He’s still all ears

It’s a pretty basic question: Do you know what business you’re in?

Let me put it another way. Are you in the distribution business or the content-generation business? Because, if you’re in the distribution business, you have an unlimited number of competitors, with new competition being added each minute of each day, world-wide, and their cost of competing with you is going down, not up.

Competition is real, but much less crowded, in the content-generation business.

If your radio station is all about, or even mostly about, music, you are in the distribution business. You don’t own the music you play, and chances are you’ll be paying more to play that music very soon. Consolidation, and now PPM, have been pushing more radio stations into the distribution business for 20 years. Very short-sighted strategically.

Consider this: “My bet has always been what is more important, content or distribution; distribution companies tend to be more and less relevant with the waving of a wand. People still underestimate the value of content. If you have ownership of high-end, exclusive content, end of game. That’s where you need to be.(emphasis added)

That’s a quote from Michael Eisner, and he goes on to say: “This [environment] has killed mediocre content. Audiences don’t just have to sit there anymore and be entertained by mediocre content like in the past.” You can see the whole interview at BroadcastingCable.com

Mr. Eisner is speaking specifically of Television, but his thoughts are just as pertinent for Radio.

Do you understand that it is vital that you offer high-end, exclusive content throughout your broadcast day if you are to be a thriving business in 5 years?

I realize the timing couldn’t be worse for you. A recession, lower advertising rates, lower profits, a measurement system (PPM) that doesn’t inspire much confidence even in stations it ranks #1, continuing pressure on your stock price, increasing pressure to meet (mostly) absurd bottom line projections and margins…

But you cannot wait.

Your business is disappearing in front of your eyes, and the instinctive reaction to cut expense is as dangerous as a swimmer fighting a rip-tide by trying to swim a straight line into shore.

There are people, like me, who can help you find the kind of talent you need to generate exclusive high-end content, but you are the one who has to make the decision to fight for this — because it’s not cheap, and it’s not easy.

It is the only way you will be in a thriving business at the end of your current 5-year strategic plan.

Those who have ears, let them hear…