The test is starting in North Station, South Station, and Airport. Let's see what the press release says and, I warn you, I have a very low tolerance for glossed-over PR language full of words and euphemisms and signifying nothing. Let's hope nothing like that is given to us today!
Today, T-customers at MBTA's North Station, South Station, and Airport platforms will experience a unique information and entertainment pilot program designed specifically with them in mind.Uh oh. The last part of that sentence is pure and utter PR hogwash wrapped up in a feelgood chocolate coating. "Designed specifically with them in mind" just means "we identified our target demographic and now it's time to exploit the hell out of 'em."
T-Radio is an expertly programmed radio format where informative news, entertainment and safety announcements are seamlessly integrated with music to appeal to Boston’s multi-cultural T-rider demographics."Expertly programmed" means absolutely nothing other than "We'll try not to come out of a tragic news story on a house fire with Disco Inferno." And as for the multi-cultural demographics? Well... today when I strolled through South Station, I was treated to a DJ coming out of U2's "Mysterious Ways" with a story having to do with Thomas Edison and the invention of the light bulb, which was merely a setup for the punchline of "Of course, Al Gore probably said he created it first... oh chuckle chuckle, so much for the Lighter Side of the News..."
So, apparently, Boston's multi-cultural T-rider demographic (honestly, this demographic really is "people who are waiting for trains") is just begging for inane morning DJ chatter, plus innovative takes on such DJ cliches as "...and I'll be here with you..." ("...and I'll be here for the ride...") and stale jokes which are almost old enough to purchase cigarettes.
MBTA General Manager Daniel A. Grabauskas said, "This is a great opportunity to provide the customer with up-to-date information in an engaging and entertaining format. Providing news, sports and weather along with service alerts while also promoting destinations that can be accessed via public transportation are just a few of the many features available on T–Radio..."Don't forget the ads, Danny! Don't forget the "seven-figure cash windfall" for the T on this! Can't forget those! And it really is a shame the T commuters don't really have any other way of getting news, sports and weather while trapped underground. If only there were these two people near the entrances of every station with bundles of news printed on foldable paper, handing them out for free or something.
And here's what the president of Pyramid Radio, Rich Balsbaugh, the guy behind Kiss 108 and the man who stands to make bargeloads of cash money for this deal, has to say in the name of spin:
"Pyramid Radio designs creative audio entertainment and blends it with pertinent information for real people..."Oh, look! Another useless press release sentence. Good thing we weren't playing a drinking game or else we'd all be completely blotto by now. As there's no way of saying "We wanted to put in constant music and ads" without having to spin it with uselessly optimstic euphemisms, they reach for those euphemisms and come up with some real doozies. PERTINENT information for REAL people! (as opposed to useless information for replicants?) What a great slogan! What an awesome sound bite! What a complete lack of meaning altogether! That sentence right there is just glossed-over froo-frah that means "we maks radio mak musics and then mebe the nooz and ads." This ghastly writing is all so eye-rollingly transparent, I don't understand why it's such an industry standard. Who buys into it? Who goes down to the platform and thinks "...yeah! This really was designed with me in mind! This really is pertinent information for real people, and I should know, cause I'm one of them!" Why not just say T-Radio will play "the best hits of the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and today, plus lyrics that won't embarass you in front of your kids?"
T-Radio encompasses music across the last five decades up to and including current chart hits.Oh.
Frankly, here's what the T saw: Riders reading free Metro and BostonNOW newspapers. Riders listening to their own music on their iPods or listening to the buskers who truly create "creative audio entertainment." But most importantly, they saw paying riders standing idly about when they could be listening to ads. Well! they thought. Why not take over the whole shebang? We gets the money, and buskers get the shaft, and mainstream media was on its way out anyway and everybody was making fun of the Metro to begin with, so no big loss. Suddenly the lottery lady's "cha-ching! cha-ching!" catchphrase takes on a whole new meaning. Thankfully, there's hope, however potentially falsely given, at the end of the press release:
...customers will soon be able to leave feedback directly via MBTA.com. Customer feedback will determine whether T-Radio is kept at the three stations and the possibility of it being expanded throughout the system.Here's the link to provide feedback. While I hope there's enough public outcry to make them reconsider, honestly it's going to take a lot of outcry for them to drop this potential cash cow that they've already sunk a lot of money into.
Still, they can't consider it if they don't get enough yelling. Time to yell (well, at least, time to yell politely, I mean.)