Friday, September 15, 2006

Keeping Up WIth Media Changes

When you're promoting your book, or when you're a book promotion specialist, it's important to keep up with media changes. For example, if there's a national television show that's launching this fall, you need to know about it so you can add the producer to your media contact list. If a major television show is folding, you need to know about that, too.

So I keep my eyes and ears open for such changes in the media, and I learned about one this morning. WLVI-TV, one of Boston's independent television stations, has just been bought by the company that already owns WHDH-TV in Boston. Here's the Boston Globe's story.

Regardless of what decisions are made about the future of WLVI-TV's original programming and staff, I say this news can't be good. A diversity of media ownership was supposed to keep our media honest. One of the things you had to love about Boston-area media was that it was local. Boston radio personalities (Jess Cain, Dave Maynard, Dale Dorman, et al.) were the narrators of our lives; it boasted two newspapers; and independent television stations provided their own treasures (WSBK-TV's "Movie Loft," WLVI-TV's "Creature Double Feature," and so on). Now, the times they are a-changin', and I think that's Boston's loss.

It also represents a loss of book promotion opportunities. Think about it: whereas, once, you could pitch a story idea to both WHDH-TV and WLVI-TV, now you'll pitch that story idea to one entity, with one perspective, and one agenda. Dissenting voices probably need not apply.

And, yes, on a personal note I'm just plain grumpy at the loss of WLVI-TV. As every Massachusetts-based adult who was ever a kid can tell you, WLVI-TV was the go-to station for the after-school programming that really mattered. I won't list the 1976 after-school television lineup on WLVI-TV here (although I could).

Suffice it to say that media changes seem to be happening with greater frequency these days, and it behooves everyone to follow those changes whether you're in the middle of a book promotion campaign or whether you're just trying to find a wonderful old movie to watch this a Sunday -- for free, with commercial interruptions, and without having to deal with a real-world or online video store.