Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Insight to Programming Decisions

I saw this on today:
"I always liked WAMU weekends for the very reason that it wasn't just like WAMU on the weekdays," writes a fan of the Dick Spottswood Show and American Routes,
It's a comment posted on DCist about WAMU's announcement they were dropping bluegrass music from their weekend schedule. I understand the sentiment, but to my way of thinking, this commenter demonstrates exactly why WAMU made a good decision. He or she doesn't want to listen to the overall branding of WAMU, they want to listen to the bluegrass programming that happened to air on WAMU.

That's a very important distinction, because said listener probably can get quality bluegrass programming anywhere. But there's only one place to get WAMU programming. That's because bluegrass is a genre, but WAMU is a brand identity...and a crucial one for any radio station to establish.

No doubt the bluegrass programming just didn't really fit into that branding schema; not surprising since most music lovers don't care for the news/talk and vice versa. Given the overwhelming time for news/talk vs. music on WAMU, it makes sense to stay true to the brand.

This does not mean it's a good thing if the bluegrass programming just completely disappears. Obviously there's fans of it, and if WAMU is smart, I'm sure they're investigating the return on investment to continue the bluegrass programming via an alternative programming channel...such as online (webcast/podcast) or HD Radio multicast.


Anonymous said...

I see your point about overall branding, but you can't get quality bluegrass programming just anywhere... you can hardly get any bluegrass programming at all (on the airwaves).

Aaron Read said...

Good point, but you can't limit your search for a particular genre to just the regular airwaves anymore; as we in the radio business are constantly told, there's competition from satellite radio and webcasts/podcasts.

I'm not speaking from direct experience, though...for all I know the bluegrass offerings on XM and Sirius are weak. And while there MUST be a good bluegrass webcast or podcast out there somewhere, I concede that it's not as easy to listen to those in the car as it is most AM & FM stations.

Still, it's a far cry from 10 years ago when, realistically, it was AM/FM or nothing.