In watching the presidential race unfold, radio can learn a lot from both candidates. Regardless of your political affiliation or party bias the big elephant in the room is the fact that America has a serious energy problem. We didn’t get here overnight – we got here because of years of bickering over which approach to take to solve the problem. That bickering led to status-quo partisan posturing while the world continued to move on, and worldwide energy demands continued to sky-rocket. Now, the only real solution is to move in both traditional and non-traditional directions simultaneously. We cannot resolve our energy problems simply by drilling for oil, or building windmills. All options must be on the table. The solution will come from a cohesive plan that involves oil, coal, wind, bio fuels, nuclear, and water. Notice a parallel? A solution to the problem involves old standards being advanced at the same time we explore and grow new alternatives.
Radio has a very similar energy crisis. Declining revenue, declining interest, loss of innovation. This crisis did not get here overnight – it got here because of years of bickering over which approach to take to solve the problem. Think of every excuse you’ve heard over the last 10-years on why radio is having problems (some you may have even used yourself): It’s Clear Channel’s fault; it’s the internet’s fault; it’s satellite’s fault; there’s too much focus on Wall Street and not enough focus on Main Street; it’s the agency’s fault; it’s Arbitron’s fault; it’s my competitor’s fault… how is are any of these excuses any better than the partisan bickering we’ve seen from our politicians?
Years ago I told a colleague that today’s radio leader WILL go down in history – as either the leaders that transformed their industry and provided guidance through the next radio renaissance – or as the leaders that drove a once powerful, and still very viable medium, directly into the ground.
Steve Jobs once commented: “It’s more fun to be a pirate than it is to join the navy.” As we look around at radio today, we see a lot of battleships and very few pirate flags.
As an industry, we cannot solve our current radio energy crisis by drilling for more sales people, or building new ratings systems. All options must be on the table. The solution will come from a cohesive plan that involves on-air, online, mobile, HD, Wi-Fi, Wi-Max, and “why not?” Shifting focus from the bottom line to the top of the horizon.
At Remerge, our company’s definition statement is a simple one: New Media Integration. Unlike dozens of new media companies that simply build “turn-key” tools and widgets and dazzle radio leaders with “potential” earning power – we ask our clients to roll-up their sleeves, focus on strategy first – tool selection second. We train our client’s sales force to be new media carpenters so that the shiny tools available to them don’t just sit in the toolbox – but actually get used to build something meaningful and profitable. Most importantly, we don’t ignore the most dependable and trusty tool we have at our disposal… radio.
–Chuck Francis, Remerge Media