The $5 CD

I was surprised to find many young people enthusiastic about the prospect of paying $5 for a CD.

I'm sure the record business is not.

I can hear them right now: "We can't make money on $5 CDs" -- like they can make money on free downloading, right?

I put the question to students in my USC class "Music, Broadcasting & the Mobile Future". About 75% of them -- a surprising number -- said they would buy CDs or multiple CDs -- a significant increase over their current spending -- if the labels charged a flat $5 for the CD.

Only one condition: they also want a high fidelity digital version for purchasing the&hellip

Wrong Trax for the Record Industry

There was another abortion in the music industry this week.

QTrax, the startup that promised free music from the four major labels, and a number of indies launched without the music of the four major labels.

This is an advertiser supported project that had been at least a year in the making -- not unique -- just another whack at trying to offer music to the next generation for free.

Unfortunately, either QTrax or the labels scotched the much ballyhooed launch. We've heard that the ink wasn't dry on a number of the agreements. I don't know who launches a business based on four record labels without having the deal&hellip

Clear Channel on Jenny Craig

Tom Taylor broke the news of John Hogan's "draconian" first quarter contingency plan in his Taylor on Radio-Info publication Monday.

It's bad -- all bad.

Hundreds of additional jobs are in jeopardy -- this from the industry leader that has been cutting jobs at a record pace in preparation for what they hope will be the completed sale of Clear Channel to Bain Capital and Thomas Lee Partners within a few months.

Clear Channel has a problem. It isn't making budget for the first quarter and revenues are down.

In the movie Airplane, Lloyd Bridges who played the character&hellip

The HD Alliance’s Satellite Radio Agenda

The HD Radio Alliance has gone and done it.

It has officially opposed the merger of XM and Sirius Satellite Radio.

That tells me enough that if I'm at the DOJ, I'm going to approve the merger immediately -- which they're likely to do anyway.

You may remember that iBiquity, the designated manufacturer of HD radio, unofficially asked the FCC to consider mandating the manufacture of new satellite radios so that they would include the HD subchannels. Exactly, what satellite subscribers want, right?


Now the HD Alliance which riled the terrestrial radio business with its "creative" commercials that&hellip

There is quite a controversy building around whether CBS-owned is an eventual replacement for terrestrial radio.

The Motley Fool investors publication says could mean the end of radio.

Kurt Hanson, who I respect more on these issues, says wait one minute -- isn't even radio.

It's an interesting prospect either way. To bring you up to date the four major record labels have cut a deal with to get a penny or so for every time a young consumer goes to and requests a song. Hanson points out, "Going to a website and saying

The Ghost of Christmas Radio Past and Future

The post Christmas radio ratings are in for the two People Meter markets -- Philadelphia and Houston -- and you should not be surprised to observe that the two bellwether Christmas stations lost half of their huge ratings gains acquired in December.

Jerry Lee's WBEB (B-101), Philadelphia slid from a 29.6 share in women 18+ during the week December 20-26 to 12.8 when the station reverted to its adult music format.

In Houston, Clear Channel's KODA lost 47% of its women compared to those listening during Christmas week.

Significantly, both stations remained number one in the 6+ average daily cume.

Are 29 shares in&hellip

Radio’s “Recession” Started A Long Time Ago

The Fed further cut interest rates by three quarters of a point in an emergency move that is designed to help the U.S. economy avoid a deep, dark recession.

The market lost 465 points before greed saved the day and buyers took advantage of lower stock prices and bought back in.

The housing market is one of the major problems and the subprime mortgage mess goes along with it.

As the vaudevillian comedian "The Old Philosopher" used to say, "is that what's bothering you, bunky?"

The radio industry actually started its "recession" early.

After spending record amounts of their investors' money to put together&hellip

Peer-to-Peer Radio

One of the more startling things to traditional broadcasters is that today's young audience wants to sometimes be their own program director.

The iPod is an example of how a generation decided to program their own "radio stations" with the music they choose to buy or steal online. And their stations really do have fewer commercials and more music unlike the promises we've made and broken to them for decades.

Broadcasters do what they have always done -- broadcast. When radio programming got more specific in the 70's we used the term narrowcasting to reflect how the broadcasting service had adapted.

But one thing&hellip

Radio is King for a Day

Today is the commemoration of Martin Luther King's birthday. In our lifetime we can count on the fingers of only one hand those who have meant more to our society. Yet we feel it more appropriate to honor such icons with a day off and 50% off sales at the mall.

In the radio industry, we suffer from a similar abuse.

While some stations commit themselves to add meaning to the King holiday, it's often no more than another day for an industry that would be better off if it actually translated King's message to help a troubled industry.

How so?

Radio has even fewer Black owners of consolidated radio groups that you&hellip

Walk The Talk — Grant the Grant

There is a controversy brewing in the industry and on the major boards such as Radio-Info about how the R&R Talk Conference has rescinded its planned Lifetime Achievement Award to Bob Grant -- the always and still equal opportunity offender that he is.

In the interest of full disclosure, I know Bob Grant from his Philly talker days and I've always liked him as a person. I never let his views affect me for one minute on that.

R&R is feeling the heat from minority interests who consider Grant&hellip

The Killer Morning Radio Show

A week or so ago I mentioned I had an idea for building a killer morning show. The theory being -- terrestrial radio is not likely to attract new young listeners but if it snags more listening from the available audience in the mornings then it will ring the cash register.

Radio stations are fighting the first effects of a recession and fighting themselves at the same time.

There is little they can do about the economic downturn, but there is a lot they can do about maximizing free cash flow.

There are the traditional ideas: cut the spotload and raise the rates. I like it. But radio executives don

Britney and Unfitney (The Big Four Labels)

The world is worried about whether Britney Spears is going to off herself eventually and Dr. Phil McGraw got himself in trouble for allegedly reaching out to Spears and her family for the purpose of furthering his top rated TV show.

So who should the record industry call when they can't call ghostbusters?

Dr. Phil, of course.

The record industry is suicidal. Unsafe at any speed. It's long overdue for an intervention. Please, Dr. Phil --it needs your special brand of tough love.

Let's look at how Britney and Unfitney (The Big Four Labels) are alike.

1. Britney has been seen in public without her panties&hellip

The Inconvenient Truth About Radio

Is it too late for radio?



Can't say I'm not direct. I am asked this question constantly -- not by my young students but by people working in the media business. The students represent Gen Y and they really have no meaningful connection to terrestrial radio.

They have their own means of finding, storing and listening to music and they don't care about news and talk on traditional stations. An exception would be NPR stations that many in this demographic seem to like. And as I have written previously, my students have told me they don't think of NPR or KCRW as radio. God forbid.


Cheaper Channel

Inside Radio is quoting sources as saying the FCC is going to approve the Clear Channel sale to investment bankers Lee and Bain.

Department of Justice approval would likely follow.

Then, sit back and enjoy the action thriller.

You read the headlines. You know that the radio industry is posting declining revenues. Most analysts say the best radio could hope for in 2008 is a flat year. Not exactly a climate that will attract investment capital.

How would you like to be Lee and Bain? If you believe they will actually close on the purchase to take Clear Channel private, they are guaranteeing shareholders $39 a&hellip


It's all becoming evident now that the revolution begun by the next generation is dramatically changing the world and, along with it, the music media business.

David Bowie sang "Time may change me, But I can't trace time".

Change is everywhere.

Ironically enough, one of the few things I could do within my core skills when I served my four year non-compete with Inside Radio's new owners was to teach. Who would have thought? And what a gift it was. Over four years ago when I first arrived on campus I quickly understood that something major was happening among the next generation and that folks in traditional media&hellip

How To Get A 29 Share in Radio

That's what Jerry Lee's WBEB-FM (B-101), Philadelphia got among women 18+ for the week of December 13-19. That's a 27 share adults 25-54. A 1.2 million cume and double the listeners of the number two station -- all news KYW. All this courtesy of the Arbitron People Meter.

A few days ago I wrote a piece about the irony of Christmas radio -- how an arguably increasingly secular holiday can work wonders for radio ratings.

As my programming friends in radio know, Christmas music is only a part of the success of a radio station for six short weeks of the year. The other ingredients are rarely discussed.

My first job in&hellip

The Audacity of Dopes

Barack Obama, the author of the book The Audacity of Hope, and Mike Huckabee, the spiritual GOP presidential candidate are the news media's new catalysts for change. Their surprising and convincing wins in the Iowa caucuses last week have forced many of their competitors into embracing change if for no other reason than to get elected.

Consumers of entertainment also want change.

I can tell you that first hand from the youth end of the market -- the next generation and I think you might be surprised to find that even older, prime demographic groups also want a new approach to the entertainment and information they&hellip

HD Radio & Apple — What Would Jesus Do?

I always get a kick out of it when someone asks "what would Jesus do". We're hearing it a lot these days. Who knows? How could you ever be sure.

But when it comes to HD Radio and Apple together -- I think even Jesus would pray. Pray a lot.

The radio industry is setting itself -- and its advertisers -- up for yet another in a long sustained series of disappointments by speculating that Apple's rumored decision to inject its cool into a very uncool device will jump start HD Radio. If Jobs, at the MacWorld Convention in a few weeks, unveils HD on-board boom boxes with iPod docking stations, it will wind up meaning nothing&hellip

The Irony of Christmas Radio

Breaking news.

Arbitron shows WBEB (B-101), Philadelphia doubling its December ratings from an 8.2 to a whopping 15.8. Praise be to God. No. Praise be to the People Meter that tracks seasonal format changes like lightning.

Clear Channel's KODA in Houston jumped from a 5.2 to an 8.9 thanks to Christmas music and the PPM.

Even in New York, Clear Channel's Lite WLTW-FM jumped from 6.1 to 8.2 with huge increases in cume and that's without the Arbitron People Meter.

Maybe the best people meter is actually -- people.

It's pure irony.

Radio audiences love Christmas in spite of all the social-correctness&hellip

Apple Store vs. Record Store

You've probably noted how impressed I have been with Apple as a company -- mostly for their ability to understand and market to the next generation.

While they succeed at marketing to the next generation on a major level as witnessed by the sale of iPods, iPhones, and Mac computers, they prove that doing right by Gen Y is good for business among older customers.

A recent article in The New York Times shows that the physical Apple store -- brick and mortar --&hellip

RIAA Lawyers Gone Wild

he owns a Mac (that dastardly machine from the record industry nemesis, Steve Jobs).

3. Jerry Del Colliano lives in Scottsdale and he likes Steve Jobs.

4. Therefore, Jerry Del Colliano must be a criminal.

Don't stop there -- the RIAA's got plenty more lawyers to employ:

5. If Jerry Del Colliano is a criminal in Scottsdale, then there must be lots of other criminals with CDs and PCs in other cities, states, countries, the world, the solar system...

6. Oh -- and, if the record labels happened to give Jerry Del Colliano promotional copies of their music to gain free airplay before PCs were invented, did&hellip