December 1, 2015

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First Mediaworks

02/05/08 The Burden Of Radio Management?

Youíve never been busier in your career. Your inbox is jammed full with e-mails awaiting response, and reports that you suspect may never be read must nonetheless be completed. You're always the last one at the station, working into the wee hours and eating a cold sandwich at your desk instead of enjoying dinner with the family.

One major burden that keeps you pacing the office floors at night is the one only you as station manager must shoulder: the budget. How you can possibly run the station under these conditions? You thought last yearís budget was bad; now more deep cuts have been ordered, and you just don't see room to trim. Who can you possible cut? The guy everybody loves who's been with the company for 15 years? Here's an ideal employee who the audience depends on every day, but if you I donít cut him you'll have to cut four others because he makes so much money. Sigh.

Out of left field comes the interactive budget. However, you know this makes sense because thatís all youíre hearing about from advertisers these days. Suddenly, more and more ad dollars are going online. Younger people are controlling the budgets just as audience share among the under-30 crowd is eroding. Advertisers are buying into the hype about satellite radio, iPods, iPhones, and other media, and the requests for interactive products are increasing while interest in radio is decreasing. A few clients have even pulled completely away from radio, TV, and print and gone 100 percent interactive.

There are two worlds of radio today: the haves and the have nots. The haves tend to be smaller market or independent broadcasters that don't have Wall Street breathing down their backs. The course public radio groups are following towards privatization will remove some of this pressure, but the struggling economy may yet make us bottom out, the sooner we hit bottom the sooner we will bounce back up ó but it wonít be the same old radio business.

Don't Jump

The good news is, things really are looking up. For all of the stories like this that I hear, there are an equal number from those who remain passionate about radio. I believe we will return to the core strengths that only radio can capture ó like truly involved localism and entertainment ó but our world is different and our listeners and advertisers have different needs and expectations than before. We will see new glory days the sooner we understand and adapt to the interactive world, and make it an integral part of every station in every size market.

Face it. You need to be retrained. And that's why Iíve created Convergence 08: The Radio Ink Digital Media Conference. Relevant to any size market, this conference will teach action steps to help you hit and even exceed those interactive budgets. Itís the first step to radioís revitalization. Itís about reinvention and revival and personal and professional reinvigoration. If we embrace interactive at a new level, radioís future is clear and bright.

It is a day and a half of ultra-high level learning, new concepts, and some of the greatest minds from Silicon Valley sharing their knowledge. Managers, sales managers, and program directors should attend as a team; this much data cannot be retransferred. I hope youíll attend. March 10-11 in San Jose, www.radioink.com/convergence.

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