Goodbye to the Rocky Mountain News. So long to the print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Want seven-day home delivery in Detroit? Sorry, no such luck.
With news as our primary business here in University News, we take special interest in news about the demise of individual newspapers—along with the challenges faced by an entire industry. But many people might have missed a publication death last week. Though huge news in select circles, it occurred largely out of the limelight (or the headlines, if you will).
Last Wednesday, Nielsen Business Media Inc., parent company of Billboard magazine (the music-industry trade weekly), abruptly—and with little fanfare—folded its sister publication, Radio & Records (R&R, as it was commonly called). The R&R Web site went down without warning that day and the final print edition was dated June 5.
Never heard of R&R? Trust me, there was a time when R&R—before becoming part of the Billboard media conglomerate in 2006—was considered “the bible” of the radio industry. As my RIT colleague—and fellow radio alum—Rob Jason Fain, ETC instructional technologist and WHAM radio weekend news anchor, can attest, it was the place to look for your next job (and in radio, you’re always searching for that “next big opportunity”).
I first learned of R&R’s demise on a discussion board at Radio-Info.com (a Web site that, ironically, probably contributed indirectly to R&R’s downfall). As I wrote there, the news saddened but didn’t shock me, for if there’s a media sector suffering more than radio it’s newspapers. Unfortunately for R&R, it was part of a struggling industry covering another struggling industry; it offered a somewhat duplicative product within its parent company; and it lagged behind some newer Web-based competitors (such as Radio-Info.com) in the social-media realm.
Reflecting back to a little more than seven years ago—when I was less than a couple years removed from my most recent radio job, in my first year of RIT graduate studies, and a paid subscriber to the R&R print edition—I submitted a letter to R&R (even though the paper didn’t actually have a regular letters section). Well, I was quite pleased—and more than a little surprised—at finding my essay as the page three centerpiece of the March 15, 2002, print edition.
To some, “R&R” stands for “rock ’n’ roll,” while to others it means “rest and relaxation.” But to those who toiled in radio at one time or another, it’ll always conjure memories of our onetime “bible,” Radio & Records.
And to those who love newspapers—holding them, reading them, clipping them, saving them—it’s always sad when one of your favorites dies.