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Too Much Compromise

Too Much Compromise

It’s killing Radio!


I was sitting in a meeting with a GM, a PD, a GSM, an LSM, a Promotion Director and a few others.

We were creating ideas to generate more advertising revenue, planning promotions that could be sold as “value added.”

And, at one point, the GM said, “This isn’t going to be enough. We’re going to have to add a few units an hour. Only temporarily though. Not forever. As soon as we hit the number, we’ll go back to the former maximum limit.”

I’m not good at hiding my feelings, as those of you who’ve worked with me over the years know too well.

So, I blurted out, “If you increase the spot limit, it will never go back to what it is now.

This conversation has taken place in just about every radio station in the world at one time or another.

And the idea that Radio can compromise on something we know listeners hate will yet be our downfall.

Everyone from the sales person who sells the spots, to the GM that is given the revenue number s/he has to hit, knows that we lose listeners every time we start a stop set because we’ve trained listeners over decades that once the music stops and the ads begin, there will be 6 or 7 or 8 minutes of spots before music starts once more. That’s time to hear two songs on another station, or switch to the News/Talk for traffic or weather or whatever.

Still, we compromised. We told ourselves we had no choice.

Today, we have CEOs who tell us listeners don’t really want to hear air talent, that air talent is a liability rather than an asset, when we all know that’s BS.

They say this because they can’t figure out how to hit the revenue number they need to hit, and so they keep cutting “expense.”

This is the compromise that will kill Radio. We tell ourselves we have no choice.

And we’re making this compromise willingly. In fact, we’re celebrating the CEOs who mandate these compromises.

Too many spots in every set. Too many stops every hour. And far too little invested in talent and content and ad creation.

If we can somehow find a way to stop compromising on our product, Radio does not need to die.

But we’ll need new people in those huge corner offices to do that.

That’s a choice too, isn’t it.