YouTube & Radio

Almost as infuriating as Pandora

Yesterday we looked at Pandora and why they’re driving me nuts.

Today, news that YouTube has created a $5,000,000 (that’s million) Partner Grant Program that will be spread among its 100 “most promising” contributors to help them create more and stronger content.

Is Radio the only business that is actually cutting its investment in its own future? Sure feels that way from my seat.

Even when times were flush with cash and 50% margins, consolidated Radio was cutting its talent costs.

The idea of Radio actually investing money, real money, in developing talent that can generate stronger content is actually unimaginable for those of us in Radio now.

I recall, years ago, a colleague, Steve Allan, who is one of the smartest, the best, programmers Radio has ever produced, pitching his company on a brilliant idea to develop and coach good, young talent so it could be transplanted into bigger markets eventually. Sort of like the farm system in baseball, but for Radio.

The company he worked for then, AMFM really liked the idea, they said — but then AMFM itself was bought/swallowed by Clear Channel.

In this new company, it never dawned on upper management that one of their program directors could, in fact, have a game-changing idea. Truth is, that “top management team” at CC didn’t much like people who had ideas that conflicted with voice-tracking or spending money on talent.

So, it probably doesn’t surprise you that Steve was considered “expendable.”

In fact, Steve isn’t programming a radio station right now. Neither are Allan Hotlen, Cleveland Wheeler, Bob Wood or Thom McGinty, Bob Harlow, and dozens more, all of whom could set any market on fire with their focus, skill and creativity.

It must be one of those times when the programming talent pool is just so deep that extraordinary talent is literally bumping into each other inside station hallways.

I mean, you haven’t heard any stations in your city that offer less than inspired, compelling products, have you?

I didn’t think so.

Radio doesn’t need to fund programming or talent development.

Not as long as we can keep generating those 50%…uhhh 35%….margins.

As long as we can afford to pay our CEOs millions of dollars, we must be doing just fine, right?

Gag me with a spoon, and pass a barf bag, because I’m going to be sick.