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