AFRTS: Future military radio menu could be more pop, less talk (Presse)

Startbeitrag von AFNBEKENNER am 02.06.2006 23:30

Future military radio menu could be more pop, less talk
Hip-hop-heavy content recommended for stations around the world

By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, June 3, 2006

WASHINGTON — Military radio stations around the globe soon could be playing more hip-hop, more pop hits, less country music and no sports or political chat shows.

A media consulting group reviewing American Forces Radio has recommended those changes as a way to boost ratings. The analysis of the radio broadcasts is the first major review of the over-the-air offerings in more than a decade.

Warren Lee, operations and plans officer for American Forces Radio and Television Services, said no decisions on programming changes have been made so far.

But officials will meet Thursday to discuss the future of military radio, and the new review — conducted by Lund Media Research — will be the launching point for those discussions.

To compile its recommendations, Lund surveyed 1,125 AFR listeners between January and April of this year, and conducted 10 focus groups in Europe over the same time period. (See graphic at end of story.)

The biggest change proposed in the review would be centralizing most programming decisions in the United States, and creating a pair of music stations for broadcast worldwide.

The first station would feature hip-hop, rap, pop music and other similar formats. A second station would have classic rock, alternative bands and a mix of other Top 40 songs.

Popular talk radio programs such as Rush Limbaugh and those from National Public Radio, as well as country music, would be relegated to a third station, broadcast only in a few select areas with three military radio frequencies.

Going, going, gone

The Lund recommendations also include dumping play-by-play of American sports events from over-the-air broadcasts, noting that only a small audience listens to the events. Fewer than 15 percent of those surveyed said they had listened to baseball, basketball or hockey games on the radio in the preceding six months.

Instead, those games will be offered through the cable channels only. In addition to broadcast radio, AFRTS offers a dozen radio formats via its cable and satellite television system, accessible only with the decoder boxes.

The report also recommends removing the Tom Joyner show from over-the-air broadcasts as well, despite its popularity among minority troops.

Several white respondents complained about the show, and Lund officials deemed it too controversial for AFR’s attempts to broaden its listening audience.

Lund officials found talk radio — both sports and politics — aren’t a major draw for troops under 34 years old.

Country music, while popular with some troops, is also despised by others, making it difficult to mesh with other musical formats.

“They said when we play country, we pull in the country fans but lose everyone else,” Lee said.

So the recommendations would relegate those talk shows and country acts mainly to the cable system, along with adult contemporary and oldies albums.

“AFRTS should get away from presenting blocks of different styles of music on the same station,” the report said. “Instead, present the most popular mainstream formats. Radio programming elements should complement each other to increase the time one spends listening to the station.”

Seacrest vs. Cronauer

Andy Friedrich, deputy director for AFRTS, said that even if officials decide to accept the Lund plans, purchasing and installing the equipment necessary will push implementation to January 2007 at the earliest.

And he emphasized that none of the ideas are forgone conclusions.

“We don’t have the funding issues of commercial stations in the United States, but we do have a message to sell to our audience,” he said. “So the question is, how do we grab the biggest share of the audience out there and still provide a service?”

The goal, Friedrich said, is to have the largest audience possible hear the radio stations’ hourly inserts on local news, servicewide alerts and other military information.

Currently, the Armed Forces operate radio stations in 18 countries, each one receiving content from AFRTS headquarters in California. Decisions on what programs to air, when to air them and who should act as a DJ between songs are made at the local level.

“Traditionally, in areas where we’ve had two over-the-air stations, one has been different blocks of music and one has been news talk,” Lee said. “But this study is saying that might not necessarily be the way to get the best audience.”

Local DJs — such as Adrian Cronauer, made famous in Robin Williams’ portrayal in “Good Morning, Vietnam” — would be replaced by prepackaged American hosts such as Ryan Seacrest, except for occasional regional call-in shows. Local news reports would still be produced and inserted into each hour of programming.


Das ganze, oder zumindest das Meiste scheint ja bereits mit dem "Eagle" umgesetzt worden zu sein. :(
Mit Verwunderung habe ich den Abschnitt zur Tom Joyner Show gelesen.Interessant das beim Militär Minderheiten weniger Beachtung finden sollen.

von Nordi - am 03.06.2006 11:34
Vom Hohenfelser Sender (89,4) und Nürnberger Sender(107,4)hör ich zur Zeit immer den "S`pargel" Song...
Wobei es englisch ausgesprochen wird und sich einfach bescheuert anhört.
Das da plötzlich 80er Main Stream Sachen laufen hat mich auch schon verwundert.
Normalerweise konnte ich da lange zuhören ohne die Titel schon 100mal gehört zu haben.
Das denen das Digitalgematsche nichts ausmacht,wundert mich schon.
Wieviel Datenrate ist das? 96?

von Scrat - am 03.06.2006 12:06
AFRTS folgt den Empfehlungen der Beratungsfirma nicht, TalkRadio zu minimieren

AFRTS tunes out consultant's call to eliminate talk radio shows

By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Thursday, June 15, 2006

WASHINGTON — American Forces Radio listeners could hear some music changes in coming months but won’t lose their talk radio, according to the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for internal communications.

Allison Barber said officials won’t follow a media consultant’s recommendations that military radio drop Rush Limbaugh, National Public Radio and other talk shows in some markets in favor of potentially more popular music offerings.

A report from Lund Media Research commissioned by military radio officials had recommended breaking away from the one-music, one-talk format in regions with two radio stations, instead replacing it with two music stations playing more popular genres and dropping country music. The consultants recommended a politics/country music station only for regions with more than two stations.

But last week, Armed Forces Radio and Television Service officials decided not to make any immediate programming changes based on those suggestions.

“This research is a good benchmark for us … but there are recommendations that we’re not going to implement,” Barber said. “And the issue of taking political talk off of the radio is something that we’re not going to do.”

The Lund report, compiled over the last six months, noted that talk radio was less popular among younger troops and less useful for attracting new listeners than Top 40 and hip-hop music stations.

Barber said the talk radio offerings have already undergone major changes in the last year — officials added Ed Schultz, Al Franken and Sean Hannity in December — and officials need to see how the military audience reacts to those lineup changes before any other major decisions.

“We take a look every quarter at what new shows might fit our criteria, but for now that process for talk radio will stay the same,” she said.

She said that officials are considering shuffling the music offerings available worldwide, “mixing it up to see how the audience responds to some of those (report) suggestions.”

That could leave uncertain the fate of country music, which the Lund consultants identified as appealing to a smaller portion of the armed forces than hip-hop and pop.

The survey also noted that country music is more polarizing than any other music options — loved by some, hated by others — which makes it more difficult to mesh with other programming.

Barber said the current music stations are flexible in their programming, allowing officials to make incremental changes and see how the audience reacts. But no definite changes have been announced.

The analysis of the radio broadcasts, which included a survey of 1,125 military radio listeners, is the first major review of the over-the-air offerings in more than a decade.

The goal, Barber said, is to find the best ways to have important command messages interspersed in the radio shows.

Officials are also looking at other technology, such as podcasts, to get those alerts out. Barber said the Pentagon Channel podcast had about 181,000 downloads last month, showing it can be “a real tool for us to communicate with listeners.”

von AFNBEKENNER - am 15.06.2006 08:42
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