November 30, 2015

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First Mediaworks

06/07/99 The Day That Radio Changed Forever
Wringing my hands and pacing the floor, I was being eaten alive by anticipation. A couple of months ago, I stood before the industry and introduced the members of my War Council. Each had eagerly agreed to appear on stage with me, but would they now fly across the country to reinvent Radio in America? The first meeting was only minutes away. Would anybody show? Two of the War Council had called to explain why they couldnít attend. One had an important closing, the other, a merger meeting. Several hadnít responded with either "yea" or "nay." Standing at the back of the empty room, staring at a table with 25 seats, I was startled by the sound of my own voice, "Am I about to spend a day in here alone?"

Minutes later, the room was filled, and every seat was taken. The best minds in Radio had gathered with a modest plan to reinvent Radio. I greeted them at the door and said, "Leave your positions and your power here at the door. Strip yourself of political affiliations and personal agendas." Moderated by Harvard professor George Litwin, the day passed like a speeding car, yet we managed to identify a hundred issues that were obstructing RadioĻs success, and we formulated an action plan.

At the end of the day, many admitted to having walked into the room filled with doubt. Could the reinvention of Radio actually take place? Could we, in a day, plan what might take years to accomplish? Yet, each of us left convinced that the War Council had laid the foundation for a plan what would change Radio forever. Now, we must work to enact that plan. Napoleon Bonaparte said, "Small plans do not enflame the hearts of men." As we walked away from the War Council meeting, our hearts were definitely aflame. We know that our plan will work if our three action items are implemented. Radio will be changed forever as a result. Perhaps then, we can begin growing beyond our whining little 6.9 percent of the advertising pie.

I can hardly wait for next year.

B. Eric Rhoads, Publisher

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