Sunday, April 12, 2009

Radio: NAB - Changing crimes

I just realized what world leader David “Fumbles” Rehr of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) reminds me of.

North Korean President Kim Jong-Il

Like Kim Jong-il, Fumbles runs the NAB like a one-party state. 

When that North Korean test missile fizzled out over the Pacific Ocean, didn’t it remind you of the present condition of the U.S. radio industry? 

Consider the similarities. 

Most of North Korea suffers from food shortages and lack of electricity.  Its archaic industry is at a standstill.  It has isolated itself from most of the world. 

Most of the radio industry suffers from revenue shortages and lack of time spent listening.  Its archaic formats are lackluster.  It has isolated itself from most of its listeners and clients. 

Let me put it another way.  A house united cannot stand.  

When you never disagree or appraise an optional viewpoint, Fumbles, you suppress any opportunity to move forward.

Fumbles, you’ve been reprocessing the same old promotions and campaigns over and over since you joined the NAB after the beer lobby sent you packing for doing the same thing,

How many new campaigns for HD Radio must you launch before you realize the product is terminal?   

How many variations of that Radio Heard Here campaign must you introduce before you realize that no one except NAB members ever see them?

So, what’s it going to be, Fumbles, when you address the NAB in Vegas?   Will you reprocess still another variation of your same old song and dance? 

Even your GOP buds are beginning to recognize that, in actuality, you’re a political Bolshevik in drag who refuses to face the challenges of the 21st century. 

Is there anyone that truly believes the NAB cut a good deal for radio’s streaming audio fees? 

If you think he did, let me know.
  I’ll call you back in 2012 – unless you don’t plan to be in this then. Thought so. 

That’s the dilemma with Fumbles and his closed-door negotiations with the RIAA’s SoundExchange. 

Did the labels really bushwhack you, Fumbles – or did both of you agree that those outrageous per song, per listener costs will be someone else’s problem in the future? 

The NAB cut a pact that evokes the one the UAW and the Big Three cut many years back when both sides shook hands and concluded that those pensions and payoffs would be someone else’s quandary in the future. 

Fumbles, you’ve managed add more devalue to every radio station in America – well, at least the ones that haven’t gone news and talk or fire and brimstone. 

Yes, I hear your tough talk, Fumbles.  We’ll charge the labels to play their music. Keep saying that and you’ll be reliving 2001 – the year radio’s pay-for-play playlists starting losing touch with popular culture.  That’s when the kids – and a sizable number of adults - abandoned radio and went elsewhere to find their musical soundtrack. 

You see, that’s the problem with popular culture.  The artists and labels that consent to paying the most money to get their songs played aren’t necessarily what listeners want to hear. 

Add social networking to the mix and you’ve got a no b.s. zone that pay-for-play radio can’t penetrate. 

Here and now, when the great convergence to the Internet escalating, do you think it’s wise to stop streaming when that’s the method of delivery more radio listeners? 

And how about those three deadly words, Fumbles: Performance Royalty Fee

Fumbles, you gave the RIAA's Mitch Bainwol a free meal and he’s sticking around to lick your plate dry. 

Though the Internet is getting the credit for the new free market system it was radio that invented it by playing music it didn’t own as programming content following World War II.

It’s time for a NAB insurrection – and, Fumbles, it’s about time you know your close.


Anonymous said...

"How many new campaigns for HD Radio must you launch before you realize the product is terminal?"

"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?"

"Congressman Boucher to NAB - Accept Performance Royalty"

"This week, Congressman Rick Boucher, a member of both the House of Representatives Commerce and Judiciary Committees, told an audience of broadcasters at the NAB Leadership Conference that they should accept that there will be a performance royalty for sound recordings used in their over-the-air programming and negotiate with the record companies about the amount of a such a royalty."

HD Radio is screwed - oh, I mean music-oriented FMs are screwed! Whats you gonna do, Bob Struble? Oh, I know - simulcast the news/talk/sports AMs on FM's HD2s/HD3s! Radio is slowly dying and all Rehr can do is try and kill LPFMs and any other competing technologies. Any comments, Bob Struble? Funny Bob, in your original HD Radio Questionnaire you asked if it would help broadcasters to get more interested in converting to HD, if they heard about more deals with the automakers. Surprise, surprise - we are now hearing about more supposed deals in 2010, just like Ford's deal-installed HD Radio that never materialized.

Anonymous said...

There is one difference. Even Kim Jong II built and launched a missile. It failed but at least he tried. In the NAB's case they cannot even get a campaign off the ground. I agree Radio Heard Here does nothing for no one and the company I am employed by feels we were shortchanged by HD Radio. The promises for retail support were never delivered and the technical problems are continual.

It is time for a change. We need Steve Jobs thinkers and doers in the NAB not some hack who can read speeches others write for him.

Anonymous said...

How many GMs and other execs getting a free trip to the NAB this year? How many will report it on their tax return as a 1099 especially when a vendor is picking up the tab? My GM is going and he is being covered by a 3rd party. He signed the same payola plugola forms I did. Veddy interesting.

Anonymous said...

Let us hope that internet only radio stations can put together a real collective and fight for "free market" which is also in the best interests of the labels and artists. Since radio agreed to those bad terms it will be difficult for them to wiggle out of that long term deal and the RIAA has better lawyers than the NAB. I think Save Net Radio was just a front for a legal team and a handful of i.r. stations they represent. We need to go directly to the artists on this one whether signed or not and show them the opportunities that i.r. will provide as the net becomes fully wireless. I.R. is to this century what terrestrial was to the last. I.R. can sell music and promote and market. Your free market plan makes perfect sense.

Anonymous said...

What the NAB does is a direct result of their board and members. David Rehr is afraid of his own shadow fearing that if he makes the wrong move a major chain will pull out the organization. It's a lose-lose situation that will not change anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

Anyone going to the NAB is throwing good money after bad. Nothing will happen. Nothing will be accomplished. Everyone will offer excuses and have reason to blame "situations beyond their control" for all of radio's ills.

If you are planning to go to the NAB I have only one question: WHY?

Anonymous said...

I dont think this is a dumb question.

My accounts demand more information regarding their time buys. They are tired of hearing about average quarter hours and time spent listening. They want to know who, what, when and where. Most of my accounts are spending more of their ad dollars on line - money that used to go to radio because it offers better and more detailed information.

Why is it then that the NAB made it impossible for terrestrial radio to stream on the internet especially at a time when I could use our streaming information, the who what whens and wheres to close a deal?

Our company who I dont want to name is ready to shut our streaming audio down. I feel it is a huge mistake because we have good at work listening and I know more people are going on line to hear us and other radio stations.

I think the NAB did a disservice to radio for going "against the grain" and making it cost prohibitive to broadcast on the net. I am not going to the NAB. I hope we have some people ready to ask some serious questions of the NAB at the convention.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't anyone else see the resemblance between Rehr and Buster Poindexter?

Separated at birth, maybe?

Anonymous said...

Rehr will continue to write letters, give speeches and hang out with the same old cronies. It's a racket and he knows it. The NAB is ineffectual in every way. It has no political clout, no juice and it refuses to face the future. This NAB convention will be as you have said in the past as exciting as a village blacksmith convention ten years after the automobile was invented.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that Rehr was that dumb and that the board approved the deal he cut with SX on royalty payments. It kills radio on line, on mobile and even Rehr's beloved HD radio. He is ruining the radio industry. Maybe we need a NRBA again? I would welcome it. The NAB isn't doing anything for us.

Anonymous said...

we will hear about the progress the nab and the rab are making and how we will get through the tough times and all our problems will be solved when people start buying hd radios and apple puts an fm band on the next ipod and iphone.

the nab lives in a world of make believe. that we should all know by now.

btw, gorman did do a poindexter on rehr months ago on his blog. he used the publicity photo of poindexter sipping a martini. i think it was his little joke about rehr's prior life in the booze biz. almost no one caught it. i don't think anyone mentioned it.

Dave Duncan said...

John, You pegged this guy from day one. Did you see this interview with Rehr in today's TV Newsday?

You are absolutely right about him. Ineffective! He really doesn't "get" the new century and the new Washington.

Whole New Ballgame for NAB in D.C.

TVNEWSDAY, Apr 14 2009, 9:01 AM ET
David Rehr is now deep into his fourth year as president of the NAB and none has been easy. At the same time he was trying rebuild NAB congressional and FCC lobbying operations, he has had to face a series of serious challenges, ranging from white spaces to the XM-Sirius merger to a surprisingly regulatory Bush-era FCC.

Things are not unlikely to get any easier -- with new chairmen leading the congressional committees of importance to broadcasting and a new FCC with a Democratic majority and as many as four new commissioners.

In this interview with TVNewsday Editor Harry A. Jessell, Rehr reviews the Washington agenda in light of the new lineup, makes a pitch for the upcoming convention and reflects on what he's done right and wrong so far.

An edited transcript:

Do you think we are over the hump on the DTV transition?

We're over the expectation hump in Washington. I look at it as we're running the race and the finish line was picked up and moved a little bit. It's one of those things where we see the finish line and what we can't do is slow down. We've got to finish strong.

Do you think DTV is going to be a problem on the morning of June 13?

I don't think it's going to be a problem, but we just need to do everything we can to insure that it's not a problem. I don't want to take it for granted and then wake up on the13th and find out that we should have run another rescanning spot.

Do you think the delay to June 12 was a good idea?

I thought it was necessary given the facts at the time. We had about three million Americans on a list to get coupons, which they couldn't have gotten before the turnoff.

But the delay did cause some hardship for broadcasters, didn't it?

Well, let's put it this way: broadcasters did what was expected of them and went way beyond it. The DTV transition is like a puzzle and there are a number of pieces, right? So the first piece was the broadcaster piece and everybody went, Wow, that's great, you're doing a great job. Then, there was a piece from NTIA and coupons that they couldn't quite get it in the puzzle.

The Obama people had a serious concern about all of the pieces in the puzzle not being put in the right place and therefore not having a great picture. I talk to a lot of our members and there are a lot of extra costs imposed on stations, but, at the end of the day, one of the great positives that came out of it is the recognition by the new administration of the importance of free over-the-air television. If they didn't really care, they wouldn't have cared what the puzzle looked like.

The FCC is undergoing a major overhaul because of Obama's victory in November. How is it shaping up in terms of the broadcasters' interests?

I think it's going to be refreshing. There's going to be a very evident and new spirit of cooperation and transparency at the FCC. That's good for broadcasters.

Julius [Genachowski] used to be in our business. He's a very smart, very savvy person. I met with him about a month before the election, talked a lot about broadcaster issues. He realizes the importance of radio and television.

We're still going to have disagreements. We're still going to have our challenges with cable and with other people who go before the commission and want to affect the outcome as we do, but I'm hopeful there will be a real honest appreciation for what broadcasters do.

When you do sit down with [FCC Chairman nominee] Genakowski when he is chairman in a few months, what are you going to tell him? What are looking for from the new FCC?

I'm looking for, No. 1, an appreciation for the real world business challenges that radio and television broadcasters face every day. In many of the stations out there, it is just a brutal economic environment and every action the FCC takes has a direct economic consequence on stations.

No. 2, a renewed sense of the valuable role that broadcasters play in every community, particularly during economically challenging times.

No. 3, I want the FCC to recognize how the broadcasting business, both on the radio and television sides, is evolving to meet the new technological changes -- mobile television and then our effort to get FM chips in cell phones for radio.

What I'm trying to get at is what kind of policy initiatives would you like to see the FCC take with regard to broadcasting? For instance, broadcasters tell me they could use some relief on ownership restrictions. Is that something that you will be pushing for?

Yes. We would like to see that. At our board of directors meeting last October we showed them 72 issues we were engaged in on behalf of broadcasters. About half of those are at the FCC.

What are some of the big ones?

There is not moving forward on these enhanced disclosure regulations, which are a huge burden on local television stations. There is getting rid of newspaper crossownership regulations, which seem to be outdated. Now the court may actually solve that for us, but when we're at the FCC, we'll talk about that.

We've already been in to see interim Chairman [Michael] Copps and the other commissioners about the DTV transition, some of the new rules they were thinking about and some of the new kind of public service requirements that they were thinking about. There was an effort afoot to, after Feb. 17, wait for a couple days and then turn on a 100-day countdown clock. General Counsel Jane Mago and her team and our folks went in and said, We've got to give people a break on this. They agreed it was a good idea. We'll do it with fewer days left until June 12.

We ended up in the last Congress having 168 members of Congress sending letters to the FCC either outright opposing or calling into question the proposed localism requirements. There is a significant number of members of the House that think that really isn't productive.

What about relaxation of small-market duopoly restriction in TV?

We need to get relief. If you think about the economy hitting TV stations hard and all the challenges that smaller markets face to begin with, there's a kind of tornado effect going on. One of the ways to help strengthen them would be to give relief for the duopoly regulations. That's on the list.

Isn't getting relief on ownership rules going to be tough at an FCC with a Democratic majority?

I don't know. One of the options that we have talked about with the TV stations and the lawyers is using the LMA process. It's not quite the same thing, but seeing if they could use market workarounds in the event that we don't get duopoly relief.

Also keep in mind that [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi has suggested that there needs to be some rethinking on newspaper ownership regulations. And you've got Chairman Copps, I think, recognizing some of the economic challenges that broadcasters are facing. You've got some positive inklings that, perhaps, we're moving in the right direction, but I just wouldn't want to bet the store on getting the rules changed.

[Former] Chairman [Kevin] Martin, with a Republican commission with a sympathetic president with, for awhile a Republican Congress, could barely get any relief on newspaper-broadcast crossownership.

Were you surprised by how regulatory the Martin FCC was? Starting in '07, it pushed localism, enhanced disclosure, the PSA mandates, all of that? Do you have any explanation for it?

No. I'm sure there'll be people who will reassess it, look at what occurred or what didn't occur. There'll probably be books written about it. From an NAB perspective, we just need to look forward.

How is the NAB adjusting to that the fact that we have new chairmen just about every place you look on all the key Congressional committees?

We've reached out to the chairmen. We've reached out to the key committee staff. I've been up there. We have a lobbying team I think second to none in the telecommunications/media business in Washington.

Government relations is now headed by Laurie Knight. Our people are well connected, working hard, they're up there. I'm up there with them literally every week talking about our agenda. For example, when we had the discussion on what should happen on the DTV date -- should it be moved, should it not be moved -- every important player on Capitol Hill was touched multiple times by multiple people.

One of the big congressional issues this year is the Satellite Home Satellite Viewers Reauthorization Act (SHVERA). As you know, Representative Mike Ross (D-Ark.) is pushing a provision that would allow satellite and cable to import signals from adjacent markets. The problem is some of Ross's constituents in Arkansas are in a Louisiana TV market, but they would prefer signals from an adjacent Arkansas market so they could get the news and sports they want.

He has not yet introduced that bill, probably will. We have been in touch with his office. I think he is looking for a conversation with television broadcasters about his legislation, the impact it will have on the business and what it does particularly to smaller local television markets.

We're working through a number of ideas that will allow the DMAs to remain strong and viable, that solves that issue and doesn't also undermine syndicated exclusivity and network non-duplication. We're looking for proactive market solutions.

There's nothing to prevent the broadcasters or satellite carrier from bringing in football or local news from another market simply by negotiating with a broadcaster there for those particular programs. That might be a way to resolve this issue.

Well a lot of people believe that this isn't about sports at all, but that it is about retransmission consent rights and that the ACA and maybe the NCTA are pushing it as a way to undermine broadcasters' retransmission consent rights. If the cable operators can't make a deal with the local affiliate, they can go to the market next door to bring in the signal. Suddenly they've got an alternative. Do you believe that?

No, I don't think that it is. I don't want to speak for Congressman Ross, but I think he sees this as how do I get, in two counties of my state, the news and sports that the people there want. The members who have publically expressed their opinions on this don't look at it as a retrans fight.

Broadcasters certainly look at it as a retrans fight and at your legislation conference [two weeks ago], House Communications Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher [D-Va.] said that "it would very likely pass" if put to a vote today.

But he also said that he doesn't want to see retransmission consent raised as a part of SHVERA.

Do you think that's the way that cable is looking at it, specifically the ACA?

I'm sure that if our friends at ACA could turn it into a retrans fight or into a way of changing retrans they would. They're always looking for ways to weaken the retransmission consent system for broadcasters.

The Ross bill would be considered a flanking attack on retrans. Do you think cable will make a frontal assault and maybe try to change the regs on retrans?

If we were in their position, the answer would be yes. So we have to assume they will, which is why -- I think you guys reported on this -- we released the first empirical study on how well retrans is working. If you haven't had a chance to read it, it's just fabulous.

Among other things, it shows the number of people whose television service is disrupted because of a retrans dispute is less than the number of people whose television is disrupted because of a cable service problem. It's some great stuff in the paper.

Let me back you up on this SHVERA again. I think one of the other things you're looking for there is the extension of local into local in the whole 210 markets? Are you going to get that?

Yes. Congressman [Bart] Stupak [D-Mich.] has put a bill in for local into local. We're aided by other members of congress wanting their constituents to get local news, information, weather -- to find out what's happening in their local communities.

And you think that's doable?

I think we need to press forward on that. I've testified before the House Judiciary Committee on SHVERA, looked at the past testimony, the past congressional reports, it all starts with the satellite companies saying, we don't have the capacity to do it. They said that dozen years ago. It's just a question of money with them. As long as we can help generate sufficient pressure on Congress to keep the pressure on the satellite companies, I think we will likely expand the local into local.

Well the big issue in radio is the performance royalties ...

We call it a performance tax.

Performance tax, then. Even though this is not a radio publication, I bring it up because it is a good measure of NAB's effectiveness in Washington. Now, Chairman Boucher just said that broadcasters ought to be sitting down and negotiating on royalties. Isn't that exactly where you don't want to be? As soon as you start negotiating, you're losing, right?

That's right. NAB and I have strong and profound personal respect for Mr. Boucher. We just fundamentally disagree with him. To give you some data points, about 18 months ago when we introduced our anti-performance-tax resolution, we started out with 50 members and ended up with a little over the majority of the House. This time we introduced with 109, twice as many.

I also think the radio business is more engaged on this issue than it was six, eight, 12, 18 months ago. One of the players we needed to bring to the table was the record labels. In the previous 18 months, all you saw on Capitol Hill were the artists saying that this performance tax should be placed on radio stations. At the recent Judiciary Committee hearing, really for the first time, the heads of the record labels were there and publically disclosed that 50 cents of every dollar is going to be paid to a foreign record company. I think that helps us, particularly in this economic period that we're in.

So are you going to win this fight?

If we execute our plans, I am cautiously optimistic that we will be successful. At the end of the day, the record labels have to pass a bill through the House and the Senate and get it signed by the president of the United States. That's a hard thing to do.

What are the highlights for the NAB show? Why do you think it is important for GMs and other station-level broadcasters to attend?

In tough economic times, the NAB Show delivers even greater value to broadcasters, other attendees and the exhibitors that know they can't afford not to be at NAB. The NAB Show matters when it matters most.

It will be great to have all of the affiliate boards from ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC at the show, as well as the entire Fox affiliate body. The TVB board of directors will be in Vegas, too.These are the folks that make the buying decisions at the station level, which is good news for the 1,500 exhibitors.

We're going to honor Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Kelsey Grammer and Vin Scully. Author Malcolm Gladwell, who wrote The Tipping Point and Outliers, will be speaking.

The Open Mobile Video Coalition is going to have an even greater presence at this year's show, and look for big announcements on the mobile DTV front.That is a huge potential growth area for TV broadcasters and so every station executive with an eye to the future needs to have an eye on OMVC.

3-D HD will be highlighted at the show. For stations looking to improve efficiencies there will be low-cost HD studio equipment and more economic HD cameras.

On the exhibitor side, Avid is back on the floor, which is great news. We're moving into the video game arena with the addition of Electronic Arts. We'll have 130 new exhibitors, including MGM Studios. And of course, our big anchor exhibitors will all be in their booths ready to do business -- companies like Sony, Panasonic, Harris, Microsoft and Grass Valley.

Bottom line, the NAB Show is still the most relevant and important gathering for broadcasters every year. Fifty billion dollars in sales are generated on the show floor every year. That is a staggering number. In many ways, the NAB Show is the stimulus package for our industry.

But T&E is tight. What do you expect now in terms of attendance?

I think we're going to have less. We had 104,000 people last year. Even in a good economy that probably would have been a challenge to replicate. We have to wait to see with onsite registration what it looks like. The CES show was down 20-25 percent.

Do you expect that for your show?

I just don't know. I'm hoping not. Our people are just working their hearts out to demonstrate to broadcasters the value of being at the NAB Show and why it's important.

How is the economy affecting NAB operations? I know that you just shut down one of your government affairs offices, the one headed by Doug Wiley; eliminated some vacancies and let a handful of other people go.

The NAB is reflective of its member companies. We're facing some of the same pressures that they are.

Is that why you shut down the Wiley office, money?

We don't comment on personnel matters. It's obvious that we face a lot of the same pressures that our members are facing.

You're well into your fourth year at the NAB now. What do see as your principle accomplishments?

In no certain order, No. 1, we've more focused the resources of the association on advocacy, education and innovation. We've delivered to our television members on things like the NAB DTV safe harbor. That could really have been less effective and more expensive to television broadcasters if the FCC had adopted the so-called Martin plan.

Now that wasn't my success. That really was [Hearst-Argyle's] David Barrett, [Post-Newsweek's] Alan Frank, [Belo's] Jack Sander our joint board chair, [Barrington's] Jim Yager. They really carried a heavy load in helping educate the commissioners on it. It turned out to be just a terrific success.

Wouldn't it have been better to have no mandates at all?

That was never possible. That was never in the cards. People who would say there would be no mandate have no appreciation for how Washington works.

What about the mistakes, failures. What haven't you been able to do?

I would say that there are probably three things. First off, I probably would have been a little less aggressive at the beginning.

How so?

There was the whole flap on the key vote on the DTV final date of transition. I accept full responsibility for the judgment on that, but I probably wanted to be a little more [aggressive] than I needed to be.

No. 2, I probably would have listened more. You know, this is a very complicated business and I'd like to think I'm a pretty good assessor of D.C. and politics and Congress, but just learning more about the complexities of the business. On our board and among the members, we've got very seasoned and experienced people and there probably have been a few times I should have just shut my mouth and listened.

And the third thing is, when I got here I thought it was really important for all the broadcasters to meet David Rehr, right? I was an unknown commodity. A lot of people said, why the beer guy. So I spent a lot of time traveling to meet the broadcasters and a lot of time in the office because, I thought, I'm the chief executive officer I have to make sure this organization hums.

But I probably would have started off more significantly on Capitol Hill than I did. Now, lesson learned, I've changed my time allocation and I'm up there all the time meeting with members. I was just up there last week. One of my strengths is that I do know members and I know how they think, having been in Washington for 27 years.

Anonymous said...

I just read that interview with Rehr. A textbook case of a man in denial. No wonder the radio and TV industry is going belly up. He is their mouthpiece?

He is still whining about the performance royalty tax when he has already done the biggest disservice to terrestrial radio by making it cost prohibitive to stream.

You can have all the mobile phone FMs you want. You are going to be paying PER LISTENER PER SONG.

David Rehr is an accident going somewhere to happen. That somewhere happens to be our industry.

Anonymous said...

Radio has isolated itself from most of its listeners? How, then, to explain how 95% of the US listens to the radio? Most people LIKE radio (to be sure, some don't) and many stations do a very good job. While I agree that Rehr has made a number of missteps I'm personally tired of the insuations here that most radio listeners are isolated and that most of us, apparently, are doing a crappy job. I reject that out of hand -- we programmers continue to work hard to provide solid programming and content to our stations.
And I have to say, it is patently unfair to compare Rehr to a Kim. Why not compare him to Hitler for crying out loud. His missteps haven't caused anyone to starve to death and this analogy is off base and arguably in bad taste.

Anonymous said...

"Radio has isolated itself from most of its listeners? How, then, to explain how 95% of the US listens to the radio? Most people LIKE radio (to be sure, some don't) and many stations do a very good job."

Yea, and TSL is down 45 minutes from last year and counting.

Anonymous said...

Thank You Mrs. Rehr!

Anonymous said...

Better to compare Rehr to Bozo the Clown...

Anonymous said...

The drop in TSL cannot be blamed wholly on bad programming that has isolated listeners. It's ridiculous to assume that when the last five years has seen explosive growth of any number of things that can divert ones attention. 25 years ago we had radio and TV. Of COURSE TSL is going to be higher when the number of available mediums is that small. These available mediums have skyrocketed but that does not mean, necessarily, that people are tuning out radio because they don't like it. In reality it may not mean that at all. It just may mean that, as opposed to listening to the night guy like I used to, I'd rather play with my Wii Fit. Or I'd rather watch last nights' episode of "Lost" on my Tivo. Or I'd rather play with my new Mac. But to assume a correlation between lower TSL and crappy radio is something I reject in general (because clearly some stations are dragging ass and going through the motions).

These new "toys" create an entirely new dynamic. One day many years ago you were happily married to radio because it was the only "wife" you'd ever known when it came to music. But then you discovered iPods. And video games. And Twitter. And Facebook. And Myspace. And Youtube, etc. It's essentially turned your monogamous marriage into a bloody orgy or things to do. But that does not mean you don't love your "wife" anymore. You just like "cheating" on her.

Anonymous said...

I keep hearing this 90% plus "adults listening to radio" statistic. Where is it written down (that isn't an industry controlled publication?) Did the industry either directly or indirectly finance the research study that produced this stat? Is it sufficiently nuanced to give one the whole picture of the state of the industry? I'd also like to know exactly how the data that produced this legendary statistic was compiled. Every corporate hack uses this stat to prove corporate radio has and will always crush it's competition. My guts tell me there's just something missing here that would blow corporate radio's con game sky high.

Furthermore, this line about corporate radio agressively moving into new media is another load of crap. Leo Laporte ( is successfully producing radio and tv on-line, and he's working more angles then a chinese puzzle. I don't see corporate doing more then 2 or 3 percent of what this guy is doing, and he's just getting started!

Let me clue you into something. Don't bother to argue with these corporate radio types. There're all Rain Man. They are killing themselves with arrogance and greed. Good riddance! I know it's shodenfreud, but I enjoy watching them fiddle while Rome burns, and it's gonna be even more fun to watch them whining and blaming everybody but themselves for their demise.

You want to do radio. Put your ass on line and learn from Leo Laporte.

Anonymous said...

You can't blame the drop of listening on bad programming? It starts there. When radio stopped delivering other medium picked up the slack. People will go to whatever medium serves them best at any given time. How do explain NPR's increase in time spent listening - and listeners? Provide compelling content and people will come. Face the facts, man, Commercial radio cannot deliver. Radio listening is down. These days you go into a store and you don't hear a terrestrial station. It;s either someone;s i-Pod or XM Sirius.

Anonymous said...

I said it couldn't "wholly" be blamed on bad programming. Certainly no one can argue that stations as a whole are not nearly as dynamic as they used to be. Not even debatable. BUT, this can't be looked at as the only reason and it's quite possibly not the biggest reason. To be sure, radio has done a poor job serving youth but that has more to do with 25-54 mentalities set by agencies. TV LOVES 18-34.

And as far as the 90 or 95% figure goes, it's real. Do you actually know people who can say they did not turn their radio one once in a given week? Only the "uber hip" can say that. I content that people LIKE radio. The problem is they don't LOVE it.

Anonymous said...

"And as far as the 90 or 95% figure goes, it's real. Do you actually know people who can say they did not turn their radio one once in a given week? Only the "uber hip" can say that. I content that people LIKE radio. The problem is they don't LOVE it."

Wow! You got them ONCE A WEEK! I knew there was more here the meets the eye. That means 90% of adults spent 99% of their time NOT LISTENING TO RADIO.

But it ain't your fault is it? And to prove it you freely and openly admit you are being buried under an increasing mountain of other entertainment/information choices.

To sum up, most people are NOT listening to you most of the time, and things are only going to get worse.

Brilliant position!

Anonymous said...

Hey Mr. Snarky, MANY people listen to the radio five or more days per week. Very few actually listen for ONLY 5 minutes a week.

Only other question I have is, if you think we're all so fu&$ed, then why even bother? Isn't it time you started selling life insurance or became a manager at Wendys?

I've clearly stated that programming has suffered but it is NOT the main reason why TSL is down. NPR (or Talk of any kind) is not fair to compare to because while you can get any music station known to mankind anywhere on the net you can't get shows like All Things Considered or Tavis Smiley on someone's Internet station. To be sure, NPR is fantastic but that's not the point.

I'm NOT defending the corporations at all -- they have mostly failed and have hurt our business in a number of ways. But on a local level, on the streets, and being with the audience, radio hasn't suffered if there are competent visionary people running the station itself.

Radio isn't as good as it used to be -- I agree. But part of that reason is that we have so many other things to compare it to (fairly or not).

But I just don't understand what the point is of many (not all) people in here thinking every single aspect of the business is in total disarray, can't be saved, and down right stinks. Why are you even here?

Anonymous said...

"Hey Mr. Snarky, MANY people listen to the radio five or more days per week. Very few actually listen for ONLY 5 minutes a week."

Mr. Snarky. You didn't really just say that did you?

But I digress. Point is the 90% listening figure is so vague because it's DESIGNED TO MISLEAD. Why, because corporate radio has something to hide. I'm just curious as to what it might be.

As long as corporate radio seeks to mislead, Mr. Snarky will be there!

Could we change that to The Mighty Super Snark?