The death of news-talk radio in New Brunswick?

I am probably a little biased here because I am a regular contributor to News 91.9 but I am disappointed that the Saint John and Moncton channels are seemingly moving to a music format.  How many crappy ways are there to listen to Justin Bieber?

Some people complain to me that Host x is way too liberal and Host y is way too conservative and we have seen talk radio become a bit of a platform for extreme views on some subjects (i.e. shale gas).  However, I fundamentally believe we need more – not less – discussion in the public square on big public policy issues.  The News-Talk radio stations allowed for that dialogue – whether I agree with the content or not is kinda irrelevant.

Maybe we are destined to remain comfortably – or not so comfortably numb – in this province.  We have very little insight coming out of ‘think tanks’.  We are now likely losing any kind of public forum via radio.  Now people will have to rely on Facebook to debate public policy.

As for the media companies – how come we can’t find a way to come up with a profitable business model?

There is a public interest in having news-talk radio.  I am searching for the public interest in another top 40 pop station.

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7 Responses to The death of news-talk radio in New Brunswick?

  1. Susan Holt says:

    I’m a regular 88.9 / 91.9 listener too and will certainly miss the varied views of the guests, callers and hosts. But given the assault that most media companies are under from new technologies, social media, citizen journalists (ahem, blogs) and more, your question about profitable business models is key. News is changing – who’s starting up the next new media business in NB?

  2. I have mixed feelings. I listened to the station a lot, because CBC can get dreadfully dull at times. One the one hand, I regret the loss of any news voice in Moncton, because there are too few voices to begin with. But on the other hand, News 9.9 fed us a steady diet of right and far-right commentators, with virtually no representation from other perspectives. After a certain point in time, you’ve heard from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the Fraser Institute, The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, the MacDonald-Cartier Institute, etc., enough times, and instead of being news it just becomes the same old dogs and ponies performing the same old show.

    Meanwhile (to answer Susan Holt’s question) I and a group of volunteers have been working on a cooperative, the Moncton Free Press http://monctonfreepress.ca for a year and a half, with the slow and steady goal of becoming a community news outlet in Moncton. It’s not perfect, it’s not everything it could be, but it is (to my mind) absolutely necessary.

  3. Wayne says:

    I was surprised when I read the news this morning that Rogers was getting out of the news radio business in New Brunswick. It was surprising but not unexpected. I recently had a conversation with a long-time radio news director and a large part of our conversation was devoted to the demise of radio news coverage. The concentration of media companies means there are few alternatives any longer – someone in Toronto or Edmonton or wherever decides what Moncton, Saint John or Fredericton needs and that’s what you get – more Justin Beiber and less quality.

    Commercial radio stations now opt for the 68 second newsbreak or whatever they call their excuse for a newscast and the CBC continues to pursue whatever news agenda is the flavour of the month at CBC HQ. The musical chairs approach to those who present the major morning newscasts on CBC Radio 1 demonstates how important that product is to the decision makers. NOT!

    Overall, what passes for news reporting now is pure infotainment. Justin Bieber’s stupidity gets as much coverage on many newscasts as the DIY disaster of the Canadian Senate or the political upheaval in Egypt. For many news organizations, Entertainment Tonight and its imitators have become the high water mark of contemporary journalism. Polls which show that more people are getting their daily news fix from American comedian Jon Stewart than from traditional news sources spurred the closing of the newscast casket.

    We get what we deserve. The ear-bud generation does not want to be engaged with the world around them and business owners & advertisers understand that. Some of us are old enough to remember when in-depth reporting and news analysis was a standard part of the radio package; now, radio is no longer a news source for many of us – it is largely a distraction to fill in the empty background.

    Good luck and good job hunting to the soon-to-be former Rogers news employees. Where you tried to offer substance, there now will be drivel.

    R.I.P. radio news.

  4. mikel says:

    I know several people at Rogers, and although I’m a union man, that union really caused serious problems. I watch the Daily Show routinely, and while it certainly doesn’t run the gamut of news, it does cover issues quite well. Politics in the US has become so comedic that the stories usually don’t even need a punch line, just watching a clip from a politician or description of a bill is usually enough to bust out in laughter-often you HAVE to laugh, because the only other response would be intense anger, and of course there is really nowhere to exercise it.

    There have been several attempts at co op news, I don’t know why it doesn’t succeed. Irvings stuff online has so many ads that I find it hard to believe that a small group of people couldnt make a living off it. The problem is often that people ‘on the left’ see that so much news is ommitted from corporate news, that they pretty much just focus on environmental news, and depending who is running the show, sometimes just conspiracy theories.

    But I still think the perceptions of news watchers is over rated. Most news is ‘accident coverage’ which really is hardly worth knowing. Most of the important stuff has NEVER been part of the news. But I still have to say, I’m in a city of over 100,000 people, and there is only a weekly newspaper. There are more radio stations, but I’m with Stephen Downes, its just non stop with that corporate claptrap-its hard to even take it seriously anymore. On the cover of “The Economist” was “The rise of Persia” and specifically….Syria and Iran, two countries on their way to bankruptcy. I’m actually HAPPY that the next generations are not stupid enough to follow what our generation calls ‘news’.

  5. anonymoose says:

    @Stephen Downes

    Interesting link Stephen.

    Hopefully constructive criticism – your RSS feed is broken and you should set a meaningful HTML title for the main page.

  6. anonymoose says:

    anonymoose :
    @Stephen Downes
    Interesting link Stephen.
    Hopefully constructive criticism – your RSS feed is broken and you should set a meaningful HTML title for the main page.

    Also, not to nag or anything, but your “about” page is full of gibberish where there should be french punctuation, probably caused by cut-and-pasting from a Word document or something.

  7. nohollywoodhere says:

    Saint John lost the longest running ‘Talk Show’ about 10 years ago. At the time, the hotly debated “LNG” proposal was news.
    A certain Family, who owns the “Hogs” share of media in NB, were also the proponents of the LNG facility, & used the media to their advantage. Always seeking full control, ‘Talk of The Town’, had to go.
    So, it’s deja vous, ‘all over again’. We have “Fracking”, Pipeline, in the News, with many New Brunswickers, very much opposed to either one, or both. Their views will only be heard at the local Tim’s, McDonalds, etc., because the ‘Mighty Force’, (that’s backing both the Fracking & the Pipeline), have used their enormous Wealth, to(in my opinion), rob us of our only real means of communication, AGAIN!!!
    Again, (in my opinion), any Democratic Government, elected by the “People”, would strike this action down in a Heartbeat. But, (in my opinion), the people we elect are in the ‘back pockets’ of “powerful”, all over North America.
    In my opinion, “fracking”, will be a larger disaster than Lac-Magustic, & nothing we can say or do, is going to stop them.

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