Why 2007 Will Be Another Bad Year For Radio

I love the radio business. I truly do. Radio people are like an extended family. They are with you in good times and Clear Channel times. It pained me to have to write repeatedly in Inside Radio after consolidation that it would kill the medium. Many of my long time and new friends were redeployed as a result of all the station mergers and some of them took it personally. Others didn't. They just hoped and prayed I was wrong. Ten years later the record on radio consolidation speaks for itself.

Well, I'm about to do it again.

The radio industry just doesn't get it. You can't grow a business that doesn't have a&hellip

Let’s Get Real About Payola

Yesterday, Entercom finally gave in and agreed to pay New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer $4.25 million to make his payola investigation go away. Several other big radio consolidators including Clear Channel and a few major record labels have already settled.

Anyone who has been or is presently in radio knows that there was and is various kinds of payola. The record industry denies it. Independent promoters have a habit of disappearing -- I heard of one going to Sicily and returning when the heat was off. Radio stations can't bring themselves to admit their complicity. They're in denial. Hey, President Clinton told us he&hellip

Disney Shows The Labels How to Make Hits

The Disney Channel kids program "Hannah Montana" is a smash hit. And so is the music 14- year old Miley Cyrus sings as the fictional pop star Hannah Montana. She has sold over 1.6 million songs in about two months beating out the likes of Jay-Z, Sarah McLachlan, The Beatles Love album and a slew of others. It highlights the potential of the 8-14 year old market sometimes known as the "Tweens". These days the usual mojo from teens is not there in the record business. Teens and older Gen Y youths have found their way to music downloading. They're not such a hot record market anymore. But "Tweens", that's another story. Let's break&hellip

Verizon — Can You Hear Me Now?

Coming early in the year ahead, Verizon customers will be seeing -- that's right -- seeing their first banner ads on news, sports and weather sites among others that users visit and display on their mobile phones. This morning's New York Times is reporting that the decision has some major implications for users and advertisers along with many risks. Ad averse consumers could cancel if irritated enough by this new barrage of advertising and switch to other competitors. Some view the cell phone utilities the way they look at&hellip

Clear Channel Liquidation Company

If you had a doubt as to what Clear Channel was up to when its actions proved it wasn't up to running a large radio group, you can now rest easy. The latest news is that Clear Channel plans on selling an additional 75 grandfathered stations for an approximate $1.1 billion dollar minimum take. That's on top of what they will earn from their already announced strategy of selling 448 stations below the top 100 markets. Clear Channel is doing better getting out of the business than it did by being in it. The same can't be said for their brethren -- the owners who lived in their shadow and sold ads against their mighty combos. But that's&hellip

The Problem With SNL’s Cingular Deal

NBC Universal has signed a deal with Cingular to allow their upgraded video customers to access clips, new content and archived material from Saturday Night Live. NBC recently launched a section for SNL on its web site. It seems like a good deal for Cingular, one of the largest mobile phone utilities and NBC Universal. But wait. Is it? In their race to be content conduits, utilities such as cell phone companies are beginning to scare me. They think exclusive deals for content will be a win-win and enhance their ability to get customers to upgrade phone service. The problem is that in the long run if SNL content is only available&hellip

Other Voices On Google Radio Ads

Consultant Jack Taddeo, a long time radio friend of mine and very thoughtful observer of the radio scene is interviewed on ZD Net's technology web site regarding the Google AdWords initiative in the radio industry. A sample: Taddeo is asked whether AdWords was a win-win for radio and advertisers:
"Not for stations. That is unless you are trying to reduce your ad inventory to pennies on the dollar. I call it the "station going out of business rate". The argument goes: if you have an open slot then why not get some money instead of no money? Plus you will be "sold out" which can help increase unit rate based on supply/demand pricing.&hellip

Inside The Beta Test of Google Radio Ads

AdWords customers involved in beta testing are experiencing a new kind of radio advertising sales. The AdWords system is similar to the online ad selling approach Google has made its name and profit from. Prospective radio advertisers -- and this could be companies or individuals who have never advertised on radio or thought of radio as an advertising medium -- can bid on the spots and target their ads by time of day, demographics, format and location. The advertisers see instant reports. Google is also working on a program that will refer new advertisers to people who can help them write copy and produce ads -- something like the&hellip

A Better Radio Sales Idea

Why not let the Radio Advertising Bureau supervise radio sales on a market by market basis? The groups and stations willing to opt in can finance the effort from savings derived from fielding a full sales staff. Yet the concept allows stations to opt in as much or as little as they feel comfortable doing on their own time, at their own speed (i.e., start by submitting unsold inventory and later, add other avails). I mention the RAB or some other sales organization so as to keep the effort fair. Standards should be set. Bids can be raised or lowered similar to how airfares are routinely priced. Two more advantages: RAB fields a&hellip