Friday, May 23, 2008

Long-time Seattle Radio Shows

Yesterday I mentioned the trend away from local content on many commercial stations, which is definitely a by-product of media consolidation and stations becoming more standardized. Considering this unfortunate decrease in locally-produced shows and niche content, it's reassuring to read about some long-running Seattle radio shows (many on college radio stations) in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's radio column this week. One such show, "The Scandinavian Hour" (whose co-host recently died) has been running for about 50 years and is currently on commercial station KKNW-AM.

University of Washington-owned public radio affiliate radio station KUOW-FM (profiled this week in the University of Washington Daily) airs "The Swing Years," which has been on the air since the 1960s. Additionally, KPLU-FM (Pacific Lutheran University public radio affiliate) has been airing "The Art of Jazz" for 26 years.

Bill Virgin writes:

"So what is it that allows a host, or a show, to stick around so long? 'When it comes to (radio) personalities, the first word is being genuine,' says Tom Evans Krause, head of the broadcast department at Green River Community College. 'They're real people, someone you'd like to meet and hang out with.'

KIRO-AM's Dave Ross is a prime example, he says, of someone who shows a bit of himself on the air so that 'you feel as a listener like you get to know these people.' At the same time, 'They're always talking about things people care about.'

Enthusiasm for radio also counts for a lot, Krause says. 'You can tell when people are phoning it in,' he says. 'A lot of people in the business are thrilled to be paid to be on the radio. Most of them would have paid to be on the radio. That kind of attitude really comes across the airwaves.'"

The point about having passion for radio and that many DJs would pay to be on the air is quite telling, especially since most college radio staff members are NOT paid. So, long-time DJs in college radio often show an incredible commitment and enthusiasm since it is something they are volunteering to do.

How long do most people keep their shows at your station? Do you have college radio DJs who've been on the air for decades? What's the longest running show you have? Are these long-running shows favorites of station staff and listeners?

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