Hail to the chiefs!


Forget gloom and doom. There was nothing but positive energy yesterday as the 10 “candidates” presented their stump speeches to become “The President of Radio” at the Jacobs Media Summit 13 in the R&R Convention in Austin. Certainly the most extreme proposal came from Larry Rosin, President of Edison Media Research. He called for the shutdown of the AM band, with owners compensated through a spectrum auction by the government, to have fewer, stronger stations – all on the FM band.

Gerry Boehme, Executive VP, Strategic Planning & Information Technology Services for the Katz Media Group, called for creation of an award for a radio advertising campaign which sells more of the product it advertises, not just for entertaining us. That sort of dove-tails with the pitch by Jerry Lee, owner, WBEB-FM Philadelphia, for a focus on making radio commercials that engage listeners and testing spots for their effectiveness.

“Bring back the local read,” said Pierre Bouvard, President Sales & Marketing, Arbitron, who also proposed that each station turn over a piece of its inventory to its national rep exclusively to make it easier to sell radio to big advertisers.

Mike McVay, CEO/President, McVay Media said as President of Radio he would make HD mandatory in all receivers. He also called for radio stations to be forced to find out what their communities want, saying of the former FCC ascertainment process – “I’ll bring it back, whether you like it or not.”

Complaining that radio has no visibility, John Gehron, General Manager of Harpo Radio, said in the time he’s spent in the city this week he has not seen a single billboard or other indication that Austin has any radio stations. He also warned that unless owners take a hit now and reinvest in radio the revenue decline will continue.

Erica Farber, President & Publisher, Radio & Records, suggested that radio companies stop worrying about their stock price, set goals and pursue them.

Syndicated radio host Kidd Kraddick complained that some companies seem to have decided that radio is nothing more than a carnival barker to constantly drive people to their web sites. “We don’t seem to believe in our product,” he complained. Kraddick’s solution is to make top personalities truly national and make them big stars, while setting up Internet radio stations as a training ground for new talent.

Turn radio back over to the listeners and don’t micromanage talent, said syndicated host Greg Kihn. “I’ve been making it up all along – and now they call that content!”

Julian Nieh, Host of "Julian On The Radio" night show on WBBM-FM Chicago, completed the campaign speeches as the winner of a contest to join the panel. He said what radio needs to do is create loyalty and brand itself. “Let’s make it exciting,” Nieh said.

Photo credit: www.nabradioshow.com