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October 07, 2014


Ken Hensley

Eric I am a 43 year veteran of the radio business. I have read your columns for many years...sometimes I agree and sometimes I wonder what your are thinking. Anyway, the 20-30 somethings in Detroit can plan all they want but the power of the consumer is now and will continue to dictate what they offer their customers. If car makers take the AM/FM option from the consumer then the consumer will get it from someone else. Local radio is still the place that people go to first when they are looking for road conditions, weather alerts, disaster help, etc, etc, etc.

I have no idea what the major market radio stations are doing but I can guarantee you, those of us who live and work in the Midwest are doing just fine...in fact... revenues are up and our listener base is growing...not reducing! This covers the 18-34..25-54 and 35-64. As long as we keep involvement in our communities and give our listener base what they want our stations listener base we will continue to be useful and we will be around for quite some time. We share this with computers, smart phones and satellite radio now. From what I see...here in the Midwest...we are not going anywhere.

Joseph M. Calisi

While I sympathize with the plight you've stated, I feel it is a by product of what's been going on in the industry.

In the early 1980s, I was an on air jock. When the station was sold, I was out of the best radio job I'd ever get as it turned out. As time went on, weekends jobs disappeared in favor of automation - efficient but impersonal. I like many before and after me, quit the radio industry in favor of IT so I could have a job and benefits.

So now people are buying cars WITHOUT radios so they can play their iPads with their own playlists. I wonder why - there might be a connection somewhere.


There are things that just can not be replaced, Talent and Content, now days human beings are in need of human contact and "talent on air" can not be replaced by "canned" music, for all those who grew listening to radio on the daily basis like myself on my way to School back in my home town "Guadalajara Mexico" I will always remember those advices from Pedro Ferriz, Pepe Cardenas and Denisse Dresser, they shape up our thoughts and sociological opinion, I consider them my family even though I never knew them, It is time to improve, to create, to humanly connect again, just like Einstain said: in time of crisis the greatest get creative and overcome obstacles, I'm part of a new concept in Spanish radio, "Sporst Comedy Show" on ESPN radio Las Vegas 1460am and we are getting ratings we never got before on local sports radio so let's be reasonable as George Bernard Shaw said, radio, God willing will be here forever but it sure will link it's supremacy to talent and good human contact. Should we question Detroit's interest of human contact with their buyers buy eliminating the only source of human communication inside their cars?? Should we question Detroit if it is their will to annihilate human contact that only radio can provide??

Larry Lomax

Thanks again for sounding the alarm, Eric.

It's hard to imagine a car dash without radio as we know it, but it's something we have long taken for granted. We need to "hear, not fear" the truth about what's transpiring between the auto and high tech companies, as well as our growing government bent on more control over our industry and personal lives.

So, how do we make our case? Perhaps you already have a bullet list noting the public benefit of local terrestrial radio. Here's what comes to my mind.

• It's free to listen. (digital requires data plan)
• Signal is reliable. (digital is more vulnerable to signal loss)
• Local content & commentary. (people do care about where they live)
• Supports local economy. (when we buy & sell locally, we strengthen locally)

While digital will grow and broadcasters will need to grow with it, I agree we need to step up and make our case for continued open and easy access to terrestrial radio on the car dashboard. I think the public at large would overwhelmingly support it.

This issue you raised is not just about us radio geeks protecting our livelihood, it's very much about the people we serve who choose to make us part of their day.

Ronald T. Robinson

So long as radio refuses to innovate and improve its products and services in programming and commercial-generation, and given the difficulties Eric has mentioned, the end result will be that the location of radio's Great Big Wreck will be a shorter distance downrange than we might have thought.
Fortunately, there is still time and strategies are available.
(See dealer for details. Some restrictions may apply. Void where prohibited. Sale ends Saturday. Be there. Don't miss it. Puke.)

Mike Danvers

radio has done this to itself. When we become a jukebox and a national political and sports opinion forum, we have eliminated what radio does best. Even in larger markets I hear broadcasters read the traffic report like they're auctioneers, so they can get back to playing as much music as possible. They jam all the ads into one quarter-hour to play as much music as possible. How is that serving the customer? When you create music-based listeners, as soon as you stop playing music they go elsewhere to find more music. As long as larger broadcasters refuse to spend money on local broadcasting, what's the difference between what they're doing and what the internet can provide?

Jim Schlichting

For sure, it is the crutch of music programming that has become the Achilles heel of broadcast radio. The last ligament to music is that the music is virtually license free. That will be changing for broadcast radio. As said above by Mike, more investment in programming will be needed for broadcast radio to survive.

steve driscoll

Radio delivers information to the local marketplace with content including Traffic, Weather, and Emergency reports when needed. Without Radio you create somewhat of a danger with a mobile public. Radio has always had the ability to bring news and information regardless of format to the local audience. So why would Car Makers take away the one thing you've always relied on while mobile? Good question. Consumers need local Radio.

Thank you,

Steve Dricoll
Program Director
Classic Rock 102

Mike Schaefer

Another great article. Broadcasters need to understand that consumers don't differentiate between cable & broadcast. To them it's television. The same thing is going to happen to radio. If it comes out of the "radio". It's radio. As more choices present themselves on the radio it only seems logical that listeners will spend less time with their 2nd, 3rd and 4th choice be it broadcast, mp3' pandora, et al. I believe that we need to invest more in programming that can't be easily duplicated. That's why ESPN and turner just agreed to pay the NBA 24 billion dollars for basketball. If all radio can do is more music I'm afraid we may lose the battle for dash space.

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