After FM, Where Does Radio Go?

You’ve no doubt been reading about the rush that has been going on of late as owners are porting their AM radio stations over to FM.

Bonneville was one of the early pioneers of moving AM brands to FM because, frankly, listeners have migrated over to FM. In fact, they migrated a long time ago.

It is remarkable but one thing has not changed – listeners will listen to AM radio if they want to hear what the station is broadcasting. These available AM listeners do tend to be older and the move to FM makes sense if a brand is worth protecting.

Stop right there.

Fast forward another five or ten years and ask yourself where will great FM radio brands be connecting with audiences then – online, on cell phones, iPads or still on the FM band?

While moving valuable listening brands from AM to FM appears to be a no-brainer, one has to wonder why it took 20 years for this migration.

There are several interesting points:

Consumers Now Spend 50% of Their Day With Media

In the 1950’s and 1960’s radio and television broadcasters and publishers could never imagine a public whose appetite for what they do would be so great that it consumed half of their waking hours.

Today we have evidence that the Internet, cell phones, Apple and social networking have created addicts out of people of all ages.

In fact, all of this growth in media consumption has happened within the last two years and far exceeds media demand for three decades prior.

There are hard cold facts to back it up.

A new Ipsos OTX study of 7,000 online consumers spanning a wide age range of between 13 and 74 confirms that among those surveyed people are now spending half of all their waking hours with media and have increased their media consumption by a whopping hour a day over the past two years.

To put that in perspective, they spend more time consuming media than working or sleeping.

The Future of Rock and Roll

Great, great piece in The Sunday New York Times Magazine a few weeks back by Rob Walker writing in the “Consumed” column where he asked the question, “Can the value of music reside in a lamp (or stickers or a sculpture)?"

Walker’s piece to me begs the question should artists get rich by selling stuff just because music sells stuff?

The author asserts that the future of rock and roll is merch.

If he is correct, the record labels are in big trouble because as Pogo says, “I have seen the enemy and it is us”.

The labels are adequate at best with merch and arguably leaving a lot of money on the table because they don't understand the new consumer and their devices.

Walker makes his case by pointing out:

“The Ramones sold more T-shirts than albums (and you can buy a T-shirt that says so). And box sets for superfans have become increasingly elaborate and pricey artlike objects. But merchandise is gaining momentum, and it’s not hard to imagine a time when a fan buys a sculpture, home décor item or other tangible good and gets the music as a kind of free soundtrack accompaniment”.

Cumulus Sues Ex-GM for $1 Million

Here’s an inside story you won’t find in the happy talk press.

The Dickey family is channeling its mean genes in what appears to me to be a retaliatory strike against a manager who had the audacity to – well, quit and get a better job with Cox.

Kristin Okesson left the Dickey Dynasty as manager of the Danbury, CT and Westchester, NY clusters. Let’s do what they do before you see the next episode of an HBO original series – recap.

Previously on Entourage (Lew, John, Gary Pizatti) …

The Dickeys took Okesson to U.S. District Court in Bridgeport and in a court opinion handed down on April 22 of this year, the judge interpreted the employment contract at issue largely in Okesson’s favor. She wasn’t ordered to stay away from previous Cumulus customers in Danbury.

The judge did prohibit Okesson from helping a fellow employee to spring from his imprisonment and was told not to solicit Cumulus employees directly. She also had to return some items in dispute that were alleged to be confidential.

And that was it.

Until now.

Music Without Radio and Radio Without Music

In the past week, there have been two examples of what happens when an artist decides to market without radio airplay while another tries to get airplay she believes she deserves based on Billboard progress.

Both are fascinating and revealing and I thought you would enjoy hearing about them.

The Bed Intruder Song.

The story of a crime that happened in "singer" Antoine Dodson’s family.

Dodson did an interview with a Huntsville, AL TV station after an intruder broke into his family’s house and attempted to rape his sister.

The video interview became popular because of Dodson’s dramatic delivery style in which he talked to the audience as well as the person who attempted the rape. Dodson used colorful language and raised the ire of TV viewers who complained to the station. The station defended Dodson and said that censoring him would be worse than his graphic style.

The video went viral in the form of the Bed Intruder Song some have called the one awesome use of Auto-Tune ever. Auto-Tune is software that can make speech sound like singing. The Gregory Brothers turned an angry rant into a pop song that has sold about 100,000 copies on iTunes and is 94 with a bullet on Billboard for the week of September 18.

The YouTube video has been seen over 20 million times before some genius took it off -- I am scratching my head here.

All of this with little to no radio airplay. The subject matter is a deterrent to over-the-air radio but still – this is an example of a song taking off without a record label, promotion teams and radio station airplay. It’s all viral.

Then, there’s the dilemma of singer Arika Kane.