Dreams vs. Spreadsheets
January 10, 2012
I realize that accountants and high-finance guys run most of the consolidated radio companies in America. Oh, they may not be the titular heads of the companies, but they pull the strings.
Wall Street, debt load, ROI algorithms, free cash flow, restructuring...
Blah blah blah...
No matter what you read, no matter what they say, no matter what we're all force-fed, our business still comes down to talent.
It still comes down to really talented people creating compelling content, no matter how it is distributed ... and if you can do that, people will find it.
And those people who find it will now actually do most of your marketing for you ... spreading the word to everyone they know.
That's how rare real talent, real compelling and entertaining content is.
So if our business is not willing to pay for that talent...
...is not willing to fund experimentation and encourage failure...
...is not willing to make these rare people feel needed and appreciated...
we can be certain others will -- and are: Google, Apple, YouTube, Facebook...
And unlike our business, they pay top dollar, they confer big stock options (that aren't underwater when they vest) and they make going to work every day FUN.
Until we get serious about this topic, paying for great talent in every good and effective way so that what people see and hear every time they tune in is absolutely riveting ... until we put creativity and entertainment ahead of spreadsheets, we're not going to attract the best.
It's disingenuous to complain about low rates and declining profits when we won't pay for great copywriters and remarkable production, for professional voice actors, for the time it takes to create something really, really good.
And it's pointless to whine about Pandora and Arbitron and all the competition when we offer voicetracked, chopped-up syndicated morning shows in midday, or "talent" doing two or three other jobs while also doing an air shift.
Here's what it's come down to: Put up or shut up.