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TUNING IN

A blog dedicated to the world of broadcast and public relations

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Morning Talk Shows Limiting Their Content Scope

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Morning drive talk shows are beginning to limit their topic focus. Recent contact with producers across the country has revealed a tendency to be more conscious of content as it relates to the listening audience. News and talk stations are refining their content to include primarily breaking news and headline stories, leaving the entertainment and more evergreen pieces to their FM dial brethren.

Likewise, those morning zoo crews are less likely to tackle the heavier topics no matter how relevant the subject matter might be to their listening audience. They would rather talk to the latest cast off from “American Idol” than the leading expert on breast cancer. Since radio is known for its fine targeting abilities, stations are often content with retaining their core listenership rather than expanding their repertoires to draw in a broader audience.

The advent of talk shows on XM and Sirius Radio has done little to alter this phenomenon. There too, news and talk stations are covering the heavier topics leaving the leisure features to the entertainment morning shows. The rare case when this cycle is broken occurs when celebrities takes on a cause themselves and uses their fame to spread the word.

While it may seem prudent to line up the clinical expert to discuss a serious topic, the issue might find a greater audience speaking through the lips of a famous person impacted by the issue. When the star of the popular sit-com talks about his father’s fight with Alzheimer’s disease, that human element rings more true than the more clinical approach that often comes from a foundation spokesperson. And it might find a greater audience as well.

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