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July 28, 2009



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Carl Magnuson

For me the most memorable and exciting presentation about the future from Convergence was from Jeff Hinson.

Though after the conference I couldn't remember his name or that he was from Border Media, his presentation stuck with me above all others. Its a sad day that he's leaving. I hope he remains in the industry.

Just wanted to say that todays blog was sad to read, but needed. - Though you know that, Eric. I just wanted to give you props for laying it out so publically.

Michael Raffety

I just read your recent article “A Failed Quest, And Why Radio Needs To Embrace Failure”. I’ve been in radio, mostly as a producer for morning radio shows and talk shows for over 16 years since high school. I’ve been thinking the exact same thing about what radio will become and your article verbalized it! Thank you!

Radio stations, I believe, will be just one of the many venues that digital content will be dispensed through. A show (or a whole “station” or “network”) is no longer just a “radio” show. The audio form of the content is just one option for users (listeners/viewers/readers) to take in your show or brand. A show or brand must deliver multi-media content (written blogs, video/visual, audio) and deliver it via many platforms (online, TV, radio, mobile PDA’s).

I think we may see more radio stations acting as simple platforms or venues, piping in the created digital content that is just the audio offerings from independent multi-media producers. We see this play out in the channel and content offerings on Satellite radio (Martha Stewart’s brand audio content, Oprah’s brand audio content, Howard’s brand audio content, Playboy’s brand audio content, etc.). Radio can be the audio extension of these well known and niched brands.

I believe those in radio who love this industry and want to continue to be a part of it will have to transition to the concept of working for multi-media producers, not radio stations. We can utilize our skills in producing the audio portion of these brands. We should also learn the online and visual elements as well. Some radio stations may become these new “multi-media producers”, but like you say, they must change their view of who and what they are. They are merely an audio platform for multi-media brands, but they can choose to be multi-media producers, using their audio broadcasting capabilities to dispense audio content and to promote their visual/video, written, and interactive content.

Thanks again for articulating this new model!


Mike Luoma

Radio has only itself to blame, and the quick exit of Hinson is merely symptomatic of the industry's larger problems. From the era of the Reagan administration onward through the Telecommunications Act of 1996 radio stations became concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer publicly held companies. These companies brought an incredibly high level of risk aversion into the industry, partnered with an irrational belief that radio stations could be increasingly profitable year after year. This combination stalled radio in its tracks, as playlists and programming formulas calcified out of risk aversion and staffs were cut to the bone to increase supposed productivity.

With the creative side of radio cut to the bone and held below a living wage in small markets, radio choked off its own talent pool, both on the air and off. Overnight radio shows in small markets were gone, eliminating a fertile training ground under the name of cost cutting. Programming became codified and banal - with playlists trimmed to a non-risky test list, the only surprises on the radio came from shock jocks.

Risk aversion stalled radio in the late eighties and irrational profit projections wiped out the creative pool. If radio is now forced to look outside for its creative thinkers, it's because radio as an industry drove those people out. The folks now fueling the digital revolution come from the same talent pool radio could have been tapping into for the last twenty years, but instead sent packing under the guise of cost cutting and risk control. Radio wrote its own death warrant long ago. It's barely eking out on life support now. Hard to get an industry to live in the present, never mind look to the future, when it is stuck in an outdated, outmoded, antique paradigm.

Bill Sepmeier

I had been wondering what your request for information re: digital media was going to turn out - I guess this is one story. I'll have to read up on the proposed plan, even though it didn't take off well this time.

I bought my new wife an iPhone recently as a wedding present. The first thing she downloaded from the AppStore was Pandora. I've played with it a bit and frankly, the service Pandora provides - tailor-made radio stations - is even more remarkable in the car. Streaming 3G Internet is as solid as XM/Sirius and, when the iPhone's plugged into either of our vehicles' "aux ports," the sound is excellent.

I downloaded another app called "I (heart) Radio" and use it to listen to a Denver 5kW AM talker that has no prayer of coming in up here, 3 hours west. Again, excellent quality.

The NAB whined for years that the iPod has no radio. Well, let me tall you, the iPhone does! A great one! The Pandora music radio stream will be a new challenge for XM/Sirius (oh they're available too, for a monthly fee) but there's no reason broadcasters can't take advantage of the remarkable capability of both the iPhones and iPodTouch (which runs all the apps using wifi instead of G3/Edge) base. The era of "portable radio" really has returned, to those aware of it and willing to promote it.


I’ve always found the expression “all pioneers get are arrows in the back” to be an odd one. In a normal Indian fight the arrows would be stuck in the cowboy’s front. You can only get shot in the back by the people on your side standing behind you.

It’s been my privilege to fix a number of broken stations and the problems are always INSIDE the building (or company) not outside.

Radio’s wounds are self-inflicted.

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