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July 12, 2012


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Robert Prasil

I grow weary of these negative articles about radio. I think these are written just to provoke some discussion. The truth of the matter as the Pepsi example proved last year. Social media sucks when it comes to selling something. Social media did exactly what it said it could do 80 million votes in the Refresh Project, 3.5 million likes on the page but it couldn't sell Pepsi at the consumer level. Pepsi lost 1.5 market share and moved to 3rd place in the Cola wars behind Diet Coke of all things, when it significantly reduced its traditional media for digital and social media. Radio is a business, digital is also a business and at the local level the main thing that makes digital works is the exposure it gets in the current media ie Radio. Any fool can be in digital not just anybody can be a broadcaster with a sense of responsibility to their market to be Live Local and Relevant. Where was digital and social when the power went out. Radio is entertainment but it is so much more and that the guy in the basement just can't do.



It's time for terrestrial radio to embrace digital, but you really need to think outside of the box. You are continuing to follow and try to implement a failing model. As a net broadcaster, let me explain the radical changes you have to embrace to keep up with us.

For instance, when you look at 'net' broadcasters, you have to see where the fail points are. We're talking bandwidth. If you want to own that part of the business, you have to develop business relay points. For instance, with icecast, I can take any 10 stations, and relay that to any company/building for a fraction of the bandwidth cost of the company and distribute it for next to nothing. Any IT manager would jump at the chance to block pandora and the bandwidth cost, and still distribute music to the employees. It's a great way to keep local advertisers, and shut down the rest. If you're really going to fight pandora, you have to have value added services. Trust me, for a 300 dollar investment per building (get creative with how you sell this) you can slowly start taking back your listeners.

This is just one of many examples you can think of to really take back your ground. Kevin wants answers, but you really need solid strategies, Forget one server you have to pay bandwidth for. If you can distribute 10 streams to one business, and then use someone elses infrastructure as the 'last mile' provider, you cut your streaming costs drastically, and increase listeners. Hell, co-op with other stations. Remember, every big building cluster has a 'demark' point you can host in. Plus it will put you're salesmen back on the street.

And fight like mad to keep the fm chips in our phones. I can't stress how badly we need to keep that.

Rod Zeigler

While valid points are made, I do take exception to making newspaper analogous with broadcast. Newspaper was never immediate, like broadcast. Newspaper was supposed to be the more in depth reporting. Now that broadcast, or anyone with a computer, can do that same in depth reporting via digital means, newspaper became superfluous. Broadcast, radio mainly, still remains the only way to broadcast information to multiple thousands instantaneously, and with no intermediary technology. It can do this during the good and the bad, and in some cases, the worst case scenario. While there are going to be changes and unseen technological developments, until someone can come up with long range, wide area, wireless, no cost, direct, and immediate data transfer, broadcast, and radio in particular, is going to be around for a long, long time.

Patrick Roberts

Many good comments also are posted here. Radio HAS lost it soul. If we go down the tubes, it's because we as an industry lost sight of what gains the audience we need to sell things. We need to utilize new technolgies to further connect us to our audience, not distant them. That means using social media can be a wonderful tool, but having humans involved in the local market on-air, taking calls, doing outside remote promotions and even commercial remotes is just as important. Good radio is everywhere. The real reason why sucessful sports radio stations print money is because they are 100 percent personality driven. They also provide a sense that the listener is getting all the info they need without turning their dials or smartphones. If someone would treat music radio with the same importance as some of the better real sports stations are treated when it comes to talent, remote broadcasts, etc. they'd suddenly find tons of people would take the station seriously and listen too. Advertisers would pay to have someone out that matters because they are drawing a crowd. The real problem today with radio is NOT how it's delivered, but what we are delivering, especially in larger markets. They are so worried about changes and stuck in a routine that they cannot see what really works. Use those tech tools to win, not eliminate all expenses in the station. That attitude will translate to dollars if applied properly.

Tom Darrah (aka "Daren")

While I accept that broadcasting is changing and that we have to change with it, I find that sadly there is a missing element in today's corporate radio......a soul. People used to be passionate about radio and now it's become strictly a BUSINESS with all the warmth of a chrome car bumper.

dave presher

As radio continues to evolve, maybe one way to think of it is Digital Audio. Television is a simple model to use, first they tried to treat cable as different, then it was satellite, then it was pay per view. Ironically things went the oppositie direction, cable with two sources of revenue is in much better shape than Television. Comcast bought NBC for their cable networks as much as NBC network.

Now with Network Radio able to geo target ad delivery and update copy in real time the commodity model of network is going to become a much bigger player.

The real big players aren't likely to be Pandora or Terristeral Radio, it's likely to be someone who controls audio on demand. Be it ATT, Facebook, Apple Spotify. google or something we don't know of yet.

Thinking of Audio as publishers who really sell advertising through their digital side, nationally, not their on-air commercials is the long term play. With targeting and tracking digital will offer better advertising solutions long term and with stronger delivery systems, cars wireless etc, the stations themselves will only be relevant for local news, weather and talent which can simply be intserted by market.

The two big opportunities Radio has is to build new portals and social platforms and use their current abilities to grow for the long term. Of course long term is an oxymoron for Radio. Still they can drive people to portals and create social media solutions. If they get off the brand extension, they could become really powerful long term.

Will they adopt to something which is obvious from the outside and counter intuitive on the inside....I suppose after CC and others go Bankrupt.

Allen Shaw

Media history shows that it is far more likely that new technology will co-exist with traditional technology rather than replace it. Television did not replace the movie theater or ligitimate theater. The CD did not replace live music concerts. Cable and sat TV did not kill the networks or their affiliated stations.
There is little evidence that iPods, smartphones, Pandora or Sirius/XM is going to replace broadcast radio. To date, 92% of the American Public agrees with me. Broadcast radio is free, local and requires no effort whatsoever from the user. It is a very efficient way to distribute audio content to the masses. We should certainly embrace the new technology but should never discount the magnificent simplicity and effectiveness of a local radio radio station serving its community and its advertisers every day.
In short, I think radio has a very bright future. There! I'm not afraid to say it.

Kevin Neathery SM Jonesboro Radio Group

Again, all questions and no answers. And your most credible industry source to quote: Bob Pittman! C'mon Eric, are YOU a follower or a leader!

Mick Green

Radio has two sets of customers: listeners and advertisers. To stay strong, we need to do a good job for both. In my experience, what's kept Radio so popular is it's local flavor, well programmed music and contesting. People love to win stuff ~!
For our advertisers, we need to generate good creative ideas, and be expert in scheduling radio campaigns, both of which maximize their opportunity for ROI. Radio is still an extremely cost-effective medium, whether for building positive brand perception, or promoting events.
As long as digital assets are used per the above, they're another effective arrow in our ever-growing quiver ~! But our core business remains the same, and that's important to remember.

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