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August 15, 2014

Comments

Thomas Berg

Hello Eric,

First of all-BRAVO! Thank you for speaking the truth. I for one do not see this as negative at all. I see it as being painfully, yet refreshingly truthful.

I started in radio in 1977, in and out of different formats as anyone yet sometimes even leaving it and coming back to it. I've been on-air, a copywriter, and in sales over the years. One thing I experienced was working for Disney's business platform- RADIO DISNEY. It was a risk I took, being warned by a former mainstream radio sales manager, but I had to try it.

Yes, the biggest problem this "station" had was not being able to tell ANYONE how many listeners we had (no Arbitron). Secondly as even a problem was a very bad signal (daylight), and 3rd we were to "sell it" as if it were financially the same audience amount as regular Seattle radio. So expensive, no audience, bad signal. Quite the combo. We were to sell it on the basis that it's "DISNEY". Ok, and? I eventually left or was let go really because I couldn't sell it. In fact, they had a long history of a rotating front door that sales people would go out of, mostly. I could go on and on, but I'm not surprised with it closing down. Too bad the last 17 years of existence here, wouldn't have been met with reality of what was coming.

Anyway, THANK YOU for being honest and real. I am one who believes local radio will always be here. By the way, you spoke of someone taking the helm on change and being creative about how to make sure we change with the times. Where is the RAB (Radio Advertisers Bureau) in all of this? Are they still alive and vibrant with everything you speak of?

I left radio 3 years ago and for the past 2.5 years studied for my Bachelors degree, of which I just last week graduated with my BS in Marketing, presently looking for a different job then what I've been doing while in school.

Thank you for boldly going where most go, speaking the truth about how our industry needs to change it up to keep fresh, alive, and again vibrant in this great industry we call RADIO.

Thomas Berg
thomasinseattle@gmail.com


Ken Dardis

Eric:

Three quick points to a spot-on read: 1) This concept of "talking about radio's weakness means you are the enemy" has to stop. The ones who love radio most become vocal when they see trouble brewing; 2) The choice of guiding your children out of harms way is an appropriate analogy; 3) The use of 30 year old programming tactics not only come from a desire to stick with "what works," but from mass firings and increased workloads making it impossible to give time to creating "new."

Radio is not dead. However, as Paul Goldstein mentions, anyone who will not admit to massive problems is akin to AM owners discounting FM in the mid-70s.

A PR campaign is needed. But needed more is an understanding of exactly what new audio competitors are doing, and then designing systems to beat them. Notice I said systems and not "content," which is only one part of the solution.

Bashing competition isn't how a classy industry endears itself to consumers.

Ronald T. Robinson

Professional, grownup station-owners and management are not supposed to panic. That would be so uncool. Plus, staff would pick up on the flop-sweat vibes and people would start heading for the parachute lockers.

Yet, the rising bile in some of their throats (the ones who have been paying attention) is as a result of something - something serious and dangerous. No matter how many clouds of smoke they blow up employees', advertisers' and each other's butts, most already know they have or are very close to "hitting the wall".

The Disney-thing is a non-starter. So, Mickey Inc. is punting a bunch of useless signals into the market. Somebody might even buy them. So what?

Meanwhile, ownership and management are hoping the gods smile and provide some technologies that demonstrate how radio is such a good investment for advertisers. This, when they know fully well that radio works only sometimes, maybe and depends.

Meanwhile, does anybody in leadership ever 'fess up and take responsibility for gutting those very elements that attract and hold audiences, and that (supposedly) craft the materials that demonstrate influence and listenability of the commercial content on behalf of advertisers? No, they do not. I'm not even sure if the subject is tolerated as a worthy or allowed element for discussion. The word "taboo" comes to mind.

So, here we have an entire industry at a loss as to what to do next - other than bringing in some PR firm to twist and spin "the story". Actually, that strikes me as a rather embarrassing tactic, especially when it is pointed out that radio's "story" is full of massive holes and a thoroughly shabby read - under most circumstances.

But, when nothing else seems to be available - what else ya gonna do? Panic.

Nick Laslo

Wow, somebody sounds very insecure.

Paul Goldstein

Eric is right. And the Apple analogy is of critical importance to broadcasters. AM broadcasters, willing to cannibalize their audience, bought FM stations in the 60s/70s and stayed in the game. FM broadcasters seem unwilling to follow the simple truth AM owners understood in the 70s: Play in the new FM platform, or get creamed.

The migration of time spent listening from A/F radio to mobile/online radio is being met with a wholly insufficient response from broadcasters. Other than iHeart Radio (whose audience is less than 1/6th the size of Pandora alone), broadcasters are not innovating in the new online/mobile platform.

Big, bold, original online/mobile stations & content must be developed by broadcasters, otherwise it'd be like AM broadcasters in the 70s saying they are not worried about FM. If our core competency is audio entertainment, with our audience spending more and more time listening via an IP platform, what are we thinking?!? . Streaming your A/F stations online is nice but it's not enough to compete on the platform where 160 million Americans now listen. The competitive advantages offered by Internet radio (song skipping, infinite choice, etc.) have largely been ignored by broadcasters. They're letting startups and tech giants like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon enter the radio space, without resistance.

Broadcasters who don't develop a content innovation strategy and invest in dazzling online stations/services/content, are sealing their fate.

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