Radio is not what it used to be. Sure, the roaring nineties and zero zeros (or whatever you call this decade) were great for the owners. They sold, bought, consolidated, laid off, installed automation, made redundant, and so on. Those that got out before the summer of 2008 made a lot of cash.
They also left the industry hurting. Our competition is keen on eroding whatever 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 to 5 minutes ago, is trying to gain our listeners. Satellite radio, which is more like meh, who cares, is making 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 losing 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 these 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?