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“Music FM’s of any flavor are utterly screwed”

It’s always a pleasure to read a terrific article and there’s a particularly great one by McVay Media’s Holland Cooke over at Inside Radio.

“Music FM’s of any flavor are utterly screwed,” says Holland.

In a world where you can hear anything you want anytime you want – without Radio – Holland sounds one optimistic note: “The less-useful that programming content becomes when committed to digital memory, the more listeners will need live real-time local audio media to acquire that content.”

Put another way, that Led Zeppelin song is available in a hundred different ways, but whatever is urgent and timely and “of the moment” is not available on an iPod. It IS available on the Radio.

This leads directly to the conclusion that News and Talk (including entertainment-oriented Talk) are the future drivers of Radio’s success. After all, aren’t N/T ratings today at an all time high?

And look at Public Radio which has been on the rise during the past few years – in large part due to its information (read: N/T) programming.

I could sum this up another way: That which we own uniquely makes us valuable, attractive, and magnetic to listeners. And we don’t own ANY mix of music uniquely.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again until someone high atop a radio group listens to me: Talent is where it’s at. Star talent. And if it takes too long to build it then you’d better open that sizable pocketbook and buy it.

Holland also suggests that operators owning a N/T AM and a music FM drop the music and simulcast the AM.

Dumb idea?

Go ask KQED in San Francisco if Information on FM is such a dumb idea. They have a 5.2 Shr and a Cume of almost 800,000!

You can reach Holland Cooke here.

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