Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Image versus Fact

I was driving to work this morning, and as usual was listening to the radio, one which took pride in bragging about its traffic reports. Suddenly the traffic slowed, and came to a complete stop. There had been nothing about a problem with the traffic, so I was puzzled.

About 20 minutes later, we had crawled ahead enough, that I could see the flashing lights of the emergency vehicles. Another 15, and we finally got past. Some fifteen minutes after that, the radio station finally got around to mentioning the accident, long after the news lost any possible use for me and the drivers who had already been forced to wait. That inability to provide any useful service did not, however, prevent the radio station from bragging, once again, on how "fast" their response was, and how drivers could count on them.

It occurs to me, that this is how the Old Media works. They will promise and brag about themselves, never realizing that people will figure out they aren't up to their egos. In the case of the news, bloggers are correcting the exaggerations and outright lies. Hopefully, one day they'll even have radio stations with traffic reports that can actually be worth something. In the meantime, for those of you familiar with Houston radio, don't believe the traffic reports on either KPRC or KTRH; they simply aren't bothering to get it done right. Trust them, and you can plan on sucking exhaust for a while.


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