The Answer to Why

A note to ownership and executive management

At one point, a couple of decades ago, the answer to “Why are you in Radio?” had mostly to do with personal connection, at least for those on the programming side of the business.

We served a local community because we were part of that community. Our main goals were providing entertainment and information to people we would meet at the grocery store or local car dealership.

Our success and the success of your station(s) brought in advertisers eager to speak to our audience, and those advertisers created revenue and produced a pretty predictable profit stream to you and your company.

Both Sales and Programming understood the answer to ‘Why?’ and while there will always be a certain amount of tension between the two, the goal was basically the same.

Consolidation changed that.

Now, the only answer to ‘why?’ is revenue. The need to literally squeeze every possible dollar from the ‘asset’ has made the idea of local connection, of providing engaging local entertainment and information, seem quaint.

The thing is, ownership — you — keeps pretending, and saying publicly, that the answer to “Why?” hasn’t changed.

And that’s confusing, at least to everyone on the programming side of the business.

Why not just admit that the only purpose for your stations’ existence is to produce every penny of profit possible for the handful of top executives who already pay themselves millions every year, even if it hurts the long term prospects for that station?

Even if it hurts the longer-term prospects for our industry.

Even if it motivates you to fire hundreds of capable employees merely because you can, and because it increases your own compensation.

Even if hurts the local community you are licensed to serve because you simply don’t have enough local employees anymore to provide real services when they are needed.

Who do you think you’re deceiving?

The answer to ‘Why’ now?

Just say it, aloud, and stop pretending it’s anything else.