Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Radio: Happy Thanksgiving?

I really don’t know what to say or how to say it.

It’s not the Happy Thanksgiving we’d prefer.

Some of you may not be working come Monday morning.

That old unwritten policy that no position would ever be terminated between Thanksgiving and the new year is a now a luxury most businesses can no longer afford.

And it’s not just radio. Had business pledged to one rule – resist some of the greed – we wouldn’t be in this very real – and dare I say it – very scary economic meltdown.

But you know what’s said about hindsight.

Forget “Drill, baby, drill.”

If you’re in the radio business – it’s “Fire, Baby, Fire!”

You may own morning drive in your market or be your group’s number one biller.

No one's immune.

We’re in an industry that went astray long before the economy caught up with it.

We’re all having the same conversations. We're not alone.

There are friends I know that up until a few months ago never even tenuously pondered the notion of not being able to afford retirement.

This is a time to reach out - even befriend our competitors - and be ready to lend a helping hand to those in need.
We're on the same side.
That’s the true meaning of Thanksgiving this year.


Anonymous said...

"This is a time to befriend our competitors and be ready to lend a helping hand to those in need."

"Comments of Simmons Media Group, LLC"

"Large-market and large-group stations with more resources will be the most likely to increase digital operating power, leaving small-market, rural, and family-owned analog broadcasters to lose revenues from interference while undertaking large attorney and engineering fees to fight digital interference at the FCC."


Yea, tell that to Booble Struble - Happy Thanksgiving, creep!

Anonymous said...

With reference to the last post, Clear Channel is at it again. In their presentation to the FCC regarding HD radio being a mandatory add-on to satellite radios, and in their twisted thinking, they call satellite radio a "monopoly" one minute and "competition" the next. It sounds like schizophrenia to me.

Anonymous said...

"With reference to the last post, Clear Channel is at it again. In their presentation to the FCC regarding HD radio being a mandatory add-on to satellite radios, and in their twisted thinking, they call satellite radio a "monopoly" one minute and "competition" the next. It sounds like schizophrenia to me."

"Ford Slams HD Radio Inclusion Proposal"

"In an interesting move, Ford Motor Company has come out against a proposed rule that would require all satellite receivers to include HD radio capabilities. The position Ford is taking is interesting because Ford was one of the first major auto makers to announce a deal with HD Radio for installations of HD technology their cars."


Ford, an investor in iNiquity, just slammed that idea; besides, the FCC doesn't even have the authority, thus the bogus bill by Rep. Malarkey.

a former competitor of yours said...

From one who knows you as a fierce but fair competitor thank you for your Thanksgiving message. It will mean a lot to a lot of people in our business. Happy Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Yup. Good advice John.

I'll take it even further. Everyone in the business should take one day this weekend to shore up their personal job hunting tools. Freshen up your contacts with e-mails and phone calls, dust off your resumes and update them, make sure your references are still with you and, if it's relevant to your position, get your airchecks in order now.

Build your contacts in the other departments. You'll be surprised what you'll find out.

Meanwhile, make it as difficult as possible for the company to fire you. Make yourself useful, pull extra shifts, break new territories, start early launching new initiatives for 2009. As someone who's been involved in these things, I can tell you there is no science to deciding who will get laid off and who will not. If laying you off will be a bigger inconvenience than laying off the next guy or gal, that will be what swings it in your favor.

And start networking like hell, using the holiday season as a great excuse. And pick up any moonlighting gigs that come your way. That crappy side gig you pick up today may lead to the paycheck you'll need to stay afloat for the next 12 months.

You can take this to the bank: the layoffs are getting ready to land hard after the x-mas season everywhere. And it's going to be a wild ride. The people who survive will be those who hear about emerging needs first and position themselves to fill them. Opportunities will come from this chaos, but you're going to need to have your eyes and ears open to them.

Enough said. Happy Thanksgiving all.

Anonymous said...

i don't mean this to be an us v. them comment. john you are right that those under the employ of radio stations should join together. we all share common values starting with trying to keep or jobs or find them. we are not the problem of this industry. it was the greed and overpaying for radio stations following deregulation. there are a lot of talented people in the radio business and we need to band together for a time when the economy impoves and licenses change hands. happy thanksgiving.

Chuck Matthews Blog said...

Re" recent post....Amen

Ex-CBS thanks to Dan Mason said...

Hey John

Happy Thanksgiving. Agree with your comments. This is a time for real radio folk to band together and help each other out. Don't expect your current owners to. Look at what Dan Mason has done at CBS. Mass firings of people incl.
those just short of their retirement. There is a very special place in hell for people like Mason and his counterparts at Clear Channels, Citadel, Cumulus, Emmis and the rest of the losers. We are paying for their eff-ups. I worked for CBS. I see where some trades worship Dan Mason. Get real, gentlemen. He has no solutions, no insight and no skills to turn anything around. Want to turn the radio industry around - start by firing the fire-rs: Mason, Hogan, Smuylan, Farid, etc., etc. Not the hard working talent.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last poster about who the real culprits are in the decline of radio listening and revenue. You can trace the decline right to their offices. I think the industry will recover faster once the Peter Principled Dan Mason, John Hogan, Farid Suleman and the rest of the bunch are put out to pasture. I will gladly give thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

I'm not spending too much on my family's Thanksgiving dinner this year; most likely, I'll be eating the bird in other ways.


Anonymous said...

Want to turn the radio industry around - start by firing the fire-rs: Mason, Hogan, Smuylan, Farid, etc., etc. Not the hard working talent.
Man are these people brain-dead or what? Have one of your lackies surf the web and dig up some old radio airchecks from the mid-to-late 1960's through the 1980's. THIS is when radio was at the height of it's polularity and the reason, and John has hit upon this before, is the immediacy and interactivity. It's the same phenomenon that drives people to message boards and blogs and it's the connection you don't get from voice-tracking and canned formats.

Anonymous said...

This whole issue reminds me of politics where it's not really so much about liberal and conservative anymore, it's about getting results. Clinton fell down on the job with terrorism, Enron and the tech stock bubble burst. Bush fell down on the job by delegating the war for too long and by allowing speculators to drive the price of oil up to $4.30 a gallon. Bush's advisors were so bought and paid for by Wall Street that apparently they didn't see that the same thing that happened to the California electricity markets (speculation and fraud) was spiking the price of oil. But I digress, just as the issue isn't liberal or conservative, the issue in radio should be compelling entertainment through immediacy and interactivity. Entertainment comes in many colors, my form of entertainment was in the form of a fast-talking Top-40 dj, others liked a more mellow AOR presentation. Nonetheless, it was entertainment to them -- and that is what needs to be strived for to rescue this dying industry.

Anonymous said...

As you know it's all about the money nowadays. Despite my great numbers, when Corporate says cut several staff members, then you do or die.

I'm not that in love with Radio anymore.

When I was a kid, listening to my little transistor or the crystal radio my Dad built for me, I would listen to the Jay Lawrence's, Jim Stagg's and Little Adonis's in Loincloth and Sandals. These guys were having fun on the air. No matter what kind of crappy day you had at school or what worries the Kruschev caused (WE WILL BURY YOU!!!!) you just flipped on the radio and your DJ pals would put you at ease.

Radio, quite simply was part of the fabric of your daily existence. I had it on at night while I was building my model cars. Every Sunday, when we would return from church to our Sunday dinner, my Mom always had "Journey into Melody," with Joe Black on, playing those syrupy instrumentals.

Nowadays, my 12 year old daughter's radio in her room is covered with dust. About the only thing she will listen to in the car, is the Christian Music station. They have done a great job of reaching out to the kids with "their" music with Christian themes.

We (The Industry) have no one to blame but ourselves. The consultants with their "safe-lists" and the corporate managers wanting to be the smartest guys in the room, while never having been on the air themselves are just so out of touch. When was the last time you ever heard a consultant, PD, GM, OM or Corporate executive say, "Man, I screwed up." No, it's always the little guys fault. A good example is what happened at WCBS in New York. They dropped oldies for the new Blink format.....I rest my case.

We have always been a business of paranoid people and rightfully so. We have to expose our soul on the radio everyday. At least the good ones do. So much closed door meetings, whispers in the hall and out of the station meetings. Who wouldn't be paranoid?

Yes, it is amazing the people you run into in this business. I always relate to the line from the Beatles "In MY Life." There are places I remember.....all my life..though some have changed. Some forever not for better....some have gone....and some remain...

Anonymous said...

Was that you, Struble, standing the the bread line? We have some extra cans of dog food that we can give you.

Anonymous said...

John, as usual you speak a lot of truth. It appears to be a rough ride ahead.

Anonymous said...

"When was the last time you ever heard a consultant, PD, GM, OM or Corporate executive say, "Man, I screwed up." No, it's always the little guys fault. A good example is what happened at WCBS in New York. They dropped oldies for the new Blink format.....I rest my case."

Actually, two guys (Joel and Les Hollander) killed the most successful Oldies station in America for what was, at the time, the flavor-of-the-month ... the JACK format. It was perhaps the dumbest move in radio history and came at a time when the station had posted its best numbers and rankings in five years. No one apologized when they brought the station back two years later.

Anonymous said...

Stations are cutting ad rates back to 1990s levels in order to get spots on the air and at least some jingle in the till. There appears to be quite a bit of massive undercutting of competitors with regards to rates. Revenues are falling fast. No one is safe.

Anonymous said...


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