Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Radio: The Barack Obama format

Tuesday’s election was far more than a tidal wave of change. It was a tsunami that took direct aim at the deception, greed and guilt of the eight-year Bush administration.

Our country has, afresh, verified its inimitable capacity for correction, reinvention, and to rebuff the lowdown for an optimistic and inspiring future.

Our country will not be privatized. We’ve voted back our rights as U.S. citizens.

Our middle class took John Lennon’s “Power to the People” and Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up” to the voting booths.

I’m just not sure how well those who were in power during that time will adjust to living in a Democracy again. Nor do I care.

Think about it. Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Rice, Paulson, Ashcroft – and let’s not forget “Good Job” Brownie – this bunch was so crooked they needed a corkscrew to get into their pants. Could you imagine any of them mixing with the proletariat?
Farewell to Karl Rove’s prophecy of a "permanent Republican majority.” It was destroyed by a dismal economy, two unpopular wars we were deceived into, and record-low approval ratings.
America seems a lot less shadowy now, doesn’t it?

Farewell to the Bush administration’s blinded believers of Ayn Rand’s misguided Objectivism. It brought us to the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression.

President John F. Kennedy said in his 1960 inauguration speech that “the torch has been passed on to a new generation.”

His surviving brother, Sen. Ted Kennedy said at the Democratic Convention last August, “this November, the torch will be passed again.”

Now it has.

Some of you may be old enough to remember when John F. Kennedy ran for President.
Opponents claimed the Vatican would be running the country if an Irish Catholic Democrat was elected.

The suspicions the opposition spread about Barack Obama are still fresh in our minds.

But now, we can add Obama's election to the celebrated landmark achievements of America's cultural history.

The road to his presidency started with the enduring movement from emancipation to civil rights to the election of the first multicultural president.

The economy may have been the prime issue in this election – but there were many other issues that made Obama the best candidate for the presidency.

The world rapidly went out of their control and kept gathering more speed as new regimes arose and new technologies replaced and enhanced the old. It was far more complex than it used to be – a fact the Bush administration could never quite grasp. Bush became an empty vessel, even for his own kind.

John McCain’s version of maverick was much like the flim-flam characters Bret and Bart Maverick in the TV series of the same name.

He played good cop, bad cop with Bush. Some even bought his ruse.

His handlers blew it. Between his repetitious “my friends” and his “what am I an idiot?” shoulder shrug, he turned into a parody of himself.

McCain spoke in sound bites that went nowhere: “Fight, fight, fight!” or “Drill, baby, drill,” as if the same old solutions would solve the same old problems.

He tried to paint Obama as some inexperienced parvenu - not to be confused with an experienced gigolo, which is what he is.

His gift to old media was getting Bush to appoint Michael Powell as FCC Chairman – the worst, most bumbling idiot ever to inhabit that position.

A headline in yesterday’s TV Newsday read: Broadcasters Wary of an Obama FCC.

The headline should have read: Those pretending to be Broadcasters…..

Real broadcasters have nothing to worry about. The pretenders will miss the current FCC Chairman Boy Kevin Martin – but not as much as they’ll miss his rubber stamp.
(The Boy's already testing the waters for a run in North Carolina for Republican Sue Myrick’s House seat in 2010.)

They’ll also miss the eight-year -majority rule of the FCC along with Republican Deborah Tate whose term on the five-person commission is about to expire.

An even greater fear amongst the pretenders is that Obama will in the interim appoint one of the Democratic commissioners – either Michael Copps or Jonathan Adelstein – as acting chairman.

Potential FCC Chairman candidates include former FCC chairman advisor and Obama’s Harvard Law School bud Julius Genachowski, Obama policy director Karen Kornbluh, former FCC chief Larry Strickling.
Obama’s disapproved of Martin’s attempts to further deregulate media, including its decision to permit radio/television and newspaper cross-ownership in the top 20 markets.

He has also been critical of the decline of localism on radio and television, and said, “The more the rules let media outlets fall into the hands of big media conglomerates, the less likely our leaders are to be responsive to the public’s needs and in particular, the needs of minority communities.”
Could you imagine having to learn about your city of license, especially if you’re based a hundred miles away and responsible for a market you’ve never set foot in?
Though the Obama camp has shown no interest in reviving the Fairness Doctrine, it is an issue that’ll no doubt be open for debate – and perhaps minor revision in the new administration’s first year. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) are among a number of Congressional Democrats interested in its reinstation.

You have to laugh at the inadvertent transparency of the conservative radio and TV talk show hosts. Some have already launched campaigns against any form of a Fairness Doctrine. They’re flat-out lying that it’ll be government censorship of their freedom of speech. One went as far as to claim that Obama is trying to force his show off the air.

What’s a conservative talk show host to do if he can’t make up some false story about you except hope you file a complaint so you’ll find yourself opposite a bank of lawyers from the syndicator’s corporate office?

Hopefully, as more information is presented to him, Obama will see the flaws in the industry’s attempt to block Arbitron’s people meter surveys.

I don’t want to appear to be gloating over McCain’s defeat – and end to the policies of the current administration.

There is actually one thing I thank both George W. Bush and John McCain for. They helped us turn many of our red states blue.


Anonymous said...

I wonder, what this will mean for the further rubber-stamping of that scam HD Radio?

Anonymous said...

"The Promise of an Obama Administration for Broadcast and Communications Regulation"

From Broadcast Law Blog...

Anonymous said...

I would like to include Patti Smith's "The People have the Power" to the playlist and Paul Wolfowitz to the list of castrated hawks...

Anonymous said...

The fact is that Copps and Adelstein don't share in Obama's approach of coalition building. Those two have been the most antagonistic people in Washington, taking their case to the media, who they're supposed to regulate, rather than seek consensus within their own building. As a result, they've help create an atmosphere within the FCC where nothing gets done. This is not the kind of record that scores points with Obama. He's more likely to bring in consensus builders and people who can work together, rather than isolationists who create tension.

I expect both Copps and Adelstein to live out their terms under a new Commissioner who will focus his attention more on phones and the internet than traditional broadcasting. You won't see any radio or TV regulations for the next two years. There are way more important battles to fight.

Anonymous said...

i agree. copps and adelstein could and should provide input to the fcc but looking at it from another perspective, they did allow the fcc to get away from them. they became whiners instead of fighters. granted, the trades and media available were on the other side. but the only way to change is from within and copps and adlestein opted for the outside looking in.

obama needs fresh faces in the fcc and like you have said, john, a mix of the old and new and make media maximize its strengths. radio needs to be married to the internet but not in the clear channel way of "chicks in thongs" as value added on their web site.

i for one cannot wait for the rethuglicans to vacate the white house.

Anonymous said...

Gorman's blog would go on for pages and weeks if he listed all the scoundrels that inhabited Capitol Hill under W's watch.

Obama welcome to Washington. We need real leadership.

Goodbye to the Republican thugs.

Anonymous said...

Please please please - will the next administration and FCC go after iBiquity and the HD Radio Alliance? This scam cost radio millions with no results except that its failure is being used as "proof" that radio cannot even sell its own product to consumers. If your account executives are not telling you what it is like on the street and what rival media is pitching against radio you better ask them. That is what the street is like right now. It is not there is no money there is just no money for radio and its radio's own fault.

Anonymous said...

Well, I hope you all are right and the future brightens.

But I'm more inclined to believe in that other old classic lyric: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Anonymous said...

I didn't think it was possible for you to best your
incredibly insightful comments re. radio in another arena...but this post deserves consideration for a must read at schools everywhere. Those who claim it'll be business as usual have done no homework.

bobyoung said...

Great blog.. as always: Power to the People.

Anonymous said...

How about you stick to radio issues, something you know about.

Lay off the politics.

Tim Wallick said...


hope your correct which i happen to think your spot on.

It really is time to embrace the public honestly via all forms of media.those that dont will perish.

Im pretty sure its not a case of meet the new boss same as the old.

Time to take the trash out and get back to serving the real american people.

Obama wants and needs the general public to support his vision, while truely understanding the failures of the past.Which he will most likely paint a clear picture of without the finger pointing.

I hope he follows thru with his concept of a nasa type agency to persue new types of fuels.

which must be done to effectively take the needed steps to really reform a failed foreign policy system.which is clearly tied to big oil.

Anonymous said...

I want to voice my support for John Gorman writing a political piece in his own blog. It is his own blog, isnt it?

You should be pleased that there are people in broadcasting who believe licenses should be awarded to stations that serve their community.

The FCC and the Telecom Bill took our rights away as citizens from choosing our own media.

RE: The Fairness Doctrine. This is another case of Ann Rand's Objectivism. We can trust the radio station license holders to do what is best for their community.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: Obama welcome to Washington. We need real leadership.

This is very discouraging to me how all you sheeples are so easily duped. We just suffered a true economic catastrophe, which will look like childs play come 2019 when the bill for baby boomer medicare and social security comes due. We have proof positive that Andrew Cuomo, Barney Frank & Co. have thier fingerprints all over the current debacle, and you sheeples can see no further than to continue to bash Bush?

This country is General Motors. General Motors is run like a social program and not a business and for 30 years has been sinking in quicksand. Yes, bad management is to blame, but also the fact that they pay for retirement, health care, buyouts and job bank benefits for more people who are not working for them than are working for them.

The same thing applies to this country, and NOBODY, BUT NOBODY, not Bush nor the Republicans, nor Obama, nor the Democrats, NOBODY is serious about the real problem, which is that YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO PAY FOR SO MANY PEOPLE WHO AREN'T PRODUCING ANYTHING.

This is not being cruel, this is reality. There is not enough money or profit in the world to do this. But you sheeples keep believing Obama is going to provide for you as this country is running into a financial ditch, not unlike that which General Motors has run into.

Bottom line is that if you don't look out for yourself, nobody will.


Anonymous said...

I just read the previous comment and had to respond.

The problem with radio companies is that the companies GREATLY OVERPAID for the stations they bought. They spent far too much money to acquire stations and cannot pay off the debt without continuous downsizing.

It is different than General Motors. They kept sweeping everything under the rug knowing the day would come where they would not have the money to pay off those ridiculous retirement and health benefits conjured up wiht the union.

Blame both GM and the UAW for that one. Those guys paid each other off and left the problem for the next generation. Yes, just like our last administation. Let someone else pay off the debt.

Radio deregulation was dumb greed. DUMB GREED. Those running radio thought they would be out of the business by the time it crumbled but it fell apart too soon. The smart ones as this blog has mentioned before are the ones that sold for 15 to 30 times cash flow.

Obama has his work cut out for him. I will admit I was not a supporter until the very end when I realized that he was not part of the problem (baby boomer) but part of the solution (post baby boomer). He is part of the generation that has nothing to look forward to except paying off the bills of the past and trying to keep our country going to route of the British Empire. That drive will make him accomplish most of his goals.

Anonymous said...

The point to my previous remark is that we went from 16 people for every retiree, to now just 2 or 3 people paying the benefits for every retiree. We have $11 trillion in debt, with another $3.8 trillion to be added during Obama's first term by his own projections (McCain projected an addition of $5 trillion), and that doesn't even take into account the $52 trillion that will be due in the form of entitlements to baby boomers beginning in 2019. And Obama's answer to all of this? Let's have government take over welfare!

Yes, my friend, this country is General Motors and both political parties not only deserve to be booted out of office, they deserve to be hung up in the public square a la Ceaucescu for bankrupting this nation. But the sheeple of this republic are either too stupid or too easily duped to hold them to account. Someone needs to explain to the sheeple that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH! Put a fair price on everything government wants to do for them (without duping them to think some mythical "rich" person is going to foot the bill for them) and see if they really want it!!!

Now, getting back to radio, there is obviously much bad has happened over the past 10 years or so. One of the things I've noticed in a place like Columbus is that a company like Clear Channel gets to monopolize all of the big signals, leaving the scraps (the Class A's) for the competition. How about allowing clusters, but limiting the number of big signals a cluster can have?

Or, here's another idea, there is no reason for cities like Columbus being served by a bunch of garbage Class A rimshot signals and even 50,000-watt signals are no longer adequate given all of the suburban sprawl. How about a total realignment of signals to bring big signals and even Class C stations to these parts, while relegating the Class-A's to places like Lima and Mt. Vernon where they belong?

You see radio is also like General Motors, they thought they were onto something by standardizing the product and they were forced to streamline because of their economic situation. Instead, they started producing look-alike cars and ended up killing the business as a whole.

So, yes, I think you can analogize the 3.

Anonymous said...

"The problem with radio companies is that the companies GREATLY OVERPAID for the stations they bought."

That is absolutely false. Trade reports from publications like Broadcasting Magazine clearly state that the acquisitions were made at prices well within the average for radio stations at the time. If you simply do the research, you'll see this.

Two things have changed: (1) The interest rate has gone up from where it was at the time these stations were acquired, and (2) the value of the stations have dropped. So radio owners find themselves in the same position as homeowners who bought properties using adjustable rate mortgages. They now find themselves paying more for their homes than it was worth.

So while one can say they overpaid using today's radio values, they did NOT overpay at the time. The prices they paid were fully within the average being paid for properties at the time, and were fully approved by not only the companies, but their stockholders and boards of directors.

Anonymous said...

The stations just like the homes were OVERVALUED to begin with. It was pie in the sky economics.

Radio has only itself to blame for inflating the value and then believing their own lies.

Anonymous said...

What about regulating ABC Radio Network News (often heard twice an hour all day and on many more stations than most syndicated radio shows)which is very biased, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News,Fox Radio, All the local tv news shows, National Public Radio, PBS, ABC, NBC, CBS, The NY Times, The Washington Post, the LA Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, the Miami Herald, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Newsday, the St. Petersburg Times, ESPN, etc. These entities do not fairly serve their audiences/markets. And they reach many more people than radio.

Anonymous said...

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