Sunday, March 15, 2009

Radio: The royal scam


At this point, I can’t see how radio can avoid paying that wrongful Performance Royalty Fee.

The inefficient chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) David “Fumbles” Rehr, believes the only solution to a problem is to write long letters about it to all the wrong people. While he was composing, the labels successfully positioned themselves as the lesser of the two evils.

You do understand why Congress will not get directly involved in the matter.

Two wrongs don't make it right.

The NAB even allowed the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) to depict radio as being more disreputable than the labels.

Congress knows the labels are far from squeaky clean – but at least the RIAA's chairman Mitch Bainwol knows what hot buttons need to be pushed on Capitol Hill and when.

Bainwol is a skilled lobbyist. Fumbles is a skilled….er….you get my point.

Meanwhile, back at NAB radio ranch, when Fumbles ran out of letters to write, he sent stuffed duck toys to Congress to, for some reason known only to him, illustrate that most of the labels represented by the RIAA are foreign-owned.

You know, “if it walks like a duck….”

The NAB would’ve been better off being represented by the agitated Aflac duck. At least it would’ve gotten some attention.

This isn’t a first for you, Fumbles. You left the National Beer Wholesalers Association in similar shape when vacating your headship post there for the NAB in 2005.

The truth is that NAB is a pot-holed boulevard of broken schemes. It’s an organization that has outlived its effectiveness – at least under its present administration. It’s a haven for those who could never get work anywhere else in this industry.

The NAB was playing softball while the RIAA was playing hard.

Is there an industry other than the newspapers that has its priorities so scrambled that they routinely set themselves up to fail?

Some of our largest radio groups are on the brink of financial collapse and were teetering toward disaster long before the economy went south.

Fumbles, let’s take your shady campaign with iBiquity for HD Radio. Answer the question, Mr. Rehr. How many HD Radios have been sold to consumers? The word, Fumbles, is sold – not manufactured. And we’re talking completed radio units – not chips.

How about your “Radio Heard Here?” Never mind here, let’s try where. Have you seen that campaign anywhere?

There’s your push for even more radio deregulation? Isn’t that what got this industry into this chaotic state?

You even launch campaigns against issues that don’t even exist! Take the Fairness Doctrine. That was abolished twenty-two years ago. President Barack Obama doesn’t support its revival. It’s not an issue. But that doesn’t stop you from wasting time and NAB dollars to campaign against its return.

Fumbles is the like the boy who cried wolf. Now, there’s a real wolf at his door. Its name is the Performance Royalty Fee, and Washington is ignoring his terrified weeps and wails.

The Subcommittee reviewing the proposed royalty fee suggested leaving it up to the labels and radio to work out – and working it out means for both sides to come up with a number that’ll be acceptable to both sides.

Do you need a translator, Fumbles? That suggestion means radio will be paying a fee. The question now is “How much?”

Fumbles, you blew it. You lost. You couldn’t even argue that the labels have a history of gypping artists out of royaltiesa well-documented on-going practice that goes back decades.

When the RIAA began strong-arming Internet radio, Fumbles ignored it even though the results of their bullying would spill over to the terrestrial radio stations that also stream on-line.

So what does a back-against-the-wall Fumbles do? He’s writing more letters and launching even more mediocre ad campaigns to combat the RIAA’s well-organized drive.

At last week’s subcommittee hearing on the performance tax, Steve Newbury of Commonwealth Broadcasting, who’s also chairman of the radio board of NAB, went right for the throat, claiming, "The record labels walk away with more money from this bill than do featured artists.” He rightfully blamed the labels for not paying their artists royalties owed, citing singer Toni Braxton as one such victim. He noted that "Free radio play is the best friend of artists and record labels" and claimed that if the tax became law, he’d be forced to cut services, switch his formats to talk or file for bankruptcy.

Then, not knowing his close, Newbury added that the fee would lead to new music not getting played and composers not getting their share of royalties. You can read his entire statement before the Subcommittee here.

I have only one question. Why would someone representing the NAB make a not-so-veiled threat of refusing to negotiate with the labels in front of the Subcommittee? Forget reading the room. Begin by knowing what room you’re in.

Mitch Bainwol, who spoke as a member of the musicFIRST coalition, another RIAA front, effectively played Newbury and the NAB like a Stradivarius – and did the improbable. He actually came across as the good guy.

Bainwol presented five points. First, radio pays nothing to performers but collects billions in revenue. Second, unlike other countries that abide by copyright laws, the U.S. does not pay a performance royalty. Third, more than half the songs played on U.S. terrestrial radio are older songs – not new music – and its promotional value has diminished. Fourth, the bill is aimed at major radio chains. Fifth, the tax does not transfer money to the labels.

Bainwol even went as far as to say that music promotes radio – not the other way around. You can read Bainwol’s statement here and if you’re a true glutton for punishment, you can view the entire hearing here.

You can judge a person by the friends they keep – and amongst those Fumbles is closest to is one he’s shared many a stage with - consultant Fred Jacobs. The Coot’s best shot to fight the Performance Royalty Fee was to ask radio stations to take photos of the gold and platinum awards received over the years to “prove” that radio sells music by airplay.

Yes, Fred. Radio does sell music – but those gold and platinum awards are another matter and in the real world should not part of that equation. You know what they really are. They’re strokes – and nothing else – from the labels for playing their biggest hits. One label exec told me he still has letters from program directors, general managers, and even station owners, asking – and even demanding -personal copies of gold and platinum albums. With many of these managers out of work, we’re seeing some up for bid on eBay and other auction sites.

Another thing, Fred. We’re talking today – not fifteen, twenty years ago. The question the other side's asking is. "What have you done for me lately?

If you don’t want to get shot or stabbed, don’t befriend people who use guns and knives. You don’t want to get mugged, don’t leave a bar drunk.

That holds true for radio, too.

Over a decade ago when Randy Michaels, with well-publicized fanfare, instituted “legal payola,” a pay-for-play scheme at Clear Channel that forced label to fork over dollars to radio through third-party influence peddlers for an annual up-front fee, I said this would come back to haunt radio. And it did.

But other chains, like penguins, followed Clear Channel’s lead. Legal payola allowed only labels and artists management to pay to get radio airplay. Instead of radio being a soundtrack for popular culture, it became a privatized jukebox for those willing to pay the steep price under the pretext of non-traditional revenue.

Simultaneously, artist management and independent labels found alternate ways to expose their music – television shows. In many cases, the producers of these shows approached the labels or artists – not the other way around. And, unlike radio, television actually pays a licensing fee to play the song. 

Shows that appeal to younger demographics like Gray’s Anatomy and Gossip Girl are breaking new music ahead of current music terrestrial formats. And that’s been s.o.p. for a few years now.

This is the definitive battle radio is up against. It must prove that it still can sell product through airplay.

It’s not that the radio industry hasn’t a strong case against it. It does. The problem lies with the fact that, so far, there is only one person who could plausibly argue the case against the labels’ thieving tax.

His name is Bob Conrad, the president of Cleveland’s classical music station, WCLV.

He’s doing what radio used to do – taking the campaign to his listeners by asking them to contact their local Congressional leaders and urge them to support the Local Freedom Radio Act (H. Con. Res. 49).

That’s the difference between Jacobs’ go-for-the-gold-record campaign, which is industry inbred – and Bob Conrad’s, which takes the campaign directly to its listeners.

Conrad saved the classical music format in Cleveland whereas in Detroit, Jacobs convinced Greater Media to dump its classical music format in favor of his abysmal Edge alternative rock format, which failed.

If the only responses come from classical music listeners in Cleveland, you’ll know it’s too late.

Pay-for-play. It was wrong when radio demanded it from the labels. It’s equally as wrong for the labels to demand it from radio.

Buzzard St. Patty's Day, 1983

100 comments:

HD Radio Farce said...

"Local Radio Freedom Act Gains Support"

"The Local Radio Freedom Act -- which gained the support of a majority of the House when it was initially introduced last year -- has picked up nine more supporters in the current House, for a total of 135."

http://www.radioink.com/Article.asp?id=1195584&spid=30800

Fumbles is trying to get the Local Radio Freedom Act passed to block the RIAA, but it only has the support of 135 House members and about 20 Senators, as it still needs needs many more for a majority-vote - this same Act never got out of the starting gates with last year's Congress (expired). The only good is that this should be the final nail in HD Radio/IBOC's coffin - no listeners, no reason to exist, but only serves to increase royalty rates:

"Want to Kill HD Radio?"

"Let’s say that radio companies have to start paying royalties on the music that they play. Even if it is a flat percentage of all revenue like other outlets are going to be charged, HD Radio streams would do nothing more than serve to drive up royalty payments for NAB members. The overwhelming majority of terrestrial listeners ARE NOT listening to HD Radio. Ads on HD Radio will be dirt cheap for a very long time. The HD streams may not be able to cover royalty on music from ad revenues. Do you think that Clear Channel will continue to pump money in to HD Radio equipment, expanding services and coverage if the payoff in the end is an INCREASE in copyright royalties and nothing more?"

http://dualsub.wordpress.com/2007/11/11/want-to-kill-hd-radio/

Looks like Boobles missed the boat on this one, as the FMs eventually flip to news/talk/sports formats. Bye, bye Boobles - LOL!

Anonymous said...

"Fumbles, let’s take your shady campaign with iBiquity for HD Radio. Answer the question, Mr. Rehr. How many HD Radios have been sold to consumers? The word, Fumbles, is sold – not manufactured. And we’re talking completed radio units – not chips."

John,

You forgot to include all of the HD radios that have been returned for being "deaf" and for boring jukebox music formats. Interesting that we never heard from iBiquity, or the HD Alliance, about that 1,000,000th HD radio sold - we were supposed to hear about that last year. My guess is that there are no more than 250,000 in the hands of the General Public. Perhaps, Bob Struble could chime in here?

Anonymous said...

If David Rehr had any common sense he would have been friends with Bob Conrad at WCLV instead of Fred Jacobs.

Bob Conrad is a builder, a saver and one who understands the community of radio. He saved a classical music format in a rough blue collar city.

Fred Jacobs is a different animal. He destroyed an excellent classical music station for a trendy short lived format.

You are right about Rehr. You can judge him by the friends he keeps.

Anonymous said...

Whatever medication Fred Jacobs is on please keep it away from me. What a dumb idea.

Anonymous said...

david rehr has the same answer for everything. be a professional victim. whine and complain. radio has had a free ride for decades. there was a time when radio sold music and was part of everyone's lifestyle. today, sadly that is not the case. for the few real radio stations left that still are programmed locally and expose new music there are hundreds who are on a master playlist, top heavy of recurrents and gold and use our music as content filler. sorry, david. you have no case. show me how radio created any kind of excitement since you were deregulated. if you cannot afford the payment, do what other dated businesses do. shut down.

Anonymous said...

Radio got itself in this mess and I doubt it will be able to get out of it. The best thing for people to do is to NOT support their radio station. Instead, write your congressman to save Internet radio only stations from these fees that most artists will never see. Internet radio is taking the place of terrestrial in exposing new music, musical genres, and wider varieties.

I think classical music should be given a free pass, too and I support Bob Conrad at WCLV in Cleveland for his campaign. Should Clear Channel be cut the same break? Or Cumulus? Or Citadel? Uh-uh. Let them die.

Anonymous said...

Too little. Too late. Though I admire Bob Conrad for taking his case to the people instead of the way the NAB kept it within its own confines, it is too late to save radio.

Radio will have to pay the fee. Music radio will all but disappear.

Concentrate on saving the Internet radio stations. That is the campaign you should back, Mr. Gorman.

Anonymous said...

Of the two, Mitch Bainwol has greater experience. Yet the guy you call Fumbles is not even in the same league. Neither person is good. Both have strong ties to the Bush Administration and the old guard GOP.

Bainwol is a class manipulator. The RIAA is well organized and know how to work their PR and publicists. Fumbles Rehr is lost. He is a PR hack and a bad one at that. The fact that the radio industry allowed him to be their front man shows how out of touch that group really is.

What will make radio look worse is when Citadel, Cumulus, Clear Channel and other chains begin their slide toward bankruptcy. There will be investigations. Radio will look even worse to the eyes of the public.

Considering how poor the RIAA's ratings were with the masses it is nothing less than shocking how they were able to win over congress and position radio as a the ultimate bad guys.

It was only yesterday that the RIAA was coming under attack for invading homes and charging innocent people for downloading music. It was a PR nightmare that they managed to turn around.

You are right about the NAB. Either reorganize it or come up with a new group for radio which it once had.

detroit diesel said...

Fred Jacobs story. Tom Calderone was the person responsible for the Edge format. It was to alternative rock what Abrams' Superstars was to AOR except that Calderone was the real deal. Abrams was lucky. Following deregulation Jacobs's goal was to get his classic rock, active rock and alternative formats in every market under one roof. Everything worked out well until Calderone realized there was no future for him with Jacobs. It was a family business. Calderone went on to the MTV Networks and Jacobs and his active rock team took over programming the Edge. They had no real experience in alternative so the line began to blur between active and alternative with the Edge. Since Jacobs had a number of Edge stations he dictated to the labels what artists were alternative. Like active rock he weeded out most of the female artists and fell hook line and sinker for the post-grundge sludge acts the labels were signing. It wasnt long before the Edge format was dying everywhere. His Detroit hometown was his biggest disaster because he convinced Greater Media to change from classical to the Edge. The move got lots of negative publicity from the press and TV. Some even did editorials on the format change. Greater Media also spent beaucoup bucks on promotion and marketing and the format not only laid an egg but hurt Greater Media goldmine WRIF as well. There were two other alt leaning stations in the market: 89X which was in the one share range and WPLT that was in the two shares and was more AAA than alt. Greater Media outspent them both stations in promotion and marketing. Jacobs was the last to know that Greater Media was changing the format. When they did, Jacobs began turning his other Edge stations into active rock with marginal results. The only thing Jacobs did was make 89X a better station. When the Edge came on 89X rallied and solidified its position. Jacobs takes credit for the success of WRIF. In reality he has nothing to do with it. The station is programmed by Doug Podell and it is his imprint not Jacobs on everything it does. Jacobs just cashes the check for that one. Now that Podell is overseeing WCSX I expect that station will do better too.

Anonymous said...

I agree about Bob Conrad. I wish he had started the campaign earlier. Extending the performance tax to classical music stations? The labels will make 100 percent of that money. You thik it is going to go to Ludwig Beethoven's trust? This itself should show what a scam the RIAA is pulling on both radio and its listeners. I urge everyone to support Bob Conrad on this. Thank you, John for calling it to our attention.

Anonymous said...

John, you should have mentioned that Jacobs Media is behind those jock-less "Radio" formats that most of the time don't even ID their songs. Even the new iPods ID tunes. You should also mention that the Radio format Jacobs set up for WKRK in Cleveland is the same as the one he has for WBOS in Boston. I have not seen your Cleveland ratings. In Boston, meet the new 'BOS, it is the same as the old Jacobs triple A 'BOS. He is still stuck with a one share in a market where the only other alternative is class A WFNX that cannot be heard in most of the Boston Metro. I should also mention that Jacobs' WBOS when it was a triple A format was routinely beaten by a suburban FM whose license and transmitter is near the New Hampshire border.

Anonymous said...

"What will make radio look worse is when Citadel, Cumulus, Clear Channel and other chains begin their slide toward bankruptcy. There will be investigations. Radio will look even worse to the eyes of the public."

According to Moodey's, they are almost there. Any investigation should include the FCC's approval of IBOC, their ignoring IBOC interference complaints, Bob Struble's donations to Rep. Dingell, NAB, and CEA, and those corrupt organizations of the HD Alliance, NAB, and iBiquity.

Anonymous said...

Performance royalty payments would, in essence, be no different than the reverse-compensation many local TV stations will begin paying their perspective networks in the future. Some already have begin these reverse-comp payments.

Business as usual ain't as usual.

Anonymous said...

RE: Fred Jacobs

"His Detroit hometown was his biggest disaster because he convinced Greater Media to change from classical to the Edge. The move got lots of negative publicity from the press and TV. Some even did editorials on the format change."

The actual transition was arrogant and ugly. As the last classical music selection faded out, the first Jacobs-approved song to appear was "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails.

Transistor Radio said...

HD is screwed, not just a screwed up technology. Beside it's technical flaws, content is another problem too. Running more jukeboxes won't cut it. Sorry radio..

Radio has become an industry that under delivers to listeners and stock holders, but yet hopes to over deliver profits. Me thinks we got that backwards, at least start giving more than you take!

Anonymous said...

Fred Jacobs and David Rehr. What a pair. What is Fred doing palling around with Rehr anyway? Jacobs doesn't own radio stations. He is just a parasite that gets unsuspecting owners and operators like Peter Smyth to write him checks for nothing in return. I have seen Rehr speak at a Jacobs function and he always talks about Rehr like they are best friends. You are right about judging a person by the company they keep. In this case the slime goes both ways.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, sending the ducks to Congress was to position the royalty as a tax. Of course, it's not a tax. But Rehr wanted it to be viewed as a tax because they are unpopular. Hence the duck, which was an attempt to recall the day when Ronald Reagan said of other tax-like fees, "if it walks like a duck…etc." I didn't say it was effective, just telling you what the NAB was attempting.

The fairness doctrine was just one of the many little dramas the NAB and all lobbyists drum up to try to create the impression that they're doing something. Throw up some straw man and then bat it down and claim victory. See? Your money is being well spent after all. Just the usual game.

Sorry, John, but even without payola radio would be losing its free ride. Record labels need money. The partnership with radio no longer works, so the industry is trying to turn a losing operation into a money-maker. Can't really blame them. The fact that radio can't win this one has everything to do with the fact that no one is listening to radio anymore. At least not in a way that satisfies advertisers or record labels. A win-win relationship has become a no-win relationship. Oh well.

I've said it before and I say it again. The creative, motivated and talented people in radio should jump to an alternative format now. They'll be amazed at how pleasant it can be. Waiting for radio to die so it can be resurrected is a sucker's bet.

Anonymous said...

I too am starting to believe it is too late to save terrestrial radio. The NAB and radio groups in general are hopelessly lost. They could very well end up going the same way as the newspapers. If clients continue to pull advertising and there is no sign of that slowing down anytime soon radio will become another industry that was a victim of its own greed.

The best we can do is petition congress to keep internet radio open and free or at least have any royalty rates charged based on the web's income not per song which makes far more sense.

Anonymous said...

You must not forget that consultants like Jacobs were proponents of legal payola because it insured that they would be kept on the budget. Go back and read the trade papers from that era and you will clearly see that most consultants were supportive and even encouraging legal payola, claiming that the stations would be getting money for music they would have been recommended to add anyway.

The more you try to clean it up the dirtier it gets.

Anonymous said...

Could you please direct me to the ticket broker that can get me front row seats to witness the event of federal investigators raiding the NAB, IBiquity, Citadel, Cumulus, Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Jacobs Media and any other entity that has been part of this as you so aptly put it, royal scam?

I have a premonition of hundreds of agents wearing blue jackets with the letters FBI stenciled on the back raiding these offices for evidence of collusion, foul play and other racketeering opportunities they have taken advantage of.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... "Could you please direct me to the ticket broker that can get me front row seats to witness the event of federal investigators raiding the NAB, IBiquity, Citadel, Cumulus, Clear Channel, CBS Radio, Jacobs Media and any other entity that has been part of this as you so aptly put it, royal scam? I have a premonition of hundreds of agents wearing blue jackets with the letters FBI stenciled on the back raiding these offices for evidence of collusion, foul play and other racketeering opportunities they have taken advantage of."

Yea, it should be one hell of a show as Bob Struble is lead out of iBiquity for fraud and misleading consumers with false consumer-marketing claims. Didn't you hear about iBiquity getting caught with their bogus disclaimer:

"iBiquity Twists Its Tubes"

"Any simple WHOIS domain-name search turns up the obvious: iBiquity owns HDRadio.com. Administrative and technical contacts point straight back to the corporate HQ. My question is, why all the disclaimage? And are you really that clueless, iBiquity? Are you effectively denying the validity/credibility of your consumer-marketing claims?.. Hiding behind a trademark-disclaimer - that HDRadio.com is 'managed' by the HD Radio Alliance - which is, for all intents and purposes, iBiquity (though that particular domain is registered to Clear Channel) - does not cut the mustard."

http://tinyurl.com/dz9893

This has been posted on some very high visibilty sites - LOL!

Anonymous said...

John, You already told the future. Few if any of those names in radio broadcasting and the NAB will be around two or three years from now. They do not care about the future. They are taking the money and getting out. The next generation of radio programmers and those waiting to get back in will find neither an audience nor a platform to rebuild on. The labels are the same way. They know they are over and milking whatever they can out of the system before they get out. The future will be very different and the consumer will have more control. I hate to say it radio and records are both dead.

Anonymous said...

No consultant "convinces" a station or a company to change format. What planet are you morons living on?

Anonymous said...

Bob Conrad made a ton of money on that swap deal. He sold the frequency, made millions and was still given that class A stick from Lorain County. Would Conrad have saved classical music had he not received a nice piece of the action. If Clear Channel didn't have that spare class A there would be no classical radio in Cleveland. So when Bob Conrad launches a campaign it is not about community. It is about Bob Conrad and how much money he can make off of it. Sorry, John. Bob may be your hero but he is not mine.

Anonymous said...

Didn't John Gorman program a disaster in Detroit at some point? Didn't he "convince" someone to take a flyer on the stuff he was selling?

Anonymous said...

Consultants are a deciding factor in most format changes. You know that,Mr. Jacobs. What about WRXP in New York. That format was decided by 2 consultants and 3 research groups which goes to show how much is too much. The answer, Mr Jacobs is one. Are you saying it was coincidence that Greater Media just happened to go with your Edge format oN WQRS? Things got tough when Calderone stopped returning your calls? Too bad you made the mistake of copying a 1.0 River in Windsor for your Washington DC Globe. It sounds so much better as another has-been rock station.

JPF Law said...

To Anonymous at 5.57pm:

To answer your diatribe...

Yes, Conrad would have saved classical "had he not received a nice piece of the action."

To the extent Conrad received any "piece of the action," it was a market-rate amount of his investment in WCLV. However, what you're forgetting is that Conrad turned his shares into the WCLV Foundation and Cleveland Classical Radio (which bought and operated WRMR).

Now, let's get our history right...

"If Clear Channel didn't have that spare class A there would be no classical radio in Cleveland."

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. In 2001, WCLV wasn't in a need to sell the 95.5 frequency. They were doing just fine, not a mega-moneymaker, but they weren't in debt either. There was no interest in selling the 95.5 facility UNTIL Salem and CC came to them with the proposal. The 104.9 stick wasn't a "spare"--it was the bargained-for trade (along with cash for the Foundation) that gave WCLV a reason to sell the 95.5 facility.

No place on the dial for classical after the switch, no sale of 95.5. There was no need for Conrad and Radio Seaway to sell. Conrad very plainly could have sat back and watched Salem and CC fight amongst themselves.

Conrad, though, saw the fools coming and decided to get in on the action.

The Foundation has money as a result. That's more than can be said for Salem and CC's books.

But in it all, Conrad didn't gain anything personally anymore than he has for 45 years.

Anonymous said...

You do come up with some of the most unflattering photos. Fat Randy Michaels, Bobby Darin Fumbles. I loved the Boy Who Cried Wolf Fumbles too. YOu couldhave picked a better Conrad though. He is a good guy.

Anonymous said...

Jerry Lee at B-101 made the dumbest move a station could make by shutting off its streaming audio. When the great convergence is upon us why would he take his ball and go home. Gorman is right. Radio should get tough and get a real spokesperson. Maybe Robert Conrad is the guy who should go to Congress and cut through the bull. The NAB is ineffective as is the organization that represents streaming audio internet radio stations. We need leaders not cowering idiots that hide behind expensive lawyers who are more than happy to rack up billable hours. Wake up, radio. Your future is on line. Jerry Lee, you don't like the highway so you move your store elsewhere. Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised after reading this Gorman piece that he did not bring up a key element he mentioned to me at an appearance he made in Brook Park, Ohio last week.
Let me explain. I am still in radio. Not happy but at least it's a job. I hear from listeners and former listeners all the time about why they no longer listen to radio the way they once did. If more radio execs were smart they would be combing the radio boards on line and even the comments here and on other similar sites. I asked Gorman about legal payola. Randy Michaels claimed he started taking it because the labels were already giving it away. Gorman had a different view. He said that the labels used to support radio with advertising but when MTV debuted they took that money earmarked for radio and redirected it to video costs. He said there were moments where radio took payola in the 80s. His line - the labels invented payola but radio took it. Which one is worse? His suggestion was that record companies instead of spending it on independent promoters and legal payola should have backed station airplay of music with time buys. Pure and legal. He also said radio should charge them top of the rate card like they did in the 70s and early 80s. Knowing what our sales department is up against I think that would have been a better solution that Randy Micahel's. The other suggestion he made was not to predicate adds on time buys but to do the other way around. Otherwise, radio will lose control of its playlist. He said in his WMMS days he put out a list of adds to his sales department every week and their job was to get advertising. Not every label advertised but those that did paid top dollar. Maybe if radio ever gets back on track this is something they should adopt for their current music formats.

Anonymous said...

Radio's biggest problem is with guys like Charlie Sislen that make comments like "there is nothing wrong with radio". EVERYTHING has been wrong with radio since the free for all buying-selling-trading that followed deregulation. It was like the party would never end. Today the only ones that have any money from that deal are those that got out early and got those 20-30 times cash flow prices. Radio is overvalued and overleveraged. Address those issues first before you move on to anything else. All your talk about streaming and new platforms are nothing unless you are making money from them or see the potential to do so in the near future.

Anonymous said...

That's radio. Less is more.
That means get rid of all the program directors and air talent that create the content and those that sell air time so we can retain the jerks that ran the radio chains into near bankruptcy.

John, you know as well I do that this will lead to a gradual implosion of the most radio chains. Out of the rubble, who knows?

Anonymous said...

John, Thank you for giving Bob Conrad props. You, he and a handful of others made radio unique and entertaining for generations of radio listeners. Wish we still had you active with a station or stations here but we still have Bob and for that we are grateful. I have already sent my congressman the letter and added that he should know that the Cleveland market at one time was one of the best radio markets in America with a wide diversity of formats that catered to the community. Today it's automated and nationally programmed. When Lanigan retires there will be nothing left of localism. I expect Clear Channel will replace him with syndication.

Anonymous said...

The hatred in this blog is absolutely laughable -- one of my favorite ways to waste 10 minutes. Mistakes have been made, for sure, but these personal rippings are totally uncalled for as far as I'm concerned. And having direct knowledge of some of things discussed in here, it's rip roaringly hilarious to see what some of these morons believe or have talked themselves into. I'm surprised no one's ripping on Rehr for global warming, Smythe for the economy, Jacobs for terrorism, Struble for unemployment, etc. If nothing else, thanks for the great laughs that some of you people (morons or "terminally uninformed" might be more appropriate) provide for me on the occasions that Mr. G allows us inside his....um.....brain. The conspiracy theories in here are just astonishingly funny (my current favorite -- consultants proponents of legal payola so they'd be kept on the budget!!). Either way, thanks so much for making my day -- just wish Gorman had a blog every day.

Anonymous said...

just catching up my gorman blog reading and came across your comment. might i say that you shouldn't go shooting of your mouth if you don't have all the facts, laddie? Or should I say freddie?

i had no problem with the commentator about indie promoter payola paying the consultant. when i worked in buffalo our consultant was paid directly by indie. he was not even on the books since we were not supposed to have a consultant.

you cannot disagree that the same mr. jacobs who was mentioned in both this blogs and comments does not have a direct relationship with one mr. bill mcgathy with a pipeline that is wide and flowing.

when i worked for infinity we had orders not to have a consultant. so why was mr. jacobs consulting an infinity station in philadelphia? who paid for that i wonder?

you cannot disagree that the same mr. jacobs is also tight with one mr. jeff mcclusky who claims he is out of the business but we know better than that.

you cannot disagree that one mr. michael mc vay another consultant of note was quoted as saying in the august 18, 1999 issue of radio world that "i happen to believe that accepting marketing money from the record and recording industry is fine as long as it is disclosed and broadcasters live by the law that prohibits payola and plugola. you cannot take a gift for adding a song to your playlist or airing such a song."

it is an interesting quote because a one mr. marty schwartz, a former elektra records executive turned independent record promoter is on mc vay's payroll.

conspiracy theories. i think not.

Anonymous said...

John, Friends of Bob Conrad thank you. He is passionate about this business and you are, too. We need more like you and Bob to provide innovation and new media techniques to a grand old media.

Anonymous said...

Bravo! Bob Conrad! A better leader than David Rehr could ever be.

Anonymous said...

Since he reads this I would like to ask Fred Jacobs to answer one question. DId he really consider himself clever to make WQRS's final song from "Madame Butterfly" to segue into Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" complete with the barely edited F-bomb intact?

It might have happened many years ago but it is still tasteless even to the alternative audience. You lost us as fast as you found us.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading this blog. It is informative. The commentary, less so. No one has asked these questions so let me be the first.

Where was the NAB when the digitial millennium copyright act was signed into law? Why did they not campaign against it when it was in congress?

Where was the NAB when AFTRA LA did their new contract that charged a premium for spots on internet radio streams even though that audience is miniscule compared to terrestrial?

Those appear to be the two issues that are causing all the grief between terrestrial radio and the RIAA and AFTRA.

Was the radio industry, the NAB included, so punch drunk on deregulation that it missed one key piece of legislation and one major contract?

The DMCA is the worst of the two. It effects both the streaming audio broadcasts and it opened the door for the performance rights fee (what is good for the goose is good for the gander - not duck, Mr. Rehr).

Is there anyone here or Mr. Gorman himself who can shed light on this matter?

Anonymous said...

What is the obsession with a radio station flip that happened in 1997?

Anonymous said...

Oh shit the bed, Fred!

Anonymous said...

The "obsession" as you call it about a format flip in 1997 has everything to do with the right way and the wrong way to mount a campaign.

The same person who was one of the responsible parties for removing a long-time classical music and the only station with that format in Detroit for an alternative rock format that already had two other stations competing in that arena, created a campaign for stations to send Congress photos of their gold and platinum album awards to show that the labels owe radio for their success.

The same person who was one of the responsible parties for SAVING the classic music format in Cleveland created a campaign for its listeners to contact their U.S. representatives to urge them not to support the performance royalty fee.

It's a class act versus a classless actor. Pure and simple. It's not an obsession. It's a fact.

Bob Conrad fought to save classical music radio in Cleveland and succeeded.

Fred Jacobs fought to get a frequency for his franchise Edge format in his hometown and Peter Smyth gave into him and dumped classical for a format that failed. Since then that station has been in two other formats, none of them successful.

To add insult to injury the way Jacobs debuted his Edge format was to segue into a f-bomb laden song from WQRS's final classical music selection.

Come to think of it. The next time Peter Smyth asks why he is being considered a bad guy remind him on WQRS.

HD Radio Farce said...

"As Mr. Conrad said, broadcasters' efforts to promote IBOC will only disappoint, and perhaps antagonize, a significant segment of the audience who find that the system doesn't deliver."

My main man - LOL!

Anonymous said...

"The hatred in this blog is absolutely laughable -- one of my favorite ways to waste 10 minutes."

Which colostomy bag are you - Struble, Ferrera, Warren, Martin, Rehr, or Jacobs? LOL!

Anonymous said...

The economy is not the only reasons broadcasters are going bankrupt. They are still buying into this scam. Instead of dealing with the real issues, they bury themselves in this disaster. Do the broadcasters realize what digital delivery of music will cost them in exisiting fees. That is not counting the performance royalty fee. That will be on top of this DMCA one.


This is from Radio Magazine:

Mendenhall to Present High Power IBOC Paper at NAB Show
Longtime FM transmission expert Geoff Mendenhall, currently serving as VP of Transmission Research & Technology at Harris Broadcast Communications, will present "HD Radio Implementations and Improvements Part I," a paper delving into high power hybrid IBOC amplification, at the 2009 NAB Show's engineering conference in Las Vegas.

Mendenhall's work directly addresses the conundrum facing many broadcasters now operating digital hybrid transmitters as they become eligible for digital power increases, if and when the FCC approves a proposal to allow digital signal components to grow by a whopping 10dB. While such a proposal might go a long way toward improving digital coverage, financially strapped broadcasters will need to be thorough as they consider potentially expensive options for boosting digital signals.

A recent NAB Radio Tech Check article gives some interesting previews of the paper's main points, centering on Mendenhall's thesis that modern vacuum tube technology presents the most efficient and economical approach to high linearity, high-power hybrid amplification.

The presentation will take place on April 19, 2009, starting at 10:30 a.m. in room S226/227 of the Las Vegas Convention Center, and will also be included in its entirety in the 2009 NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference Proceedings, on sale at the show and from the NAB Store online.

Anonymous said...

Was that Fat Boy Michaels checking in?

Anonymous said...

Old "Taft-Shaft" veterans will recognize him doing his very best Carl Wagner impersonation!

Anonymous said...

Was that Fat Boy Michaels checking in?

Actually it's Too Fat To Reach Back There To Wipe...Michaels.

Which begs the question, "Why wipes him now?"

I think that's what John Phillips is doing these days.

Anonymous said...

This is awesome - so much spite, venom & loathing from little people with no careers to call their own (Gorman included - what have YOU done lately?).

FWIW: Point of fact - Smyth wasn't calling the shots when the Edge came on - it was Tom Milewski(RIP)... It as Smyth who pulled the plug... Why this even matters a decade later is beyond me, but warrants being "corrected" since everybody here has gotten it wrong.

Now, little people full of hate, I return you to your little chance to post anonymously, spout your misinformation, tickle each other's penises until they get hard from anger, and enjoy the mastorbatory musings of a *FAILED* wannabe consultant/programmer & his followers.

Oh - and remember - those who can't do teach, those who can't teach consult, those who can't consult? They write blogs full of hate & spite and misinformation to make themselves feel better about their failed lives and for their lackeys to be able to post idiotic comments on things they know little to nothing about.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Asshole above! I bet you even like HD Radio! Oh - I'm sorry - I guess your immense talent is the reason you still work in broadcasting - luck has nothing to do with it... Wait till you get your chance to line up with the thousands of unemployed lackeys out there! See YOU at McDonald's! Would you like fries with that?

Anonymous said...

Looks like someone else has worked with John Phillips - what an IMMENSE talent! Perfect example of why American Business sucks so much... Put yer head up someone's arse and they'll take you anywhere! Hearing him on the formerly great WGN was enuff to make anyone puke!

Anonymous said...

>> This is awesome <<

I think it's great that you like it!

Anonymous said...

>> little people <<

I've heard that people who talk that way have little, tiny wee-wees.

Anonymous said...

Penis Envy!

Anonymous said...

They also have no BALLS!!!

Anonymous said...

"Looks like someone else has worked with John Phillips..."

I never actually worked with John Phillips, but I did start in radio about the same time as he and I went to college with him.

John is what we call "dog smart". You pick a master, do whatever you're told without question, and in return you get 3 squares and a warm place on the floor to sleep.

John simply lacks the intellectual capacity to want for more.

Anonymous said...

Hey John, Your favorite Narcissist (caps on purp) just reacted again in his latest flog (fact omitted blog) that he DIDN'T invent the term "Classic Rock", just the format! He then goes on to compare his decision to use the term to Coca-Cola. Tune in tomorrow when he says he didn't event the term "alternative", he just took it to the Edge. I wonder if that coot looked over those photos of gold and platinum albums to see which ones he didn't get from the labels. He is that kind of guy.

JPF Law said...

"Now, little people full of hate, I return you to your little chance to post anonymously..."

Which you also did.

Way to go. You've one-upped your own hypocricy.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Big-Time - R U related to Big Al Law? I doubt it - he was good! And besides, you probably never even heard of him...

Anonymous said...

Maybe yer one of Hogan's Heroes!

Anonymous said...

Where's muh DICK?

JPF Law said...

Anonymous, 6.54:

No, I'm not related to former WOR-FM jock Al Brady.

I am, in fact, a lawyer. A litigator, to be clearer.

Plus, I do FCC stuff too. Pro bono, for non-comms, because they're struggling to survive given the ridiculous, arbitrary, burdensome, and piled-on fees they're continually being forced to pony up.

Oh yes, and I'm now also in my tenth year in radio broadcasting as well.

And, once again, I see you're still posting as "anonymous" despite taking everyone else to task for it.

You're big time, I can see that. We all must avert our eyes and genuflect--that's how big time YOU must be.

Color me bored.

Anonymous said...

Yeah- You're so BORED you keep coming back for more! I should have figured you're a lawyer - The LOWEST form of humanity! - next you'll be running for Congress! Do us all a favor and keep doing pro-BONER stuff for the F.C.C. with YOUR little dick!

Anonymous said...

Here's an Oldie but Goodie: "How do you save a lawyer from drowning? Take your foot off his head!"

Anonymous said...

What does a lawyer use for birth-control?


His personality!

JPF Law said...

Ah, I see. You lose the argument on the merits--because you really don't have a defense to the performance tax--so now it's time to make fun of the lawyers, pro bono work, AND non-comm broadcasters.

Classy.

Anonymous said...

I thought you were bored!

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