The Many or The Few

Chasing money as fast as we can

Radio and TV are not alone in dealing with the money chase.

As in so many other fields, the ad industry has discovered that it is way more profitable to provide a mediocre product to a lot of people than a high quality product to a few.”

“Just look at the airline industry, the banking industry, the telecom industry, the fast food industry. They provide mediocre products to massive markets. It’s what huge companies do. It’s what markets demand.

That’s a quote from the Ad Contrarian, who is delightfully honest.

A couple of decades ago, the largest radio consolidator proudly claimed McDonald’s as his inspiration.

Not one single great meal, but billions of average edible meals as cheap as they can produce them.

I realize the wall is bloody from our heads banging constantly against it, but I would like to point out — again — that there are plenty of models where really good products are offered, and bought, by massive markets: Apple, Lexus, Starbucks…you can add dozens of others to the list.

Rather than the choice being the many or the few, why can’t it be both, the many and the few?

There is no law in Radio that says dayparts have to be voice-tracked.
There is no law in Radio that says Morning Shows have to be syndicated content.
There is no law that exempts Radio from requiring well planned and produced marketing.
There is no law in Radio that says one GM can run 5 stations better than 5 good GMs can.
There is no law in Radio that says programmers can’t innovate and inspire and coach if you just give them time.

Perhaps one of Radio’s markets demands the lowest quality for the cheapest cost: advertisers. Perhaps that is true, though I bet it’s still not true for many, possibly most.

But I am positive that our other market — listeners, remember them? — doesn’t want the cheapest product, not when it’s cluttered with 7-minute stop sets containing 16 spots; not when it’s bland and boring and not live when its really needed.

Of that I am certain.