Radio World Redux

I was reading the July 14th radio world, on line because I still haven’t subscribed, and found this blog quoted by the editor.  More specifically, on page 4, the editor writes about this post where I debate keeping my radio world subscription.  Without actually naming the blog, asks how well he (the editor) is doing his job.

One of my aims in writing this thing is to provoke thought.  The fact that the editor of Radio World is asking his readers about the direction the publication is heading is a sign that, at least in one case, I have been successful.

My other aims are:

  • pass along useful information
  • tell my story
  • write stuff (I am compelled to write things)

Regarding Radio World itself, I still read the digital version of the magazine found on the Radio World website.  The importance of impartial reporting of radio broadcasting’s technical issues cannot be overstated.  These days there are many pressures being applied to Radio in general from things like the FCC, Big Group Radio, MMTC, Ibiquity, NPR, the recording industry and others.  Some of these groups do not have the radio industries best interests in mind, but rather are looking to improve their take.  Indeed, some of the schemes proposed are technically flawed or down right destructive.  Biased reporting degrades the integrity of any publication and diminishes it’s value and when it comes to the most read technical trade magazine, that is alarming.

I applaud Radio World for it’s recent publication of articles that bring to light HD-Radio’s technical issues.  That is a welcome development and such things should continue.   Technical writers need to be technically minded people, not someone that retypes press releases.  When it comes to new technology, hard question need to be asked and answered, that is a reporter’s job after all.

A quick one (while he’s away)

Radio is not what it used to be.  Sure, the roaring nineties and zero zeros (or whatever you call this decade) where great for the owners.  They sold, bought, consolidated, laid off, installed automation, made redundant, and so on.  Those that got out before summer of 2008 made a lot of cash.

They also left the industry hurting.  Our competition is keen on eroding what ever revenue is still left in radio, and that competition is large and multiple.  New technologies like ipods, iphones, PCS phones, and whatever other wireless mobile device they thought up 5 minutes ago,is trying to gain our listeners.  Satellite radio, which is more like meh, who cares, is making a small inroads.  But worse than all of that, we have ourselves.

The rot is increasing and it is from the inside out.  Everyone is looking to cut expenses.  The easiest way to do that is automation.  Those stations that have not already automated are likely to, which will further exacerbate the radio loosing listeners problem.  I mean really, how many more crappy bland “mix” formats, or satellite syndicated talk radio formats do we need.  We are already swimming in a sea of mediocrity.  And who gets to take care of all this high tech gizmos that keep the stations on the air?  Usually the Engineering Department.  So, we get more work, for the same, or less (by the time inflation is calculated in) money.

That trend has to stop.

It is not irreversible (yet).  The station that stands out, can win, and win big.  That is all for now, I look forward to writing about radio engineering.

We came in?