Friday, August 26, 2011

1999 is just around the corner


Regular readers know that I often quote media researcher/consultant Mark Ramsey in these musings.  He does about as good a job as anyone in anticipating rapid technological change and how it relates to the future of broadcast media.  In one of his latest posts, he talks about what broadcasters can learn from Steve Jobs (Mark also has a knack for being topical, too).  In the post, one thing jumped out at me when he listed five things radio broadcaster "leaders" continue to believe:

1.This business hiccup is only a passing phase. 1999 is just around the corner.

2.We are the Great and Powerful Radio and can enforce our will on consumers if we run enough promotional announcements to do it

3.Don’t worry about Google and Groupon and Pandora – just sell more commercials

4.Everyone who listens to the radio today consumes as much of it as ever – maybe even more!

5.We can defend our importance among consumers and advertisers even as we trim out all that expensive stuff between the songs

When it comes to the people who run radio these days, there has never been a group with their heads more deeply buried in the sand.  A few are trying.  They really are.  But some think their digital strategy is to compensate their program directors with how many hits the station gets on its web site.  Lord help them!
The time has come--and maybe passed already--when they will have to group together and do some radical things to maintain and grow radio broadcasting as a viable medium.  Individual stations will have a tough time saving the whole concept of "radio broadcasting."
And I know from experience that radio folk are cannibalistic.  Everything they do is designed to take down what they perceive to be their biggest and most "direct competitors," other over-the-air radio stations. 
Is the National Association of Broadcasters the means for doing that, for leading the charge into the future?  I don't think so.
It's not the sand where those guys have their heads stuck!
Don Keith N4KC

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