There are some things in life you can’t have too much of.
You can’t have too much fun.
You can’t have too much wisdom.
You can’t have too much love.
Too Many College Bowl Games
My university invested a ton of money to upgrade to Conference USA. We won our bowl game in Florida this year too. Did you watch our team win? Probably not. Turns out attendance at the plethora of Florida college bowl games is down.
“When the Outback Bowl in Tampa announced an attendance of 51,119 on Monday who watched Florida dismantle Iowa 30-3, it became the sixth college bowl game among eight in Florida to have a decline in attendance from the previous year,” reports the Florida Times-Union.
NFL TV Viewership Decline
Rolling Stone magazine wrote that one of the big stories of 2016 was the decline in viewership of the NFL. How big was the decline? Down 8%.
Prime Time games were down the most with an audience erosion of 10 to 12%.
The Federal Highway Administration says that by 2025 passenger miles traveled will have increased 72%. Why? Because that same agency says our population will have increased by 26% by that same year.
Tell me the road you commute to and from work isn’t already over congested.
Why is Country Music not the Top Radio Format in Nashville?
Nielsen Audio did a research study in 2014 and said the top radio format in America was country music. Ironically, the top radio station in Music City aka Nashville was NOT a country station. And it’s still not.
The latest ratings for Nashville show the highest rated country music station is ranked #7. The following radio formats are all ahead of that country station: Adult Contemporary, CHR, Sports, Urban AC, Talk and Variety Hits.
However, if you combine all of the audience of the many country format radio stations in Nashville, you will have a higher share of audience than the number one radio station commands.
Less Is More
So while you cannot have too much fun, wisdom, or love, you can have too many choices of products and services. Great for consumers’ maybe, but not for business owner/operators. Ask those who are dealing with the increase in college bowl games, NFL games, traffic congestion or playing country music in Nashville.
Radio is experiencing its own issues with supply versus demand.
The FCC will open up two windows for new translators this year. That’s after 750 new FM translators were signed on in 2016. Currently there are 19,778 FM signals beating the airwaves throughout America. Compare that to 4,669 AM radio stations currently on the air.
At the point in America’s history when the same number of AM radio stations equaled the number of FM radio stations on the air in America (end of 1992), 75% of all radio listening was to FM radio.
The Psychological Aspects of Overpopulation
This brings me back to my own undergraduate college days and psychology class. I remember learning about an experiment about putting too many rats into a confined space.
“As the number of rats rose above a certain level, the effects became rather dramatic,” wrote Albert J. M. Wessendorp, Psychologist-Psychotherapist. The rats displays behavioral disturbances, death rates rose, male rats began to show deviant sexual behavior and more. You can read more here.
Whales are known to commit collective suicide in order to control overpopulation.
What about you and me? How are we impacted by overpopulation (or over choice)?
The research says even human population growth is subject to limits. If we fail in controlling things ourselves, mother nature will begin to do it for us. (Think: Climate Change)
Radio Station Overpopulation
I love the radio business.
I share these thoughts because I’m concerned that the current overpopulation of the FM band is not taking into consideration the laws of physics or the impact of anything that gets overpopulated.
The FRC when it was formed (Federal agency that pre-dates our current FCC) it made it its mission to see America have quality radio stations or a large quantity of mediocre ones. We now look back on this period of time as “The Golden Age of Radio.”
Wessendorp writes that Maslow taught us that “People are only stirred into action when they feel their basic needs to be threatened.”
Have you looked at the revenue forecasts for radio for 2017? Are you feeling threatened yet?
What You Can Do
Next week I will continue with this topic and offer up what I believe is a solution to radio’s problem in an overpopulated entertainment world.
13 responses to “You Can’t Have Too Much Fun”
True meaning for Survival of the Fittest. Staggered schedules aid traffic woes, and some timely curation with use of digital – make money with it, not from it – smart broadcasters will weed out the same boring junk. Clearly, this doesn’t come from spread sheets, CYAs or lack of imagination. HD radio has yet to take off. Crap Air has tuned out students. Opportunities missed by Overcrowding, Without Outstanding! The wasted signals & overkill will finally stimulate on-air excitement. It must! Build it an they will come. Wake up to New Mass Appeal! Thanks again to Prof. DT for the Sunday Stimulator. Clark in Boston. http://www.broadcastideas.com
LikeLiked by 1 person
Some very positive thoughts shared Clark on the way forward. Thank You for weighing in with them. -DT
It’s not only the amount of radio stations or Television stations, but with technology today, the over population, if you will, of audio and visual souces. Everybody is a blogger now; everybody is social media “live” now. I can get 500 channels on my TV. So much noise!!!! To your question, where will the revenue come from? Subscriptions? What about advertisers? They are more confused than ever as to where they place their messages.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Excellent observations Art. Thank you for adding to the conversation. -DT
You cannot put the genie back in the bottle and thanks you Bill Clinton for not reading the bill he signed to create the disaster radio is today. A stroke of his pen changed radio’s world. The old days are never coming back. Current ownership’s parity programming across the dial is driving listenership elsewhere. They don’t care about anything except the symptoms – revenue – not the cause. Radio’s decline will continue. Nothing’s changed for radio but the date. TV networks, newspaper, direct mail didn’t wake up until it was too late. Now they’re desparate trying to hold on. That boat sailed long ago. Radio – thanks to corporate rats whose greed is beyond comprehension – is sprinting down the same path. No disrespect, Dick Taylor, but your dream just isn’t coming true. No one is sadder about that than I am …
LikeLiked by 1 person
Bob, I hear ya. We cannot stick our heads in the sand. We need to look in the mirror and see the enemy. Remember the Chinese symbol for “crisis” is made up of two symbols: danger & opportunity. -DT
One of the best things the most honorable Mr. Taylor has ever written about today. The radio part doesn’t matter. Radio, as we worked in it, is well on the way to being over. I retired to the “it” city, Nashville, near my birthplace. The growth compared to the Midwest where I lived for years seems like science fiction. Everything is now in short supply for the frantic, neurotic rat like experimental population. High accident rates with nervous drivers on roads which are being constantly repaired, renamed and deplored. Housing costs skyrocketing. It is both fun and frightening.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Having been living an hour north of Nashville for the past 7 years, I have been amazed at the growth both in Music City (and its associated pain) as well as the explosive growth here in Bowling Green, KY. Thank you Jack for sharing your observations. -DT
Is Super Bowl advertising worth it? Perhaps not.
More than half of first-time advertisers eschew the big game
In China, where I’ve lived for over 10 years, radio is not part of the history, culture, or even the consciousness of today’s people. Internet was the expectation by the time things really started cooking out here. These days, I’m watching rows of commuters craning their collective necks downward as they stream video to mobile phones on buses, trains, and even while walking. Overpopulation seems to be driving this behavior, as people aren’t satisfied with merely tuning out the noise. They want a more insular experience, by combining audio with visuals. Earphones in. Head down. It isn’t fun, love, or wisdom… but it sure beats reality.
From what some of my clients in the USA have told me, this is their vision of the future as well. Everyone’s talking about the latest cord-cutting millennial stats. Everyone’s looking for ways to become the next Netflix. Even the ones who were excited about podcasting a few years ago, have redirected towards live streaming and revenue models that revolve around KOLs on YouTube and Facebook.
It pains me to say it, DT… but I suspect the clock went into overtime long ago, for radio. I’m deeply grateful to it, though! I owe my career to the earliest masters of the medium, who pioneered radio plays and narration. I’ll never stop listening to my collection of OTR classics. I’m also going to continue following your blog, because there’s a lot of fun, love, and wisdom behind everything you share with us here.
Thank you for sharing your world view of the changes taking place.
China, like a lot of other countries, skipped past things like telephone polls and wired phones/cable TV and went right to wireless communication via their phones.
The radio of my grand parents and parents was not the radio I enjoyed.
I bought 45s. Later I downloaded my favorite tunes from iTunes. Today, I just stream them when I want to hear them.
Even my favorite OTR classics are more easily streamed these days. Everything is in the cloud and available on demand.
The Chinese symbols for the word crisis as I understand it are made up of “danger” & “opportunity.”
We certainly are experiencing the danger part. Is opportunity lurking around the corner for this nearly 100-year old medium?
Thank You for broadening the perspective on this important topic. -DT
There is another problem looming as more FM translators are being moved and created. FM operators in many areas have had the benefit of coverage that exceeds protected contours. As translator numbers increase, that “extra” coverage is being eroded, affecting both listening and sales. Not good.
You identified a real issue that no one has been talking about.
I ran WFPG-FM in Atlantic City, NJ with its 50,000-watt signal. As docket 80-90 stations came on the 96.9 frequency and atmospherics (a summer phenomena) started up, I started getting calls from these new stations complaining I was stomping all over their signal and to turn my station down and operate within the assigned limits. Only I was.
This problem with translators will be worse as the dial loads up.
And yes, BOTH listening and sales will take their toll due to it.
Thanks for adding to the discussion Hal and stopping by the blog. -DT