Help the Victims of Consolidation

This has been a horrific holiday season for radio people in terms of pink slips, wrecked careers, disappointed hopes and even unemployment while fighting illnesses.

I will not forget the fine people who are the backbone of the radio industry even if the consolidators can dismiss them so easily.

When I attended Temple University in Philadelphia, one of my wonderful professors -- Lew Klein -- the American Bandstand and Philadelphia television executive told my freshman class that if you haven't been fired five times in your career, you're not in broadcasting.

What an eye-opener for a young man getting ready to learn his&hellip

An Automobile Is An HD Radio Without Four Wheels

Detroit Radio Advertising Group (DRAG) legendary President and COO Bill Burton coined the catchy phrase "An automobile is a radio with four wheels".

True enough to radio people, but if that phrase is accurate then "An Automobile Is An HD Radio Without Four Wheels". In fact, the wheels are coming off.

I say this because something is very suspicious in Detroit. The proponents of HD Radio have relied on support from automakers and marketing muscle from big box retail stores like Best Buy to sell, well -- hardly any HD radios.

Imagine that.

If Best Buy, RadioShack and Wal-Mart can't evens sell HD radios then maybe&hellip

The Labels’ No Tax Left Behind Act

Did you see a lot of CDs under the tree this year?

Guess not.

CD sales are off and when the final figures are in that include the fourth quarter of 2007, it's not going to be pretty.

If you follow the logic record labels are applying in seeking to lift the royalty tax exemption from radio, now is a good time to fight for a separate tax on the record industry for failing to support the radio stations that have generated most of their sales profits in modern times. In other words hit them when they are down -- as they are trying to do to the radio industry.

It could be radio's answer to the record labels' No Tax&hellip

The Quiet Before “The Noise You Can’t Ignore”

As everything in the radio business ground to a halt for the Christmas holiday I kept getting the feeling something big is up with Sam Zell and Randy Michaels.

That we're seeing only a small part of the master plan.

That the big bang is yet to come.

Consider that over the weekend and in uncharacteristic stealth fashion Sam Zell quietly announced a $1.1 billion deal to purchase eight very attractive TV properties from none other than -- Rupert Murdoch.

Murdoch is no fool. And Zell is the Murdoch of the radio industry&hellip

If the Clear Channel Deal Doesn’t Close…

I'm wondering.

What kind of investment bankers fail to close on their acquisitions by year's end if they really want to buy? After all, they don't get their considerable fees unless they close.

Lee and Bain have been postponing their closing of Clear Channel ostensibly because the FCC hasn't approved the deal. Some skeptics might say that the FCC could have been accelerated for a deal this size. There certainly haven't been any major objections to Clear Channel going private.

So what's up?

I'm thinking that Lee and Bain may be noodling over whether they want to pay the half billion or so in penalty fees for&hellip

Randy’s Revenge

The news broke yesterday that entrepreneur Sam Zell -- the founder of the Jacor radio group -- is bringing Randy Michaels back to work for him again when he takes over control of the newspaper and TV Tribune Company.

I predicted this months ago and I added that Randy will likely be involved in radio again -- a prediction I am sticking to.

Randy and I are like hockey players. As a dear friend of mine in the radio industry pointed out to me -- in some ways we're alike. Let's look at it in ice hockey terms. I'm a Flyer. He's now a Blackhawk. We've fought each other over the years but just as they do after each round of the&hellip

FCC Unscrewing the Pooch

The phrase screw the pooch appeared in Tom Wolfe's book The Right Stuff meaning to mess up, commit a grievous error. It's a euphemism from US military slang that uses much stronger language involving a dog.

How apt, then, to apply this phrase -- which also appears in the Urban Dictionary -- to the current FCC which has begun the process of undoing some of the damage caused by consolidation.

Greedy radio consolidators have been asking for trouble -- almost from the start of consolidation which was enabled by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 -- and lobbied by your favorite trade organization -- the NAB.

I have no&hellip

The iPod Is Vulnerable

The young people I have been working with and studying the past four years voluntarily remind me that they have iPod fatigue.

I have written about this before but I keep hearing it -- and the term iPod fatigue is theirs not mine.

There is no doubt in my mind that you'd have to amputate their arms to pry an iPod away from this generation, but I've been thinking about iPod fatigue a lot lately. It seems to me that what these young people are saying is -- entertain me where I live.

They are not particularly addressing the terrestrial radio industry. Outside of NPR and some catch-as-catch-can listening this generation&hellip

Overthrow Citadel Radio

Somebody lock Citadel CEO Farid Suleman in his office.

Don't hurt him but don't let him out.

It's time for the good and great employees of Citadel to take back their radio company and turn it around themselves.

Farid hasn't been able to.

In the past year alone Citadel stock took a nose dive from the $10 range to $2.05 when it closed last week. Get him to keep his hands off the company and watch his employees fix it.

Farid Suleman is best known for being Mel Karmazin's bean counter at Infinity. He's not the only radio CEO who should get a time out. All of them should. And the shareholders who can't sell&hellip

Future Radio

There is increasing evidence that using your cell phone can cause brain tumors.

In a British study some scientists say there is a chance that talking on a mobile phone for as little as 10 minutes could trigger changes in the brain that are associated with cancer.

And a new Israeli study says regular use of mobile telephones increases the risk of developing tumors with certain gland growths nearly 50 percent higher for mobile phone user more than 22 hours a month.

Of course, rumors about cell phones and cancer&hellip

NAB — Consolidating With the Stars

I know the major TV networks are relying on reality shows to make it through the writer's strike, but in radio there is an unreality show going on and a new episode developed Monday.

The radio industry's lobby group -- the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is asking the FCC to "consider continued relaxation" of the ownership rules having breathed a sigh of relief when the Commission rejected a rollback to pre-1996 levels.

You remember the NAB.

It's the trade group that collects your membership fees, charges you to attend industry conventions and works in the interests of a handful of big companies that want&hellip

The RIAA Unplugged

The RIAA has filed a brief in an Arizona U.S. District Court against two average citizens (Jeffrey and Pamela Howell) who committed the dastardly crime of ripping their CD collection to MP3s so they could enjoy them around the house and perhaps on their iPods. The RIAA is also alleging that the Howell's put their ripped music on file sharing networks -- perhaps a trusted trump card for them in their case.

RIAA is alleging violation of copyright laws and the fair use doctrine.

If you think it's a simple case of RIAA speaking out of both sides of its mouth -- you would be correct.

During the MGM v. Grokster lawsuit in&hellip

Faith-Based Consolidation

The eyes almost popped out of my head when I was reading Inside Radio the other day.

Clear Channel Executive Vice President Andy Levin is quoted as saying, "changes to the radio ownership rule are once again necessary".

Oh, it gets worse than this.

America's biggest radio consolidator and arguably the company that had the most to do with pushing a once thriving business into the doldrums wants Congress to save it from itself. After all, radio consolidators were given a virtual monopoly with passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and they still couldn't make it pay off.

Shareholders are looking at&hellip

The “Tickle Me Clear Channel” Doll

I can't take another day of hearing bad news from my friends in the radio industry who have been let go by Clear Channel in the latest massive clearance sale of top executives in advance of taking the company private.

Forget that it's happening at Christmas.

Clear Channel apparently has.

They say if you don't laugh, you'll cry. These fat cats are wreaking havoc on radio stations and on the lives of many talented and dedicated people who deserve better than a pink slip for Christmas.

So, I've come up with a parody called the "Tickle Me Clear Channel" doll inspired by the very popular Tickle Me Elmo.


Stealing Music Sells CDs

There is a new Canadian study on file sharing that bolsters what many of us who work with the next generation already know -- file sharing (or stealing music) actually helps the record labels sell CDs.

You can't tell that to the music industry.

They cannot and won't wrap their arms around this concept. If they allowed themselves to believe that stealing music actually sells CDs, they would have no one to blame for the sorry state of the record industry -- other than themselves.

Industry Canada did the study during 2006-07 to measure the extent to which peer-to-peer file sharing networks affected music purchasing in&hellip


The radio industry is turning into one giant joke. But it isn't so funny.

Clear Channel firing everyone in sight before Christmas.

The meaningless war against satellite radio.

HD -- or High Destructive Radio.

And now the latest comedic effort on the part of broadcasters who should know better.

The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters (NABOB) is asking the House Commerce Committee to launch an inquiry into Arbitron

Declare Victory and Pull Out of HD Radio

Radio executives are not dumb.

They may be arrogant enough to think their old business model will work in the future, but as the pain of declining audiences and revenue proliferates they

Let the Firings Begin

The bane of Lee and Bain!

According to the dictionary the word bane means "a cause of great distress or annoyance". That being said, the word Bain as in Lee and Bain, the investment bankers who will make Clear Channel's privatization possible is firings -- massive firings.

Ten in Los Angeles alone last week.

What better time for consolidators that can't get their share price up like Clear Channel to pink slip people than right before Christmas. Families love to have their breadwinners come home and say, "honey, I shrunk our incomes".

You might think it harsh for me to blame Lee and Bain for these actions&hellip