Amazon.com launched in September of 1995. That’s a little over ten years ago. A lot has changed since then, but one thing is certain: everyone saw the changes coming. So as we watch traditional media struggle with new paradigms, I have wonder why contingency plans weren’t being developed back then.
Because it’s not just the new media model that is affecting change in old media: it’s the world we live in. SF Weekly has a story about a local station hitting hard times, and the station is coping with changes.
KRON is a former NBC affiliate. When they lost that association, the station’s owners continued to plod ahead. Today, the station is running a pared-down, streamlined news operation that seems more appropriate for a small-budget station in a small market than a San Francisco station.
Kirk wondered, not even the slightest bit rhetorically, if online programming will kill local television affiliates. We all agree that while Fox’s decision to enter into a revenue-sharing arrangement with Fox affiliates is good, it might not be enough. And those stations who are truly independent? What hope for them?
KRON is fighting back by changing the way it produces news spots. Instead of teams consisting of camera operators, reporters, writers, and editors, the station is relying on VJs. No, not Nina Blackwood — video journalists. One man bands. One stop shops. It’s a step backward for those who’ve worked up to a major market. It’s a reality check for those working in that market.
Back at the newsroom, after transferring the video onto a laptop computer, [Terisa] Estacio settles in at a communal desk beside other VJs and hurriedly edits her story in time for the 5 p.m. newscast. As “shooter,” reporter, and video editor, she has done the work of three people. “Do I get snickers [from the other stations’ crews]? Sure, sometimes,” she says, answering her own question. “It’s more fear than loathing.”
Local stations serve a role in communities far beyond being conduits for network fare. Especially since consumers are expecting their network programming to be available from anywhere at anytime. KRON’s story isn’t the first of this kind, but it might be the most prominent. Local television needs to stop pretending that the Internet is a fad and start thinking of the future.
- Amazon.com Books is ranked top bookstore on Internet; makes Top Ten list of all Web sites – October 1995 Press Release, notable for the pride exhibited in achieving “What’s Cool” designation from Yahoo!
- KRON’s Last Gasp: How a once-proud San Francisco television station became ground zero in the nation’s most controversial experiment in local TV news.
tv news guy says
KRON’s problems are only half the result of losing the NBC affiliation; the other half is that Young Broadcasting took on a TON of debt to buy the station just before losing the affiliate deal … that’s what’s really put them in the hole
It’s sort of amazing that Gary Radnich hasn’t tried to get out of his contract; of course, part of his appeal has always been the fact that he’s always seemed like he could take it or leave it.