Why are we so obsessed with clutter?

From Emmis’ Jeff Smulyan:

“Listen,” he said at one point, “the world is fragmented. If you look at TSL with radio, it does not correlate to the decline [in listenership]. Are we cluttered? Sure.” That clutter, he said, was not as bad as the clutter “of the average cable channel or what’s happening in network TV.”

This is very true.

I suppose the only major difference is that radio has a point of comparison that promotes itself as lacking ANY significant commercial clutter (Satellite) while TV has no such point of comparison (and don’t say HBO because when have you seen HBO pitch itself as “no commercials”?). Cable, as Jeff notes, is – if anything – MORE cluttered than network TV.

One of the biggest mistakes the radio industry makes is allowing the debate to center on the issue of clutter. That, my friends, is a comparison radio can’t win. So fighting that battle on the audience perception front is failing at Competitive Strategy 101.

If you’re bad at math, you don’t set out for a career in mathematics.

There are, however, real advantages radio has – and not enough appreciation of them in our industry.

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