Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Change

That's the big buzz word this political season. We've heard it before and this year is no different. When one reads the polls or sees "man on the street" interviews on TV that's the central theme time and time again.

Of course we need change...the world is fluid and requires constant change just to keep pace. Change is inevitable. Of course, positive change isn't always so easy to achieve.

Now, let's put that in the context of radio. Radio is certainly changing as we all have experienced or witnessed over the last number of years. What has this change yielded our industry?

  • Lower revenue
  • Less risk taking
  • Fewer people
  • Shorter time horizons to achieve success
  • Fewer stations deliberately targeting listeners that are the future of our industry (12-24)
  • Chasing future PPM riches with more Oldies stations
  • Public market rejection
  • Individual radio stations as a commodity among clusters
  • Belief that the "music machine" concept will save us
There's more, but you get the idea. Please understand, I am not suggesting that the industry itself caused all of these issues--we are experiencing a change in the natural order of things. My questions center around our reactions and actions.

When is the good stuff going to start to happen? Is it going to happen at all? If it does, will it start at the top or will it happen from the bottom? Who will have the courage to be the "agent of positive change?"

I just hope it happens. I have my doubts, but yet remain optimistic that out of the fog a resilient and growing radio industry will emerge on my cell phone, computer, dashboard, and yes through that big stick in the sky.

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend (also in radio) and I was laying out the schematic for a new format that I believe would have a good chance for success. In fact, I have three new formats developed that I believe could work. My friend told me I was naive to believe that creative, fresh, new, and UNPROVEN would have any chance in today's environment. Of course, he was 100% correct.

I am undeterred. I am in the business of creative, fresh, and new. There's still plenty of success to be had with the tried and true...all I am saying is let's take some of those less successful commodities and give something new a chance to work.

Before you say it, yes, there have been new formats launched that have been successes. How many of those new formats were based in the current day and not a new version of oldies or talk the way its always been done? Right.

innovation + creativity + time + funding = a new chapter of success for radio?

I believe so.

1 comment:

Jerry Stevens said...

Harve Alan wrote: "I just hope it happens. I have my doubts, but yet remain optimistic that out of the fog a resilient and growing radio industry will emerge on my cell phone, computer, dashboard, and yes through that big stick in the sky."

Oh, it will happen. You know when to buy into an industry don't you? It's when all optimism is gone and virtually NONE of the experts can think of a single reason to buy. We're just about there. Contrarians, man your battle stations.

Jim Cramer was famously wrong about the health of Bear Stearns. Think about that when he talks about radio.