Roger Miller was a very creative guy. His 1966 hit song, “You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd” was a crazy list of things you could not do to be happy, but did offer a remedy on how you could be happy, if you had a mind to.
It got me to thinking about other things you can’t do, especially when it comes to radio.
You Can’t Combine WINS & WCBS
New York City has two all-news radio stations, 1010 WINS and News Radio 88 WCBS. They’ve competed against each other since Westinghouse owned WINS, and CBS owned WCBS.
Even when both radio stations found themselves under the same ownership several years ago, they were run and staffed independently, and continued to compete for audience and ad dollars.
Now Entercom owns both, and would like to implement plans for “cross-utilization” of personnel. The New York Daily News provides all the details in their recent story and you can read it HERE.
You Can’t Be Serious
Recently James Cridland tweeted this news story: “Black day for UK radio. 43 local breakfast shows to go by the end of the year. 24 drivetime shows. 10 studio buildings gone.” In the UK, consolidation fever was spreading among the commercial radio operators after securing deregulation. Owners say it’s a huge step for the commercial radio sector and you can read all about the changes HERE.
“When we change the way we communicate, we change society.”
You Can’t Shrink Your Way to Success
One of my mentors is Roy H. Williams, aka The Wizard of Ads, who writes a weekly Monday Morning Memo that I’ve been reading since the 80s.
Recently, Roy’s subject was “Shrink Your Way to Success?” The article said that “when a business is struggling financially, cost-cutting looks like a brilliant move.” Unfortunately, you can’t cut your way to success. This is something that has been born out over the decades, and in all kinds of industries. So, what’s the alternative? Increasing revenues. “Cost-cutting comes at a very high cost,” says Roy. The Wizard’s prescription is worth your time to read and you can find it HERE.
You Can’t Become Intimate Without Repeated Contact
Then Fred Jacob’s JACOBLOG published an incredible two-part blog piece on “Can Radio Achieve Brand Intimacy?” Part one looked at the twelve brands that consumers say they can’t live without. #1 on the list was Apple. Then Fred shared the top ten list of the brands people say they are most intimate with, Disney was #1 and Apple was #2.
After reading the two-part blog, I commented back to Fred with the following observation:
“Intimacy takes time, but just like in personal relationships, it’s worth it.” Unfortunately, radio’s consolidation years under valued the intimacy that its personalities and brands had built up over time, and quickly discarded both.
The real success stories in radio today are those properties that have carefully maintained and continued to nurture their place in their listener’s lives.
Radio Can’t be “Just OK”
I recently have been amused by a new television advertising campaign by AT&T that says being “Just OK, Is Not OK.” You can view one of their ads HERE. In a field that has very limited competition for its services, the ads clearly portray that you deserve the best and AT&T is here to deliver it.
Radio used to be in the business of competing with other radio stations in its city of license, and stealing as much advertising as it could from the local print media. Print media always grabbed the lion’s share of the local advertising budgets. Today, all traditional media competes with the internet delivery system, which means it now competes with the world.
If there was ever a time when radio could not afford to be “just OK,” it’s now.
“As great and pressing as change and betterment may be,
we can’t toss away the very bedrock
upon which the radio industry was built.”