Why I Turn The (Metaphorical) Radio Dial

I love listening to NPR (OPB here in Oregon) in the mornings. But as soon as the host starts reading the long list of station IDs, I find a different station to listen to, hoping Katy Perry’s Roar or Macklemore’s Can’t Hold Us comes on. If I find a song that suits me, I’ll listen to it for a while, then go back to NPR, hoping that the blasted reading of station IDs is over. 

Does it bother you as much as it bothers me when you hear the beginning of the boring list, “OPB is heard by member stations KOAC Albany, KRBM Arlington, KOAB Bend…” etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseam? 

Guess who’s responsible for this? The government. There’s actually a Federal Communications Commission regulation that requires radio stations to announce their broadcast station identification every single hour. And lucky you, because the government is back in business today, you too can read the whole regulation here, rather than just believing me. FCC Station Identification, 47 C.F.R. § 73.1201 (2011). <And BOOM! I just Bluebook’d the hell out of that citation!>

I know this is all very law nerd of me, but I was sick of wondering why OPB would bore me to tears every single hour. 

And I’m not the only one who has wondered. Check out this conversation, which suggests it might be possible for affiliate stations to have a pre-programmed station identification that plays every hour, so all OPB listeners, regardless of location in Oregon, don’t have to listen to the long laundry list of station IDs. And this article by someone who understands the technical aspects of all of this provides an explanation of station identification in detail.

And now you know. 


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