Clear Channel Radio, the General Motors of the radio station business, axed more employees today. As Jerry Del Colliano, the Jeremiah of radio, pointed out this week, CC is beating the drum for what they say is their “local” campaign, while chopping local station staffs and increasing the delivery of networked radio shows from out of town. Radio was constructed to be a hometown electronic medium. Radio station people have been running as hard as they can from that model for decades — it isn’t all the fault of CC and the other consolidators — standardizing programming through imitation. Radio people love to talk about being local, but they really always preferred to simplify the lives of their sales departments. Ratings technology required standardization. One piece of news caught my eye today — the CEO of a medium-sized station owner, New Northwest Broadcasters, announced he was leaving his job today, taking the company’s Billings, Montana, stations with him. This could be a signal that the company has a plan to sell off all their stations. They named their CFO — that’s the company numbers freak — to lead the company. You don’t put the head accountant in charge if you’re planning to run your stations creatively. I take this as a hopeful sign, that the radio speculators are getting ready to cut their losses and liquidate. Can’t happen fast enough for me. Maybe there’s a new generation of people who actually love radio who’ll see the opportunity and step up. There’s time to do it; listeners still love and listen to radio, even though the corporate stockbrokers have debased and demoralized the business by treating it like a burger chain rather than a powerful local medium. But now I’m just ranting. Later.

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Another purge day for radio, and a touch of hope.


Heinrich Hertz's experiments proved the existence of electromagnetic radiation. Cycles-per-second, the standard measure of radio wave frequency, was named for him. He died in 1894, at 37. Wikipedia: Hertz


What do you do with a problem like Howard? After decades of profits and FCC indecency fines as routine budget items, Howard Stern, king of all pottymouth radio guys, followed his enabler Mel Karmazin to Sirius Satellite Radio, leaving CBS to make up a hundred million in revenue (They sold stations) and fill the void for the half of Howard's loyal audience who didn't choose to buy a new radio and pay fifteen bucks a month for a few more, ranker epithets.
Wikipedia: Stern


CBS might have become the Cigar Broadcasting System. William S. Paley was the scion of the family business. In 1927, his cigar tycoon dad, Samuel, bought the struggling network of early radio stations from a group of poor schlumps who were trying to – would you believe: sell programming to radio stations! Every syndicator since has had to relearn that this doesn't work. Bill and his dad figured out the right business model -- you sell commercials to advertisers, and give the programs to stations. Got it?
Wikipedia: Paley