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Has Consolidation Critically Injured Radio?

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(10/31/2013 7:40:17 PM)   Flag as inappropriate content
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"Brazil: Tests Tech Before Implementation"

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(1/4/2013 12:27:24 PM)   Flag as inappropriate content
I don't accept the notion that consolidation has critically injured radio, but I do believe that radio has become an insanely mechanical, de-humanized business since consolidation. Consolidation is a fact of business life and there's not an industry that I can think of that hasn't experienced it. My view is that corporate leadership is the driver of the success or failure of any merger or consolidation.

While the radio industry advocated for consolidation (as it continues to do now), based on my experience as a GSM during the late 90s thru the first decade of the new millennium, I don't believe there were many people at the top of the food chain who had a clue how to make it work. Anyone recall the first 10 years when companies were hiring Directors of Sales? OMG, what a nightmare! The poor people hired for those positions largely had no job descriptions and sort of made it up as they went along. Then came a round of eliminating those positions and a seemingly constant restructuring sales departments and compensation as the big dogs struggled to find the right mix.

Account management, talent acquisition/development, pricing, positioning--all business 101 items--were all over the map. Perhaps the greatest issue that dragged radio down after consolidation is the fact that radio executives or managers who were well suited to lead in the pre-consolidation days were seriously unqualified to lead in the post consolidation era. The results amounted to putting old wine in new wineskins.

I'm peripheral to the business now, but I still talk to people on the inside and what I hear dismays me. The way business is done in radio today is pretty much the same way we did it in 1996. Yes there are shiny new toys and impressive sounding buzz words. And yes, there is much lamenting about how radio doesn’t get even its representative share of ad revenue. And I submit that consolidation isn’t the culprit. It’s that T-Rex and all of his extraordinarily well-paid friends still reign in Radio Land despite the world becoming more digitized and focused on accountable business relationships. Until this changes radically, Darwinian theory will continue to take its course.

- Larry

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