Point vs Counter Point: Getting to the heart of the internet


Now we are getting to the heart of the internet; a two-way communication which can be kept alive in a way that traditional media is simply unable to deliver.

Dear Howard: I can call you "Howard"? I think you missed the point in my comment posted at "Radio Business Report" on January 21.

The gist of what was said is that radio trade publications treat radio industry news in a way that covers up what’s really happening. "Radio Industry Word Games and Clear Channel" was about the way radio trade publications covered the story.

I’ll ask that you take a deep breath now because if what was said touched a former Clear Channel #1 sales person’s nerve, what follows may start your heart palpitating with hatred.

Let’s answer your main questions. "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT AND WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM?" Hopefully, the next few paragraphs will explain the first part. I’ll answer the last part now – obviously not from the same one you are.

What I was talking about is that radio – seen as an industry that is chiefly represented by Clear Channel – has imploded through inept management. Clear Channel’s methods of running its stations into the ground is duplicated by many major groups. Their actions, which have been documented time and again, are the starting point of why 1,850 people are out of work.

You won’t be reading words to that effect in the industry trades though. It’s the economy. It’s everyone else’s fault except that of the people at the helm; radio industry leaders are just leading at the wrong time, unfortunately.

You may correctly assume that the way CC has handled this firing of 1,850 persons was an underlying concept in my words, but don’t be confused. The essence of what was said is that the radio trades choose their words so as not to offend radio industry leaders.

According to your own observation, "Clear Channel has been the whipping boy for just about everyone in every business for years."

Why do you think that is?

Over the years, Clear Channel and other major radio groups have systematically dismantled a once very proud radio industry. If you have any questions about those "ways," read about them in multiple blogs written by industry veterans like myself. There are dozens.

Another observation you made was that "The business model has changed in broadcasting." Now, can you demonstrate any way that radio has CORRECTLY adjusted to this change? Where is the radio industry making strong headway in this new business model? Have you read in radio industry trades about what’s been done? Better yet, have you read of new concepts that are being suggested or followed with success by any major group? How do you think HD Radio is truly doing, and do you trust what the trade publications are saying about it?

The radio industry trades, with few exceptions, are failing you and everyone else who depends on them for the truth, spoken in plain words that reflect reality.

Here’s radio’s reality: We have had a massive negative shift in content quality for the audience. Advertisers are finding more effective – accountable – media, and radio industry trades are not offering these stories with any degree of credibility. (I have written about "Radio Business Report" being the exception to this, and it’s stories like this getting exposure at RBR which prove my point.)

It’s time to end, but let me first fill you in on what I do because it’s going to demonstrate how far you need to go to catch up.

Read the "About" page at AudioGraphics.com . Know that I’ve been writing about how the internet affects broadcasting since January 1997, that I took my first software course in 1968, worked in radio for nearly three decades, and currently am SVP at a global leader in audio and video software.

I have no ill feelings towards you, Mr. Price. Your comments only solidify the fact that people in your position still don’t have a clue of what’s in front of them. You depend on the Kool-Aid being offered by radio industry trade publications to feed you the institution’s line.

I’m confident you love the slant that Clear Channel-owned "Inside Radio" gives to industry news, and the constant cheerleading that comes from "Radio & Records." You probably have a copy of the year-end report jointly produced by the NAB and RAB in your bathroom. (http://images.radcity.net/5173/3415598.pdf).

Let me be direct: You can’t cover up the news simply by not reporting it, or report it with a slant that does the least damage. Actions, not words, show where the radio industry is. Most radio trade publications are using the wrong words to cover bad actions.

If you want, I will gladly show you some of what it is you are missing. Simply call me: 440-564-7437.

(Source: Ken Dardis, President, Audio Graphics, Inc. Author’s Note: AudioGraphics.com is a well-read online publication that’s featured as a "news source" at Google News. (It’s also listed at MSN News.)

Important Note: Neither "Inside Radio" nor "Radio & Records" can make that claim, though "Radio Business Report" can!

RBR/TVBR observation:  Publisher Jim Carnegie posted a recent comment on this heated issue and is worth the reprint – Simply take a look at who was running groups in 1997 and now. Dan Mason, John Gehron, Jay Meyers, David Pearlman, Randy Michaels, and Bill ‘Fig’ Figenshu were all programmers running radio companies. With the exception of Mason running CBS, all are out of the day-to-day running of any radio group because the Wall Streeters are in charge.

The result?
No new formats
No Marketing,
No Research,
No Innovation
No Vision,
No Leadership

Resulting in
No growth,
No future
No youth.
Bad perception
Running radio companies takes much more than the ability to manage the bottom line. You must manage the top talent, middle managers, listeners, and the changing technology that confront us every day. Where will this innovation come from now that many groups have cut their staffs to nothing? 

Carnegie observation: Where will this innovation come from? It will come from key Radio Suppliers – companies that have the New Media ideas that are already working in the field. The challenge for the day-to-day radio operator is to retain their services because they have answers to your problems. With staffs cut to the bone someone has to pick up the slack and get the job done.
Service companies with vision is the key to get out of this mess.

And the key dealing with bottom line number crunchers – ‘It saves money as there are no add on costs in retaining their services. No payroll tax, no health care costs etc.’

Just boots on the street getting the job done with any stations over worked staff.

Only problem – Who are these Service Providers? If they are out there they better begin to market their companies and the benefits they offer to the radio business today like right now.