Tag Archives: robots

2020 – The Last Year of the Decade

New Decade Begins 2020 or 2021A lot of people think that a new decade began in 2020, but the reality is, it’s the last year of the current decade. 2021 begins the next decade.

The 21st Century didn’t begin in 2000, but on January 1, 2001. The new millennium also began in 2001.

I think what may have confused everyone is the angst so many of us felt when the calendar turned from 1999 to 2000. I remember that New Year’s Eve so vividly because I spent it at my cluster of radio stations in Waterloo, Iowa. Why? Because virtually the entire world was anxious that their computer systems might crash at midnight.

Y2K

Did you forget about the Y2K Bug?

Y2K, short-hand for year two thousand, was a computer flaw — or bug — that was predicted to cause great problems with dates beyond December 31, 1999.

Every company worked feverishly putting in patches that were supposed to fix this problem, but no one really knew for sure if they would.

The fear was that all of our computer systems at the radio stations might not interpret the “00” as 2000 but as 1900.

New Year’s Eve 1999

The CEO of my company’s radio stations commanded that all general managers, operations managers, programmers and engineers be on duty on New Year’s Eve 1999 and be prepared to take the operation LIVE if our computers failed.

I told the staff of my four radio stations what the company plan was, and my director of sales said at that employee meeting, “If you’re going to be here on New Year’s Eve, so are we.” Shelly Routt, then began planning one of the best New Year’s Eve parties I’ve ever enjoyed at our cluster’s headquarters in downtown Waterloo.

Friday Night

December 31, 1999 was a Friday night.

What made this computer bug issue so critical at my radio cluster was, we operated all four radio stations every weekend without a single person on duty. We were fully computer automated.

On a typical Friday afternoon, when the week ended at 5pm, we locked the doors not to return until Monday morning. Think about that, we were running full automation over twenty years ago.

All those jobs that gave new radio people their start in the business, weekends and overnights, were gone.

The talent farm team system was decimated.

25 Dying Professions You Should Avoid

I guess that’s why I wasn’t surprised when a reader of this blog sent me an article from Work+ Money 

about 25 professions that were going away, that BROADCASTERS was fifth from the top.

2020 Vision

The primary reason cited was that more and more listeners prefer streaming over their local, drive-time disc jockey.

Work+Money wrote:

“One in 10 of the nation’s 33,202 radio and television announcers are expected to see their jobs disappear by 2026. Consolidation in the industry, as well as increased use of syndicated content, is fueling the decline. There’s also the explosion of streaming music services.”

Automation

As I went through the list of professions in danger, a singular reason reared its ugly head, automation. Robots, artificial intelligence – both newer forms of automation – were replacing many white collar as well as low skill jobs in the workforce.

robot djIf your job can be replaced by a mathematical equation, a logarithm if you will, consider your future employment to be at risk.

To be perfectly clear, all broadcasters won’t be disappearing, but the profession of broadcaster will be in a state of decline.

College Degree & Broadcasting

The cost of higher education continues to soar, but the payback of a college degree hasn’t kept pace. While the price of consumer goods has increased by a factor of 4 since the late 1970s, getting a college diploma has increased by a factor of 14, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Sadly, not all degrees offer the same ROI (Return On Investment), but ironically they’re all pretty much priced the same at any college. According to PayScale a college degree in dentistry sees a dental graduate’s median entry-level salary of $118,800 versus a degree in broadcasting where a starting disc jockey or newsperson can expect an entry-level salary of $40,000.

I never went to college to be a broadcaster. Broadcasting, which I started professionally while a freshman in high school, paid for my college education; both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

What did I go to college to learn? To be a teacher.

It wasn’t until I retired from over four decades as a broadcaster that I would begin my career in education as a broadcast professor at a university.

During that time, I would witness extensive broadcast industry deregulation and consolidation and that led us to the state that broadcasting is in today.

Apprentice Programs

The radio industry needs to grow new talent. It’s time for broadcasters to have an apprentice program in place that allows youth to learn and grow as responsible community broadcasters without requiring a college degree at the outset.

Over time, the broadcast industry can provide “just-in-time-learning” programs that will allow these new broadcasters to grow and expand their skills to take on more and more responsibilities leading to senior management and ownership of radio properties.

The new decade begins in less than a year.

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Coal Ain’t Coming Back & Neither is AM Radio

114I lived in Kentucky for 7-years.

Kentucky actually issues black license plates that say “Coal Keeps the Lights On.”

And yes, a lot of our electricity is generated from coal fired generating stations. But our dependency on coal has been in decline for years, today only about 30% of our electricity is generated from the burning of coal. 15% is generated from renewal energy sources.

But when it comes to jobs, solar & wind-energy jobs are growing 12 times as fast as the US economy. This has all been happening over the last 10-years or so. Renewable-energy jobs grew at the rate of 6% while fossil-fuel jobs declined at 4.5% from 2012 to 2015 according to Business Insider who also notes that the average number of employees at US coal mines dropped by 12% in 2015.

The solar industry now employs more people than coal, oil and gas combined.

The most recent statistics (2014) for the coal industry say 76,572 people are employed mining coal. That includes miners, office workers, sales people and others who work at coal-mining companies. In 1980, the industry employed about 242,000 people.

But to put the coal industry employment in perspective, there are more people employed in education in Kentucky than in coal. And the Washington Post compared the number of people employed in coal to other industries and reports: “Although 76,000 might seem like a large number, consider that similar numbers of people are employed by, say, the bowling (69,088) and skiing (75,036) industries. Other dwindling industries, such as travel agencies (99,888 people), employ considerably more. Used-car dealerships provide 138,000 jobs. Theme parks provide nearly 144,000. Carwash employment tops 150,000.”

In fact, more people are employed in RADIO (94,584 people) than in the mining of coal.

Coal jobs ain’t coming back.

AM RADIO

When I hear people in coal country cheering about coal jobs coming back under a new presidential administration, I look to my own industry; radio. AM radio is like the coal industry.

America, to a large extent, was built on coal due to the industrial revolution. All of our great factories depended on coal to power their machines. Coal was plentiful and we had lots of it. It was coal’s time.

In the 1920s, AM radio was born. Nothing like it had ever existed in the world. While the telephone brought people together, one person to another person, radio would bring the masses together. Inc.put together a list of “The 25 Greatest Inventions of All Time” and radio was #2 following the wired telephone. The History Channel compiled its own list and it put the smartphone in the first position followed by radio.

The “Golden Age of Radio” is the period from the 1920s to the 1940s when AM radio was the main source of entertainment in American homes. It would be replaced by television in the 1950s.

The transistor and car radio would pump new energy into the radio industry to a young generation in the 1960s and AM radio would be “born again.”

FM RADIO

The latest FCC (Federal Communications Commission) report as of the end of December 2016 shows that there were 4,669 AM radio stations on the air in America. Over on the FM dial, 16,783 signals now beat the airwaves (FM, FM educational, translators and low power FM).

To put things in perspective, at a time in America’s radio history when the number of FM signals equaled the number of AM signals on the air, 75% of all radio listening was to FM. So, you can only imagine what it’s like today for AM radio listening.

JOBS & ROBOTS

In coal mining, the need for coal miners goes down every year. Today, mining for coal no longer means muscle hardy men in maze-like tunnels wielding picks and shovels. The coal industry has steadily been replacing those jobs with robotic machines that require far fewer miners but more computer engineers and coders.

The radio industry employs its own cadre of computer engineers and coders that allows for fewer folks to appear on more radio stations through automation and voice-tracking. Is what’s happening in radio broadcasting any different than what’s happening in coal; or any other industry today?

I grew up on AM radio.

AM radio was my world and the people who made the magic caused this boy to make radio a career.

But AM radio and those jobs are not coming back any more than coal miner jobs.

93% of Americans 12-years of age or older listen to radio every week.

What percentage of those are listening to AM?

As AM radio stations add FM translators, do you think that number will grow again?

Sadly, AM radio is to broadcasting as coal is to power generation.

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