Last year at this time, I wrote a fairly stern welcome to broadcasters who were attending the National Association of Broadcasters Convention in Las Vegas. The piece appeared both in my weekly newspaper, the Penny Press and in Radio Business Report.
What a difference a year makes.
This piece will still appear in the Penny Press, but its print edition has gone the same way that Radio Business Report (RBR) and Television Business Report (TVBR) www.rbr.com has and we, too, have become a purely online product.. (www.pennypressnv.com)
Last year, I cautioned my fellow broadcasters that we should stop sucking up to congressmen and senators and just worry about running good broadcast outlets.
Frankly, this year, we may have to declare war on many of those clowns who presume to represent what Bill O’Reilly calls “the folks”.
Just about every Democrat and not an insignificant number of the remaining Republicans think they have some magic insight into the broadcasting business because that’s more fun than doing something useful like reforming the tax code.
I’ve been in this business for 44 years (I’m 57, do the math) and my experience tells me that sucking up to anybody never solved anything. Taking out some key Senators—like say, Harry Reid—will instill enough fear in the rest of them so we don’t have to go to Capitol Hill with our hats in our hands and beg them not to destroy our business. Same thing for House Members. Take out 15 House Democrats and then see who returns our phone calls.
Many of us are in the unique position to do exactly that. We’re far more powerful than the dolts on Wall Street who went broke making side bets on mortgages.
As bad as the economy is right now, many of these clowns have lower approval ratings than Charles Manson. One poll put the overall congressional approval rating at 28%. Put another way, even their mothers think they stink.
All you have to do is to make sure that the worst of them get plenty of air time with plenty of tough, live questions—you know, like journalists and commentators are supposed to ask.
If you’re worried about what they might do to us, remember this: they’re already doing it. Don’t think so? Go calculate what it will cost any music station to stream their signal.
Frankly, Washington is so deeply broken that only outsiders with some influence are in a position to fix it.
So, this year, instead of telling the members of the House and the Senate how much we love and need them, why not take a new tack. Why not tell them that if they forget—even for a moment—who sent them to Washington to do the people’s business, we will make sure they are out of there like feces through a goose.
If you doubt our ability to do that, then you shouldn’t be in this business in the first place.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of watching overfed, overpaid poltroons like Harry Reid and Nancy (“I need an Air Force 757”) Pelosi screw our listeners, our advertisers and us and get away with it because we’re afraid to stand up for what’s right.
Go out. Talk with you clients. Talk with your listeners.
I don’t know about you, but these days I’m flying commercial (sold the plane) and I get to talk with a lot of regular people in a week.
I don’t meet too many people who think that the current Congress is doing any kind of a job at all.
I’d rather have a Congressman or a Senator fear me than like me. We represent our listeners in a far more real way than Congress represents us.
If we take a few of them out in 2010, maybe the new guys will remember exactly who sent them to Washington and why. If not, there’s always 2012.
— Fred Weinberg, Publisher/Penny Press