Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Open Letter to Clear Channel

This was sent to Clear Channel after I spent 30 extra minutes in traffic behind an accident that WHAS never once reported on during the time I was stuck.

Over 30 years ago, a traffic reporter from WHAS radio in Louisville, KY became a hero when he flew the helicopter around town following the path of the storm. That traffic reporter, Dick Gilbert, went on for many years to do traffic reports on WHAS that you could depend on, giving you information about where the back up was, how far back it went, what lane was blocked, and alternate routes to get to downtown. The station broke in for traffic reports on serious delays and allowed them to continue as long as necessary.

What do we get today? The traffic copter appears to have been grounded. The cell phone hotline for traffic reports of a few years ago is no longer mentioned. And instead we get a reporter on the ground reading accident reports from a website that appear to have come mostly from watching a few stationary cameras throughout the city and police reports. The reports are read quickly so they can be sandwiched in between two ads. There is seldom a mention of an alternate route, blocked lanes, or how far the backup is unless it goes to someplace where the cameras can see.

Yesterday I was stuck in traffic about a half an hour longer than normal. I turned on WHAS in hopes I could find out why. For two cycles of the traffic report (approximately 15 minutes of listening) there was not a single mention of the accident. I didn't listen any further, having switched back to my MP3 player.

Clear Channel's purchase of WHAS is the communications equivalent of Wal-Mart buying Neiman Marcus and then filling it with cheap crap from China and expecting the people to still shop there. Buy ignoring the value that WHAS (and other stations, for that matter) provided to the local community, you are driving away long time listeners such as myself to other forms of entertainment and information. If I can no longer get quality local content, why would I WANT to tune in to a local station?

I have no hope that this will receive any form of action, other than a form letter telling me how the traffic is somehow better these days, but I would like you to know that I think Clear Channel has taken a once quality station and turned it into crap in the interest of saving a buck.

1 comment:

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