Down East 2013 ©
WVOM takes a hit from the hits: The spring 2010 Arbitron ratings  for the Bangor market have been released, and they show a change in the number two slot.
While country station WQCB (106.5 FM)  continued its firm grip on the top spot – down a point and a half from the fall 2009 survey, but up nearly two points from last spring – talker WVOM (103.9 FM)  lost a full rating point from the 9.6 share it held in the last two books. VOM was bumped from the runner-up position by pop music on WBZN (107.3 FM) .
BZN grabbed an average quarter hour share of the audience of 9.5 percent, up from just 4.8 last fall (the station wasn’t rated in the spring ’09 book). That allowed it to muscle aside not only VOM, but classic rocker WKIT (100.3 FM) , which saw its share of listeners decline from 9.6 in the fall to 9.0 this spring (still an improvement over the 7.3 share it posted a year ago.
Other winners in this book: classic hits WWMJ (95.7 FM) 
and adult contemporary WEZQ (92.9 FM) , which finished fifth and sixth, respectively, with numbers up sharply from the last two ratings periods. The losers: hard rocker WTOS (105.1 FM)  and country WBFB (99.1 FM) , which appeared to lose ground to the market leaders.
The Bangor area is the nation’s 223rd largest radio market, with a population of 164,100 people, according to Arbitron.
The scoop on scoops: In his infamous interview in the July issue  of this Web site’s parent magazine, MaineToday Media CEO Richard Connor shrugged off the frequency with which his newspapers’ were getting beaten by the competition on breaking news. “Scoops don’t matter to me,” Connor said.
If that’s the case, then it’s difficult to understand why the Portland Press Herald is now running prominent blurbs on the front page of its print editions proclaiming when stories were “First reported online.”
If scoops don’t matter, why bother? If they do matter, why waste space that could be devoted to covering them with meaningless self-promotion? Who cares what time the day before the Press Herald got around to posting this information on its Web site?
Not most readers, I’ll bet.
Twice the stories, half the news: In the past couple of weeks, the Lewiston Sun Journal has been suffering from a case of the repetitions. Wire service stories or articles borrowed from other Maine dailies would show up in a couple of places in the paper.
In the computer age, there’s really no excuse for making this kind of mistake, but it keeps happening at the Sun Journal. The worst example to date was on page A3 of the July 30 edition, when it ran a Bangor Daily News  piece  on the sentencing of a loan broker for fraud three columns away from the Associated Press version of the same story.
Come on, make an effort.
The slant on bias: ‘Tis the season when pols and pundits begin accusing the news media of ideological biases. On the As Maine Goes Web site, “mediadog” (no relation), who claims to comment from a “center-right point of view,” issued the expected knee-jerk reaction  to press coverage of Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage’s many blunders, including a joke  that seemed to indicate his Democratic opponent, Libby Mitchell, was too old for the job.
“It was worth some comment,” the blogger wrote, “maybe a paragraph of two as an amusing political sidelight, But instead, it ended up as a full column in the MaineToday newspapers. The thrust of this epic seemed to be to anoint the female, a sharp-tongued political veteran if there ever was one, with victimhood.”
Mediadog suggested reporters need “adult supervision.”
This dog has a point. The story was overblown, and the criticism was mostly partisan. Far more critical issues raised at the same event where LePage made his offhand comment have gotten no serious examination at all.
At Pine Tree Politics, Matthew Gagnon has a far more nuanced view of the coverage .
Gagnon, who also writes from the right of center, points out that the claims of bias are rarely true in Maine (at least since John Day retired from the Bangor Daily News). The blame for unfavorable coverage, he wrote, is almost always the candidate’s fault for failing to watch his or her mouth.
That said, the journalism profession doesn’t get off scott free.
“The media’s real problem – especially in Maine – is a combination of culture, incompetence and laziness,” Gagnon said. “The combination of eroding staff levels, a more superficial news model from the top and some truly unengaged and untalented reporters has created a situation where almost the entirety of the Maine media establishment chases down a daily news digest that is simply the ‘lowest hanging fruit’ possible.”
He points out that when reporters become “glorified note takers,” they tend to focus on anything out of the ordinary, which often results in sensationalized coverage of relatively trivial matters. That’s how he sees the stories on the LePage age controversy.
Gagnon isn’t shy about spreading the blame, though. He said LePage and other GOP leaders hurt their cause by blaming the media for the candidate’s blunder. And he suggests ways LePage could repair the damage by becoming more open.
This is a thoughtful analysis by a political insider with considerable journo-chops of his own. Well worth the few minutes it takes to read the whole piece.
For both the media and the pols.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org