It’s Time for Radio’s Second Act

I’ve ranted on this before but I’m now going to do so again and, hopefully but doubtfully, for the very last time.

Every day another Satellite Radio headline. Every day another story about Howard Stern.

Does anybody wonder why nobody in the media – and hence the audience – is talking about conventional Radio like this? After all, we’re ubiquitous. And we make lots of money. Satellite Radio is and does neither – yet.

Could it be because…

(drum roll please)

…we don’t give anybody anything worth talking about?

In the marketplace of tomorrow, buzz will drive consumer – and listener – decision-making (just like it secretly drives it today).

Unless we "play the game" – and by that I mean do stuff on the Radio interesting and compelling enough to spur listener and media conversations – we can kiss our futures goodbye. Or at least we’ll be forced to accept a chair on the media bus which slips ever so quietly to the rear, year after year.

I don’t know about you but I have no desire to be a third class media outlet, a haven for refuge from all the stuff listeners actually prefer and are interested in.

Where, for example, is the top-drawer, nationally recognized talent that we intend to follow-up Howard Stern with? Where is Radio’s second act?

If I were a major group head here are the three things I’d do right now:

  1. Take all of my marketing money and invest it in half a dozen top-drawer entertainment industry talents, building shows around each and launching them in test markets around the country. Radio as an industry needs more than…uh…zero such talents appealing to listeners under 40.

  2. Draft a compelling alternative to current "less is more" thinking called "MORE is more" – more entertainment, more talent, more music, more community involvement, more compelling reasons to turn your radio on and leave it on.

  3. Invest heavily in Public Relations. Court the media with tangible proof of Radio’s worth, its benefits, the new, cutting-edge, interesting things we’re doing to make listeners’ mouths water (if you think that raises the bar high, you’re damn right). Here’s why listeners should pay attention…. But this has to be based in real, progressive change, not the kind of tap-dancing the media usually expects from Radio.

I’d do those three things. And from what I can tell, those are three more things than any other group head is doing.

If we don’t have a second act, let’s hope it’s not because the climax has passed and it’s time for our resolution and for the end credits to roll.

That would be a sad tragedy indeed.

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