By Helen Phushela
All-news radio is a form of a 24hour News radio station. Unlike television which caters for the eye, radio writes for the ear, where producers and show compilers need to create an image in the listeners mind. 24Hour radio news broadcast would require most, if not all to adapt and make longer than 15minute news bulletins. This form of 24hour news has already been introduced in the United States where they have all round radio news stations. In South Africa we have what is called Talk/News radio stations. Talk Radio 702 and Cape talk, SAfm etc. all these stations play music to an extent.
A 24hour radio news station might sound like a good idea, if all is taken into account. Graveyard shifts would be re-runs of day time heated debates about current affairs. With political developing stories daily, the station would have the leverage of breaking news. Writing for the ear would prove to be a challenge as people need to visualise the scene or the situation that is described by the reporter. In journalism broadcast jargon this would be referred to as “Say what you see”. The reporter solely relies on good written scripts to pass the message to the listener.
Pro’s of radio as a medium
Radio is the second oldest form of media; it is usually overlapped by television capabilities. Radio is still the largest mobile medium, which allows people to interact with hosts.Cell phones and online radio station archives allow for the public to take radio with them everywhere they go. With the Digital Terrestrial age, radio will also experience change. Radio stations such as Metro Fm will use the same frequency country wide. This influences frequency distribution thus making room for a 24hour radio news channel.
Con’s of 24hour radio station
Radio as a medium has been compromised in its traditional form, instead of it being dominant with people choosing to use it as a news source people now use the internet. 24Hour radio news station will have to compete with Graveyard shift DJs who already have a fan base. With the new nature of station hopping, the content of the station would have to cater to everyone. “Strike while the iron is hot” motto will not apply to the station programming, 7pm breaking news will be stale at 10pm. As other news channels would have exhausted all the story angles.
Radio capitalises on current affairs and breaking news, as a short written medium. A 24hour news radio station would only appeal to a certain segment of the audience and with the changing news consumption patterns, a 24 hour news radio channel would need to break news constantly in order to compete with the internet. For a 24hour news radio station to survive it must never be news starved, to guarantee success and increased listenership