Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Radio: Andy Cuomo - pretty fly for a white guy

When New York Attorney General and klieg light moth Andrew Cuomo appointed himself the guardian of minorities in media his first mission was to show those lily-white WASPs at Arbitron that they weren’t going to push his homies around.

Andrew Cuomo. He’s pretty fly for a white guy.

You know its kinda hard just to get along today
Our subject isn't cool, but he thinks it anyway
He may not have a clue, and he may not have style
But everything he lacks, well he makes up in denial
So don't deflate, play it straight
You know he really doesn't get it anyway

Now let’s hear from an actual minority – in fact how about a CEO from a minority-managed public company, whose stations program to an African American audience?

Come on down, Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins III.

How does he feel – since he has a very real stake in this – about the Arbitron PPM?

“Anytime you adopt a new technology, there are always short-term dislocations.” That’s what he told Washington Post writer Paul Farhi last weekend.

“There’s going to be a learning curve…but [electronic measurement] is a reality. I’d much rather get reality on the road than delay, delay, delay.”

He gets it.

The PPM is a tool to improve a station’s programming. With it, programming problems can be immediately identified and rectified.

Now let’s hear from Jeffrey Lieberman, the head of Entravision Commutations, which owns a chain of Spanish-language stations. Here’s what he told Farhi about the PPM, "It's not accurate and it's not reliable."

Is it because his stations didn’t fare as well with it?

Is that why he calls the PPM a “flawed system?”

As Calvin and Hobbes cartoonist Bill Watterson once said, “It’s not denial. I’m just selective about the reality I accept.”

It gets better. Now, the Attorney General of New Jersey Anne Milgram is playing follow-the- penguin with Cuomo and filed her own law suit on behalf of her state to block Arbitron from using the PPM to measure radio listening in the Garden State.

Her subpoena calls Arbitron’s PPM “…flawed, statistically unreliable and undercounts the listening habits of minority consumers." She’s seeking documents concerning the sampling of Arbitron's PPM system in the Houston, New York, Philadelphia, and New Jersey markets, submissions by Arbitron to the Media Ratings Council (MRC) regarding accreditation, and correspondence between Arbitron and advertisers or radio broadcasters regarding implementation of PPM.
I guess she never heard the old saying - delay is the deadliest form of denial.
Arbitron’s President and CEO Steve Morris filed a countersuit and said, "We are asking the United States District Court to uphold our First Amendment rights and to prevent the New Jersey Attorney General from attempting to restrain publication of our Portable People Meter listening estimates.”
Rival media are snickering at us - and not behind our backs, either.
You've heard the joke. People are worried about the future of radio - or at least those of us who work in radio are.

At a time when radio needs all the allies it can get why must this industry pick a fight with the audience measuring service that could help it the most?
Once again, only the lawyers will get rich.


Anonymous said...

Radio has lost its most talented programmers and marketers and knows it. That is why they will fight against any technology that challenges them to improve content. They don't even know what content means. Did you read Jeff Smuylan's comments yesterday about content NOT being the problem with radio. It's perception? When CEOs of radio chains don't get it how do you expect this business to survive. Denial with a capital D.

Anonymous said...

Gorman, who the F are you working for...radio or Arbitron? I really don't F-ing know? The PPM is unproven. You made your fame and fortune with Arbitron DIARIES in case YOU FORGOT!

Anonymous said...

If the radio industry believes this campaign is going to help them they are in worse shape than I thought.

Radio should welcome the PPM as a technology that will make it easier for them to qualify their numbers to clients.

Radio should also welcome the PPM because its programmers will be able to pinpoint programming problems and how to better execute their formats.

I don't see the problem other than those two AGs.

Anonymous said...

I look at it differently. I think Smuylan and the other anti-PPM radio CEOs know that it will be a much improved measurement and are expecting the worst. For example, the decline of morning drive, the decline of younger demos, the zip codes that show TSL increases/decreases. These CEOs know they cut their staitons to the bone and sucked out the marrow of their programming and replaced it with Jacks and Jills and pop pablum. The PPM will happen like it or not no matter how many AGs try to stop it. They cannot prove improved technology wrong nor can they restrain trade. Sorry, radio.

Anonymous said...

Just like radio. Blame everyone else for its downfall. Maybe Clear Channel is the lightning rod for all things that went wrong with radio but everyone else marched to the beat of Randy Michael's drummer and thought we was the second coming in the early days of deregulation.

Michaels is now destroying newspapers and television and radio is left picking up the pieces of an unnatural disaster - the decline and fall of radio.

Radio can only blame itself for its ills. You destroyed great morning shows. You sold radio short. You did not develop new talent and now you are going to pay.

Delaying the PPM is delaying the inevitable conclusion - radio is toast.

Anonymous said...

Al Liggins proved he is the smartest CEO in radio. He is not standing in the way of progress and his stations if one is to believe the b.s. should take the biggest hit with the PPM. Liggins knows how to use the PPM and said all the right things about it.

How much do you want to bet that Radio One stations will show the most improved programming. Liggins knows what Jeff Smuylan and Dan "fire everyone" Mason will never know - content was, is and will always be king!

Anonymous said...

I second the props for Al Liggins.

No excuses, no crying, no wimping out.

He accepts it, understands it and realizes that it will make his stations better.

He makes the other radio CEOs look like losers.

Anonymous said...

Cuomo has an ego that is just as large as Elliot Spitzer. You almost want to see this loudmouthed know it all go down, too.

This is picking a fight for the sake of picking a fight and nothing else.

Who made Cuomo the mouthpiece for minorities?

This AG from Jersey is pretty dumb to want to hitch a ride on Cuomo's wagon.

Anonymous said...

Anne Milgram becoming NJ AG is one of those 'right place, righ time' stories.

She is a Cuomo groupie.

Anonymous said...

That Offspring song was written for Cuomo. He tries so hard to be cool. Too bad he is a loser who cannot identify with anyone but his old man who was no great shakes but Andy can't even hold a candle to him.

Whoever said Annie is a Cuomo groupie is right.

Anonymous said...

Anne is a hottie in an Alanis Morresette kind of way.

Anonymous said...

Is that not what radio has done post-deregulation? Everything radio could possibly do wrong it managed to do.

Now comes an opportunity to right a wrong and provide an audience measurement service that will be taken seriously by clients and be an aid to programmers to improve their product and the radio industry wants to kill it.

Radio would rather manipulate numbers with Jacks and Bobs and Freds and classic rock that really rocks. No wonder so few listen for any length of time anymore.

Maybe radio does have a death wish.

Anonymous said...

The radio industry is almost equally divided on this device. There is no majority in favor or against it. Lots of major groups agree with Gorman. CBS, Bonneville, and more. Does that mean they're right?

Anonymous said...

>> Gorman, who the F are you working for...radio or Arbitron? I really don't F-ing know? The PPM is unproven. You made your fame and fortune with Arbitron DIARIES in case YOU FORGOT! <<

Only a fool can't see that the PPM is a superior form of data gathering. It's just common sense. Radio as an industry needs to re-sell itself to ad agencies and show them they're trying to improve such data gathering in order to regain credibility with them. Until then, I think they'll be spending client's money elsewhere. It is baffling why the radio industry is hesitant to back this better system.

Anonymous said...

Well, let's remember one thing about Liggins. His company is about to ride one of the biggest demographic waves to hit in this pitiful economy. That's why he can afford the ppm. Because while it hurts all radio, it will really hurt the scammers running the big chains who've been misleading about the quality of their demo and the size of their audience for years now.

For decades, black stations have been downgraded in value because their audience was black. Stupid radio execs and investment bankers (wait, that's an oxymoron isn't it?) were blinded to the emergence of the black middle class. As the black community moved from the bottom of the economic ladder to the top, the money guys didn't notice. As black people became CEOs and lawyers and began making their mark in every profession, Wall Street still discounted businesses that cater to black populations.

But black radio sure understood the change, as did other black businesses. They kept to their business, building their audience loyalty and working in the neighborhoods that rose up along with them. Until today, when we finally arrive at the point where black communities will be at the top of the heap, and with the arrival of the first black president, everyone is going to finally see how the black community has transformed.

Here's a question for you: Who's still got equity in their homes and the disposable cash it represents? People who bought million-plus cookie cutter crap-homes in outer suburbs or families that bought in ghettos for pennies and transformed the ghettos into thriving middle class neighborhoods?

Black radio, in comparison to all radio, is about to explode in value. And the ppm will hurt it far less than it hurts the clear channels of this world. That's why Liggins is crowing. I would be too, if I were in his position. Radio One is the only radio company I would invest in, at this point. And it's a bargain.