A journalist and former employee of a Pacifica station diagnoses the network’s failure to attract listeners in an article in the Leftist Review.
The election of President Barack Obama is in part to blame, writes Kellia Ramares-Watson, because it helped to mollify the network’s left-leaning audience. But she attributes much of the problem to programming.
Stations, she writes, “need to stop their attempts to represent as many of the disparate groups in their audience as they can cram into 168 hours a week.” New York’s WBAI, she notes, aims to serve many audiences by programming hosts in monthly slots and narrowly targeting ethnic niches. The station faces severe layoffs due to chronic shortages of funds.
“The time for balkanized programming in a general audience radio station and network is long over,” Ramares-Watson writes. “The answer for the growth of Pacifica and other progressive media is to focus on issues common to us all, with diverse voices addressing how each group is affected by them. Issues such as climate change, U.S. military involvements, labor issues, health care, and government spending and taxes are just some of the issues about which we should all be concerned.”
Stations should also expand their source lists, program more strategically and promote programming more consistently, she writes.