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Thursday, March 19, 2015

24-Hour Book Radio Network


While tuning into the all-sports radio station in New York City, 660 AM The Fan, I wondered why we have a 24-hour station dedicated to games.  Of course I understand that sports have become a major part of our culture, but I still question why valuable air time should be designated to adults who play ball for money.  But more importantly, I wondered of the viability of a 24-hour radio network dedicated to all things books.

Maybe we don’t need 24-hour anything.  If a station dedicates every minute to the same subject area, several things will happen:

1.      Repetition – either the same show gets re-aired in the course of a day or the same topics are getting discussed throughout the day with just slight alterations to the content.

2.      Too much weight is given to something because it’s discussed ad nauseum and out of proportion to its level of newsworthiness.

3.      Too much time is spent on analysis, opinion-sharing, and personality-mongering rather than reporting the news or carrying coverage of a significant event.

4.      Listeners don’t get a mixture of information and ideas on subjects other than but the singular-focused station, whether it be all sports, all business, or all weather.

On the other hand, a 24-hour station is great for those who love a specific area, such as politics, gardening, or health, where they know they can always find a home friendly towards their passion and interest.  The key is to not listen for too long.  If you tune in for 15-minute clips and digest something new, it’s great.  If you lazily listen for two hours straight, you likely heard the same rhetoric over and over.

Okay, so back to my question about an all-book radio station or network.  Can it be done?

There are some online channels that tackle books all the time.  AudioBookRadio.net is one.  So is BlogTalkRadio.com/books and RadioBookChannel.com.  Sirius XM had a Book Radio Channel but it closed down in 2013.

A station dedicated to different aspects of the book industry could be done without a lack of content or talent.  The industry has tens of thousands of employees, millions of authors, and many experts in related areas.  Here could be a lineup of shows coming soon to the airwaves:

·         Free speech, censorship, and book bans
·         Literacy and encouraging others to read
·         Trends in the book industry
·         Hot new authors
·         What’s on the bestseller list
·         Book reviews
·         Featured authors – profiles
·         Latest book to go Hollywood
·         The craft of writing
·         The voice of the poet
·         Books that make a difference
·         Publishing workshop: How to get published

The list could go on and on.  You could have genre-specific shows.  You can have parents and teachers do book readings.  You can debate the subject matter featured in a book. You can have editors debate over something.  You can have a book publicists panel discussing the media.  And on and on and on.

Radio should welcome 24-hours of books.  Are books not more important than other subjects that get 24-hour treatment?  The advertising would come from book publishers, bookstores, Amazon, and organizations involved in literacy, free speech, and education. It could be profitable, but more importantly, it is necessary.

NPR and PBS serve the cultural needs of society to a degree, but books by themselves need a champion, a voice, and a repository.  Will you tune into the 24-hour Book Radio Network?  I know you’ll be listening to all-music, all-sports, and all-news.  It’s time books got their due.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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