We like to complain … a lot.
The propensity to share thoughts on topics, or just hear other thoughts that are close to your own is the magic that keeps people interacting with talk radio stations.
And although WTMJ-AM 620 is known for that talk with Charlie Sykes, Jeff Wagner and a few others, there is more to the station than conservative slants, interviews and topical talk. The morning and afternoon news shows, the nightly sports talk, carrying Bucks, Brewers and Packers games, the sponsored-content weekend shows, the commercial spots, live remotes – they all are part and parcel to what the station does in Milwaukee.
It is all the aspects mentioned above that contributed to the nation’s top award in radio – the Marconi – being awarded to the station on Thursday night.
"WTMJ has seen incredible growth over the past year by re-focusing on the attributes for what the station is best known," said Tom Langmyer, VP and GM at the station, as we shared messages last night from Indianapolis.
"WTMJ has greatly broadened perspectives and topics, is more local, has increased in commitment to covering local news that truly affects Wisconsinites and has recommitted to community service."
The Large Market – Station of the Year award is nothing new for WTMJ, which won three others between 2000 and 2004. But, this one seems bigger as the radio space is different now than what is was 10 years ago. With technology, audience listening habits have shifted.
"While there is much more to come along those lines," Langmyer said about the greater concentration on local coverage. "It is great to see Milwaukee and 'Wisconsin's Radio Station' receive the Marconi Award, radio's highest national honor."
Every media outlet in Wisconsin has less employees as it once did in the past, however, WTMJ is one of the few radio stations left that still has more than two people working in the newsroom. Being a part of shrinking newsrooms in the past, I understand the pain involved in just trying to cover local stories. WTMJ has shown that commitment, and that is rare in radio.
"I'm very proud of our radio team," said Steve Wexler, who oversees all of the radio stations for the Journal Broadcast Group.
"The Marconi is one of the most coveted awards in our industry, and is only given to radio stations that are truly connected to their communities they serve. In our case, we do that through news, sports and talk programming with personalities who really are invested in our market."
IMMIGRATION: At 6 p.m. Saturday, Al Jazeera’s "Fault Lines" explores the humanitarian crisis unfolding along the U.S. border with Mexico and asks: What’s driving the unprecedented migration of children to the border, what have the children left behind, and will they be able to stay in the U.S.?
It will be an interesting perspective the news channel may provide, especially as border issues and refugees are huge issues in the Middle East, the hub of Al Jazeera’s international coverage.
Journalist Hector Silva tells "Fault Lines" that gangs have sparked the most recent exodus of children. "The gangs, not the state, set the rules," Silva says. "You pay me, or you die. That’s a rule. Your children will be a part of my group, or they will be ousted or killed. That’s another rule. Your daughters will serve me or my group as sexual partners, or they will be ousted or killed. Those are the rules. The state doesn’t have the capacity to overcome these rules in those communities."
Media is bombarding us everywhere.
Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.
The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.