It’s unique for one to lead an industry when his only knowledge of it is whatever copy is put in front of him to read.
Welcome to the world of David Rehr, a.k.a. Fumbles, the chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, which purportedly represents the interests of the radio and television industry.
Fumbles, here’s the dilemma of the industry you’re paid the big bucks to represent.
How do you know where radio is going if you don’t know where it’s been and why?
I feel Fumbles needs to rework his Radio 2020 campaign?
Try this modification. Radio 20/20, as in “hindsight is always….” (Thank you, commentator TAlexander for that one)
Say “product development” to Fumbles and he’ll point his stubby finger at the ethically impaired Peter Ferrara, President and CEO of the HD Radio Alliance, henceforth known as Sgt. Bilk-o. (Thank you to commentators anonymous and lock stock barrel for nominating his nom de guerre).
HD Radio, the savior of the radio industry. Insert laugh track here.
Did you hear about Ibiquity’s and Sgt. Bilk-o’s latest setback? I’ve lost count. What’s this? The twelfth in a series?
Let’s talk Citadel. Last time I checked they’re the third largest radio group.
They had to yank the plug out of their AM HD Radio audio when, in their words, the “results were disappointing.”
Ibiquity responded with a statement: We understand Citadel’s caution and are working with them to understand what they are experiencing and to address their concerns.
Don’t you just hate it when that happens?
iBiquity insists there were only a few complaints about their HD Radio AM folly. Let’s listen in on their response, The vast majority of the feedback we’ve received on AM nighttime broadcasting has been positive.
Of course. If there’s no one listening there’s no one to complain.
How many months has it been and we’ve yet to see an independent audit on how many HD Radio units you’ve actually sold? The word is sold – as in someone paid money to buy one. Unsold inventory doesn’t count. Returns don't count. Demos don’t count. Trade doesn’t count.
Sgt. Bilk-o and other members of the HD Digital Radio Alliance apparently overlooked the downside to lying. You have to remember the lies you told and to whom.
Take that panel FCC’s audio division head Peter Doyle was on.
Ibiquity, the HD Digital Radio Alliance, and Fumbles bragged about the 1,500 radio stations they allege broadcast in HD.
One problem. The FCC has only 1,300 licenses filed for HD Radio stations.
That led Doyle to ask, “If you’re one of the 200, please let us know.”
He’s still waiting.
Bilk-o did surprise us and release a claim that about – key word – about 500 HD Radio receivers were sold on QVC in “just over” twenty minutes. No further information, like actual qualifying of those numbers, and curiously, why did Bilk-o wait a full week before releasing the alleged – key word – alleged figures?
I had mentioned earlier in the week that I received a half-dozen e-mail bulletins on the new relationship between Ford and HD Radio. Though the press release was written to make one believe that every Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury would be equipped with an HD Radio – the reality is that it’s just an option – and only one of many audio options Ford offers. Let’s see HD Radio or SYNC (which provides wireless Internet, which means access to thousands of Internet radio stations). How many say, “I’ll take the HD Radio instead of other options offered?
What I didn’t know and thank commentator Day of the Jackal for pointing out: The only reason Ford is allowing HD Radio as a $280 + $50 installation fee, is that Ford owns Visteon which makes HD radios, and that Ford is an investor in iBiquity. Even Ford doesn't have much faith in HD Radio, as it is a second-class, point-of-sale, dealer-installed option.
Nothing is ever as it seems with the HD Radio Alliance.
Who told the most lies last week? Sgt. Bilk-o at the NAB or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the UN.
Though he’s a former senior VP at Clear Channel, you can’t call Sgt. Bilk-o a has-been. Never-was is closer to it.
What’s the definition of tune-out? Try Bilk-o’s latest HD Radio campaign. I particularly like the one that calls HD Radio “cool” for teenagers and has one speaking in Valley Girlesque. So 1982. Just when you can’t imagine the HD Radio campaign getting any worse….
There isn’t even any creative in their creative.
I know I’m repeating myself – but there was this NAB Convention last week where nothing was accomplished. Radio listening continues to decline; HD radio still isn’t selling – and now the threat of radio paying royalties to labels is becoming very real. We’ll save the latter for another time.
Repeat after me, Fumbles. You can’t create revenue if you don’t have product to sell.
Let me illustrate it in a way you, an ex-beer promoter, can understand it. Most radio station’s creative today, most of which is run from corporate offices, is comparable to an empty bottle of beer. It’s empty! Who’s going to buy an empty bottle of beer? There’s nothing in it. Get it?
Fish stink from the head and that’s where change has to take place if this industry has plans to sell radio as a product by, let’s say, 2010.
We’re turning the clock back to 1985 when a power struggle at Apple forced out Steve Jobs.
His replacement, John Sculley, a former Pepsi-Cola CEO, raised the price of the Macintosh by $500; shunned upgrades in favor of selling existing brands, and misused R&D by tossing money at projects with little to no commercial appeal.
While Sculley dismantled the culture and creativity of Apple, Jobs started NeXT, whose workstation helped Tim Berners-Lee develop the World Wide Web.
Since Jobs returned to Apple, among other things, he reinvented the way we access and listen to music. Then there’s Pod-casting. You get the point.
And, no, Fumbles, though you’ve been quoted as saying otherwise, Jobs has no plans to add an AM-FM HD receiver to junk up his iPod and iPhones.
Did you ever hear Steve Jobs speak? He’s the opposite of Fumbles and Bilk-o. Jobs has passion. Fumbles and Bilk-o don’t even know what the word means.
Jobs sells his product. Radio doesn’t have a product. You can’t generate revenue without product. Need I continue?
HD Radio’s generated absolutely nothing for anyone except for engineering headaches, spreading a thin staff thinner, and mostly half-assed automated formats. HD Radio is not going to save the industry.
Radio’s audience demands change on the stations they can access. They don’t need another dozen or so stations. They want something that’s not being given to them. Let me spell that out for you again, Fumbles: C-R-E-A-T-I-V-I-T-Y and C-O-N-T-E-N-T – and that’s with a liberal dash of passion and honesty.
You know the old saying - In business, usually, what is obvious usually turns out to be true.