Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by pbergin » Tue Apr 06, 2010 6:40 am

I doubt seriously that the Internet will have a substantial impact on in-car listening. Sat-Rad hasn't, why would broadband? Especially when the costs will be enormous. I also disagree that people will pay for it. If they won't pay a few bucks/mo for a Sat-Rad subscription, why would they spend more (and it will be more, trust me) on in-car broadband?

There's already a huge backlash against the cable companies because of their outrageous rate hikes. People (some in my family AMOF) are canceling their cable TV, and going back to over-the-air/free service. The quality via digital converters is just as good, and they tell me they don't miss the cable channels at all.

Terrestrial radio has the basics down, there's really no contest. 100% penetration, it's free with same or better quality.

The problem is content.

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by kendallweaver » Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:44 pm

Since I started this very Long thread of conversation.. I'll add this; all of the folks arguing that TV/Sat radio/MP3 players.. "didn't kill radio" seem to be missing one very important point; Yes, they did. MANY of the larger radio groups are currently in bankrupcy plans, and I know of several privately held groups that are Losing Money and literally cutting staff or slicing wages. I love radio and plan to be in it for a long time.. but terrestrial radio IS ALREADY in trouble. None of those other things "killed" radio, but they HAVE forced major changes.. mostly smaller staff per signal. The large markets will be in better shape, but in small markets, we're gonna see rooms full of PCs, each running their own station, filled with sat signals and maybe a tracked shift here and there.. no live shows, no control room, very little fulltime staff. And maybe WiFi in your car doesn't overwelm the market; Even if it only takes another 10% away from radio... it's going to Hurt! If radio revenues are level 5 years from now, it won't be enough.. and while some are saying revenue might increase this year.. I doubt the same could be said for 5 years out. Having said all that... I'm planning on being on the air someplace for years to come... but I'm also focusing on "content," no matter how it's delivered.. over the air, on the web, or downloaded to a player. For all of us in programming, we can only hope that the new delivery platforms mean more opportunities for creative and talented people, not less.

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by winterwest » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:17 am

(Geez...REAL posts?)

Kendall, I doubt everyone here will ever agree on the death of radio, so I guess it's OK that I add my opinion, too.

The death of radio started with de-regulation and the arrival on the scene (because of that de-regulation) of real estate investors who paid way too much for the properties they bought. Highly leveraged by debt, the only option they could think of, (not being BROADCASTERS and all) was to cut their bottom line.

That bottom line, as we all now know, was US!

I'm constantly harping on how the Promotions Director position is now basically the bitch to the sales department. Read some of the posts in the Promotions thread. It's obvious to me that there are stations out there that couldn't promote a lemonade stand in hell. When I worked for others as a Promotions Director, I paid my salary within a month of walking in the door. That means the rest of the year I was stuffing their coffers. Owners don't get that today.

I'll tell you something else they don't get. (I can't wait to hear the flack I'll get from this)


Yeah yeah, the internet is a wonderful tool but if you think that's how you're going to get your station noticed in the marketplace, you're just wrong. Again, just my opinion. (but it's based on a 30 year career) I think it can be a great support tool, but before you jump in to that you'd better be out on the street or sponsoring events that benefit the community, engaging that same community.

I don't want to turn this into "War and Peace" so I'll stop now. The sun's coming up and it's gonna be a rippin' cool day in the mountains!

See ya radio brothers and sisters!

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by jayester » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:07 pm

]Wow! What a thread, kudos to the original author!
Being a radio survivor, who is both "blessed" and "cursed" with the radio bug (that bit hard eons ago), I believe the beginning of the "end" is the beginning of unique opportunity for stations that truly serve their city of license and surrounding communities. Along with the ability to have unlimited listeners without regard to available bandwidth, no other medium (including the internet) can serve listeners as well as even these people "live" in some physical location, probably within in the service area of a terrestrial radio facility. I would hope too that these people would or also be concerned about their community and surroundings as it pertains to crime, traffic conditions (sure, your GPS can give you that info, but try scanning through 55 "events" when you are trying to drive! I would much rather listen to a local traffic reporter who will pre-sift through the non-events and report only on the real traffic cloggers). That is not to say that a hoard of stations will not go dark, just the ones poorly serving their city of license. Frankly, I say "good ridance, finally" to these disinterested station owners, who probably only bought the station as an investment property and hired a consultant to artificially "pump" up the ratings only to be sold at a nice profit two years later during the "good old days" of deregulation. In that respect radio certainly "did it" to themselves. But there is something else radio can do that is totally impractical for providers of mp3 files, radio can always live stream their signal and benefit from the best of both worlds. I can never see internet "radio" going through the time, expense, and pain (CP application fees, FCC stipulations, etc...) of putting up a terrestrial "brick and mortar" facility anytime soon, do you? Finally, drifting off the subject just a bit, I have to comment and would file this under "Now I've just about seen everything " and in the job openings section, it would appear that the humble "board op" position has gotten a politically correct upgrade to "Live Broadcast Event Specialist." The giveaway was the "part time entry level position" indicated in the classified.

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by kendallweaver » Fri Jun 18, 2010 9:07 am

Well, there you have it. Since I started this thread, my opinions have only strengthened. Terrestrial radio has a struggle on its' hands. Now that the whole country can hear your signal on the web.. the consumer has at least 10,000 choices, instead of the 20 or so they used to have in their market. The people who keep saying "Satellite/MP3 players/MTV didn't kill radio.." seem to be missing the fact that.. well.. yes, they did. Radio is NOT stronger than ever, and not hanging on very well. Of the Many companies fighting off bankruptcy, a few are doing a bit better with the rebounding economy.. but none seem to be bouncing back nearly as much as they fell in 2009. A 6% gain sounds great, but not when they fell 15% last year.
The conundrum is this: A radio station can't sell the local car dealer anymore ads because they can be heard across the country.. since that really doesn't do the local car dealer much good. And the listener can listen to Ryan Seacrest and his major guests, instead of the local guys with.. well.. no guests at all most days. But if listeners in your town are listening to any of 10,000 choices.. is there enough ad revenue to support all those signals? National advertisers once had 3 or 4 networks to choose from to reach everybody. Will they put ad money into 10,000 different streams, each with a tiny slice of the audience? I feel that the number of signals will simply be too many, and many will go away. With services like Pandora and LastFM offering up listener programmed "stations," and making them as easy to use as radio, it's hard to believe society will support all the pre-programmed content. It would be like offering 10,000 TV stations.. none of them would have enough audience share to do much good. That's exactly where radio is heading.
A few people commented that the web based services will be hard to get, or will cost listeners, but I don't think either of those is going to be true. Ad based streams, easily dialed up in your car and phone and in your home are right around the corner.. some here already.
Will we tear down transmitter towers and turn off the power? It's difficult to say, since innovative people may yet come up with ideas to right the ship. But for the first time in 3 decades in radio, I can actually see that happening. I envision a small market radio cluster 10 years from now.. and only see a small room filled with PCs, which are spitting satellite programming out over several different frequencies. And they're only duplicating what's available on the web. Maybe a local jock throws in the weather or local news.. but honestly, that can be done by a guy in any town for any other town.
Here's the upshot: Content is still king.. and wherever there are talented, entertaining people, there will be a place for them to be heard. And the internet makes that more possible than ever. So the cream will rise to the top, and I believe that those of us who want to provide content will survive, if we figure out how to deliver it, and make it good. I know I still plan to be providing entertainment for people many years from now, however they get it.
Kendall Weaver

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by jace » Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:21 pm

I don't believe radio is dead. I believe the creativity BEHIND radio is dead. killed by management that didn't understand their product. When sales dictates direction versus programming and promotions fulfilling their goal of serving the community, then you have a dead station. The public may take longer to see it, but it does eventually.

Unfortunately, those same managers who ran this industry into the ground are still in control and in their delusional mind they believe that their cutting back of air talent worked. It has always amazed me that when programmers took control of stations with a sales and promotions background versus that of programming (that is someone who has been on the air, understands the product, connects with the public, and creates on air content that is unique and original) that they (the managers) didn't understand what happened when their momentum died off.

That attitude along with fair pricing of commercials, broadcasts, and promotions are what will save radio. As long as short sighted management misses the mark and doesn't understand their product while pricing it out of range of the small business, we will be stuck in this "radio recession" we created. It all starts at the top.
Last edited by jace on Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by floaton » Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:45 am

when is radio predicted to get better?

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by kendallweaver » Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:33 am

So.. having read all the previous posts, I have to ask: Is it getting any better?

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by goodhelp » Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:37 pm

Kendall...one year down the road...the news about the industry--still not very good, or it'll get worse before it gets better.

Financial picture worsens: The royalty payments demand from the record thugs will help kill the radio "patient" who's on life support now! The general economy is hurting, so the pressure is on. Digital advertising is taking dollars from the national terrestrial radio ad spend. Many big player corporations cannot continue their debt service and continue to cut "overhead." (More personalities out the door.) Stick values continue to plummet toward a bottom that's nowhere in sight.

Terrestrial content innovation nearly non-existent: a programming article recently observed the tendency of programmers to be more "creative" in packaging/conception of "oldies/library" based formats than creating new ones. Classic rock/hits/jack stuff clogs the nation's media arteries because that's what a corporation deems in its best interest. Same for cookie cutter AC/Hot AC/etc. Thousands of talented broadcaster/personalities join the ranks of the un- and underemployed each week.

Future: the successful internet-only stations with a positive cash flow will contract with hungry AM's and FM's in new national program networks gaining revenue from digital budgets and per inquiry spots and GoogleAudio ads. Unsold air time will be marketed wholesaled by national ad discounters. Many other stations will go dark, dumped from a corporation's negative cash flow.

Un- and underemployed personalities who started their podcast long ago, became good at it and monetized it. They will use it as a "demo" for selling their services nation-wide as a second-string (or first rate, for that matter!) live and compelling content creators for every time slot for a percentage of the sold air time.

In YourTown, USA, your local AM station that was dark might light up again...with a steady diet of "chill-out music," a pre-sold inventory and an affiliation with a global "chill" network!

One last note about "compelling content:" sure, when you get down to the basics, it's subjective--but only in this manner. If enough people want/need to hear it, then it's marketable, no matter what anyone may think of it. ("Not my cup of tea," etc.)

The station which best addresses every aspect of "how to create more jobs" might have the best future of all, no matter how the signal is distributed, on-air or online. --G

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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by discjockitch » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:59 pm

Get rid of the consultants and let the talent do what they are paid to do...

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