June 28, 2016
No cheap shots at large hub-and-spoke companies intended in the following; instead, points of light for broadcast companies that are locally autonomous, including large-market entities such as Hubbard, Emmis, or CBS. "Independent" translates to locally-navigated formats and strategies.
There's great advantage to regional independent groups that invest their trust in local and regional resources -- mainly people. Think about it: Some financial gurus, those outside the ring, hint that Radio is waning. Really? Didn't we just read empirical evidence our industry grew another million listeners last year? Some "decline." To wit we ask, "How many industries would be considered in decline with 94% of the American population sampling their product every week?
So here's to the Independents (whatever your definition), which in so many instances reinforce the premise that you're mostly limited by your competitive intensity and creativity. If you're not stoked by either of those dynamics, maybe the business isn't for you.
- When you're not afraid to lose, you can do anything! Go big or go home.
- "Small Market" is a state of mind, nothing more. Are Tulsa or Grand Rapids "small markets?" Not long ago someone in Buffalo referred to their market as "smaller." It doesn't matter: it's the only market, regardless of rank. Are you seeking an NFL franchise or a great radio cluster?
- Too many "national" companies give up to soon -- on a format, a morning show, or a programmer. PPM or Diary market, Radio has never been nor will it be an add-water-and-stir fantasy. Independent companies can afford to be more patient; willing to develop a concept for a format or a show assuming good leadership out-front.
- "Independent thinking" means understanding nothing of consequence can be accomplished without risk. Without accepting the risk-reward continuum you can't play.
- There may never be a critic who comments, "I love this CEO" (or title dejour). So what? When you're in command, command. There's no financial statement containing a popularity-per-share column.
- If you plod along day-by-day thinking there's a big reward at the end, forget it. This is your life, this is your career, and it's now.
In America, where more and more, "surface" is passing for substance, people are always looking for a genuine leader. There is no disgrace in losing the game. There's only disgrace in not playing because you're afraid to lose. Independents recognize this truth ... and win.