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March 15, 2013

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Dave

We may be missing one thing. When you ask why Ibiquity made inroads in the HD world, why Iheart Radio has done the same? Why the internet will make it into the dashboard-not because of need. Remember when Powell Crosley built a radio station in the 30s, he also built radios. How to sell radios? Have something to listen to. In 2014 it's all about the benjamins. If MY company makes more $$ thanks to a "contributor" who will make me money by eliminating AM/FM, and I get a "contribution" from the mobile internet services, how can I lose (short-term)? The guys with the deep pockets are the ones who will determine our future, not what the public wants. It's a shame-but it's true. Everyone wants in on new technology -but some are positioned to pay their way in, and force the other technology (AM/FM) out. They will be the winners. Cable wants to re-structure their tiers to move local broadcast stations to less convenient locations. The FCC is actually considering that. Did someone donate to the commission to consider altering the "must carry" rules? What happens to NBC when it's on channel 1735 and no longer on Channel 4, 7, 10 ( basic cable) -wherever? It can be a boon for the lesser watched cable channels to have a more prominent location. Eric isn't really Chicken Little, even though the sky isn't falling yet. In 1965, it was very clear that FM had technical superiority over AM. Once the programming hit (10 years later) there was no stopping FM. You can bet broadcast radio will have to compete with thousands of other channels, so it's up to broadcasters to seriously look at the content and the needs of the consumers. Otherwise we'll have a future audience of "settlers" -or those who just gave up on the audio medium.

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Ski Anderson

Mr. Eric Rhoads,

Thanks for the apology.

It is refreshing to hear someone in your position unequivocally state they were wrong.

The sad part of the whole situation is the perception this casts on radio. The perception that agencies, other media, and business owners have of radio is sometimes based more on what they hear than what they know.

Your recent situation is proof positive "the sky is falling, the sky is falling" makes radio look weak, ineffective and to a certain point, irrelevant.

If we are so scared we are going to lose our place in the dash… why should ANYONE invest their hard earned dollars with a dying media?

We need to be more concerned about driving more listeners to radio. We need to put LIVE people on air and focus on local content, expand what we do. We need to be acting from a position of strength.

Your kerfuffle makes radio look weak.

It's the same with AM. AM unlistenable. Not that the content is bad… it's just that the radios have crappy AM receivers. We've done nothing to make AM listening easy. No matter how great the programming is… if your radio can't pick it up… you can't hear it.

We put all our eggs in FM's basket and now the chickens are coming home to roost. What is the difference between Pandora or Last FM or anyone of the 10,000 voice-tracked music stations in America? Not much. And THAT’s the problem!

I would appreciate it if you and other leaders in our industry would talk up our strengths. Talk about what makes radio important and instead of giving lip service to “content” and “people” actually hire them and create it… insist on it.

I think the message that the industry has been putting forward about what radio is and what we can be has been horrible. The handling of HD radio is a perfect example.

This whole dashboard situation is a very close second!

Let's create programming SO compelling that if a car doesn’t have an am/fm radio people won't buy it.

And let’s believe in what we do so we don’t have to be “spooked” by every new technology we don’t fully understand yet.

Respectfully,


Ski Anderson

Jerry Isenhart

Wonder why my original comment was deleted?
I wrote:

What is so offensive in writing:
We should all be glad I was wrong

Wonder why it was deleted.

Panama Jack

Give Eric a break, guys. At least he has the balls to admit it. But here's the thing, why not manage your properties "as-if" you're up against no Radio's in cars in two years?
I was in the biz from '68 until 1993 as a jock, pd, sales, sales manager, general manager and managing sweat-equity buyer. I absolutely loved Radio and strongly believed in its power. But when the suits from the corporate-cluster world showed up, everything turned on its head. Why? None of these guys understood the essence of the medium and guess what? They still don't.
Yes Radio has lots more competition than ever before, Radio continued to be a viable medium when the biggest punch in the gut of all, Television, came along.
If you want Radio to continue to be a viable medium that can create that spark of turning a passive listener active...actually making your station a topic of conversation in the listener's peer group, then find that essence.
Otherwise you'll wind up with listeners quantitatively off-target to your competing media, even if you're able to hold onto the younger demos.
You corporate dudes should ask the question in each market for each station, "What is a listener's compelling reason to seek out this station". Be honest and sincere in asking this question and you'll probably find there isn't a compelling reason for most of them, other than the type of music you're turning over or the talkers on the roster, or it's the only signal that's strong.
IMHO operating a Radio station bare bones the way most are managed today is surrender, pure and simple. Don't wave the white flag yet.

Stan Mak

Eric, greetings from Seattle!
Saying to your peers that you’ve made a mistake is very difficult to do. I admire your candor and courage to do the retraction.
Whether car manufacturers would keep AM/FM radio in the auto dashboard for another 10 years or not, one thing we can anticipate (thanks to Convergence) is that AM/FM stations will be competing in the connected dashboard universe. Instead of 20, 30 or 40 radio stations in a market, AM/FM stations will be dealing with a great deal more audio choices for in-car listening.
Like you, I love the radio broadcasting business. My sincere wish is for all AM/FM stations to do well and prosper for many years to come.
The reality is what’s deemed good enough just a short time ago may not hold up in the connected dashboard universe.
Unless radio stations can elevate the value proposition to listeners and advertisers, the road ahead can be rocky.
Thanks for ringing the alarm bell.

john mcconnell

Dear Eric --

Thank you for the retraction. Given you were about to tube the radio industry, suggesting that in car radio listening was over and done with in a couple years, you certainly needed to apologize.

Because what you said was -- crazy.

Surely, as some of the best and brightest in the audio-future space gathered to speak candidly about the road ahead, no one would have suggested that "radio" might not have a place in the new world order of in car listening, where Aha, The Blaze, Sirius, In Sync, Pandora, U Connect et al are positioned to run the table. Nope -- radio is incredibly well positioned into the rest of the decade and I know this because while I didn't make the convergence conference in San Jose, I did ride in my friend Steve's new Tesla S 3 days ago and OMG did i get a jolt of in your - face - mobile Internet radio.

But enough kidding for real (the Tesla is real btw)

Here's the straight up Eric -- your mistake has done more to focus appropriate attention on our industry than any one single statement made in this industry in months. Fact is, you probably should be king for a day, even if you did make a mess of things for a few days.

You articulated not what you heard, but what you fear. You heard that while most listening is "in car", your thought bubble told you the car has so many choices available that radio, as you and i know it, is taking a third row, and certainly not shotgun to the voice activated menu, which is soon to be the new "set your button to". You heard that as we suck resources, idea's, concepts and talent out of our signals, as an industry, our position at the starting gate is not near the pole. Why? Because if we don't own the distribution, we better have the content for the ride along.

So, not that it matters to others, but it does to me, I forgive you for your error and at the same time, thank you.

I spent the week in LA and heard a lot of radio in my Kia via Hertz with the AM/FM combo button (the other was for SiriusXM) A lot of traffic (how do you people do it???) meant a lot of listening and here's what I heard on the "radio". KFI's Pope coverage -- blow me away great f'ng radio. And ESPN Radio's Mike Golic spitting through a spot with a mouthful of Twinkies. Pull over to the side splitting funny. I also heard one of the most vibrant and successful stations in radio history now airing a TV audio simulcast. Side splitting sickening that was.

If KFI and ESPN was what our industry sounded like, day 'n and out and not just a few stations a few shows at a time, then Eric, you should have no fear for the business and the coming "dash". Years at ABC Radio and Disney taught content is queen. Owning the distribution meant not much if you didn't have what listeners want.

None of the radio companies control the 'in car" pipe. We better have the goods or you'll be retracting your retraction in 3 years by saying, "I screwed up again -- I actually heard what I heard".

John

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President
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Richard Fusco

A Short Ramble about our Future.

The time frame may not be certain but the primary delivery platform for radio and all media will change definitely within 10 years. The primary delivery platform for all media will be the Internet. There may still be AM and FM in cars in 2023 but it will not be the primary way people access audio content. Content on the Internet will be accessible from anywhere (including in cars), anytime and there will be a lots of it including 10's of thousands of audio options. The primary device for access to the Internet will be the smart phone. (We need a better name. It is so much more than a phone.) There will still be broadcast radio but a very small percentage of listeners will get radio from broadcast just like a very small percentage of TV viewers get their TV via an antenna. This means all media will have the ability to be interactive.

To counter Pandora and other customized channels as well as generic genre-specific channels, radio stations need to provide strong unique branded content and connect on an emotional level with their listeners. They need to be more than a typical classic rock or country station with the same old format presentation. Stations need to expand beyond the traditional limits of broadcast radio and provide video, on-demand and other new media. Ongoing, engaging social media is a must. Building a strong emotional bond is key. People may like Pandora but they will never feel a emotional connection with Pandora. Station website is a repository of content and information including a significant amount of local content.

Stations need to connect physically with listeners regularly with unique live events geared to their psychographics. On-air, social media, emails, website, events all cross promote each other. All advertising packages must be integrated across all station platforms. Radio sales people need to know the dynamics of what makes integrated ad packages work and how to sell them. They must be experts in digital as well as traditional media advertising opportunities. They need to know how to respond when asked about accountability. Radio needs to reinvent itself for this emerging new media environment now. For the record, I think Eric's original statement will prove to be accurate. A change is definitely gonna come!

RADIO-TIMETRAVELLER

Reread the article and you will see it's just a matter of time. Eric is not so wrong after all.

Koslowski: "That will not happen over the next five to ten years, but past that absolutely."

Yes, absolutely.

The point is, broadcast AM/FM is indeed going away, just not in 2-5 years. And when vehicle receivers no longer receive over the air broadcasts, how long do you think stations will continue to transmit and stay in business? I would venture to say that most radio listening these days is done from a vehicle.

Bill

Al Gordon

Hi Eric,

No apology necessary. I wish more people had the passion for our industry today like you do. But, that goes back to the days of Y100 and 96X...

Keep up the great work...remember, only G-d is perfect; we are humans. I personally do not perceive what you said as a "mistake," rather you were reporting what you knew at that particular minute...

Have a great weekend!

Al Gordon
Owner/PD/MD/SM/janitor
1640 WJPR
Jewish Highland Park/Edison Radio
1640WJPR.com
More Music Mornings with Gordon-in-the morning
Weekdays 6-10AM EST

Paul Rusling

Anyone can make a mistake, but it takes a real man to admit it.
Well done Eric.

Roy H. Williams

Okay, so now that everyone has a pinata to bash in their rage against online radio, here's a new question: Was Eric's original misquote fundamentally wrong, or was it just premature? Does anyone out there actually doubt that Apple is going to launch a worldchanging radio option in the very near future? Online radio is still in its infancy, but it's going to become a monster when it grows up. If you're honest, you know in your heart that it's only a matter of time. This brings me no joy. Frankly, it causes me very big problems. My partners and I have been spending a few tens of millions of dollars a year with America's commercial radio stations for the past 19 years and my deepest wish is that everything would stay as it has been. But closing your eyes and smashing a pinata doesn't make the monster in the shadows go away.

IAN WRIGHT

I'm from Australia and have worked in the commercial radio business since I was 17, now 59. How refreshing to hear and see in print a journalist stating he got it wrong, not blaming anybody else for getting it wrong, reaffirming his love of radio and apologising for his below par reporting performance. Too bad many politicians AND radio heavyweights don't and haven't done in the past what B.Eric Rhoads has done today. The world is full of industry and political heavyweights who have got it wrong, costing jobs, careers, relationships, shareholders investments and mega bucks to companies and yet, all too often they are rewarded with bonuses and other perks on top of their not insignificant remuneration packages. Then of course there are the doogooders who are always so wise AFTER the event and so forthright in their criticsm. If nothing else, I say congratulations B.Eric Rhoads for having the guts to admit to being human, compassionate, apologetic and a real lover of the radio medium. I salute you sir in the belief it's people like you, who do more good for the radio business, despite your crime of sometimes getting it wrong. When I got it wrong in my Management years, particularly with staff, I ALWAYS ate humble pie, apologised without reservation and collectively WE got on with the job.

Chasity Belt

It's a COMMENTARY. The way Eric see it. The way Eric remembered it. This is not the 6 o'clock news. This is A BLOG! Get over it HATERS! Eric has lost no credibility. Whether radio people stick together and are advocates or not, THE TECHNOLOGY IS HERE! If people are willing to buy vehicles without AM/FM in the dash, then auto dealers will produce it. They certainly are not going to ask the radio station owners on whether or not they should get rid of AM/FM in the dash. WHAT? They will NEVER produce a camera that doesn't use film. WHAT? They will invent a book that doesn't use paper. WHAT? They will never get rid of CD's or albums. Where will they put the song lyrics and liner notes?
Polaroid, B.Dalton, and FYE have conformed. Radio will have to conform too.

Harry

Eric's original post and the actual quotes from the video really weren't that far off from each other. I say give him a break and heed the warning that analog radio's days may be numbered ..... if not in 2 years then maybe 5 to 10. It's still daunting news and news radio can use to prepare.

Greg Smith (HDRadioFarce)

Eric,

As I was reading your original post, I was waiting for some plug for HD Radio. Threatening the analog-only stations that they may have to convert HD Radio junk-technology, if the automakers pull analog AM/FM, has always been the course for HD Radio proponents. Now, that somehow iBiquity has convinced the automakers to invest in HD, despite all of the consumer complaints, I actually thought that was a possibility. iBiquity would be thrilled. I thought that your article was a set-up from the start.

Al Pervin

Eric, you made a mistake and have apologized. It was the right thing to do. But let's not lose sight here. Radio is not stepping up to the plate regarding digital. There has to be much greater commitment to content and much greater engagement with digital revenue. The changes may occur later, but they will occur. Radio needs to be competitive for digital distribution and not rely on the unique benefits of the AM/FM car radio.

Tim Martz

Sorry Eric, but this is nothing more than a CYA attempt to salvage some credibility. I didn't believe it for a minute when you first wrote the article. And even if you had gotten the numbers right, the very idea never passed the most basic smell test. Yet you were so eager to "break a story" that fits your digital mindset that you abandoned any pretense of journalistic integrity.

Cliff Shank

I appreciate your apology and retraction, but you have lost a lot of credibility! You violated the first rule of journalism, get it right, before getting it first! In your zeal to push the new digital world, you have damaged the radio industry you say you love. To suggest AM/FM would not be in the dashboard of automobiles in two years was reckless and will be used against us! As an owner of four radio stations, which is everything I own in the world, please refrain from using the sky is falling approach to journalism in the future! It is tough enough to make a living as it is! Now you have planted the seed that a dashboard without AM/FM is even possible! Try being an industry advocate, instead of CHICKEN LITTLE!

Chris Rolando

Please change the title of this piece to "Eric Cries Wolf Again"

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