Guy Dobson's Challenge
April 15, 2014
I was privileged to be at the Worldwide Radio Summit this past week and to be on a panel with some great programming minds.
The panel included Andrew Jeffries and Don Parker from Clear Channel, and Mike McVay from Cumulus, and was moderated by Bill Rose from Nielsen Audio. I'm always flattered to be a part of such an event and I greatly appreciate Joel Denver asking me to participate.
One of the things I look forward to the most is meeting some of the international programming minds who come to the states for the event. One of the participants on the panel I contributed to was Guy Dobson, the Chief Content Officer for the Australian Broadcasting Company, Southern Cross Austereo, and his comments have stoked me to pass some thoughts on to all of us here in the States.
I don't know Guy, but I know from the company he keeps in his company (Clive Dickens, their Director of Digital and Innovation) that he has impeccably high standards. At one point in the panel discussion Bill Rose posed Guy a question regarding the differences between the industries in both countries, and Guy made the comment (and I'm paraphrasing since I don't have the exact transcript): "There was a time we would travel to the States to listen to radio and we would absorb and tape everything. We were fascinated by your clocks and with everything between the records that you did. We would go back home excited to steal you blind and make your insights work for us and be ours."
Then his next statement was like clubbing me over the head with a sequoia tree: "Sadly we stopped doing this in the mid-'90s because nothing that we were hearing inspired us."
As I said, I am paraphrasing, but the sentiment was what I heard.
Guy wasn't there to incite me or the room, and he was speaking from his core belief without question.
Do I agree with his comment that nothing special has moved people coming out of U.S. radio since the mid-'90s? Without question I disagree. But does the core message of what he is talking about ring true?
Does every ounce of American radio sparkle and dazzle and shoot for the sky with the highest criteria for greatness every minute? Are we transmitting every ounce of greatness that we are all capable of? Are we accepting every threat from all content that we compete with to push us to our greatest every second?
You tell me or tell yourself, but the next time I see Guy Dobson I would love his opinion to be reversed.