Bob Garfield to Radio: “You’re all F**ked”

Does radio want a makeover by an authority who tells us we're ugly?  An authority who works on the radio, yet?

If the makeover works, yes!  Because like it or not, that's what you get from Bob Garfield, former critic for Ad Age and author of the recent The Chaos Scenario, a book that details why media is going to Hell, and what we can all do about it.

Bob spoke at this week's British Columbia Association of Broadcasters Conference in Victoria BC.

"What Mark said," Bob quipped as he took the stage after my presentation (which I'll share bits of with you later).

So push through the painful early part of these highlights to get to the meaty recipes in the second half. His critique hits below the belt, but his answers are right on.

And for your audiophiles, here's the mp3 version.

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While we will squirm at Bob's characterization of radio (which is not completely wrong but not completely right for lots of reasons), there is no denying the wisdom of Bob's advice:  

The win will go to he or she who listens.

We can chide Bob for his bedside manner later.

For more from Bob, check out the interview posted previously here.

[Remember you can find all my video archived at iTunes here]

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  • you’re in Victoria? nice. I am a broadcaster in Victoria. 91-3 FM my friend.

  • Tie this with “It’s getting out their and doing things for them and not asking for anything in return…” (http://bit.ly/9kN6pF via @Radio_Ink), and I think you’ve got a pattern.
    It’s a gift economy. Radio needs to be a conduit, not a funnel.

  • George

    Here’s my view:
    You hear FM? That’s what internet radio will sound like in a few years.
    I was fortunate to be among the first broadcasters at the start of the FM revolution in the late 60s. At the time, we promoted the fact that we had big playlists and few commercials. Guess what happened. The exact same thing is already starting to happen at internet stations.
    The fact is that anything that becomes popular ultimately becomes overcommercialized. Look at MySpace. That’s what Pandora will look like in a few years, especially if Tim sells out to the investment bankers. We’ve been down that road before, and Pandora is not immune. No site is. And don’t tell me they’ll be less greedy. There’s no such thing.
    So yes, as Bob put it, right now radio is “f**ked.” But at some point, the greedy ISPs, the greedy record labels, and the greedy internet broadcasters will do exactly what the greedy broadcasters did ten years ago, and the playing field will once again be level.
    And we’ll all be looking for what’s next.

  • I’m really surprised there isn’t more lashing out at Bob for his tone, if nothing else.
    Maybe my discussion surrounding the video expressed everyone’s mixed feelings?

  • Steve Hoffman

    Houston, he has a – choose your favorite: tact, respect, communication – problem. He doesn’t have an understanding-of-the-opportunity problem.

  • Yes, but I think he also doesn’t understand that radio isn’t only what comes out of the speakers.
    He’s thinking about the problem in the rear view mirror – which, of course, is the same way the broadcasters tend to see it. So maybe the “fright” is warranted.
    Then again, show me a mother who likes being told her baby’s ugly.

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