Tag Archives: Radio

Readers Respond to “What Purpose Does Radio Serve in 2022?”

The response to last week’s blog “What Purpose Does Radio Serve in 2022” was formidable. The question struck a nerve with radio people, and lots of you were quick to share your feelings.

Then Fred Jacobs blogged about the passing of Howard Hessman, famously known as Dr. Johnny Fever, morning DJ on the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, in an article titled

When Radio Was Cool.” Fred included a link to my blog article which brought in even more comments.

Here’s just some of the comments from readers I received (some edited for length or content):

Mike Starling

Dick, I think the why at least for noncommercial stations is curiosity. Folks open to new ideas, to learning from expert presenters about musical geniuses, who truly appreciate the beauty of thoughtful curation will continue to discover and support those stations. It’s still your lean back companion, succinctly providing local weather and news updates. And lubricating commerce with brief sponsor reminders. Keep it about passion and joy and respect for the audience. It won’t matter whether folks get us via the smartphone or the new smart-tooth implant, they will still seek and support radio. Be there for them, the opinion makers in our communities and they will be there for us.

Frank D’Elia

Very good question, but not an easy one to answer. Back when we were radio kids, the answer was different for different folks. For some radio was a friend, for others a jukebox, and for still others, a link to their world. Seemed like in the 70s when I started radio was the only answer to a lot of questions. Today, not so much. Finding the answer to your question will be the key to having a successful radio station in today’s very crowded media environment!

Victor Escalante

Radio has become the “me too” of all media. Which is the same path newsprint has gone. The web democratized all the monopolies.

George Johns

If it wasn’t free, Dick, who would listen?

Bob Harlan

First of all, we need to determine what people want from traditional radio. Especially people under 55! No one has truly done research that I have seen, that gives a strong direction. Let’s find out what people really want!

Gregg Cassidy

Human companion, when not voice tracked.

Walter Luffman

Dick, I think it’s sadly obvious that for most commercial broadcasters today the “why” is “to make money”; any other reason for operation is an unimportant (to owners) byproduct . or just an excuse for holding a license.

These days, far too many stations — especially those owned by conglomerates — really contribute less of importance to their communities than the average convenience store. And in some cases, they employ even fewer people than a 24-hour convenience store.

Amanda Sapp

I really appreciate this blog. I personally have asked the “what listeners want”, and it has in turn helped shape the way we do radio. I certainly plan to dig a little deeper since you pose the question.

Thanks for asking.

Nicholas Kalorgris

Great points Dick! Commercial Broadcasters have to rediscover their WHY. I also agree with Mike Starling’s points of what makes local radio great. There are better jukeboxes out there just like in the 1950’s when television came on the scene. Commercial Radio has to go back to being “The Original Social Medium” in order to stay relevant. It can’t be a jukebox with all the technical drawbacks of terrestrial radio. You can’t be a jukebox with static, fade, power and signal direction changes etc. Live and local with relatable personalities will bring audiences back. Again, terrestrial commercial broadcasters have to find their WHY!

Howard Reynolds

It has no real purpose or relevance any longer. Commercial delivery system and ATM for corporations. It no longer serves listeners or the public

Interesting read, but sadly something I loved so much and enjoyed working in is lost to the almighty dollar and greed without any insight as to what is going on, and no road back.

Jim Beasley

I started as a DJ in 1956.

For decades I had “the dream” so often reported online by former or current DJ’s where you are behind a console and everything is going wrong. Even after I was in management and 40 years after my last shift. The past 5 years I no longer have that dream. My recurring night sweat is being in a station with an office and being ignored by everyone as I desperately try to find a format or solution or any little thing I can do to be relevant. It’s the obsolete nightmare and it’s worse than “the dream” ever was.

Jeff Berlin

Radio used to have a monopoly on music discovery and breaking news, but it’s still a viable medium: it still frees up eyeballs for other tasks like driving. I still prefer to listen to NPR than any podcast. Newsradio for up to date information. Am also addicted to the many college radio stations where I live, introducing me to mindblowingly excellent music that I’d never find on streaming services or anywhere else. In homes with smartspeakers, it’s a lot easier to tell Alexa to play a radio station with music you like than it is to get Alexa to do a playlist from a streaming service.

Charles Greer

I remember listening to something called “Hometown News” on KBOA in Kennett, Missouri when I visited my grandmother in the 1950s and 1960s. You NEVER, EVER disturbed her when “Hometown News” was on because it gave the obituary listings, farm prices, and police reports from the region. Local service at its finest. When I began working at WGNU in 1974, I called the local funeral homes for the obituary listings, as well as the local hospital for the birth announcements…and trooped to the local police departments to gather news to rewrite for our broadcasts, I felt like I’d come full circle from KBOA. Today, I know of only one radio station that does anything like that today…in the nearby town of Alton, Illinois…WBGZ AM-FM. Today most radio is little more than per-inquiry broadcasts for retirement programs, health nostrums and whatever the national (read multi-station owner’s) representative thinks will sell…pardon my rant, but radio DOES NOT serve the same purpose it did in 1968!

Miles Mead

When hands and eyes are busy at other things, radio still pleases.

Peter Swanson

I do listen to all-news and especially NPR in the car – On Cape Cod we still have a cluster that shares news between a couple of their outlets, and they are worth listening to, but radio bean counters and “consultants” along with canned satellite streams are drowning the baby. Baby is blue and turning purple. I remember when we offered a valuable service to listeners. WHDH-AM, WBZ-AM in Boston, WQRC-FM on the Cape. I feel like Willy Loman, now…

Deregulation has greatly hastened the demise of our service.

Service is the key word. HDH and BZ sounded like a service first and a business 2nd when I was young. Deregulation swapped those priorities around.

Allen Kaufhold

I have always wondered what we will do if something unthinkable were to happen and there are very few battery or generator powered radios available. Internet down, No TV. Nothing.

Albert J. McGilvray

I live in a town with seven radio stations. Not one has a newscast.

Brian Burgess

I like the Lewis Carroll quote. I believe ex-Beatle George Harrison updated it with his belief, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

I agree with some of the commentators that people want encapsulated news, not sit through school board meetings, but radio can only do that if it is truly local. Our local station went belly up and merged with another local station so now when it is not airing syndicated content it is a regional station at best, which underserves both of the markets each individual station handled before.

For a station to determine its own “why” would require a complete revamping of FCC regulations regarding ownership and licensing. Stations used to be required to serve “the public good” in order to hold a license, and I admit I don’t know if that language is still in the regs, but it should be. Frankly I highly doubt the government would be able to get the corporate media to give up the power they’ve amassed. Too many legislators are bought by corporate interests.

There may be localities that are still served well by their local media outlets, but they are slowly being absorbed the closer they are to major metropolitan areas. Just like big box stores are doing to retail, the mom & pop radio stations are finding it harder to survive in a shrinking market. The public needs to understand this does not bode well for their ability to be informed and make better choices for their daily lives, but who out there will sound the clarion call?

Charlie Roberts

“. . . in the public interest . . . “

Beau Phillips

No, radio’s purpose was squandered

Babernethy Brad

It’s a very strange business now. Almost nothing is local…It’s all about feeds from the main office. People mean nothing.

Jeff Hunt

Contrary to Sinek’s quote, I contend that the WHY for most group owners is, indeed, money or profit. These and similar groups wasted no time in closing studios/offices and firing staff as soon as regulations said they no longer had to maintain a presence in their community of license. How does that serve the public interest?

Steve West

Radio gave up when Wall Street invaded. The operators took the money and told listeners to buzz off

Carl Dombek

That is indeed unfortunate, but listeners are and have always been the product, not the customer. As you know, it’s the advertisers who pay the bills. However, if stations had no audience, they would have no advertisers. And maybe that’s the ultimate solution: the audience will have to completely defect to non-radio sources for its news and entertainment before radio operators sit up and take notice

John Thacker

The FCC unleveled the playing field by allowing Mega station owners in the same market and the stations stopped serving the Interest of local listeners.

Geary Morrill

I get the distinct impression many here are wanting to view the world thru a 60s 70s 80s lens.

Bulletin: The entire world has changed.

(And to be fair, a large cohort clearly didn’t read anything past the headline. I know there weren’t pictures, but reading is FUNdamental … unless you just want to be the old man yelling at a cloud …)

Dennis Kinkaid

WHY didn’t he provide an answer?

David Goddard

Purpose? Radio has major problems, brought on by itself and the change in ways listeners can now receive news and or entertainment. More and more hardly ever, if ever listen to radio. That number grows. Radio is in competition with all platforms of music and news, yet it still acts like it’s the only entity out there for that.

Jason Kaul

I’ll be honest… The only times I listen to terrestrial radio are when I’m on the air and when I’m in my wife’s car. Other than that, it’s streaming in the house and SXM in the car.

David Forster

It still wakes me up in the morning and entertains/informs as I prepare for the day in the bathroom. Satellite in the car & on the computer,

Doug Herendeen

Interesting we’re told we need more local content. Oh, but don’t give the scores of last night’s local game; they can get that on their phones. Oh, don’t do school closings on-air, that’s what your website is for. Don’t mention the school board meetings, no one cares. Don’t make the tamest joke about the Mayor; corporate doesn’t want to defend your butt. If you’re simply going to give everything away to the Internet or what’s left of newspapers, maybe quit whining? Yeah, I may play 2 4 minute clusters an hour, but I’ll talk about the local food bank and church free soup Saturday, too. Or, should I just tell people it’s on our website. And, yes, we still carry local games. And make $$ on them, despite several companies trying to push local radio out. When I was a newbie, I told a guy in Radio longer than I was I wanted our station to sound “slick.” He said you can be so slick you can skip right off. What I should have said was “professional.” While doing good content.

Dan Shire

Thanks for posting this thoughtful article, Dick.

The radio station I volunteered with in the 1970s when I was in university (Queen’s University Radio in Kingston ON CFRC AM and FM) will be 100 years old this October. I’m involved in the committee to celebrate the centennial, and the relevance of this station in particular in today’s world is something I’ve thought about a lot recently.

I still listen to my local hometown station in the Toronto area (suburban neighbor of Toronto, 100K population) – local news, driving/traffic conditions, community events, music from the 1960s-1990s, local personalities (I rent a vacation cottage from the morning host once a year). I think local ‘small town/city’ radio still has a place.

Timothy Stockman

(Dan Shire) It’s questionable whether the radio station I worked for (WBAA) will celebrate their 100th anniversary on April 4 2022.

John M Stephens

There are two issues here. If you are listening to radio via their WEB stream or via their over-the-air signal, you will hear their commercials. 4+ minutes of commercials is not a long break by today’s standards. Many music stations run over 10-minute breaks (20, :30 spots) and to me that is unlistenable. And frankly, that is what drove me to XM and now independent Internet radio. Now cell phone carriers are inserting spots at the beginning of a connection. But these are very short.

Matt Gholston

Having worked in radio for 23 years 7 min is the absolute longest break I have ever seen run on any station I worked on. I am sure folks run longer ones but it’s not good radio.

I would love to hear you write a positive article someday rather than article after article that sounds like you have such a sour tone toward the industry that gave you a long career.

Edwin Brand

I agree. Lotta bitchin’ from old Dick Taylor. Sad what people become.

Negativity sells and you’re in it for the clicks. Which is fine. But at least be honest about it. The sky isn’t falling.

Dan Shire

I listen to CKDO, Oshawa. Good local newscasts, community coverage, music I enjoy.

Mark Carbonaro

Dick Taylor – all you mention is true. All the things radio did in 1968 are now done by a multitude of websites. But most sites are singular in their mission – radio was the generalist that gave you everything in one place. It was your one-stop for everything you needed entertainment and information wise. But when radio tries to imitate someone’s iPod or Spotify etc., it becomes superfluous and irrelevant

Patrick Dwyer

I think it can still serve its traditional function in small towns. But it takes a dynamic owner and staff integrated into the community in every facet.

I spent a while working at KWRE in Warrenton, Missouri. At the time (1991), they even sold high school graduation congrats announcements. Small town is where it’s at!

Dave Stewart

Indeed, radio’s original purpose has been appropriated by new tech, but radio still does one thing better: It can reach an entire service area during a widescale power outage.

How many mobile network towers would need a generator to continue operating? Phones themselves might only have enough juice for a day or two. A radio station can continue to serve the public with one generator at the transmitter. Portable radios can operate for months on one set of batteries. Until new tech appropriates that, radio is still essential.

David Kaye

In the quake of 1989 here in the Bay Area, KGO was useless because two of their towers were knocked down. KCBS was on the air but what information could they relay? They were able to get some reports in due to two-way radio and some cell service. But what can you really do in a disaster anyway?

I’m older than dirt itself but I listen online all the time. The only time I use the radio is when I’m in my car. That isn’t often.

Chris Andrews

I live in hurricane country. Hurricane Ida wiped out AT&T service in most of Louisiana. ZERO information available. No streaming anything. Meanwhile. we were up and running on generator power (for 11 days at one site!) giving out information on where to find food. Where to find shelter, fuel, potable water, etc. People were sitting in their cars to charge their phones, enjoy some A/C (August in Louisiana is miserable with no A/C)….and they were all listening to their radio.

Peter Baines

It’s over if you have internet

Grover Westover

I liked it when you could count on hearing news headlines and a weather forecast every hour. I liked it when the announcer would introduce the record he/she was getting ready to play. I’m so frustrated with much of radio today that I listen to CDs , Pandora or Yes, SPOTIFY.

Jim Turner

Many disagree with me because they think radio as we KNEW it is magically going to come back. Guess what…it isn’t! Changing the technical mode of how the carrier is modulated, analog vs. digital isn’t going to be its magical savior either. That was approved and how many stations has it improved??? As I have said over and over, STUPID owners and STUPID management have thumbed their nose at the LOCAL market. They have abandoned their purpose and so the LOCAL market has abandoned them! In their ever present STUPID “do it on the cheap” mentality they have raised the middle finger to those who were their bread and butter. Their answer these days is to blame talent, the internet and demographics. Of course, there are exceptions and maybe a few stations which are still doing a fantastic job in their local markets.

D Peter Maus

Radio’s purpose hasn’t changed. Radio has simply abandoned its purpose. Because it’s too much work.

Jack Diamond

Dick, again, a truly well written and researched post. I agree with your sentiment and a lot of what you had to say. I also agree with most who posted a comment. I still believe in the grass roots needs and benefits we fulfill on behalf of a listener, but as with anything, we have to evolved, and must continue to. The point is to serve the audience. It’s still the reason licenses are held, in the public interest. So much more to say, but I will go on the air tomorrow and continue to try to meet my listeners needs. Thank you so much!

Joe Klein

IMHO, in today’s world, SIRIUS/XM is the thing! For me, at least, the ULTIMATE radio tuner. Nothing will bring back the great glory days of top-forty radio, but the satellite service is the best that it gets in this day and age. SO much to choose from, for every age, gender, ethnicity and taste!

Richard Kaufman

Radio in 2022 serves zero purpose for me and Sirius/XM serves no purpose for me either. Here are the reasons. 1-Any song that I would want to hear, I already have in my computer. 2-I would respond positively to DJs who have quick minds who could do adlib humor. Those DJs are extinct. They were even extinct during the heyday of oldies radio in the 80s and 90s. I will use New York City radio as an example. There was a huge difference between what WABC, WMCA, WINS and WMGM were doing in the 60s to what WCBS-FM was doing in the 90s. Dan Ingram is a good example. He sounded at his best on WABC in the 60s and didn’t sound the same on WCBS-FM in the 90s because their format was too constricted for what he did best. Even in the 90s, WCBS-FM spent very little for jingles where WABC spent $45000.00 per year for jingles every year from 1962-1973. I always found that any program director of an oldies station who said we want to sound like a current radio station who happens to play oldies is just an idiot. Today, in 2022, with music that I think is the worst it’s ever been and three generations of DJs who have no idea how to be entertaining, there’s no reason for me to ever listen to the radio. Now let’s talk about Sirius/XM. 1-They use minimal bandwidth for their music channels and their audio is lousy. 2-I already own the songs that I would want to hear and voice tracking does nothing for me. 3-I have no interest in any kind of talk radio. 4-I have no interest in radio sports play by play because I can see it all on tv or a computer.

Michael Angelo Pileggi

During times of war, radio comes in handy

Brian Beddow

In all of history, has there ever been an industry that required constant validation as much as radio?

Frederick Vobbe

Your article speaks to the problem I face daily when driving. It reminds me of Bruce Springsteen’s hit, “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)”.

I don’t live in a small town, it’s around 250,000 people with 2 AM and 7 FM stations. There are plenty of large towns around me, but there is nothing on. And when there is something on, such as a weather report, it’s often the wrong day or in some situations a generic place filler.

Radio has lost its soul, but I don’t know how you get it back. It’s like a forest burning down, and the only option is to plant new trees. First task is to find those willing to plant trees, then you have to wait until they grow.

Those of us who commented and pleaded with the NAB and FCC hit the nail on the head. Consolidation will stifle competition, which in turn will take radio to the lowest level, or make it moot.

Tim Davisson

The web offers everything most radio stations have had for over 100 years, and millions of variations on those

choices. But, IMHO: most importantly, and something radio & TV can do zero ever to counter act: the internet is ON DEMAND, 24/7/365, worldwide. To have any chance at financial survival, radio stations need to create not just “compelling content”, but UNIQUE compelling content that can’t be found elsewhere. And, that takes $$$$$ to pay talented people to create. Automating a version of the same old, same old is just an attempt to hang on as long as possible. But, we all know what path that will take: eventual extinction. Just being real.

Brian Pierce Cozadd

I read your “why” essay, as well as a similar “why” post last September. I’m as frustrated coming up with radios “why” now – as I was in September.

My wife & I both had long, nearly 50 year radio careers and after long discussion she says the “why” is local sports. I don’t have a “why” yet. I can out-cume any smaller market station with my phone. When everyone is media – nothing is special. No one loves radio more than me. But, the business model is toast. I’m just glad I’m not an owner. I had significant company stock but sold it all in 2007.

Randy Berner

I still enjoy the randomness of selection on what passes for radio today. Even Sirius…I love The Beatles but sometimes I have to go away from The Beatles Channel and get something else. Same for channels like 60s on 6 and 70s on 7…which they’ve moved…too much sameness. I find myself gravitating to Pandora more.

And if you made it this far, just one more well thought-out comment from

Jack Shell

This social media nonsense that the big companies have insisted on their talent’s participation has only made things worse. Radio talents are required to be UP UP UP on social media and over the top online to get people’s attention when it seldom if ever translates to ratings. If the talent is annoying on social media, nobody in the world will want to listen to them on the radio, especially when they only talk three to four times an hour, to begin with, in this PPM world. Also, the managers who insist on all of this social media marketing of their brands don’t take into consideration of the mental health toll it can take on the talent who are already struggling for relevance in the media, rating shares, and now the pressure of having to get enough views on TikTok and Instagram. That’s just one more metric in which jocks are measured now. Stations have decided to hire social media experts as air talent, which doesn’t translate to the overall success of the brand when young people don’t listen to the radio, to begin with, and the remaining older listeners find TikTok jocks to be off-putting. When you start to dissect all the wrong turns radio has made over the last twenty years, it starts to make your head spin. Bottom line, you don’t need deejays to tell you the names of songs anymore. You don’t need deejays to tell you the latest celebrity gossip. You don’t need any air talent that provides little to no entertainment value outside of social media. News and traffic information? No need. You can get music, content, information, and entertainment on your smartphone in your connected car on demand and when you want it now, without twenty commercials an hour and inane endorsements from no-name radio jocks. Radio better start figuring out their WHY, and FAST. The hourglass is running out of sand as their audience ages. I am a Gen-Xer, who was a successful air talent, and I LOVED radio. I treasured the very medium, its history, and everything about it. But in the last several years, the undisputed truths about technology replacing radio have become very clarifying as I’ve been away from the industry and began to rely more on podcasts and streaming, myself. The things that made radio great are no longer draws when there is no personal connection and fifteen minutes of commercials an hour. My friends, who are now grandparents, have told me stories about riding around with their grandchildren in the car, and their grandchildren have literally asked why they can’t skip past a song when they are listening to a local station. That generation will never embrace traditional terrestrial radio. Ever. I spoke at a school about four years ago for a very awkward career day. This classroom of fifth-graders could not have been more disinterested in me, what I did, or why I would even do what I did for a living. The one question that came up regularly was, “Don’t you get lonely in there?” I had to think about it, and compare it to the days when I’d walk into a radio studio and the request lines used to ring off the hook, and listeners would call and participate in my program. When I realized that reciprocity had ceased to exist at that, my final radio station (in a large market), I had to reply, “Yes. I do get lonely in there.”

Coming Next Week

First, my gratitude to so many of you who took the time to write really detailed comments. I really appreciate hearing from you and yes, I read them all.

Next week I will share some thoughts about what radio needs to do in order to be relevant in people’s lives in 2022 and beyond.

Stay Tuned.

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Filed under Education, Mentor, Radio, Sales

What are You Grateful For?

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving this year with family and/or friends that are special to you. In our case, our children and grandchildren are literally spread out from east coast to west coast, so it’s impossible for us to be with all of them. Fortunately, we do have children and grandchildren living close to us here in Virginia and we celebrated Thanksgiving with them in our home.

Gratitude Thought Starters

In the devotion before our meal, my wife prayed:

“Heavenly Father, when I have food, help me to remember the hungry; when I have work, help me to remember the jobless;  when I have a home, help me to remember those who have no home at all;          when I am without pain, help me to remember those who suffer. And in remembering, help me to destroy my complacency; bestir my compassion, and be concerned enough to help; by word and deed, those who cry out for what we take for granted. Amen”

She then asked everyone to lift their dinner plate to reveal a different “Gratitude Thought Starter” that she had written especially for each one of us to think about and share with everyone. They were things like:

  • Name something you smiled or laughed at recently.
  • What is something you learned this year and are thankful for?
  • What is a song you’re grateful for?
  • What is a memory you are thankful for?
  • Name someone you’re grateful for.

And when I looked down at what was under my dinner place, I read:

  • What blessing in disguise are you grateful for?

I was seated at the other end of the dinner table from my wife, about half-way around, and when it was my turn to share, I said, “I don’t understand mine. I will pass and you can come back to me.” My wife said to me, “Think of it beyond the box of traditional Thanksgiving things.”

My Blessing in Disguise

After my wife shared her blessing, all eyes turned to me and I said:

“I’m grateful for all the times I’ve been fired.”

Which left everyone dumbfounded.

I realized that every time I had been fired from a job in my life, what always came next was better than what I had left behind.

The First Time I Was Fired

I was half-way through my undergraduate degree program at college when I was told by my radio station general manager that if I didn’t work the insane hours he wanted me to work, then I would be fired. I handed him my key and walked out the door.

I placed a higher value on doing my best in school and earning my college degree, than I did working in the career that I loved, radio.

Before the week was out, the other radio station in town called me and hired me to work for them. The hours were better (fit with my school schedule), the pay was better and I got to play the music of my generation that appealed to people my age.

The Second Time I Was Fired

For the next two decades I would enjoy being promoted and hired away for better and better jobs.

In 1997, the stations I had been the general manager of for 13 years were sold to new owners. I was called to a 3pm lunch by one of the partners of the new ownership group. He explained that one of the partners was to be the “managing partner,” and that my job would end with that lunch.

But, what came next in my life were two new general manager jobs that took me to Delaware/Maryland and Iowa, that provided me with new professional growth and a renewed enthusiasm for the radio business.

The Third Time I Was Fired

While I was managing in Iowa, the phone rang one day with the owner of radio and TV stations back in New Jersey asking me “What can I do to get Dick Taylor to come back and work for me?” As the station group I was working for was in the process of selling the group to Cumulus Broadcasting, I was anxious to return to New Jersey and be close to my two sons. I also was thrilled to once again be able to rejoin the New Jersey Broadcasters Association (which made me a Life Member in 2010).

However, that job would end in three short years, when the owner who hired me unexpectedly passed away while on a cruise. The stations were put up for sale and the number of managers were reduced from three to two, with the board deciding the last hired should be the first fired.

That’s when I was recruited by Clear Channel to manage their Lancaster, Pennsylvania properties. It would also be the second time I got a change to move radio stations into a completely new facility, while growing ratings and revenues.

Clear Channel would promote me to a station group back in New Jersey and all went well until the Great Recession of 2008, when the world would see the company doing massive RIFs (Reduction In Force).

After completing all of my property’s mandated RIFs (none of which I agreed with and fought hard to prevent) my regional manager came into the radio station unannounced, proceeded to my office and fired me.

Ironically, the day that it happened, the latest edition of Radio Ink magazine came out naming me one of the best general managers in radio.

In that same magazine, would be a classified ad for a radio broadcasting professor position at Western Kentucky University. I applied for the position and was hired by the School of Journalism and Broadcasting. Teaching at a university had always been my next career goal after working in radio. I wanted to “pay forward” what I knew to the next generation of broadcasters.

Always Be Grateful

The lesson in life that I want to share with you is, we can’t see how the twists and turns of one’s life will play out in the moment they occur, but if we choose to look for the positive in each event, we will find it.

Henry Ford put it this way:

Whether you think you can or think you can’t,

you’re right.

The simile to those words I would contend are:

Whether you think what happens to you in life is good or is bad,

you’re right.

Pick the positive, what have you got to lose?

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What is The Future of Radio?

Ten years ago, I was in Las Vegas presenting at the Broadcast Education Association’s annual international conference. My presentation was called “This Changes Everything.” It outlined things that would be changing in our world in the decade to come.

“Prediction is difficult…especially about the future.”

-Yogi Berra

Remembering 2011

2011 was the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, and already we were witnessing a world where mediated communication was social, global, ubiquitous and cheap. It was the beginning of the social media revolution.

Groupon, which came into existence only a couple of years earlier, grew its revenue to over $1.6 billion in 2011. And yet, the doomsayers were already forecasting its demise. As this chart shows, revenues for Groupon did drop below 2011, but not until 2020.

A contributing factor to this downward revenue trend for Groupon might be that it’s estimated that only about 1% of Groupon users ever became regular customers of the businesses whose coupons they used.

TWITTER

A decade ago, Twitter was the most popular social media platform with more Fortune 100 companies using Twitter than any other social media platform.

As we begin the third decade of the 21st century, we know that the previous decade will now be known most for the impact of Facebook, not Twitter, when it comes to social media dominance.

Media Adoption Rates

In 1920, the adoption rate for commercial AM radio was incredibly fast, only to be eclipsed by the introduction of TV. However, both of these two forms of communication would be dwarfed by the adoption rates of the internet followed by the use of mobile internet made possible by the smartphone.

These last two brought about revolutionary changes in how we communicate.

In fact, the famous Maslow “Hierarchy of Needs” pyramid, might be updated to look like this:

How the World is Connected to the Internet

At the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, 85% of the world’s population connected to the internet via wireless mobile devices.

To put that into perspective, only 80% of the world was connected to an electrical grid in 2011.

Today, 92.6% or 4.32 billion people connect to the internet wirelessly.

Top Three Gadgets of All Time

A decade ago, The History Channel came out with a list of the “Top Gadgets of All Time” and they were:

  1. Smartphone
  2. Radio
  3. Television

Hat Tip to Mary Meeker

None of these things were a secret, but it was Mary Meeker that tied all of these changes together in her presentation “Internet Trends 2011.” Her presentations are worth your time to view. The most recent one being 2019, before COVID19 disrupted everything. You can view that presentation HERE

What we do know is COVID19 took all of the changes that were slowly taking place and accelerated them dramatically. Think “warp speed.”

The big three takeaways from 2011 were:

  1. Every media consumer is now a media producer
  2. Smartphones are changing the world of mediated communications
  3. Media is now social, global, ubiquitous and cheap

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

-General Eric Shinseki, retired Chief of Staff, U.S. Army

What Technology Might a Baby Born Today, Never Use?

Let me throw out some thought starters for you to consider. Please feel free to add to this list.

  • Wired home internet
  • Dedicated cameras
  • Landline telephones
  • Slow-booting computers
  • Dialup Internet
  • Hard Drives
  • Electric typewriters
  • Movie Theaters
  • Computer Mouse
  • Remote Controls
  • Desktop computers
  • Phone numbers
  • Prime Time TV
  • Fax machines
  • Optical disks
  • Record player
  • Cassette player
  • CD Player
  • VCR or DVR
  • Radio
  • ?????

“My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products. Everything else was secondary. Sure, it was great to make a profit, because that – was what allowed you to make great products – but the products, NOT THE PROFITS, were the motivation.”

-Steve Jobs

So, What’s the Future of Radio?

In 2011, one hundred college students were surveyed about what they believed the future of radio was, here were their top three positive comments and their top three negative comments:

POSITIVE COMMENTS

  1. Radio will re-invent itself. It is always evolving.
  2. Radio has a bright future as long as there are cars. It’s the first choice for drivers.
  3. Satellite Radio will expand as subscriptions become cheaper.

NEGATIVE COMMENTS

  1. Devices are coming out that will allow iPods and MP3 players to be played in cars.
  2. Smartphones will gradually take over radio entertainment.
  3. The only time people listen to radio is in their cars. Even then, they have CDs & MP3s.

Radio’s Car Radio Paranoia

Then Fred Jacobs came out with a blog this week about the seemingly bleak future for AM/FM radio in cars. You can read that HERE

At the annual CES (Consumer Electronic Show) Fred’s been asking about the future of car radio every year, and noticed that more recently auto manufacturers are reluctant to give a direct answer if there might come a day when AM/FM car radios won’t be standard equipment.

For Elon Musk and Tesla, that day is already here.

How to Build Brands

Ernest Dichter is known as the father of motivational research. Over 50 years ago he did a large study on word-of-mouth persuasion that revealed the secrets of how to build brands. Dichter said there are four motivations for a person to communicate about a brand:

  1. Product-Involvement: the experience had to be so novel and pleasurable that it must be shared with others.
  2. Self-Involvement: people want to share the knowledge or opinions, as a way to gain attention, have inside information, or assert superiority.
  3. Other-Involvement: a person wants to reach out and help to express neighborliness, caring or friendship. They are often thought of a “brand evangelists.”
  4. Message-Involvement: the message is so humorous or informative that it deserves sharing.

“Win the hearts of the people, their minds will follow.”

-Roy H. Williams

So, if you are in the radio business, OR are a radio listener, the question you need to honestly ask yourself is:

How does your brand measure up?

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F’ing With the Magic

Those that know me, know I don’t use profanity. But former radio CEO Mel Karmazin, upon learning about Google’s automated advertising sales algorithm, verbalized what every nervous media and technology CEO was thinking when he said to Sergi Brin, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt “You’re fucking with the magic.” I read this in Ken Auletta’s 2009 book titled “Googled: The End of the World as We Know It.”

Media Advertising – The Last 10 Years

If we measure media advertising as a percentage of GDP (Gross Domestic Product), we see that in the last decade, media advertising in the United States was down 25% according to the Progressive Policy Institute. This think tank is reported to do some of the best research that uncouples advertising expenditures from the rest of the economy.

What caused this drop? Low cost digital ads, as compared to advertising rates in traditional media, what many of us used to call trading traditional media dollars for digital dimes.

Unfortunately, as traditional media, especially print, was seeing its advertiser base disappear, it compensated for fewer advertisers by raising its prices. Television did this too. They were assuming they held an impregnable position with advertisers. Unfortunately, they completely ignored the digital reality exploding all around them.

Radio’s Expansion

Similarly, the radio industry went about over-populating the AM and FM broadcast bands without acknowledging the growth of digital alternatives. The FCC’s “MM Docket 80-90” added over 700 new FM radio stations in the first three years after the law took effect in 1987. Then LPFM (Low Power FM radio signals) were added to help AM radio stations, as well as to provide local non-profit radio stations to communities that had no local radio service.

If that wasn’t enough, radio broadcasters began to embrace HD Radio (digital radio signals) when they learned that the same law that allowed for an AM radio station to rebroadcast its programming on an FM signal also allowed HD Radio broadcasts to be rebroadcast on an analog FM signal.

To be clear, in 1927 there were 705 commercial radio stations on-the-air (all on the AM band and most with transmitter power of under 1,000-watts). Today we have 25,819 radio stations (21,209 FM / 4,610 AM).

While all of this was going on at a frenetic pace, no one was paying attention to the 800-pound elephants in the room aka Facebook, Google, and Amazon.

Time Spent vs Ad Expenditures

It stands to reason, that the more time a person spends with a particular form of media, the more likely they are to be exposed to more of the advertising content it runs.

Ten years ago analyst Mary Meeker showed in her annual “State of the Internet” slide show, how things were trending negatively for traditional media.

For print, our media attention in 2010 was only 8%, but print commanded 27% of ad dollars. By 2018, our print attention had dropped to only 3%, and print’s ad dollars fell to 7%.

For TV, in 2010 it garnered 43% of our media attention, and commanded 43% of ad dollars. By 2018, both attention and ad dollars had fallen to 34%.

In 2010, for radio, we gave this medium 16% of our media attention and it collected 11% of the ad dollars. By 2018, our attention had fallen to 12% and radio’s ad dollars slipped to 8%.

Where did those ad dollars go? To digital media, as this Mary Meeker chart clearly shows.

More specifically, to mobile digital media.

In 2010, the smartphone in your pocket took up about 8% of our media attention and a paltry 0.5% of ad dollars spent. But by 2018, mobile digital media was commanding 33% of our attention and collecting an equal 33% of ad dollars, soon to be eclipsing TV in both metrics.

Too Little, Too Late

It’s easy to look back 20 years into the beginning of the 21st Century, and say what should have been done, but the fact of the matter remains that traditional media companies were in denial. The denial of the coming digital media world wasn’t just in the ad-supported mediums such as print, radio and TV, but also in companies like Kodak, which actually invented the digital camera in 1975, but whose leaders were in denial about it being the future of photography, and worried about cannibalizing its lucrative print film business.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

-Peter Drucker, legendary management consultant

Radio’s golden assets were its radio personalities and the relationships they built with the listeners. In the rush to expand, and appease shareholders who wanted accelerated growth, radio owners killed their “golden goose,” while enlarging its nest.

Radio continues to jettison the very people that connect its stations with their community of license.

Simon Sinek said, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do, simply proves what you believe.”

For me, radio was a passion to make something great come out of a person’s radio speaker. It’s why I made radio broadcasting my career and why I went on to teach broadcasting at a university. It was my passion to create great radio!

What is radio’s WHY today?

I think that’s the question the industry needs to ask itself.

“If you keep your eye on the profit, you’re going to skimp on the product.

But if you focus on making really great products, then the profits will follow.”

-Steve Jobs

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The Better Advertising Mousetrap

Ralph Waldo Emerson is said to have coined the phrase: “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.” When it comes to advertising, social media has built the better mousetrap, and you and I are helping them to improve it every day.

The Social Dilemma

There’s a new documentary on Netflix called “The Social Dilemma” about how social media is impacting our lives, and is truly eye-opening. I encourage you to watch this documentary if you subscribe to Netflix, but especially if you’re in advertising and marketing. In fact, it would pay you to subscribe to Netflix just to view this documentary; it’s that important!

This blog won’t be about many of the important social issues raised in the documentary, but instead I plan to focus on how traditional media, like AM/FM radio broadcasting, is fighting a battle for advertising with the internet companies that isn’t a fair fight. Broadcasters are in essence coming to a gun fight, wielding a knife.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to regular readers of my blog, because back on February 25, 2018, I wrote an article titled “Radio Has an Addiction Problem,” that quoted MIT professor Sherry Turkle’s 1995 book “Life on the Screen, Identity in the Age of the Internet” saying “computers don’t just do things for us, they do things to us, including ways we think about ourselves and other people.” Turkle said that computers weren’t just a tool, but were sneaking into our minds and changing our relationship with the world around us.

Monetizing Social Media

Social media quickly realized that in order to sustain itself it needed to monetize its service. Google’s search engine business was a Silicon Valley marvel for not only harnessing the power of the internet but simultaneously building a revenue engine that grew right along with it. Tim Kendall, now CEO of Moment, was one of the early people at Facebook, charged with coming up with a way to make money. He said that he decided that the “advertising model was the most elegant way.”

Advertising

The advertising business has always been about selling exposure to the people who use the product. Newspapers sold access to its readers, radio sold access to its listeners and television sold access to its viewers.

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted;

the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

-John Wanamaker

Businesses have always wanted to get the biggest bang for their advertising buck, but realized that in the world of advertising, there were no guarantees, that is until social media came along. Mel Karmazin, former broadcasting and satellite radio CEO put it this way when he met with the founders of Google: “You’re messing with the magic of sales.”

Jaron Lanier, who wrote the book “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now,” explains that what social media is doing more effectively than traditional media is “changing what you do, how you think and who you are…it’s a gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your behavior and perception.” It’s similar to a magician performing slight-of-hand tricks, and making you believe things that aren’t real.

“This is what every business has always dreamt of, to have a guarantee that if it places an ad it will be successful. That’s (social media’s) business, they sell certainty. In order to be successful in that business you have to have great predictions. Great predictions begin with one imperative, you need a lot of data.

The internet has given us a new kind of marketplace that never existed before, a marketplace that trades exclusively in human futures. Just like there are markets for pork belly futures, or oil futures, we now have markets that trade in human futures, at scale, and those markets have produced the trillions of dollars that have made the internet companies the richest companies in the history of humanity.”

-Shoshana Zuboff, PhD, Harvard Business School

Author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism”

“Any sufficiently advanced technology

is indistinguishable from magic.”

-Arthur C. Clarke

Getting Your Attention

Every company whose business model is to sustain itself through the selling of advertising is competing with other companies for your attention. Traditional media is competing with every social media company to get as much of your time and attention to their platform as they possibly can. Remember, when you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.

The advantage social media has over traditional media is their development of persuasive technology. It’s designed to intentionally apply to the extreme behavior modification in the user, and cause them to take a desired action. It does this through the use of positive intermittent reinforcement, just like a casino slot machine lures you into thinking the next pull of the handle will release its fortune. Social media works to create an unconscious habit, programming you for a deeper level of control than you even realize is happening.

Social media has learned how to exploit a vulnerability in human psychology, which even when you know how it works doesn’t inoculate you from its power to change you.

No longer is social media a tool we use, but is a tool that uses us, creating this technology based environment designed for mental addiction through psychological manipulation.

“There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users’:

illegal drugs and software.”

-Edward Tufte

Most concerning about this change is that it’s being driven by a technology that’s advancing exponentially. In contrast, our human brain has not really advanced at all over the same period of time. The rate of change is beyond our human comprehension, even for the very people who are designing and building these computer networks.

“The race to keep people’s attention by social media isn’t going away. Our technology is going to become more integrated into our lives, not less. The AI’s (artificial intelligence) are going to get better at predicting what keeps us on the screen.

How do you wake up from the matrix when you don’t know you’re in the matrix?”

-Tristan Harris, Center for Humane Technology Co-Founder

“Whether it is to be utopia or oblivion

will be a touch-and-go relay race

right up to the final moment…”

-Buckminster Fuller

Today, the internet is a more efficient way to sell our attention to advertisers.

Now you know why.

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The Great Ad Hack

great-hack-netflix-1564144457The other evening, I watched the Netflix documentary “The Great Hack.” It chronicles how big tech is taking our data, that we freely give away online, by both making money with our information and manipulating us.

The documentary makes one realize there’s a lot for us to be worried about.

 

Data Privacy

In an internet connected world, do we have any secrets? Everything about us is being stored, as we share our information via social networks, our credit card companies, our banks, our medical services – just about everyone we interact with online.

During the course of the documentary, professor David Carroll tries to see his data points as collected by Cambridge Analytica. Spoiler Alert: Professor Carroll wins a lengthy court case to obtain his data points. Cambridge Analytica never produces them but instead paid a fine and plead guilty for failing to do so. Not producing the data points was more important than revealing what they knew about Professor Carroll and giving the world an inside look at what they know about each of us.

Now Cambridge Analytica is liquidating to prevent anyone from ever seeing the data points they collected on anyone.

Our data privacy has always been important, but we’ve traded our privacy for speed and convenience in our internet connected world. The documentary points out that collecting and using our data points is a trillion dollar business that last year saw data surpass oil in value, making data the most valuable asset on earth.

The Persuadables

What Cambridge Analytica did was target people whose minds they felt they could change for the purposes of winning elections for their clients. In the military, such a tool is called Black Ops or False Flag tactics. Its psychological warfare used to induce confessions or reinforce attitudes and behaviors favorable to the user’s objectives.

Cambridge Analytica knew they didn’t need to change everyone’s mind, just a critical mass of people to achieve their client’s objectives.

Why did they do it? They wanted to make money, lots and lots and lots of money.

Advertising is Propaganda

The advertising “mad men” of Madison Avenue came from the propaganda operations of the United States military during World War Two. They took what they learned and applied it to selling cars, refrigerators, homes, soap etc. Great advertising seeks to persuade the reader, listener or viewer to buy a product or use a service.

Is it any surprise to anyone that as social media was born, these same methods would be applied to this platform, only on a level that was not possible through traditional media?

“These platforms that were created to connect us are now being weaponized,” says Carole Cadwalladr, investigative reporter for The Observer newspaper. “It’s impossible to know what is what, because nothing is as it seems,” she adds.

Tech Giants Crush Ad Market

Sara Fischer writes in Axios that the big tech companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon are consuming more advertising revenue than most other ad supported media combined. The reason? They have our data points and know how to effectively use them to get us to do what they want. You can read Sara’s full article HERE.

The eMarketer and Zenith Media data as graphed by Axios Visuals really shows where things are headed. (see below)

Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 3.36.05 PM

Can Traditional Media Win?

The playing field today is so unlevel, it begs the question, if traditional media – newspapers, magazines, radio, television – can even have a fighting chance to win advertising dollars.

As a consumer, do you think you stand a chance to not be influenced by the tech giants when they are using your own information against you?

I encourage you to go deeper in this subject by both watching the Netflix documentary “The Great Hack” and reading Sara Fischer’s column “Tech Giants Still Crush the Ad Market Despite Looming Threats.”

Then I hope you will share your thoughts in the comments section of this blog article.

The future of our world is being shaped by the lack of data privacy.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Things I’ve Learned Over 66 Years

Dick Taylor WBECThis past Friday, October 12th, was my 66th birthday. Notable because according to Social Security I’m now at “full retirement age.”

Commercial radio is 98-years old, but the first 30+ years of radio – often called “The Golden Age of Radio” – was broadcast more in the style of today’s television.

The radio I grew up with was format radio, born in the 60s.

So, you might say, today’s radio and I, grew up together.

However, no matter what your career path has been, I’m willing to bet, you and I share more things in common than we differ. See if you don’t agree.

25 Things I Learned Over the Years

  1. Don’t worry about things. The things you do worry about usually never happen and things you never even considered happening, do.
  2. Life is a celebration. Welcome each day as you would New Year’s Day, as a new chance to start over and do something new.
  3. Love who you are. You are one-of-a-kind and there will never be another you.
  4. Be grateful and show gratitude for everything that happens in your life. It happened for a reason and its part of the growth process.
  5. Laugh a lot. You will never be able to control what happens in your life, so learn to find the humor in what happens.
  6. When bad things happen in our world, take the advice of Fred Rogers’s mom and look for the helpers. Even better, be one of the helpers.
  7. Never miss an opportunity to let someone know how much they mean to you.
  8. Never spend more than you earn. There will always be a “rainy day” and you need to be financially fit to float above the flood waters of a life crisis.
  9. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,”said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He’s right. Don’t be afraid to speak out.
  10. Mentor others with all that you know. Sharing is caring.
  11. Always say “Please” and “Thank You.” It matters not whether you’re the parent or the child, the employer or the employee, the teacher or the student, courtesy counts.
  12. People learn from what you do, not what you say. You can’t just talk the talk, you must walk it too.
  13. Over the years, I’ve come to understand that just being there for another person is the most important thing you can do. Be sure to hold on tight to each and every friend you meet in life.
  14. Write hand-written “Thank You” notes. They always make the most impact on those you are grateful for.
  15. Plan for the future, but stay flexible. “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” sang John Lennon in his song Beautiful Boy, and he was right.
  16. Try to live a balanced life: spiritual/home/community/work but don’t fret if things get out-of-balance at times, because they always do.
  17. Forgive, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself.
  18. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is unknown. Live in the present.
  19. ‘There ain’t no big time.’ Many of us in radio spent years honing our careers to rise to positions of more responsibility or to perform in larger radio markets only to learn nothing really changes. People are people, nobody’s perfect, and most of the same challenges remain.
  20. There’s always someone you can reach out to for the answer you seek, you don’t need to have all the answers, but you also shouldn’t be afraid to ask others for help.
  21. Everything in life comes to an end, including life itself. Embrace life.
  22. No matter how fast the world today moves, nature continues to move at the same pace it always has. Spend more time in nature and calm your soul.
  23. Serve others, you will be amazed how it changes your life for the better.
  24. If you do the work you love, you will never call it work. After over four decades in radio, I went into college teaching, both never seemed like work but a true labor of love.
  25. And finally, believe that the best things in your life are yet to be. To paraphrase Henry Ford, whether you believe that’s true or you don’t, you’re right.

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Bucket Lists

79Life gives us lots of fears. When we’re very young, we’re fearless. Not because we are so brave, but because we aren’t smart enough to know what to be fearful of, yet. That, however, changes quickly and life gives us a heaping helping of stuff to be afraid of.

Growing Older

I think one of the best benefits of growing older is overcoming a fear of failure. When you have some decades under your belt, you know that success isn’t lasting and failure isn’t terminal. Life is a series of hills and valleys.

Joy in Life

I just re-watched the movie “The Bucket List” with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. It’s a classic.

IMDb gives this storyline, if you’ve never seen this film, as follows: Corporate billionaire Edward Cole and working class mechanic Carter Chambers have nothing in common except for their terminal illnesses. While sharing a hospital room together, they decide to leave it and do all the things they have ever wanted to do before they die according to their bucket list. In the process, both of them heal each other, become unlikely friends, and ultimately find joy in life.

What Were You “Meant” to Do?

I’m very grateful for the life I’ve lived. I worked in a career for over four decades that I loved. I then transitioned into teaching at a university, which was the next career move on my short career “bucket list.”

I’ve mentored so many engaged students and gotten lots of positive feedback on my classes. A recent note said “I just wanted to thank you for your awesome class. I really enjoyed it and you as a professor.”

No job can get more rewarding than when you receive notes like that!

Good Times & Bad

There’s an old saying about good times and bad that goes like this: ‘The bad news is the good times never last. The good news is, neither do the bad.’

Change is in the wind at my university. Uncertainty and anxiety runs high.

I will now check off my career “bucket list” teaching at a college or university with the completion of I my seventh year of being a broadcast professor in May 2017 at Western Kentucky University. I didn’t have a career goal beyond college teaching.

Next Life Goal

These past two years, I’ve found that this “radio guy” loves to write. I’ve got both a weekly blog as well as a quarterly column in a national magazine. I’ve done podcasts, vlogs and radio interviews/shows in addition to my teaching/advising/professional activities/university service and consulting. I’m obviously not one to just sit on a couch and eat bonbons.

Excited About New Possibilities

One of the decisions I’ve made at this point in my life is that I wish to move closer to my family and grand kids. All of my life, I’ve let my career determine where I’d live. Then I was challenged to keep in touch with my family. With the passing of the last great grandparent, the torch has been passed, so geography just became more important to me than in the past.

I look forward to leveraging my experience in media, advertising, consulting and teaching in new and exciting ways. I have so much wisdom to pay-forward. I’m a passionate person looking for his next place to make a positive impact.

Think you and I might work well together? Reach out to me: Dick.Taylor@wku.edu

Just Say “No”

Megyn Kelly’s move from the FOX News Channel was made not to make more money but for Megyn to be able to spend more time with her family. Her reasons for making the move really resonated with me. I also want to put some balance into my life when it comes to family and career. It’s time to “just say no” to chasing an overly-demanding position that steals away my time and energy from my family. It’s time to make my next life goal be living a balanced life.

My story does not end here.

Stay tuned.

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Best of the Blog 2016

73Before I begin my 3rd year of blogging next week, I thought I’d take a look back of the Top 5 blog posts from 2016 and share with you the posts that received the highest readership and sharing from the year just past.

My Most Read Article in 2016

My most ever shared post received 3,725 views in a single day. It was published on February 28th and was “The Day the ‘Dumbest Idea’ Invaded the Radio Industry.” It told the story of a change in the way we measure business success. Before this new idea was born, Peter Drucker’s measure was the rule. The purpose of a business, said Drucker, was to create a customer. But that went out with leisure suits, the new crop of business wizards would proclaim. What replaced it was something that even GE’s Jack Welch has called “the dumbest idea in the world.” You can read that post here.

This post beat my beat my previous single day record of 1,816 set on September 6, 2015 with an article called “We Never Called It Content.” For my new readers, you  can go back and read that one here.

Second Most Read Article of 2016

Radio Would Be a Great Business…If It Weren’t for the Employees” said radio is a people business. Take away the people and do you really have radio anymore? You can read it here.

Third Most Read Article of 2016

SiriusXM Radio is Now Free” was an article that wondered what would happen if this satellite radio service offered some or most of its channels for free. What would that do to the revenues of the AM/FM radio industry? Even if they only turned on the top five music formats, it would mean drivers could listen to them wherever they drove across America, plus SiriusXM would have the ability to pop in promos for their other channels that remained behind a paywall. It’s almost too scary to consider the possibility. You can read that article here.

Fourth Most Read Article of 2016

Don’t Let Radio End Up Like Yahoo” told the story of how radio could learn from Yahoo’s mistakes. Yahoo went from being a company worth $120 Billion to its sale to Verizon for $4.8 Billion. The article shared the Top 5 Lessons of Yahoo for radio. You can read it here.

Fifth Most Read Article of 2016

Millennials Love Radio” shared how today’s Millennial generation nearly equal Boomers in listening to AM/FM radio. 91.3% of Millennials are reached by radio every week. 94% of GenX’ers are reached by radio and us Boomers come in at 93.5% reached by radio every week according to Nielsen. Radio continues to be the advertising medium that gets results when used correctly. Read the full article here.

Over 52,000 Readers

I’m happy to report that as I ended 2016, my second year of blogging saw over 52,000 readers come to this blog from all over the world. Broadcasters, educators and students have all stopped by to read an article or more that caught their interest.

This blog in media mentorship was created to pay-it-forward to the broadcasting industry that I will have been a part of for 50-years in 2017.

FREE SUBSCRIPTIONS

You can subscribe to this blog for FREE and get a copy delivered to your email IN box every week by going to the bottom right-hand part of the screen and clicking on the FOLLOW button. (If you’re accessing this blog via a mobile phone or tablet, that button may not be visible I’ve been told.)

Next week, I will begin year three of blogging with all new articles.

Thank You for reading.

Feel free to contribute your thoughts to the discussion in the comments. Together we can all learn by sharing our experience, knowledge and wisdom.

Happy New Year!

 

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The Post-Fact Society

68P.T. Barnum, among many others, is credited with saying: “I don’t care what they say about me, just make sure they spell my name right!”

Barnum knew it wasn’t important what people said about him as long as they were talking about him. Only the noise level about Barnum mattered.

When I saw this chart from The DataFace measuring the newspaper media coverage of the two presidential candidates, it was eye opening.  68a It mattered little that most of that coverage was negative. What mattered was they spelled “Trump” correctly.

Fake News

Once upon a time, news came from journalists who worked for newspapers, radio and television stations.

Then along came the iPhone and social media.

Now the same device that could receive text, voice, pictures and video could produce it too.

Social media platforms provided mass distribution without a filter (aka an editor).

This provided the perfect storm for the production of fake news. A cottage industry in some parts of the world, some American citizens soon learned that producing internet stories that would get lots of clicks could be profitable.

Radio & Fake News

Even syndicated radio host Sean Hannity got snared in the volume of fake news being generated and had to apologize for using fake news stories to attack Obama.

Ad Supported Media Fight for Survival

In an effort to make a little coin, trusted media sources began accepting advertising that would lead their readers, listeners, viewers to unaffiliated sources that would serve up this fake news. In so doing, they inadvertently now wore the stink of the fake news creators. The public quickly could not discern the researched and sourced news from the made-up variety.

One PM Central Standard Time

Radio and television journalism didn’t always operate this way. PBS produced an excellent documentary about the coverage of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The program was called “One PM Central Standard Time” and it covered how “the most trusted man in America” Walter Cronkite waited until Kennedy’s death was confirmed by  multiple sources before going live with the news to the nation over the CBS radio and television networks.

The Being First Obsession

Things changed when things started being published digitally. In this world, advertising paid based on clicks. Quantity beat quality. Sensational beat facts. Going viral meant big money to these new media folks. Plus the concept of “native advertising” means that advertising copy is presented to look like editorial.

All of these little changes contributed to consumers becoming less and less able to tell real news from what was fake news. Which has led to many not believing anything today’s media tells them.

And that’s a very sad state of affairs for journalism.

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
–Thomas Jefferson

21st Century Business Model Challenge

Starting with newspapers, then radio, then TV then digital, the business model has been one of ad supported media. The model is broken.

Disruption first destroys the old ways of doing things before the new ways are discovered and take root. We are living in that destruction period of disruption.

Our challenge lies in building a business model that will support solid journalism, quality entertainment and community service.

What others have shown us is that in a 21st Century world it will take a collaborative effort from people from all over the world to help build the new way.

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