08/09

Radio: How Good You Are Matters

FX Networks boss John Landgraf has never run a radio station so far as I know. But maybe he should.

Faced with a withering onslaught of content from over-the-top providers like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and others, Landgraf is the guy who coined the term “peak TV,” and since then the glut of TV has gotten even peak-ier.

Sound familiar, broadcasters?

But Landgraf is neither afraid nor intimidated.

Addressing the Silicon Valley-bred competitors, he said this:

In that world, it’s about scale, it’s about data, it’s about finance, it’s about bringing billions upon billions of dollars … to conquer markets.

When asked how the coming entry of Apple into this field will affect his brand’s fortunes, he added this:

I respect Apple as a company … [but] we can’t do what they do. I don’t think I’d be good at spending $10 billion on content. Because I’m not interested in making the world’s largest all-you-can-eat buffet with something for everyone. [What interests me is] a more tightly curated, quality control. I’m just going to have to hope that if we do it well enough and we get it through to the consumer at a price and manner they want, that for enough consumers in America that will still be meaningful against the absolute tsunami of volume that’s going to be coming out of all this capital flowing into content creation.

And he wrapped it up as follows:

Our strength is not the ability to pump 20 billion dollars into buying hundreds and hundreds of pieces of content. Our strength is the quality of our curation.

The quality of our curation (and that does not just mean “music,” folks).

Radio: Our strength is the quality of our curation. Click To Tweet

Here’s my paraphrase:

We will make fewer choices but we will make them better.

We will bet on talent. We will bet on quality.

We will get behind our bets and maximize the attention that each of those bets receives.

We will try to stand out in this crowded marketplace – we refuse to drown in it.

We will invest, but we will not be spendthrifts.

We will not retrench, we will not hide, we will not merge or acquire our way out of this fix.

We will not try in vain to shrink or cut our way to success.

We will create a brand we are proud of and a brand viewers will be proud to spend their time with.

Landgraf doesn’t run radio stations, but maybe he should.

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  • ScottGilbert

    Very nice, but about 10 years too late. EVERYONE thinks they can cut their way to success. Does the word “synergies” mean anything to you? 😉

  • Dripping with cynicism, Scott! But no less true.

    Thanks for the note!

  • ScottGilbert

    Mark, I’ve been watching the radio business for nearly 30 years for a living, and while I may be a little cynical, I don’t think I’m off base. One of my friends works for Cumulus, and is on at least 8 different stations in at least 8 different markets, and he’s not an exception anymore.

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