What do you predict about Radio's future?

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What do you predict about Radio's future?

Post by tstone » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:35 am

Some here are saying it has no future, though this isn't the first time this has been said.

I disagree.

The business model of the bean counters who though they could revolutionize radio post Telecom by squeezing the humanity, the community and the art out of it by ruthlessly pursuing the business models of McDonalds and Wal Mart have failed.

We watch Clear Channel continue it's slow death spiral with no way out, apparently (when was their last actually profitable year, how many have they had vs loss years, and their total debt?). We've watched a once important business and forum to communities be butchered in the name of "profit".

But in radio, you don't get a profit by making people simply not care. And that's what you get when you disconnect your station from your communities.

So considering the failure of that business model, Wall Street is going to get out of the business, in about ten to twenty years, IMO. It is going to devolve back to regional and local owners dominating, for the most part.

Anyone agree? Any other predictions?

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Re: What do you predict about Radio's future?

Post by pbergin » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:37 am

I agree, absolutely. Problem is, it's going to take a long time for the behemoth conglomerates to fail... which they ultimately must do... before some perceptive broadcasters can move in to pick up the pieces at bargain basement prices.

I know a number of very, highly placed radio execs who've told me the same thing privately. You will NEVER hear them say it publicly, however.

It's possible that some of the talent who've been dumped to the curb will be able to take advantage, but I think very few. Most will have moved on to other careers by then.

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Re: What do you predict about Radio's future?

Post by tstone » Mon Dec 19, 2011 10:30 pm

Well...I'll be getting out of the Army in about 8-12 years. I'm hoping I'll be positioned for this scenario then...

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Re: What do you predict about Radio's future?

Post by cuddzu » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:55 am

I believe the concept of "Radio" does indeed have a future, but I do not believe that it will resemble anything remote to what we have had or understand as Radio today. You can't ignore the incorporation of not only Pandora but also Clear Channel's iHeart Radio available for free now on certain Toyota models.

Listening in the car is now part of the prime audience since Clock Radios have become less and less of a prominent fixture in households. Yet the audience has become completely mobile, so that means getting in the car and on every device now is critical. Count the number of persons who are texting, viewing content, chatting, or checking the time on their device and you will soon realize that the audience has moved. The towers will come down, eventually. Further, it seems that if a company wanted to truly integrate themselves for the long term, they might consider doing the same thing. I spoke with a small Broadcasting company owner who laughed me off the phone before the advent of iHeart Radio when I made the suggestion of doing away with their station websites altogether, and offering their brands as an App for smartphones and mobile devices. He told me that the website was the future, yet his revenue is far less than that of his terrestrial signal. Also, he told me that revenue for his station was also down due to decreased spending. Here's a thought, dare to continue your radio station operation, but go FULLY online, be the first and turn off the transmitter yourself. That takes guts, and determination. Yet it is the fear of the small amount of revenue that is on the books that holds back the adventurous broadcaster from the expansive revenue of the mobile audience. The entire model will need to change, but if you are the FIRST to do it yourself, what an opportunity that could be.

Now let's be fair, I just like you wish that things would go back to the way they were, where you lucked out to get a part time job hosting overnights on the weekend, taking out the trash, setting up and tearing down for remotes, and essentially waiting for someone in the full time stable to either be stolen away, or God forbid pass on. Back in the day, that was how you got full-time, you worked part-time and essentially for free until a spot opened, and then usually everyone shifted up. Overnight guy went to nights, Night person went to Middays, Afternoons went to Mornings, and Middays moved to Afternoons.

Now, shows and brands are the norm where it is either a syndicated product, or the "format" is mass produced with the same music and voice-track log being dispersed to multiple markets. If I had a dollar for every time I did a station tour and showed off an empty studio running a computer with a jock piped in from out of town, I would be living in a much bigger house with a nicer car. Anything that might resemble what we are used to is looking a lot like Premium Choice and the Cumulus Network formats. The old days of 24/7 satellite format delivery has come to the car and online. That to me, and granted it is just my opinion, is where "Radio" is headed. And for the haters, I worked full-time in the industry On-Air for over 23 years, and even did Mornings for more than 15 of those years. That doesn't make me an expert, but I am NOT some flunky wannabe who has never had a show. I like many have hosted the marathon of inclement weather shifts doing Road Closure updates, and listing everything from Day Cares to Grocery Stores of who was and wasn't open, and still played 10 songs an hour and did weather and PSA's just like it was a normal day. Like many of us who got into Radio because we loved the culture, sadly it is being replaced by technological convenience and mass market principles. "Local" is not outside your window, "local" is now relative and that is a big difference. On a personal note, after years of working hard and having what I felt was a great work ethic, I now sit about to turn 40 and have nothing to show for the many years of my efforts. The countless overnights where I helped the Engineer, drove to a remote for a sister station to bring them the backup MARTI, or sat through countless Dan O' Day and other popular consultant seminars trying to be better on the air, only to be eliminated locally in less than five minutes by a new software program that made my job not only paperless, but able to be executed by someone anywhere else than at my desk. I'm not bitter or upset, it's just business. But I do think from this day forward I am going to be wiser about what i invest my time and future in, especially for my wife and children.

It frustrates me and saddens me since I do not see a hole or role I can play in that future of Radio at this point, but I am still optimistic that those of us who truly love the business and have a passion for it may find an outlet for our creativity. Even if after being replaced by a computer system and a hub and spoke network of one employee for multiple markets, I still think there is room for content, it will just need to be packaged differently.

I wish there was a younger more tech savvy person who I knew could handle the bridge of video and technology and was interested in working with me, I might be convinced to try to do something, but I spent so many years in the traditional environment that I am uncertain I would be able to produce content that would be relevant to someone younger than me. In this new era and platform, attention spans are further constricted and the ability to anonymously prevent or proactively spread the content demands something more than simply talking up a ramp, joking about bad parking at the local hardware store, or giving a "local" update about a food drive. There must be more than simply "what you saw on the way to work this morning". To be a player in the new environment, it has to be something different. I have ideas but no owner or General Manager willing to let me try. Oh well.

Someone somewhere will be the trendsetter for the new generation. While I may not participate as a contributor, I look forward to the evolution as a consumer and hope it gives me a WOW factor. I want more than just my favorite format interspersed with slick polished voices making jokes between themselves, or perfected lines of oration between two disembodied voices that are too hip for the room. In my opinion, the music format or the formats themselves have their days numbered anyway. The same old wrapping paper doesn't make a new gift more spectacular, once you've ripped it off the box, it goes to the trash. The gift might change but the wrapping has to change too.

We have been infected and confused by the recent reality TV virus for many years now that our sense of authenticity has taken a hit. Let's just hope that the virus heals over time and we awake to a better sensibility of what is entertainment, and what is just some infamous person who holds ten jobs such as emcee for a Television Singing competition, hosting red carpet events, or stating the obvious as the ball drops while producing more of the same reality fungus that has become so rampant in our choices. WE are the ones as viewers and listeners who determine what succeeds. Yet we refuse to demand something better. We sit back idly stupefied at the ignorant and simple minded dribble that is offered to us in HD. We scan through countless channels and options, blasted and almost slapped in the face by banner ads, pop ups and ads that float across the screen making viewing of the content we desire almost impossible. Yet because we continue to go to those sites, and increase their traffic, the ads multiply. It is the nature of the beast. Therefore we should DEMAND that if we must endure such interruption, that the payoff be more than what is being offered today. Don't let a room of corporate investors determine what is good programming. As a consumer, you have the power, and it is as underutilized as voting in the Presidential election.

As the general public, we have the loudest and most ardent voice in the financial success and propagation of entertainment and content, yet we rest on our laurels and take whatever bowl of gruel we are fed, and are given a sense of guilt that we should feel grateful we were fed anything at all.

The world craves an innovator who has true talent, and looks won't matter. Authenticity will be the difference. You are out there young person, I know you are. Grab your FLip, plug in your laptop, and don't try to be funny like that guy on YouTube who just essentially berates other people's videos and asks a different question each week for you to comment on. We need something more, something vibrant, something that takes talent and not just gel in your hair and the ability to curse and spew sexual innuendo. By the way, if your idea of using Facebook and Twitter at your station is to do polls and contests, you are so far behind that it is really a tragedy.

4 million or 300 million views don’t make you talented. It only means that that many people for whatever reason spread the word about that content. However, views and going viral doesn't always equate to success or entertaining. And even when it does, it may be fleeting or temporary. Authentic and relevant content will be the only long lasting offerings that we will be talking about, long after your voice changes and you grow up.

Radio will always be here, but it will change and it will evolve. The MDA telethon was still successful, even without Jerry Lewis. The world's attention span is liquid and to stay relevant, you must be too. Just ask Madonna, Apple, and Amazon. Let's just hope someone dares to be real, and different! :-)
Thank You
All Access Moderator

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Re: What do you predict about Radio's future?

Post by datwood » Thu Dec 22, 2011 2:43 pm

Funny...I recently revisited this site after being absent for quite awhile and "its deja vu all over again"...nothing has changed. Most of the words written here were already spoken back in the '90s.

Same complaints.
Same villains.
Same heartaches & heartbreaks.

It's almost 2012...and terrestrial radio is still choking on its own irrelevancy and continues to spin into antiquity.

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Re: What do you predict about Radio's future?

Post by CarterManGod » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:59 am

I've got a little 'magic trick' for anyone interested in watching their opinion pull a 180-

Get out of the insane cycle of the Radio Industry. Almost immediately you'll see more clearly. The longer you've been in, the longer it will take, but the clarity will come. As long as you're still plugging away at the dying beast of radio you'll sit around with your fingers crossed, hoping that your career doesn't fail. You'll track boards like this desperately trying to find someone who can predict what you want. You'll hope, like Ebenezer Scrooge, that the 'radio-destroying suits' will grow a heart and change their ways. You'll sadly search for the perfect words to break through to the social consciousness of the industry. "Oh, if someone would just find the right way to describe radio's failings, then someone with the power to change it all would step up and save the day!"

The truth is, once you give up these foolish hopes and walk away from this sinking ship, it really does become crystal clear. Radio is black & white Tv. It's had it's run, and it was revolutionizing, but it's over. Even if nothing has changed in the way the suits run the operation- today's suits are a pathetic shadow of the 'suits if old.' And today's jocks- with less freedoms for creativity, less budget, less time, are just 'Johnny come latelies' hoping to taste a life similar to those who came before. But it's over. The radio industry, like a dying heart, may be able to pump... a... few... more...times..., but what is the quality of those pumps? And what's the point when death is inevitable.

Just think about 'who' loves radio more, the suits or the jocks? And then, remember who's in charge....

The 'magic trick' isn't really magic, it's a very simple clarity that comes with hanging up your radio spurs and getting rid of all the wishing and hoping for a miracle that will never come. It's getting back to reality, no matter how long you've been gone from it.

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Re: What do you predict about Radio's future?

Post by Radio1240 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:54 pm

Future?? Buy a Hot Dog Cart!

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Re: What do you predict about Radio's future?

Post by therealpanamajack » Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:30 pm

What I find very disturbing is the loss of TSL especially in the 12-24 demo. IMHO as a radioperson who's been involved in the biz since the 60's, this is a huge red warning sign for the "consolidators" who've taken over the industry. What they've accomplished is to drive audience away from Radio as a medium. And same as we've seen happen to the AM band, now radio as a medium is not being used by young people.
That means over time, Radio will finally erode in audience to the point of general insignificance. Sure there will still be Radio Stations but not as many will be viable.

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Re: What do you predict about Radio's future?

Post by jjenkins » Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:45 pm

Radio frequencies will be around, because it is still a way to reach people and there will always be some advertiser willing to try it - even if it's return is nil, it may cost next to nothing to use. But radio is done as far as being relevant and cutting edge. I learned of Whitney dying thru my iPhone's breaking news app and I learn about new music online when I browse through iTunes or see the promotion online. Things are too regulated and safe on the radio to compete with online entertainment.

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Re: What do you predict about Radio's future?

Post by MPALUMBO623 » Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:25 pm

I predict that when the people with the constant shroud of negativity decide to hang up their headsets.....Radio will continue to be a prevalent and worthwhile form of entertainment.

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