Dream On, Jeff Smulyan

Look, there is no one I like more in the radio industry than Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan.

But he is all wet on trying to pass off a cellphone as a radio to anyone under 70.

Jeff went out and did a deal with a mobile carrier in which radio companies pay to get the carrier to activate the radio chip.

Tell me.

Ever see a young person listen to the crap that passes for radio on their phones?

They text.

And text.

And use Instagram.

Open apps.

Play games.

Watch videos.

Just about everything but listen to broadcast radio.

This industry is delusional.

Now we find out Coleman Research did an online survey of smartphone owners.

Get this.

They play a 90-second video for NextRadio to 800 18-49 year olds and unabashedly conclude that 56% of those who watched it had a “very positive reaction”.


So what!

I know the NAB funded it and I don’t blame Coleman for taking the money from these clueless curators of the status quo, but really.

Show me the young people using their phones to listen to 8-minutes of non-stop commercials every hour.

Or the cheaper half of the morning team that remains on the air because their station fired the star and saved their salaries.

Or the hype that young audiences hate but radio stations just can’t let go.

And I haven’t even gotten to the monotonous music rotations and lack of local curation.

They’re delusional.

You’ve gotta love today’s radio.

The worst product we have put out in decades and more commercials than any human can handle and we think the medium is still viable and the phone is now a Walkman.

If you believe this, you won’t pretty soon.

There have been chip-enabled phones available where listeners can listen to commercial radio and it doesn’t make a dent in audience listening.

But we still sell the snake oil.

How irrelevant is radio, anyway?

Open your eyes – pay Coleman the money, take the study and then put it in the drawer because it’s bullshit.

Here’s what’s real:

  1. Listeners love personalities and we’re firing them all.
  2. Listeners love music variety and we play the same crap over and over almost as if it’s still the 90’s when listeners didn’t have other alternatives.
  3. Listeners will never listen to a frickin’ 8-minute stop set every hour even if they love your station.  Hello!  Cut the load drastically and increase the price of your spots.  Wait, you can’t because you’re whoring out your rates and making it up with quantity. 
  4. Listeners hate the way radio talks to them.  Change the way you talk to listeners.

Start with that.

There’s more.

Or believe the hype that killed radio in the eyes of young listeners and it will kill this business eventually.

All together now.

A smartphone is not a Walkman.

Radio is not worth listening to.

Improve the product and listeners will come back.

Talk to Jerry privately here.