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SNL Kagan on Radio’s prospects for 2008

Here’s a great piece by SNL Kagan on radio’s prospects for 2008 that includes a rather extensive interview with me.

I strongly recommend it not so much for my comments (some of which are familiar to you) but for the implied consensus of the financial community – which is rather gloomy.

Here’s what I added:

“On the one hand, I don’t want to diminish the prospects for the industry, but on the other hand, I think to the degree that you depend on advertising dollars coming in for air, you’ve got to modify according to shifts in technology and audience and the way advertisers want to spend their money in 2008,” Ramsey told SNL Kagan, noting that while increasing energy is paid to nascent digital technologies such as streaming, more significant restructuring may be needed. “There’s the kind of restructuring we’re accustomed to where heads get lobbed off, and then there’s another kind of restructuring which means actually changing structure and actually viewing your station as having a different center with different tentacles than you used to,” Ramsey said, noting that “nontraditional revenue” from outlets such as the Internet would be better branded “new traditional revenue” as such lines of business should be viewed as substitutes and replacements rather than supplements. While Ramsey lamented that major radio companies charged with meeting quarterly revenue projections are not eager to make the difficult choices necessary to reinvent the medium for future growth, the strategist is not entirely pessimistic on the medium, either, noting a recent Arbitron Inc. report showing that radio reaches 233 million listeners each week. “If you cant turn 233 million sets of ears into a business opportunity and leverage that opportunity across multiple channels with multiple elements of content, multiple touchpoints, multiple attractors and multiple ways to connect audiences with advertisers for Christ sake, what are you doing wrong?” the strategist asked. As to whether items such as Portable People Meters and HD Radio will be tools used to unlock such opportunities, Ramsey is doubtful, adding that the former does little to address the accountability issue that makes so much new media an attractive buy, while the latter attempts to foist an altogether new technology on advertisers, programmers and listeners, rather than exploit the ubiquitous World Wide Web.

I can only hope that the leaders of the radio industry are paying as much attention as the scribes who cover our financial prospects.

The answer isn’t that hard. But it does require guts.

I don’t know about you, but I’d like to prove the pessimistic analysts wrong?

Who’s with me?

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