What's It Going To Take...?

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What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:52 am

I have noticed how many comments and suggestions about "What's It Going To Take" for Terra-Radio to get back into the mainstream media and regain any integrity and appeal it may have once enjoyed have been appearing in threads that have other issues in their titles.

As many participants are already of the opinion that Radio is not even close to realising its potential - if it ever did, particularly these last 2 or 3 decades - that a thread dedicated to suggestions for improvement might be useful.

Indeed, I have my own take on these matters and am willing to participate with some specificity.

First, however, I would enjoy considering the opinions of others who also have a significant amount of experience in the medium.

I'm not asking for a thesis, but I also invite participants to use as much space as it takes for them to articulate their positions.

We can discuss philosophy, management, on-air staff, creative and production, content and process.

Another thread, I suggest, would be more appropriate for MUSIC as that's a topic that, while extremely pertinent, could also overwhelm and bog down the thread.

Challenges and requests for greater detail and clarity are, of course, to be expected.

signed: the not altogether, but mostly Unknown Consultant. :bag:
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby Hallicrafters » Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:53 am

I have no answers, but I do have some observations.

Myself, the only time a broadcast radio station has my ear is in the car. If I had wifi in the car I wouldn't bother with terrestrial. My favorite audio is from these guys, http://allamericangold.com/index.html I don't miss a day, they are funny entertaining and informative. I am not a fan of talk, but these guys are funny and entertaining, broadcast on a Christian radio station.

I don't find terrestrial entertaining, Frosty Forst, in spite of the huge number of commercials was entertaining, Wally Crouter, Jim Brady, Jay Nelson, and many more, also had a certain magic about them.

The corporations must know they have a future and present problem, but like the U.S. government, they will probably do exactly the opposite from what they need to do to fix things. Old paradigms die with difficulty, and usually the person who screwed things up won't be the best choice to fix things. They seem to think that narrow play lists and no entertainment will keep them alive. In Canada it has always been a "follow/copy the leader" kind of business. Sadly no one is out there leading. They are cutting it back to the bone, but like deflation it is a pit that has no bottom.

Radio is like a street with stations in every store, with a speaker out front, so what is going to attract me to one over another? (And the street may have got too long) Less and less "excitement" is offered, playing 1970's Canadian content over and over again will not attract the audience that grew up in the 80's and 90's who seem to have been ignored and have drifted to other delivery systems.

Where are the showmanship, pizzazz, and outrageous antics, (that are sharp and not crass)? Tried and true, can also be repetitive and boring.

However this may be a natural progression of events. In the 50's radio was dying because of TV taking the advertising dollars, Rock and Roll and top 40 gave it life again. It is in times like these that new formats and ideas will pop to the surface. Corporate radio is not where it will come from, so it will take some time, and a few corporate bankruptcies. Then perhaps some half crazed guy will pick up a station after winning the Lotto Max.
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Fri Aug 27, 2010 10:04 am

Thanks for that, Halli. Excellent observations. (Which reminds me: I have to go get my ticket.)
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby Aaron » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:44 pm

The single biggest problem is that the programming tactics that would probably help radio's perception for the long run don't "work" in the short term.

I know we didn't want to get too much into music, but the Vancouver ratings are for the most part stacked up in inverse proportion to library size.

Radio stations still compete against each other and not the "none of the above" vote, which isn't even measured.

It's hard to convince someone in business to stick with a Shore 104 for the time it would take when they could get into the black quickly with Energy 104.

Let the Bigs own a third FM, on condition that it's aimed at 14-20 year olds, and programmed BY 14-20 year olds. Then you may have a future.
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:02 pm

I appreciate the contribution, Aaron.

Besides, that comment was as much about philosophy as Music.
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby WPGGUY » Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:29 am

OK Pave, I will take a shot at this.

First off, I am still working full time making a decent living in this business and have been doing so for just over 30 years, I consider myself lucky to have survived all these years doing a job I love. Have I had to adapt and change over the years, yes of course.

In my opinion for whatever its worth the fix is a lot simpler than one might think, all you would have to do is limit ownership of a broadcast license to 1 per owner and I am not talking about 1 per city I mean 1 per country. Ok maybe a limit of say 5.

One of the major problems you have these days is you basically have what, 5 people making the programing decisions for every radio station in the country, the national program directors. Yes these are talented and creative individuals, BUT one person can only have so many ideas and after a few years they tend to start looking and sounding the same. (Clear, BOB, JACK, Virgin, Mix etc)

If we had a bunch of independently owned radio stations across the country what would eventually happen is we would start to see some new ideas. Yes lots of them would fail, but some of them will work and those stations would become dominant in their markets and yes make money, the others would be eventually sold and new people would try again. I suppose we might even see a few stations that lack entertainment value close down but I am not so sure that would be a bad thing.

This was the way radio used to be, a bunch of independently owned stations with people working their butts off trying to get people to listen to their station rather than that “other station” the winner got the money. Today they chase the money first and then worry about the programming.
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby CKNF » Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:49 am

WPGGUY wrote:OK Pave, I will take a shot at this.

First off, I am still working full time making a decent living in this business and have been doing so for just over 30 years, I consider myself lucky to have survived all these years doing a job I love. Have I had to adapt and change over the years, yes of course.

In my opinion for whatever its worth the fix is a lot simpler than one might think, all you would have to do is limit ownership of a broadcast license to 1 per owner and I am not talking about 1 per city I mean 1 per country. Ok maybe a limit of say 5.

One of the major problems you have these days is you basically have what, 5 people making the programing decisions for every radio station in the country, the national program directors. Yes these are talented and creative individuals, BUT one person can only have so many ideas and after a few years they tend to start looking and sounding the same. (Clear, BOB, JACK, Virgin, Mix etc)

If we had a bunch of independently owned radio stations across the country what would eventually happen is we would start to see some new ideas. Yes lots of them would fail, but some of them will work and those stations would become dominant in their markets and yes make money, the others would be eventually sold and new people would try again. I suppose we might even see a few stations that lack entertainment value close down but I am not so sure that would be a bad thing.

This was the way radio used to be, a bunch of independently owned stations with people working their butts off trying to get people to listen to their station rather than that “other station” the winner got the money. Today they chase the money first and then worry about the programming.


Amen.

BTW...don't be surprised if you see someone shaking up this industry with much intensity. Radio is about to get a wake-up call.
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:14 am

While it's no surprise I might be in agreement on many issues with wpgguy - we have matching scars and tattoos - the idea that innovation more often comes from independents or small groups working on a well-formed Outcome - a "Skunk Works", so to speak, makes a ton of sense.

There is nothing, by the way, stopping one or more of the major, corporate station-owning groups from branching off and doing a little experimenting in some of their less critical markets.

This, of course, presumes there are some ideas out here that would tickle some corporate imaginations. Tweaking music formats and burying Talent while producing commercial content with a bare-bones staff hardly qualifies.

Great input, guys. I'm enjoying this.
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby jon » Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:26 am

WPGGUY wrote:In my opinion for whatever its worth the fix is a lot simpler than one might think, all you would have to do is limit ownership of a broadcast license to 1 per owner and I am not talking about 1 per city I mean 1 per country. Ok maybe a limit of say 5.


You won't get much of an argument from me. Back in Nov. 2008, I repeated a theory I'd had for at least 5 years:
jon wrote:Agreed, but the Dream World I live in says that restricting ownership to one media outlet in any province or state would be the place to start.

In the '50s and '60s, the FCC was forever forcing sales of radio stations whenever a merger or takeover pushed an owner past the magic number of stations nationwide -- 7, wasn't it?

ref. - viewtopic.php?f=21&t=4511&p=12772358
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby Jack Bennest » Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:07 am

Restriction of Trade - the CRTC now restricts the music played - or the Canadian Content. It restricts the amount of advertising. It restricts the class of stations - into slices that no one understands. It orders the payment of monies to develop Canadian talent. Are these worthy purposes that all Canadians want?

I think Canadians want local programming, quality news, good music and some personality programming.


The only way to get that is to take radio away from corporations and put it in the hands of the people, groups of people, even business people. As mentioned elsewhere - if you allow the corporations to buy it all up - the quality goes down and Canadians are not well served.

Oh to be in the day when each station had one owner - some bad some good some excellant. :canflag1:

By the way - Great Valley Radio ( CIGV) is an indie - still making :victory: money. Very local - music that people like and personality on the air. Is it perfect?

No - but beats the sound of a jukebox.
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby jon » Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:18 am

"Local" is the key ingredient. I have seen some pretty good Radio over the last 10 years come out of Corporations that own a large number of radio stations. And I've concluded that, if you can't have Local Ownership, Local Control is a pretty good Second.

If Management Decisions are made locally, without a lot of Corporate Directives from Head Office, all you need is good local management personnel. And you should have some pretty good Radio.
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby WPGGUY » Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:30 am

pave wrote:There is nothing, by the way, stopping one or more of the major, corporate station-owning groups from branching off and doing a little experimenting in some of their less critical markets.



This is being done in a number of markets, the one that comes to mind is CHUM’s CURVE FM in Winnipeg. BUT what you still have is a strong head office influence and control. The sad thing is the experiment is failing and that will discourage further experiments. It will be easier to just create another cookie cutter station. If you took that same station and gave the local PD & GM (assuming they are the right people) complete control and give them 3 years, financial support and nothing else it would be interesting to see what would happen.
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:36 am

This, of course, presumes there are some ideas out here that would tickle some corporate imaginations.


As any who may have been exposed to some of my rants over to the "other site" may well know, I have quite a bit of experience in what some of those ideas and concepts could be.

However, I invite others to get a little more specific in their suggestions... beyond changing government regulations, including those of corporate ownership. This, as accepting having to wait for regs to change before anything else can change would bring considerations and/or applications of any other innovations to a grinding halt.
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby The Unknown Copywriter » Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:58 am

pave wrote:signed: the not altogether, but mostly Unknown Consultant. :bag:


Dad...is that you?
T.U.C.

"The present day composer refuses to die!"
Edgard Varese

"Kill ugly radio."
Frank Zappa
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:45 am

Dad...is that you?


Yes it is, Son. Now stop bothering Daddums while he's busy. And when are you going to get a real job, you impudent slug...? :D
Last edited by pave on Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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