Industry Views

Pending Business: Who Cares?

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imDoes anyone care anymore?

The latest Pew Research study, “Americans’ Changing Relationship with Local News,” confirmed a personal experience last week. More on that later.

If you believe the survey, almost 80% of us say we no longer follow local news very closely. It doesn’t matter if you live in a top 10 all-news radio market, or a city with a heritage news/talk/information station. The survey says we just lost interest and stopped consuming local news.

Wait, what happened? Real estate taxes in many communities are through the roof. The cost of insurance, health care and basic groceries are the highest in years. Some hospitals in local communities are rumored to be discussing charging in advance for certain procedures. How about your local mall; is it still safe during weekdays? Is your local school system better or worse post covid? And those local roads; are they still in great shape? All of this in addition to the college campus in your community that may be unraveling or not. Did 80% of us really stop following and talking about local news? Perhaps it is just easier and less expensive for on-air talent, producers, and programmers to focus on Trump trials and Gaza. Do we serve the audience what we think they want and forget local?

My first-hand “we don’t care to cover local news” experience was a frightening eye opener. As I was traveling South along Florida’s I-95, a truck hauling propane gas caught fire as it was parked on the right shoulder of the Interstate. The tanks started exploding and a roaring fire emitting huge dark plumes of smoke stopped traffic for miles. Our car was second in line in the standstill, not more than 250 feet away from the fire. We could feel the explosions from the propane as local police motioned us to back up. We were speechless in our car watching this horrific scene. My fiancé searched her mobile phone for any breaking news report. Nothing. I kept looking to the sky for local news chopper, or a local news team, cruiser, or SUV with reporters to cover this from the ground. Nothing. Would a local news/talk radio station take a caller with an eye-witness account? Nobody broke in with a report.

Thankfully, local police, Florida State troopers, firefighters and Special Ops all arrived on the scene in minutes. Still no local news team. First responders did an amazing job getting this dangerous propane fire under control. After a 30-minute delay, we were finally directed past the burned out remains of the truck. As I scanned the rear-view mirror, the radio, the sky above me and the opposite side of I-95, there was still no local news reporting.

No wonder 80% of us stopped following local news very closely, nobody cares to report the story.

Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: