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Radio Exec Says "Suckers Invest in Pandora"



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(3/21/2011 2:03:15 PM)   Flag as inappropriate content
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(2/17/2011 7:49:02 PM)   Flag as inappropriate content
Plug this under the preceeding comment -not enough room:

Margins will be razor thin (if you can imagine even thinner than today), in-car listeners will be able to select from so many Pandoras, XMs, iTunes, Jellis and Q-105s it will make your head spin. There'll be television, movies, Hulu, Facebook/Youtube/Google and games. Then someone will come up with something none of us have thought of yet and be commercial free for the first 90-days.

And Mary Beth will be President of the Southern California In-Car Entertainment Association.

But what about in-home? At work? Local news, weather, sports and traffic (well, we won't need that)? That's for next time. Check this space often. I'll also repeat this and address on my FB page Friday or Monday.

- Dick again
(2/17/2011 6:41:00 PM)   Flag as inappropriate content
Let Me Lay it Out for You

(MB, I'll wager article #2 wasn't subject to "The Ol' 24-Hour Rule," as you let a bit of ego slip out on the "My name is Mary BETH, Dammit!" You may have noticed that my name has an unusual spelling. If I got POd everytime someone misspelled it - even, as on occasion, by my dear old friend B. Eric Roads/Rhodes/Rhoads, I'd be a wreck - just go with it).

Anyway, I've been rolling this around for over 30 years now. About 10 years ago I started to see snippets of the concept in a few articles. I believe "The Jetsons" had it years ago. But to get specific with radio and WiFi, here's what's going to happen, probably within my lifetime (though they'd better be quick):

It will start with the automobile - already has.

All cars will be equipped with automatic destination-driving and accident avoidance capabilities. I don't know the mechanics, but I suspect it will involve satellites and sensors buried in the highways and mounted on signposts, mile-markers, street signs, towers and those reflective thingys that blaze in the dark.

You will enter your destination into what we now call GPS, turn on the TV, a movie, browse the internet (v2 or 3 by then), play a 3-D video game with virtual reality glasses/helmet, take a nap or even listen to what's left of some sort of audio delivery system (call it radio if you wish) while your vehicle proceeds to the destination you selected. This will be achieved at whatever speed the traffic will bear.

The automation system will monitor front, rear and sides to keep traffic moving smoothly, much like self-parking cars and back-up warning systems do now. Accidents will pretty much be a thing of the past as your vehicle will not be allowed to get too close to any other vehicle. All vehicles will have run-flat tires and other safety devices for the protection of occupants and other drivers - more on that in a minute.

At first, there will be auto-auto lanes (clever, eh?) for early adapters. You'll get a discount on your registration, title and insurance. No non-auto autos will be able to access these lanes and disrupt things.

Perhaps, at first, you'll have to take over at neighborhood side streets and manually drive the last mile or so.

Once human hands/feet touch any controls, except the entertainment system, the entertainment system will shut down. The front-seat passenger will have emergency access to the system should a problem arise with the primary driver. Takeover by the passenger, an automatically sensed flat tire, engine trouble or other calamity will engage emergency systems, notify the authorities and safely move the vehicle out of traffic lanes and onto the shoulder. Sort of like OnStar on steroids.

Eventually, once the last, old non-automated buggy is retired, all road vehicles and the lanes of all highways, byways and city streets will be so equipped; though you may still have to take her in manually down a dirt road to your favorite fishin' hole. Classic car enthusiasts will probably have an opportunity to purchase an after-market system so they can traverse the new road system.

This is not science fiction. It will happen. The first time I became aware of radar detectors and CB radio, I could see it coming. The advent of GPS, development of run-flat tires and the ever-popular-with-novelists tracking devices just locked it in. It's just a matter of time, money and mechanics. Somewhere in the bowels of the automobile industry people are working on it as I write this. It's probably a top-secret joint venture.

It will cost money, but it will save money so the insurance companies will pay for most of it - unless they go broke, because you may not need auto insurance anymore, except for theft. But even theft will be thwarted (say that three times fast).

So, what does this have to do with radio and Mary Beth's articles? Ah, radio, advertising and automatic-obiles: Yes! There'll still be advertising.

Can you imagine and accept the world I described? If so, then the next part must follow.

The competition will be even more fierce than it already is. Since a great deal of today's radio listening is in-car, imagine that car equipped as described. A "buy" in the future will include road blocks (sorry, couldn't resist) of all potential in-car media. Maybe Lew Dickey will own it all. Maybe he and Rupert Murdoch will have a duel in front of the stock exchange for control. Jerry Del Colliano can umpire (or "second" as they used to call it). However it is to be handled - handled it will be - and much differently than it is today.

Margins will be razor thin (if you can imagine even thinner than today), in-car listeners

- Dick Downes
(2/16/2011 9:21:13 PM)   Flag as inappropriate content
I am out here in the middle of the Pacific...on an island that has 17 radio stations servicing 180,000 people. I have been in the industry for 25 years and even I remember the 80's with the $25 spot rate. These days, we're working our rate back up from the past few years' economic crises and are averaging around $17 per spot...but we're selling and running :30's and still doing remotes. We go to schools that invite us to Career Day and connect with listeners, we speak at kids' Tourism Seminars about being good citizens and better islanders and we go to sales meetings with our Account Executives and aid in closing deals. It's about being people in an industry that takes people for granted; and I'm talking directly to you, Cox and Clearchannel and all of you other fools that homogenized radio and thought that cookie-cutter approaches to entire regions would help your business model...you screwed it up big time with that.

When my daughters got their netbooks last Christmas, they started up with the Pandora streaming and I paid close attention: Music, no talk, advertisements every few songs, sounds like Radio to me, but without Liners or ID's or anything that would make me excited to keep listening. Granted, I'm 42...but hey, I'm youthful! They (Pandora) limit how long you can listen and how many songs you can add to your "playlist" so there are limitations to each media.

What a lot of you are forgetting is the least common denominator...those people (read: Families with Kids) who cannot afford an iPod or MP3 player, those who do not have a laptop to download songs onto and those who can't even afford to buy songs...what do they do? They listen to the radio.

How many of you in satellite radio have ever sold or performed at a remote? At promotions like these you see your listeners, shake their hands and high-five thier kids who are also genuinely enamored at meeting you. They can put a face to the voice and ask you about that trivia game you played yesterday or tell you, "I was that guy that called and said 'octopus'!" These are priceless interactions.

We even answer the studio lines and air birthdays and requests and special shoutouts! We are our community's voice.

If you put on a good localized radio show (we also Voice Track certain shifts) with local references to news, to observations about the weather and the politics and the sports teams and the people in your community, you will never be that far away.

In a typhoon (cyclone/hurricane), our power and water gets knocked out for days or even weeks. So does the internet, but the radio station still has a Transmitter with a generator and a signal that is everyone's beacon of hope. And there's a warm, local DJ telling everybody, "We're going to get through this together."

We are not too far away from being in some satellite station's "footprint" out here, but when it does come, our listeners will be sorely disappointed in the staid, potentially boring (see Dr. Laura) and limited programming that comes with any syndicated show. (The last thing I remember about Howard Stern was that he left terrestrial radio.)

We have also hit some low points in sales, but what did we do? We furloughed staff, cut budgets, utilized our technology and lo and behold, 18 months later, we made a profit. We are today a more prepared and easier to mobilize radio station...just smaller than we were even 3 years ago. And we're hiring again.

Now, two years removed from those hard ecomomic times, we have revitalized our industry with a newer and faster moving radio station...and we are in the black.

What we're really disappointed in is this Pay-To-Play deal that's threatening the radio industry and others' observations that we're dead...we ARE dead...dead to the past.

Embrace how small market radio does it and you will never hear the argument about the deathknell of radio again.

Also, I have music in my smartphone and I still listen to the radio. I even take radio out to the golf course with me and call it my R-Pod...keep having fun with radio and it always be a viable and contributing member of your community.

-Rick in Guam

- Rick Nauta
(2/16/2011 8:13:57 PM)   Flag as inappropriate content
I can see Mary Beth's point of view and also agree with Will. Mary Beth should keep in mind that 20 years is a blink: 20 years ago was 1991 (doesn't seem so long ago does it?). Will's point is well taken as no business can survive unless the income matches or preferably)exceeds the outgo.

In days gone-by programmers were respected for their knowledge and optimized their stations for maximum listening - and impact for the advertiser. When all spots are clumped together like a big pile of... no individual part of the pile gets noticed - and it all stinks.

So radio may not be working as well as it once did for the advertiser. That's a big part of what will ultimately be radio's death knell - it won't work! And if it won't work, they won't buy... take it from there.

Locally popular live jocks with live reads are still probably delivering results, but where is that happening - and where's the next generation - San Antonio?

Real remotes, where a listener can meet the morning show as they do an actual on-air break, instead of the street team and pre-recorded crap, still has some panache - and might generate some sales for a client, but not much - and it sounds awful to the listeners who couldn't care less. And I haven't seen a viable replacement yet.

I wish I had a magic wand and could take us back to the day, but I don't and no one can (you have The Telecom Act to thank for that). And besides, you'd want your iPhones back and a haircut.

Face it, it's not around the corner, but the continued degradation of radio is certainly only a couple of blocks away; unless big changes are made to improve the product and raise the revenue - not lower the costs, they're already at rock bottom and look where it's gotten us.

- Dick Downes
(2/16/2011 6:21:05 PM)   Flag as inappropriate content
I hate to keep harping on this one issue, but it seems that most of you here are missing the point. Broadcast radio stations are (for the most part) businesses. They run on money generated from ad sales. When the revenue threshold falls below an acceptable level (i.e., the station spends more than it takes in), the station goes away. Welcome to America.


I gather that very few of you here have ever sold a radio ad, and I’m guessing for the few of you who have been involved in sales, it’s been a while (including Ms. Garber). In case you’ve had your head in the sand, things have gotten beyond ugly in that realm.
If you like your local stick, start buying ads on it—and convince your friends to do the same. Go on, give it a whirl, and please report back. Heck, don’t even worry about buying ads, just cut them a check like the legions of NPR fans do.


The fact that Pandora has a plan to bury broadcast radio is not the only concern. There are many other services LIKE Pandora out there, and my crystal ball says there will be many, many more. Honestly, the “broadcast radio will never die” crowd simply does not comprehend the draw of smartphone technology, which puts internet radio capability in the dash of every car RIGHT NOW, and also greatly speeds the communication of local info (school closings, weather, local news—even breaking local news). Lost? Ask someone with a smartphone. Want an update on urban traffic flow? Ask someone with a smartphone. Looking for a restaurant? Looking for a car dealership? Looking for tires? Want your tax return done? Hmm…



There will always be “radio”—it’s just going to be delivered through a different device and data plan. Remember analog phones? They went bye-bye pretty fast when the technology changed. In a very short time, everyone who now has a basic cell phone will have a smartphone—and they will likely make the current iphone 4, Android, and Windows phone offerings look like boat anchors in comparison. They’ll enjoy GPS, a wide variety of apps, music—and a huge selection of radio. Your local stick, dear to you as it may be, will have a very, very hard time competing with that FROM THE STANDPOINT OF AD REVENUE.



Confused? Ask one of the many radio reps in your city who now has a different job.



@Phil, what exactly is the name of your company?

- Will Baumann


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