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School closings on local radio

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Nelson
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Location: East Jordan, MI

School closings on local radio

Post by Nelson » Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:57 pm

My day job is in the office at a local school district. We were just notified by Mike Sinclair at WTCM Radio that they are no longer listing school closings on the air. He said that not enough schools call them with closings and they didn't want to air a partial list. I'm not sure if this just affects WTCM-FM (as the letter was addressed) or if it is for all Midwestern Broadcasting stations.

What are your thoughts on this? Have smartphone notifications, Facebook, and the Web taken over this role entirely? Is there really not enough interest anymore to broadcast school closings on the radio? What about TV?

Personally, I love to listen to the radio while I'm still in bed and not have to check a smartphone or TV. I always wake up to the radio and listen for a half hour or so before I get up. I still have to go to work on snow days, but I don't necessarily have to be at work quite as early, so I still like to know if we are closed or not.



zzand
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Re: School closings on local radio

Post by zzand » Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:46 pm

I know stations have quit doing them on air and list them on Social Media and direct listeners there to get them. The majority of schools in my area have gone to smart phone notifications to parents but they still call in so we can do them on air for those who don't sign up for the notifications. We make money of them so we will continue to do them. A station has to serve it's community and even though they are a pain they are necessary.



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TC Talks
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Re: School closings on local radio

Post by TC Talks » Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:53 pm

"Some schools are closed, check before heading out" that's adequate these days.

I liked hearing the weird ones: "Our Lady of Eternal Suffering" will miss out in the free publicity.


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craig11152
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Re: School closings on local radio

Post by craig11152 » Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:33 am

I think it's outdated. Now days you can figure out if you're school is down without listening to a long list.


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kager
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Re: School closings on local radio

Post by kager » Wed Feb 19, 2020 7:04 am

Ah, the changing roles of live 'n' local.

Outdated or not, if - one by one - a business stops doing things that attracted or kept customers in the first place, they should have no problem taking the hit when they become irrelevant.

For many with k-12-age children, radio as a whole is already there.


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organman95
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Re: School closings on local radio

Post by organman95 » Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:05 am

I never needed that school closings when I was a kid, as my dad was a school administrator, so he had to make calls to the radio stations. He'd wake me up just to tell me that school is closed.

Now, I think most schools have a reverse-call tree you can sign up for and get automated messages then school is cancelled. Got on the school list two three years ago. That first 5:30 am call brought back a LOT of memories.



ftballfan
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Re: School closings on local radio

Post by ftballfan » Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:42 pm

It also doesn't help that there are a lot of school districts in WTCM-FM's coverage area. It would have been easier to name the schools that weren't closed on Tuesday (2/18) inside their coverage area:
Bear Lake, Hart, Kaleva Norman Dickson, Ludington, Manistee, Mason County Central, Mason County Eastern, Onekama, Pentwater, Shelby, Walkerville



Nelson
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Re: School closings on local radio

Post by Nelson » Thu Feb 20, 2020 8:24 am

There were two more that weren't closed; Boyne City and Charlevoix. It would be nice if they could say something like "All schools in Antrim, Grand Traverse, and Kalkaska Counties are closed. Plus East Jordan." or something like that. But that would require that all schools participate and call in their closings, which I realize doesn't happen. Maybe 'TCM could just read the closings off 9&10 News so the schools don't have to call both 9&10 and TCM.

I feel that listing school closings is an important community service. There are other people interested in closings such as senior citizens that might not get meals on wheels and church activities that are closed when school is closed. Our local art center also closes when school's closed and art patrons might not necessarily sign up for school closing alerts on their phones.

Still, I realize that "community service" doesn't always have a strong business case, so I get that radio stations might not be excited about listing school closings. I get TCM's point, too, that not all schools participate.



organman95
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Re: School closings on local radio

Post by organman95 » Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:29 pm

ftballfan wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:42 pm
It also doesn't help that there are a lot of school districts in WTCM-FM's coverage area. It would have been easier to name the schools that weren't closed on Tuesday (2/18) inside their coverage area:
Bear Lake, Hart, Kaleva Norman Dickson, Ludington, Manistee, Mason County Central, Mason County Eastern, Onekama, Pentwater, Shelby, Walkerville
It also doesn't help that for some reason, every single school within a town has to be named. Even if they all share the same buses. Example, Cheboygan Area Schools, Bishop Baraga Catholic, and Cornerstone Christian. They only need Cheboygan Area listed, not all three. Schools used to be under the umbrella of the district they share buses with. What happened?



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MWmetalhead
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Re: School closings on local radio

Post by MWmetalhead » Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:01 pm

If there are, say, a handful (or maybe as many as a dozen) school closings, they should be read on the air.

If there are a lot (for instance, two-thirds of the schools in the station's massive coverage area), the air talent should name the counties where school closings exist and direct listeners to the station's web site for a complete list.


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Nelson
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Re: School closings on local radio

Post by Nelson » Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:24 pm

MWmetalhead wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:01 pm
If there are, say, a handful (or maybe as many as a dozen) school closings, they should be read on the air.

If there are a lot (for instance, two-thirds of the schools in the station's massive coverage area), the air talent should name the counties where school closings exist and direct listeners to the station's web site for a complete list.
That sounds like a fair compromise.



organman95
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Re: School closings on local radio

Post by organman95 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:23 am

Nelson wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:24 pm
MWmetalhead wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:01 pm
If there are, say, a handful (or maybe as many as a dozen) school closings, they should be read on the air.

If there are a lot (for instance, two-thirds of the schools in the station's massive coverage area), the air talent should name the counties where school closings exist and direct listeners to the station's web site for a complete list.
That sounds like a fair compromise.
I agree. Much easier that way.

"We have a long list of closings this morning (30 schools listed)" Shit, I heard a two-hour delay in there. Have to listen for the list again in case that is my district... lol



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Mark Elliott
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Re: School closings on local radio

Post by Mark Elliott » Sat Feb 22, 2020 8:11 am

As one who faces this challenge every snowy morning, let me offer this: School closings are not to tell the average student it's a snow day - they probably already know. But it does give an average listener a general idea of what the world is like outside their house.

The idea of news on a music oriented station is simple: The lead story is the most horrible thing that happened overnight. That way, an average non-news junkie listener knows that things are generally okay - no planes flew into buildings, etc. - and they can go back to not paying attention to the news. One or two closings (Kaleva Norman Dickson is still my favorite to read) says the back roads are kinda bad but overall you won't have a problem getting to work. A lot of closings (TC, Gaylord, Petoskey) says things on the main roads are dodgy and you might need to think ahead.

And yes, closings need to be separate from "two hour delays." A delay says - It might be bad right now, but it will get better soon.



northradiotruth
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Re: School closings on local radio

Post by northradiotruth » Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:18 am

If students can already know there is no school, then how come adults can't get information about snow conditions and "backroads" just as easily? The answer is, they can. So we are right back to the idea of why read school closings? Do you think the stations that read the closings have more listeners?



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Mark Elliott
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Re: School closings on local radio

Post by Mark Elliott » Sat Feb 22, 2020 2:12 pm

Not sure it is actually truth about north radio, but anyway this pseudonym wrote:how come adults can't get information about snow conditions and "backroads" just as easily? The answer is, they can.
Obviously they can. But why can't people CHOOSE how to get their information? In the same way they can CHOOSE how to get their music... People who choose Spotfily and playlists figure they'll get other information like news and road conditions their own way. Some people choose to have music chosen for them, as well as get info and other entertainment in one package. While "terrestrial" radio is certainly suffering some loss of listenership, research shows that over 90% of the American population tunes into an AM or FM radio station at least once a week. We must be doing something right.



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