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It was gratifying to see a positive outcome for KRSN in this week’s decision from the Planning & Zoning Commission. While the fact that the AM radio station got a green light to proceed with construction of an antenna on school property does not guarantee its future, had the commission’s decision gone the other way the media outlet’s fate would have surely been sealed.
While in a broader context KRSN represents a competitor, the Los Alamos Monitor did not want to see the station close. On a higher plane, both entities are on a parallel mission to keep residents of this market informed. Any time the local media is diminished, the light of truth is dimmed; the various perspectives and opinions are narrowed, and citizens have fewer choices from which to gain news and information that matters most at a local level.
Business owners in Los Alamos and White Rock should give that some serious consideration as they ponder advertising and promotions. On occasion Monitor advertising representatives will relate how a local business owner will tell them something to the effect of: “I’ve been here 20 years, and everybody knows I’m here.” But that’s not really the case.
Could anybody really believe the population today is the same as it was 20 years ago? Facts be known, Los Alamos has a higher turnover than other similarly sized markets due primarily to the nature of it biggest employer. This town also has a higher transient population as well—people come in to work a given contract, they’re here for a few months and then move on.
Likewise, over the course of 20 years a business will change. New product lines will be added, hours of operation will be different and personnel will learn new skills. People need to know about these developments and advertising works to accomplish that. Sadly this week the Monitor reported that Brownell’s would be closing its camera department due to an erosion of business. Was that due to a lack of advertising and promotion? One might make that case. Folks new to the area likely didn’t even know the store had a camera department, much less what it had to offer. No doubt the issues go deeper than that, but it’s surprising how many businesses take a contrarian approach in response to market indicators: business is down, so cut advertising! That makes sense, right?
As long as we cling to our Bibles, our guns, and our free enterprise system, advertising will continue to work. There are far too many case studies and anecdotal reports that prove advertising is an effective means of communicating with consumers. To one extent or another, each and every one of us is a consumer. We’re a fickle lot, though, and at any given time the demand for a product or service is likely to be thin—hence the need for businesses to maintain a consistent presence in the mind of consumers. It’s the old Coke and Pepsi analogy. Can you imagine what would happen to sales of Pepsi if Coke stopped advertising? The same thing applies on the local level as well.
But it’s July 4th and a time to revel in and reflect on all things American… Apple pie, hot dogs, and oh yes, a free press. Obviously, radio, television, and the Internet weren’t around when our founding fathers crafted the Constitution, but all of those mediums have come to be embraced as being part of the greater definition of “press.” Can you imagine where this country might be today had a free and unfettered press not been built into our Constitution. One could argue that things would be all together different, and not necessarily in a good way.
So, as you savor the flavor of that hot dog, or as you go back for seconds of apple pie later today, take a moment to reflect on the importance of media in your day-to-day life. With the proliferation of information, now more than ever local media is here to keep you informed about what’s going on in your own backyard. With the fragmentation of media, that’s not something to be discounted.
Support your local media because they’re here to support you.
Happy Birthday, America!