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The Problem with “Less is More”

“Less is More” means, essentially, that shorter spots and shorter breaks can presumably be as or more powerful than longer ones.

This is a solution to the ad clutter problem that displeases listeners and advertisers alike.

As a first stab at Radio’s future it’s a bold and courageous move.

But it is a first stab only.

The problem with “Less is More” is if we perceive it as the last move rather than the first one. In fact, the more music we play and the less cluttered we become we approach being one of those “all music” channels available for a fee from Satellite Radio or for free free via streaming audio. We approach the non-stop music available from every listener’s iPod (which, by the way, is one of the hottest gift items this Christmas).

But “approach” doesn’t mean “become.”

Fee-based options and personalized ones (like iPod and streaming) will always have FEWER (i.e., zero) commercials and will always be MORE to our liking (because that’s what being personalized is).

So by becoming more like these services I would argue we don’t become enough like any of them in order to replace them because our business model requires spots and the nature of “broad”casting means we can never be personalized.

Pure and simple.

So by all means charge ahead on “Less is More.” But please remember that listeners are more than happy to pay for audio entertainment and information where “MORE is more.”

“Less is More” may address the heart of the advertiser’s issue, but it only scratches the surface of the listener’s issue. And ultimately, the latter will drive the former.

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