Friday, December 28, 2007

Radio’s Rogues Gallery of 2007

In no particular order - and by no means complete:

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Boy Kevin Martin: He transformed the FCC into a hackapalooza where all deals are done under the table. Want to buy in? Boy will direct you to his preferred lobbyists. Just ask Sam Zell. He can get anything he wants at Kevin Martin’s restaurant.

Sure there’s no shortage of those wanting to put a stake through the heart of this grotesquely corrupt system – but it’s not going to happen.

The General Accounting Office ratted him out for leaking confidential material to preferred lobbyists and companies and he still has a job and hasn’t been brought up on charges thanks to his wife’s employer and Bush string-puller. He’s got him covered so well that you can’t even see the yellow streak running down his back.

Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the RIAA: The RIAA has engaged in everything from the Patriot Act to breaking every invasion of privacy law without reprimand to search and destroy illegal downloaders.
Its SoundExchange division encouraged Internet-only radio stations to set up payola deals with labels to reduce the cost of royalty payments for airplay.
Now, they’re closing in on radio like hyenas surrounding a wounded animal with its MusicFirst Coalition’s latest extortion in disguise: charging terrestrial radio a tariff for streaming music.
The RIAA is the lobby wing of the major labels, mostly foreign owned and infamous for not paying its artists the royalties they’re owed.
Don’t believe it? Check the track record of the RIAA with the few that had enough money to audit their labels.

Who says crime doesn’t pay? Not Bainwol.

David Rehr a.k.a. Fumbles, President and CEO of the NAB: Here’s a paper tiger’s paper tiger. The six words he hears from everyone: “Go away, kid. You bother me.”

Royalties? Unrealistic censorship? Satellite merger? He's boxing with the big boys now. I guess Pater never taught him how to defend himself. The only box he knows is the one he can’t get out of. He had an opportunity to threaten Mitch Bainwol that he’d expose the RIAA for the thugs they are but his lips were trembling too much to form the words. He can write one hell of a letter, though. Actually, hundreds of them. Too bad none of them were effective – or even read for that matter.

We always thought that what made Milwaukee famous would make a fool out of him.

Former CBS Radio Chairman and CEO Joel Hollander: Lost in translation. Jack, Free-FM, the Zone – enough already.
We knew it was only a matter of time when CBS Broadcasting Chairman and CEO Les Moonves and Hollander would take that ride in the country where only one of them would return.

Peter Ferrara a.k.a. Sgt. Bilk-o, President and CEO of the HD Radio Alliance: We know it’s a dead horse but we enjoy beating it anyway. The HD Radio Alliance is a sheltered workshop for the otherwise unemployable radio executive.
It’s a place where a dollar chases a dime.

How many HD Radios did its tent revivalist Sgt. Bilk-o legitimately (real figures, not his) sell this Christmas? Do you know anyone who’s bought one? Even on QVC?

Even his former disciple, the Coot, is rallying against Bilk-o’s latest creative. More proof that when the ship is sinking the rats are the first to leave.
When the house of cards finally collapses will Bilk-o say the following words before a live audience, “Your Honor, I believed everything in the radio industry was on the level?”
Bet on it. He'll squeal like a pig.
Designer consultants (names need not be mentioned – yet): The Coot is a cheap knock-off. You can always ID the knock-offs. They’re the ones telling you that everything they told you to do for the past ten years was wrong but it’s your fault for following their advice. Start with the Coot’s Chicago stations and go from there.

True, there’s that oily designer consultant who’s even worse – but I’ll wait until his dossier is complete. You’ve heard of double dippers? This one’s gone quad. The net has been thrown over people for less than what this rogue and his associates have done to this business.

The Mays Family, BainCapital and Thomas H. Lee a.k.a. Fiddle and Faddle: – Here’s the problem with being a member of the Mays family’s Lucky Sperm Club. Eventually, the luck part runs out.
Sure there are those that’ll say Randy Michaels left Clear Channel radio in a lurch – but how many years has it been since they ousted him and they still can’t turn it around?

What can you say about a company that fires its best – from account executives to air talent – and replaces them with those that’ll work the cheapest? You get what you pay for.

Instead of trying to embrace new technology that could’ve bought them time, this troglodytic company beat it to death. Their radio home pages look like porn sites. Bad ones.

Take Fiddle and Faddle, otherwise known as the BainCapital/Thomas H. Lee privatization deal. The Mays family conned them into the deal that they can’t get out of without a heavy payoff.
Their aborted plan to divvy up what was left of the morally bankrupt company is in stasis and they may be forced to call the Mays’ bluff, cut their losses and back out of that deal.
And Wall Street’s gotten wise to the Mays father, son, and holy roast family con: heads I win, tails you lose. This time it may be closer to no one getting the gold and everyone getting the shaft.

Don Imus: How can we miss you if you don’t go away? A lot of good you’ll do Citadel. Imus is little more than a reoccurring presence, like herpes.

Mel Karmazin, Gary Parsons and the XM-Sirius satellite radio merger: Here’s the logic. Fewer stations mean more variety? I guess that’s true when competition gets in the way of good programming. Will it really matter five years from now? Doubtful.

Mel and Gary aren’t really rogues. They’re the sharpest people in the room. Mel has never forgotten where all the bodies are buried and which sepulchers await their permanent guests.

Arbitron President and CEO Steve Morris and the Portable people meter: Another one who’s not a rogue but has to deal with his share of them. The diary served its purpose in its day just as horses did before automobiles. It’s time to join the 21st century and those in radio opposing the PPM should realize that it will do far more to help their cause than hurt.

True, there are still a few bugs. It’s a new product. So far, though, it’s confirming what we already knew. Few listeners have a favorite radio station anymore. Those that listen, listen less. And commercial radio morning drive numbers aren’t what they used to be.

The bad news for those still doing radio the old fashioned way? Fill in the blanks.
The following rogues aren’t really radio anymore though there are those that hope and pray that they return to the medium.

The Tribune Toxic Twins – Sam Zell and Randy Michaels: Who cares? Sam Zell and his wingman Randy Michaels are going to do what they want to do whether or not you like it, have an opinion about it, or just want to be an armchair quarterback.
Do you really believe Zell and Randy Michaels would want to get back into radio - a business they’ve already destroyed? That cow’s been milked dry and put out to slaughter.

Michaels doesn’t need revenge. He’s already gotten even with Clear Channel while they’re getting odd. He left them in the lurch with a product that is worth significantly less than what they paid for it.

To those few past and present Clear Channel and Jacor staffers that Randy did take care of who are on tenterhooks that he’ll return to radio, here’s a fact. He’s not spending as much time thinking about you as you are thinking about him.

Now, if you find yourself under the employ of Tribune, here are some fitting words from your former employers, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”


Charlie Kendall said...

Hey G-man, glad to see you have mellowed through the years! lol!!!

Anonymous said...

“HD Radio’s New Campaign”

"If merger approved, HD Radio wants a piece of the action"

Ferrera/HD Alliance is getting so desperate that they are now "throwing analog under the bus" and trying to hitch a free ride with Satellite Radio.

Anonymous said...

You said it well. 2007 was a year for lies and deception. I think it will come crashing down around many of those rogues in your gallery.

You can only play a ponzi scheme or a shell game for so long.

Their time is running out.

Anonymous said...

I cannot stop laughing!

I love your picture of the oily one. You should call him MINGO. It took me a few minutes. When I figured it out I went into hysterics. I have also sent your link out to my radio friends that worked for the oily MINGO. You hit the nail on the head.

I never worked for the Coot tho others I know did and feel the same way about him. He does blame everyone for following advice he "forgot" he gave.

Oily MINGO had so many scams going. Calling him "Quad" is not even close. My station dropped him after we learned that he was calling in our adds to an indie while charging us for consulting and he is'nt cheap.

He was also working with a well known act we played that were trying for a comeback. I don't know why they used him. When I mentioned playing their new song which I liked he told me it was a stiff. I wonder if the band that was paying him for their comeback knew he was dissing them behind their back. The beat goes on.

The only problem is that theives work with other thieves so until the feds close in on MINGO with tax evasion or something Al Caponeish he will continue his scam.

Anonymous said...

John Gorman, I agree with everything you wrote. When will this industry wake up and smell the rats ruining it?

Anonymous said...

I'm taking a few days off until after new years day but I could not resist the temptation of checking out radio daily and finding your latest blog.

I love the rogue's gallery. What a fitting tribute to those who have made radio a laughing stock.





Tony Mazur said...

I can't wait to see what Rogues 2008 holds. Oh sure, probably the same collection of cronies, but what other gent will step up and screw things up for the rest of us in '08?

TAlex said...

I believe that it will be difficult and it will have to be done to save face. David Rehr will be out of the NAB by the end of the year. His lack of leadership has hurt radio on many levels.

I also believe that the HD radio alliance at least in its present form will be put to rest.

Anastasia said...

As I drove back from Chicago the other day, I did something I haven't done in eons — listened to some terrestrial radio (particularly horrible in northeastern Indiana/northwestern Ohio which is also where I saw a concentration of Ron Paul yard signs.)

I could not believe how totally they have blanketed the stations with ads for HD radio and how completely laughable the ads are. One tried to make the point of how "cool" HD radio is. Another was pushing a feature that allowed you to set it up to download tunes you liked from iTunes — nice way to soak listeners but seriously, how many times can you download that Fergie tune you just heard four times in the last hour? I really loved the one with the woman talking excitedly about all the great new programming on the side stations. C'mon, if radio station owners we actually able to provide great programming, why do their "money" stations suck so bad?

I will be curious to hear how many HD radios moved over the holiday season. John, you must let us know when you find out.

Anonymous said...

John though some of your comments are on target others remain laughably inaccurate. Your take on "The Coot" simply could not be more wrong. You continue to harbor bad feelings because it seems to me a little ol station in Detroit consulted by a little ol consultant you're so focused on kicked your ass. Plain and simple. You got your ass kicked and will never forget it. So what if there's a problem client or two or even three? What consultant doesn't have troubled clients? Why not write a blog about the DOZENS of stations "The Coot" consults that win? And win big. Right, like that will happen. Taking uneducated shots while harboring ill will from your own disaster a dozen years ago is petty, small, and weak. There is not a better, more upstanding, more morale, less sleazy individual in this business. You remind me of Mr. Potter in "It's A Wonderful Life" who Jimmy Stewart described as a "warped frustrated old man."

Anonymous said...

Regarding Kevin Martin: It's not easy trying to build coalitions in your agency when you have two of the biggest broadcasting haters in the country as Commissioners. Copps and Addelstein make spare money speaking at anti-media conventions around the country, attacking the industry they're supposed to regulate. Martin can't say or do anything without the Bobsy Twins rushing to the print press, crying the blues about their agency. If any other government agency ran that way, those two would be fired. If things are so bad, why don't they try and fix it from within? There are two other commissioners who might be interested in working with them, if they weren't so awful to be with. This is a great example of why nothing gets done in our government, and why the people are better served that way.

What your blog also fails to note is the FCC has been pursuing a policy of expanding LPFM, which commercial broadcasters oppose, treating ownership as though it's supposed to be some kind of affirmative action program, and casting a blind eye to pirate radio. The FCC has also encouraged HDTV while ignoring HD radio.

None of those are things the broadcasting industry likes. So to characterize the FCC as doing the NAB's bidding is just plain wrong.

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