I looked. Then I looked again. I rubbed my eyes. And looked a third time. Is this a parody from The Onion? Am I really reading this correctly?
No. This isn’t from Talkers, the industry trade publication’s archives in 1965. This is from Talkers, the industry trade publication in August 2014!
To quote the boxed world traveler Casey Kasem, “Good Golly Miss Molly.”
August 2014 just happens to be the same month BMW said no more AM radio in two of its electric models, GM said no more HD Radio, radio’s botched attempt at digital audio, in a few of its models and Disney declared, “No Mas,” and that it was selling all but one of its Radio Disney stations, the vast majority AM.
Are the radio industry and the trade publications covering it this delusional?
Talkers, of course, will hide behind its “guest” columnist, Susan Nilon. She penned this fantasy piece of wishful thinking.
I don’t know Susan and I’m sure she’s a wonderful woman. I believe as owner, GM and afternoon personality at WSRQ in Sarasota, she loves her AM station they way I loved the stations I’ve programmed. Stations like WIRL, WKRC, WGR, WTVN and 700WLW to name a few. I’m sure she’s as passionate as I am when it comes to gathering and advocating for an audience. This blog is not meant to demean or belittle her, but to hopefully encourage her to act and start to save AM radio.
But, to quote boxed and room temperature Casey Kasem, “Ponderous.”
In just a few short days, the radio industry will gather in Indianapolis for the National Association of Broadcasters’ Radio Show convention, an annual gathering of the “What Me Worry” crowd as they fiddle, faddle, pat each other on the back and drink too much, collectively waiting for radio, by some miracle, to “adapt” to the changing consumer, the marketplace and technology. I mean, radio always survives. It always has, right?
I’m sure there will be the annual discussion of moving the talk format to the FM band, the difference being at the 2014 convention…it didn’t work. There will be some discussion on the “great” technology that is HD Radio, that really isn’t Hi-Def, but I digress. And let’s not forget the annual ideas that will save AM radio, the latest giving AM stations a very low power “FM” translator. I mean, come on. We all know that AM radio will be saved by encouraging people to listen to an FM signal, right? How could this not get people to tune in the AM band? Brilliant!
Just lots of talk, poorly thought out strategies and worst of all, denial. Dangerous denial because this time is different for radio, as its content is hopelessly disconnected from the consumer and the consumer is finding new ways, through technology, to get the information and entertainment they desire.
While much of her Talkers article is misguided, there are a few points where I agree with Susan.
“You can travel 50 miles in one direction on the highway and pick up numerous stations that repeat the same rotation day after day. If we have lost the listener, it is not because of technology, it’s because we have become stale. It is because we have worked so hard to become efficient with our industry that we have taken the listener out of the equation. We challenge the listener to seek alternatives and then evidence the collected data as a fait accompli.”
I have always believed the delivery mechanism, as long as it’s dependable, doesn’t matter and Susan’s correct. We are blaming AM’s failures on technology and what’s really to blame is crappy content and little variety.
What needs to be discussed at this year’s Radio Show is “radio” not being in the distribution business, but “radio” being in the content business. To Susan’s point, we need to start rebuilding AM radio with the innovative content a consumer wants and needs. We cannot keep broadcasting the “same rotation day after day,” as Susan put it.
So Susan you in? Ready to make and start the change that will save AM radio?
I have a few questions.
- If you’re concerned about the same “rotation day after day” duplicated on station after station, why does WSRQ broadcast the same syndicated shows as the numerous other stations you mention? Here’s your weekday line-up. Let’s change it and focus it on Sarasota. You in? I’ll help.
- You love AM radio, but why are the frequencies of your two low power FM translators listed above the WSRQ-AM frequency in your logo? Let’s change it and highlight the AM stick. You in? I’ll help.
You’re a station owner. You can begin the change needed to save AM radio, Susan. Writing for Talkers is one thing. Doing what needs to be done is another.
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