,263 radio stations. Valid responses came from 249 radio news directors and general managers representing 649 radio stations.

Overall, 75.3 per cent of local radio groups reported that at least one station in the group runs local news. In total, 70 per cent of radio stations run local news -- 76.2 per cent of AM stations and 67.1 per cent of FM stations. The overall percentage is down 7.7 from 2012, with AM stations down 2.6 points and FM stations down 10.1. The numbers are based on stations that return the survey, and since it is a news survey, stations that run news could well be more likely to return the surveys than stations that do not.

It is possible those percentages are too high overall, says Bob Papper who is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Journalism at Hofstra University and has worked extensively in radio and TV news. This research was supported by the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University and the Radio Television Digital News Association.

The amount of radio news per week fell from a year earlier. Average minutes of news per week day rose in the largest and smallest markets, but those increases were more than offset by drops in large and medium markets. Median (typical) numbers are probably better gauges of trends, because the number of news or news/talk stations participating the survey can make the averages bounce up and down from year to year; median numbers moderate that influence and give a truer overall perspective. Median numbers fell by 10 minutes per weekday from a year ago. The typical radio station runs no local news on Saturday or Sunday -the same as in 2012.

As usual, more staff meant more news. Two or more stations in a local group meant more news, but the amount did not go up as the number of stations went up -- just that two or more stations had more news than just one station. Commercial stations ran about twice as much local news as non-commercial stations. Stations in the Northeast tended to run more news than stations elsewhere. These numbers represent amount of news per newsroom -- not news per station, said the survey.

The amount of news in the past year looks a lot like the year before. Non-commercial stations were much more likely to increase local news than commercial stations. Stations in the smallest markets were less likely to add news than other market sizes.

Plans for this year are similar as well, although a few more stations plan to increase news than a year ago. Non-commercial stations are well ahead of commercial stations, but, otherwise, there are no consistent trends.