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Thread: Do you want to save this business or not?

  1. #1

    Do you want to save this business or not?

    Look, I'm venting (along with everyone else) so forgive me if I ruffle a few feathers but...

    Radio can be saved but only if the people in radio who really want to save it do something about it. Admittedly, I'm not sure what that would be and maybe that IS THE PROBLEM...WHAT DO WE DO WITH IT? Companies have tried everything under the sun to fix this. We've listened to others who supposedly have done it successfully, we've tried blazing our own trails, we've tried HD, the internet, over leveraging our asset base and nothing seems to work. So, I think it comes down to one of two simple questions.

    1) How long will radio simply allow others to continue taking their piece of the pie.
    2) Does anybody really care anymore?

    If number 1 is true, then how much longer are we going to sit here and let others destroy our beloved way of life? If you don't like corporate owners, go find somebody with money and buy a station. Maybe start a union. I honestly don't have any answers but I do have one observation (and I include myself as part of this problem). Radio people have been so beat up for so long we simply just don't care anymore. Which answers number 2. If that is the case, I would really like to see what the government tries to do if every radio owner turns in their license and says, "The hell with it!"

    True, it won't happen, and even if it did somebody, somewhere would scream "They can't do that", but, in reality, that is exactly what is happening. All the people who really care about radio, aren't doing a darn thing to fix it. Why? Because nobody has really taken the time to figure out what it really is that's killing us! Consolidation, poor marketing, too many spots, lousy music rotation, COME ON PEOPLE...GET A GRIP! If you love this business, let's get together and fix it. Otherwise, let's go do what we're really all qualified to do...NOTHING!

    Do you really want to sell real estate? Good, go. Do you really want to own an internet marketing company? Go. Do something, anything as long as you stay away from radio. The less people who don't give a damn about those of us who do the better!

    I admit, my post here probably doesn't totally have all the facts straight or who-know-what else but, hopefully, you can sense my frustration. Do we want to fix it or not. If not, close this blasted board down, turn off the transmitter and go the hell home! If anybody's got real, proven, workable ideas, let's find a way to get a station and make it happen! Somebody out there has got to know how to save this business? Right?

  2. #2

    Re: Do you want to save this business or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Surfer

    Somebody out there has got to know how to save this business? Right?
    Well...the problem is there's no one-size-fits-all solution for the entire radio business. There are multiple problems, starting with the dilution of audience shares among new and old media, the interest by advertisers in cheaper media that deliver more quantifiable numbers, and the desire by listeners to control the content they hear. All of this has led to less audience, less advertising, and less money to hire staff. Couple that with a few companies that also have big debt to pay, and you have the current situation. Solving one of those problems doesn't solve the others, which are equally difficult.

    Spending money on traditional approaches to radio won't solve problem #3. Hiring more salesmen won't solve problem #2. Getting rid of debt won't do anything about the fundamental problems (1,2, & 3).

    So it's a tough nut to crack, thus all the frustration. If it was simple, they'd have done it already.

  3. #3

    Re: Do you want to save this business or not?

    OK, that makes sense so then, what can be done. Actually done? My frustration is that nobody is doing ANYTHING! There has to be something, right? Please?!?

  4. #4

    Re: Do you want to save this business or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Surfer
    OK, that makes sense so then, what can be done. Actually done? My frustration is that nobody is doing ANYTHING! There has to be something, right? Please?!?
    It's not going to get done from a message board, that's for sure.

  5. #5

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    Re: Do you want to save this business or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Surfer

    OK, that makes sense so then, what can be done. Actually done? My frustration is that nobody is doing ANYTHING!
    Maybe it's just not visible. With thousands of radio stations in operation, I find it reasonable to assume that many of them are trying all kinds of concepts to hopefully keep their station viable. Most are too busy keeping things operating to spend much time with their peers comparing notes. Car dealers used to have (maybe still do) an interesting concept called "Twenty Groups". Their trade association would facilitate putting willing dealers into a group that that would meet 3 or 4 times a year. They first of all agreed to treat their conversations with confidentiality. They would share their financial statements with each other and they would critique each other. The would put their most perplexing challenges on the table for discussion. Do broadcasters do anything like that?

    If it will help you sleep better at night, just keep in mind broadcasters are not the only business with challenges and sometimes disappointments. You asked the question:


    Do you really want to sell real estate?
    My wife was in Real Estate 30 years ago so I thought I knew something about the business. About four years ago I jumped in and became a realtor. Fell flat on my face. If you think conditions in radio have changed, find a mature Realtor and ask if he/she has had to deal with change. Their stories may make radio seem tame.

    I commend you for asking the question.

    Hope you are ready for the answers.

    BigA said it straight. We are multiple industries with multiple solutions. On the West Virginia Board someone posted the question "Is anything happening?". One of the recent replies tells of a station for sale in Grafton. Follow the links. You will come to a You Tube video giving a "home tour" of the station. It's a good reminder that we all have our own path to follow. Grafton is a different game than say Metro Atlanta.
    Life is too short to waste time dancing with ugly posts

  6. #6

    Re: Do you want to save this business or not?

    Jerry Del Colliano, of course, ponders this question frequently. And I think his recent blog "Life After Radio-8 New Ideas" offers some excellent ideas, not only on how radio professionals can survive by reinventing themselves but also on how the industry itself can morph into something more than it is.

    http://insidemusicmedia.blogspot.com...new-ideas.html

    As he and Mark Ramsey often point out, radio stations need to think more in terms of becoming media companies; offering multiple sources of entertainment and information; radio being just one part of it.

    A good friend of mine, who was a mid-morning/weekend host for a Clear Channel station until he was fired, is learning videography and video editing. His idea is to offer web video packages to stations as secondary information/entertainment content for their sites. The revenue for this service would come from advertisers and/or a low cost subscription.

    Also, as Jerry has mentioned, as stations become increasingly devalued it may be that radio professionals, those who know how to run them, can pool their resources, acquire stations for not too much money and manage them successfully.

    But as both Del Colliano and Ramsey have often stated, radio as we know it today, is just about over and there's nothing that can be done to stop it. But that doesn't mean that, with some creative adaptation, it can't become more than it is.

    C5
    Television Industry Pro

  7. #7

    Re: Do you want to save this business or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Carmine5

    But as both Del Colliano and Ramsey have often stated, radio as we know it today, is just about over and there's nothing that can be done to stop it. But that doesn't mean that, with some creative adaptation, it can't become more than it is.

    The problem that neither of them mention (and that I have recently discovered) is that the money to be made from new media opportunities is a fraction of what old media makes. So one will not be a replacement for the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carmine5

    Also, as Jerry has mentioned, as stations become increasingly devalued it may be that radio professionals, those who know how to run them, can pool their resources, acquire stations for not too much money and manage them successfully.
    That's mainly wishful thinking. I've been tracking a lot of that action this past year, and I haven't seen a single example of someone outside of sales or upper management who has bought a station previously owned by a big company. And at last count, there are several hundred on the market. For the most part, those who know how to run them aren't the ones spending the money. Del Colliano was the one who was thrilled when Sam Zell bought Tribune, thinking it would be the centerpiece of a new Jacor. Jerry hasn't said much about that lately.

  8. #8

    Re: Do you want to save this business or not?

    I believe its too far gone

  9. #9

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    Re: Do you want to save this business or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Carmine5

    As he and Mark Ramsey often point out, radio stations need to think more in terms of becoming media companies; offering multiple sources of entertainment and information; radio being just one part of it.

    A good friend of mine, who was a mid-morning/weekend host for a Clear Channel station until he was fired, is learning videography and video editing. His idea is to offer web video packages to stations as secondary information/entertainment content for their sites. The revenue for this service would come from advertisers and/or a low cost subscription.
    I haven't been following Ramsey so I will look into his writings.

    This idea of becoming a media company may be the salvation of the industry, or it may be the "siren song" that lures operators into dangerous waters. I remember years ago having debates with station owners who could not see that having a local news gathering department was a legitimate, productive element of a radio station. Long term, its beginning to look like they won the debate.

    I think I could buy into the idea that the large metro markets offer opportunity for radio stations to become media companies. But is that a viable route for smaller markets and rural markets?
    Life is too short to waste time dancing with ugly posts

  10. #10

    Re: Do you want to save this business or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA
    Quote Originally Posted by Carmine5

    But as both Del Colliano and Ramsey have often stated, radio as we know it today, is just about over and there's nothing that can be done to stop it. But that doesn't mean that, with some creative adaptation, it can't become more than it is.

    The problem that neither of them mention (and that I have recently discovered) is that the money to be made from new media opportunities is a fraction of what old media makes. So one will not be a replacement for the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carmine5

    Also, as Jerry has mentioned, as stations become increasingly devalued it may be that radio professionals, those who know how to run them, can pool their resources, acquire stations for not too much money and manage them successfully.
    That's mainly wishful thinking. I've been tracking a lot of that action this past year, and I haven't seen a single example of someone outside of sales or upper management who has bought a station previously owned by a big company. And at last count, there are several hundred on the market. For the most part, those who know how to run them aren't the ones spending the money. Del Colliano was the one who was thrilled when Sam Zell bought Tribune, thinking it would be the centerpiece of a new Jacor. Jerry hasn't said much about that lately.
    Well, here's what we know so far; the industry in its current form is slowly dying; and I'm referring to my own industry, terrestrial television, as well as radio.

    So instead of saying 'this idea or that idea won't work', start forming ideas that will or, at least, are worth a shot. If it means selling products online, doing podcasts or partnering with local businesses (instead of just selling to them), then try it.

    One or two of these spit wads we throw up on the ceiling has got to stick.

    C5
    Television Industry Pro

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