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View Diary: The radio industry is FINALLY talking about the devastating impact of Rush Limbaugh's Fluke attack (115 comments)

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  •  that's intriguing (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gffish, aitchdee, elwior, LynnS

    What's going on?  Is the internet taking away radio listeners?  I have to admit I only listen to radio in the car, but there's a lot of cars on the road.  ??

    I'm still mad about Nixon.

    by J Orygun on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 09:37:55 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  A number of factors (0+ / 0-)

      Quick note on my background: former radio/tv pro, and i used to run a local media insider blog.

      You need to understand first off that radio and tv licenses used to be a license to print money. Returns of 30, 40 and even 50 percent were not uncommon. This, of course, made broadcast licenses extremely desirable.

      People began abandoning terrestrial radio when companies like Clear Channel went on their buying binge in the 90s after ownership restrictions were lifted (thanks, Bill Clinton!). As technology improved, companies stripped the stations of local talent, often "voice-tracking" DJ shifts so that one talent could work at six or seven stations using the same breaks with local drop-ins for weather and traffic. They did the same thing with programming, doing it chain-wide with a single programmer rather than individual PMs at each station (note this is not always the case to this day; some stations still have their own PMs).

      The connection between the station and its community was severed; there was no bottom line effect as far as the companies were concerned, so why bother? And there was no connection with the medium. Radio people LOVE radio. I've been out for 20 years and still miss it sometimes. Corporate people could not give a shit. When the bean counters took over, it was the beginning of the end. Radio or widgets, all the same to those guys.

      During the license boom, stations often got "stripped and flipped"--gutted of news departments, local DJs etc and then sold at an inflated price since the gutting made the bottom line so attractive. This model eventually succumbed when license prices plummeted, but the stripping continues to this day; as the audience drops, the stations are returning a still-solid but not obscene amount of money on investment, but owners still expect the ridiculous returns of yesteryear.

      Audiences are dropping for these reasons:

      --Irrelevant programming filled with commercials and voice talent that may not even be in the same city.

      --The rise of the MP3. No commercials, only what YOU want to hear.

      --The rise of the Internet. If you're going to be forced to listen to something programmed out-of-state, or to choose among a bunch of crappy stations whose formats you don't like, why stay with terrestrial radio when you can turn to Pandora, or Radio Paradise, or any of the hundreds of thousands of stations all over the world streaming on the net?

      It all comes down to competition. The Clear Channels of the world thought they'd eliminated competition by just buying all the stations. The listening public would have to settle.

      Turns out, not so much.

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