One of the things mainstream radio in America has all but abandoned is journalism. It’s only been a half-century since the advent of television, and from then to now is the time it’s taken for radio news to all but disappear.
Radio news departments were some of the first casualties in the industry’s downward spiral into consolidation and cost-cutting sparked by the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. It costs a lot of money (read: salaries) to produce local news, and offers some of the lowest return on investment (read: ad rates).
As an independent media movement took root at the end of the last century, activists rediscovered radio journalism. A portable minidisc recorder makes it possible for one person to archive a large amount of sound on a matchbook-sized medium; regular cassette tapes are cheaper still. And the MP3 file system makes coverage of events and interviews easy to produce and distribute online.