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October 27, 2011


Don Shafer

I just read your blog today and was very impressed with your groups initiatives.

For anyone who has "been on the beach", it's not a great party and you and your colleagues have gone a long way to help.

There is still a lot of work north of the 49th and we are always looking for talented people.

BTW, I am looking for an old friend from my LA Radio days and would appreciate finding Jim Ladd.

Ronald T. Robinson

Although there is enough blame available to seed a very large field... and feed the birds, I think the responsibility to make the adjustments necessary to drive our business into a resurgence has to be shared.

By this I mean: Management is going to have to "up" their game and so will the Talent. But, first - the Confessional... and not because its good for the soul. Because it's good for the intellect. First comes Awareness of the issues. Then comes the exploration for possible Solutions.

So often - and I believe this also applies to the behaviors of Radio-folk over the last decades - people, and the organizations they build tend to: find out what doesn't work and then... do it harder.

I am satisfied that Solutions are available. The downside is: they will hardly be recognized immediately for what they might be or welcomed with open arms and enthusiasm... for awhile.

I'm grateful to Radio Ink, as well, for accepting my own meager contributions on these issues as worthy of some consideration.

Mark Heller

This too, shall pass. But, remember we're living in a 'cookie cutter radio world' and have been for years. Company owned Country stations stuck with same playlist. Oldies stations stuck with one-size fits all hard drive music. Republican rant talk stations, doing the same thing for years. Nobody's making money off HD-Radio (IBOC), yet it's screwing up the AM band. Nobody's making any 'serious' money off the internet, but it seems we're putting 80% of our effort there. Are there ANY stations, outside small and medium, locally owned stations, that are actually having 'contests' or taking 'requests' anymore? This is a wake up call to small markets and medium independently owned stations, to step up to the plate, and 'over serve' their community. Hard to say this, but there's little you can do about what happened here, in the past 48 hours.

Eric Rhoads

Dear Edge of Idaho:

Im not at all thrilled by the job cuts either but as one who owns his own business I know the pressure of business and the realities that when business is bad I cannot spend at the level I was spending...  thus cuts are sometimes necessary. Sometimes cuts are necessary to raise the $ needed to invest in new technology or innovation.

And yes, its all about stockholders. Every radio job that exists (other than public radio) in America was created by people who were willing to invest their money in a business in hopes of receiving a return for taking the risk. Stockholders create pretty much every non-government job in America. To think that they are the enemy is naive. Im not sure that targeting your anger for Wall Street should be necessarily targeted to stockholders. In the cases of many a public company the stockholders you seem to hate are often regular people like you and me who invest in a company in hopes of making slight increase on our money. Sometimes the risk means we loose and other times we might gain. Though Wall Street has its problems, which I too am frustrated about, and though those need to be addressed and these scams stopped, its not necessarily the stockholders. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make more money.

Regarding radio stocks. Have you looked at them lately? Have you seen the profits or lack thereof? Have you seen the dividends of people who invested their hard earned money a few years ago who may never see a return? I dont think stockholders of radio companies are getting rich in general. Perhaps a few unscrupulous scoundrels like a former radio CEO who recently made millions on a bankruptcy doing financial engineering are, and targeting your anger at them seems perfectly acceptable. This is not the norm but its easy to throw rocks, isnt it.

You may not like corporate radio and may not think that they know radio, and I agree a few may not and are in it only for the potential of profitability, but most of the top corporations in radio  ARE operated by broadcasters who love this business. Bob Pittman, CEO of Clear Channel started out on the air and became a program director and spent much of his life in radio. John Hogan spent his life in radio as a sales guy and GM. No neither of these guys own the company but they run it and set policy and they have to balance what they feel is best for the health of the company and the station ratings and advertisers. Sometimes that requires unpopular decisions. Lew Dickey at Cumulus grew up in a radio family working at his dads radio station on weekends. Dan Mason of CBS spent his life on the air, programming and managing stations. David Field at Entercom did the same. The point being these people love radio and though you and others may not agree with their direction or decisions because you prefer the way things used to be, (which is fine if you want to do this) but the biggest radio companies are being run by people who do have radio passion.

I too am passionate about radio. I often disagree with the direction some of these people in radio are going but I have not had to walk in their shoes and live the pressures. Who knows the story behind the decisions? Firing people is never fun for anyone including these people. I know many of them who loose sleep over these decisions but they also understand that if the company isnt healty then more people will loose their jobs if they fail. The old ways of doing radio dont work for their economics because their debt is do deep they have to be efficient. Just reality.

The other issue, which those living in the past dont wish to face is national talent taking over local morning shows and local slots, thus jobs lost. TV figured out long ago that they get better ratings and revenues with Letterman or Carson or Leno than they do with a local talent who does not have access to a team of writers, musicians and top guests. Viewers prefer the network shows. Now radio is going in that direction. Frankly Im surprised it did not happen to radio more than it has. Talk radio has done it but music radio is just getting into it. Though I feel its important to make listeners feel as though there is a local feel and interest the reality is that Ryan Seacrest is pretty appealing and probably gives local listeners a great experience (though the person loosing his or her job wont agree). I know there are loads of talented people out there displaced, which is unfortunate. But it IS the reality of radio today and harping on negatives and the past is a fools game. We need to move forward and make radio the best it can be. But if you wish to shout... go for it, get it out of your system.

Edge of Idaho

Yes, I will call people names! It's all about the damned stockholders, isn't it? The ones who don't do any work, just invest. It's what this whole global economic mess is about. The stockholders have to be paid first, and to Hell with those who actually do the work. It's all going to crash, and it's not the stockholders who will suffer. To Hell with corporate radio, owned and run by people who don't know radio and have no passion for the industry. Their greed is sick.

- Edge

Ric Hansen

If you have been in radio for very long, chances are good you have been displaced for one reason or another somewhere along the line. I have more than once. Format changes, ownership changes, and yes consolidation have all been labeled as the cause. Hundreds of jobs lost in one day is a bit dramatic, but to each of the individuals affected it was no different than when any one of us was bumped along the way....just more individuals got it the same day and the universal event seemed more colosal. The industry is in distress, recognize it and get out of it. Find a healthier environment to grow your talents.

John O'Day

This is a great Idea, a little too late for me I fear. But there is life after radio. What does puzzle me (in Clear channel's case) is how you can see investing in so many stations, and not see a storm brewing? True a lot of companies were sideswiped by the internet. However, I think there was too much resistance instead of acceptance. I also think that radio has lost its way because of the conglomerate culture that had begun with companies wanting to be the kid with the most toys, but forgot how to share. Yeah I would love to be back in radio, (kinda tough on us old guys who started at 17, child actor syndrome I guess). But despite the run ins with people who say they used to listen to me, I have pretty much put radio (with the exception of in my internet station, and the broadcasting class I was teaching) to the side, and have moved on. But my advice to those still in, get some additional training skills and think outside the box we live in called radio.

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