Feinberg looks back on Interep/Bear Stearns Radio Symposium


Matt Feinberg, SVP/National Radio, SVP/Director, Interactive Broadcast, Zenith Media Services, sent us this note to clear up some misconceptions that he may have created at a panel session from the recent Interep/Bear Stearns Radio Symposium:

"Recently I attended the Bear Stearns annual radio symposium as a panelist with some of my longstanding colleagues on the agency side. In my final comment I alluded to the fact that there was great radio programming on satellite, the HD side channels, streaming audio and public radio, but not on traditional commercial radio. The minute I spoke these words I knew they were not really true. Afterwards David Field, CEO of Entercom, challenged me on that issue privately and I acknowledged I was incorrect and should really recant that statement. So here, in this pubic forum, I do.

There is a lot of great traditional commercial radio programming in this country (Indie 103.1 in LA with "Jonesy's Jukebox…how can you not like a former Sex Pistol hosting his own radio show", KPIG-Monterrey-Santa Cruz, WDST-Woodstock, NY are some of my personal commercial faves). However in NYC commercial radio programming just really isn't that great. I understand a lot…a lot of people still listen to the radio here as the ratings bear out in all but the younger demos. But ask people on the street how they like their local radio station's choice in music programming and you will not hear glowing commentary.  Why is this important to us?

The reality is a lot of major media decisions are made here in the Big Apple. The people making these decisions are people first; people who listen to the radio by degrees and share the general perception of the local population which can't help but influence, if ever so slightly, their media decisions. While most of us think beyond our personal universe, look at research and draw on years of experience, I still hear the unfavorable critiques on NY radio. I'm a big believer in research, but as people are people first, we should never under estimate 'street cred'."

SmartMedia observation: As we mentioned yesterday, With all of the great publicity for  CBS Radio bringing back the old CBS-FM 101, they also have the opportunity (sitting at the media hub of the entire world) with Wall Street and the agency/client community to show the revitalization and rebirth of good radio. NYC should be the shining star example. CBS Radio also has a great opportunity to bring an Indie Rock format to WNEW-FM. Remember the old WNEW with its Progressive Rock format? These DJs broke new music and could talk about the artists-from A to Z. That was passion and Indie Rock is today's equivalent.

Here in Northern Virginia commuting to work some Summer mornings, tropospheric ducting will bring in WTMD-FM Baltimore and WRNR-FM Annapolis, MD quite well. They are both well on their way to creating good radio. (94.7 The Globe here in DC seems to try to break out of the same repetitive Classic Rock and New Wave songs but still has a long way to go). So why do DC area drivers have to "DX" to get good radio? Why do most listeners have to wait six or seven months after cool tunes break on Sirius 26, NME Radio, AOL Radio's Indie Channels, Pandora, etc., to hear it on typical commercial radio?

Like Feinberg said, there are some great examples of good radio all over the country. We'd just like to see more of them-more knowledge of the music, more new music, deeper cuts. Get adventurous. Don't pit yourself into a specific format. Throw 20 great Reggae tunes into a Indie Rock/AAA/Deep Classic Rock hybrid format. Playing the same songs we've all heard a million times-no matter how you label it-is not going to cut it.