There they go!

I need to confess that I have no idea what actually goes on in those executive sessions at the top levels of Clear Channel — ooops, iHEARTMEDIA — and Cumulus, because I’ve never been invited to join them.

What I have speculated, based entirely on what I hear on their stations, and from stories shared with me by unnamed sources who are friends and who are invited to those meetings, is that these are really homogenous groups.

There’s not a lot of disagreement. No one is accusing the emporer of having no clothes. There’s not a lot of challenging and alternative thinking being expressed.

In other words, there’s no asshole in the room.

The danger is, when you surround yourself with like-minded employees and only like-minded employees, you and your company never really grow. In fact, you become more intolerant and fearful of opinions that are not like yours.

This is happening not only in Radio’s executive suites. We’re all doing it.

Conservatives only watch FOX News and pay attention to Rush Limbaugh. Liberals only watch CBS and CNN and listen to Rachel Maddow. We want our predispositions to be confirmed, not challenged.

There’s a good book about this, when you have the time: The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web is Changing What We Read and How We Think.


If you recognize yourself here, push out of your comfort zone. Invite someone you disagree with, or at the least, someone who has the balls to challenge your status quo, to your next executive planning session.

Remember Steve Jobs and his THINK DIFFERENT approach? Let’s have someone in Radio stand up and take us some place entirely new…


p.s. Thanks to Ken Dardis for sending the link to this TED talk from Eli Pariser.

What FB and Google are hiding from the world

While I agree with Eli about this problem, my point is specifically about decision-making within large consolidated radio companies. Dissident voices have been removed because those who challenge leadership and question policy are always seen as a pain in the ass.

But just as we grow personally when we push ourselves to learn how the other side — of any issue — thinks and believes, Radio grows better and more creative when dissenting voices have a seat at the executive table.