Dissent or disloyalty?

“We must never confuse dissent with disloyalty.”

That’s Edward R. Murrow talking.

And as the radio industry enters its most transformational period in decades, it’s advice worth heeding.

Because I and others wish to discuss the issues surriounding HD radio does not mean I’m against it. It means I’m a pragmatist and believe that successful technologies are those which take into account basic marketing fundamentals. To disregard those fundamentals does no favors to the radio industry, regardless of the strategic course that has been set. Singing along in unison to the wrong tune makes little sense.

The big groups have a lot of money invested in HD radio. In my mind, that means we as an industry have a responsibility to make sure that money is spent effectively. It is fundamentally different to create a new audio distribution channel than it is to program, market, and sell radio in its historic form. Pitfalls are everywhere, and acknowledging and coping with these pitfalls makes much more sense than blindly wishing them away.

I have spent a generation working in this business, and its continued health is my prime concern, as it should be yours.

I have taken the risk of punishment for my outspoken comments and I have done so without hesitation. My hope is that broadcasters will heed the distinction between “dissent” and “disloyalty.” In some cases, the folks with the most at stake in the HD radio race are in conversations with my company now. As for the rest, I would rather be right than rich.

And, if you’re a group head or investor, I would rather make you rich than right.

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