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Sep 21 2013

Weird Cleveland media doings

The only local media I consume is the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper and the NPR affiliate WCPN.

The newspaper has shifted to a strange model. It used to publish seven days a week and provide home delivery. Beginning in August, it still publishes a print newspaper seven days a week but has home delivery only on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On the other three days one has to buy the print edition at a store or from a vending machine. The newspapers on the three days on which there is no home delivery are slimmer in size and the other four days are supposedly bigger to compensate for that.

But you can also access all seven days online. The online version is just a facsimile of the print version that one flips through page-by-page, rather than something designed specifically for web use, though they have added some hot links and other features (such as magnification) to make it easier to read and for navigation. But it is still pretty clunky, nowhere close to the quality of sites like the Guardian.

How they deal with the comics pages (that includes puzzles and horoscopes) pages is bizarre. The Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday print editions have the full comics pages that you can read by buying the paper at the store or reading online. But the Wednesday home delivered paper contains the Monday and Tuesday comics as well, and the Friday paper has the Thursday comics as well. In other words, if you read only the four home delivered papers, you get the full seven days worth of comics, but not the other news from the other three days.

I simply do not understand this new system. Presumably it makes sense to the people who own the paper but the logic completely eludes me.

Meanwhile, the radio station WCPN has started a weird personality cult for Dee Perry, the host of a local afternoon program called The Sound of Applause that deals with arts and culture. It is common for radio stations to air promos for other shows in their lineup. But for this particular show, instead of an ad for the show, we get sickly sweet praise for the host’s qualities as an interviewer and as a person, as if she is god’s gift to broadcasting and humanity. I cringe when I hear those spots. It is not that I think she does not deserve it since I do not know her at all. It just sounds really weird since no other WCPN personality gets that treatment.

Strange things are happening in the local media world.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    Heidi Nemeth

    Perhaps the entertainment industry is paying the media for the exposure. It’s a business proposition – the entertainment industry needs the exposure and the media needs the money. It’ll work if we, the public, are willing audiences to both.

  2. 2
    Jockaira

    Noticing the Sunday edition is included in the weird delivery schedule, it is reasonable to conclude that the sheet (publisher) has decided to spread some or all of the sunday ads to the other days thus compelling advertisers to pay for the expanded coverage. Ads are costed on the basis of views per ad, additional views equal additional cost. The extra mass of the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday editons can probably be explained soley by extra ad volume, a benefit to the publisher, an extra cost to the advertiser, and an extra burden to the subscriber who likely will not notice the extra ads except when he has to lift or dispose of their additional bulk.

    Ads going to subscribers have a higher marketplace value (cost to advertiser) than ads going to non-subscribers (newstands, etc). Inclusion of all these ads in the online editions are usually bundled with regular premium advertising and sometimes bonused for additional purchase.

    What the Plain Dealer has done in effect is to raise its revenue without expanding its advertiser base. This is just another tactic to forestall the perhaps inevitable demise of tree-based newspapers.

  3. 3
    Mano Singham

    Interesting. It does seem on the surface like the Monday, Tuesday, Thursday papers have far fewer ads, supporting your argument.

  4. 4
    Frank

    So I’m not the only one to find the Dee Perry adverts a bit odd. Good to know.

  5. 5
    Frank

    Hey Heidi–hope all is well!

    -Frank at BH

  6. 6
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    The PD is just plain weird anyway. I’ve barely read it since – well, since before i used to deliver it. Back when people below driving age were the carriers.

  7. 7
    Jeffrey Johnson

    My guess is they are saving on printing and paper costs by doing less home delivery. The funny cartoon schedule probably comes down to syndication contracts obligating them to include every day’s release in home delivery. Also many comics have serialized content that builds on day to day stories and themes.

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