Time to Leave the Bitter Barn

Posted on July 24, 2012


The panel I moderated at The Conclave last week in Minneapolis was supposed to be about maximizing local radio: how to make local radio the best in can be.

Despite my best efforts it still contained an element of complaining about how syndication and voice-tracking are ruining our industry. I’m so tired of this!

First off it doesn’t do anyone any good. There wasn’t a person in that room — or for the most part in attendance at The Conclave — that is going to change the industry’s increasing reliance on syndication and voice-tracking. So please, let’s stop complaining. Come in out of the bitter barn into the house of broadcasting where it’s warm.

Second, I’m not sure these are the worst ills to befall our industry. Like it or not good syndicated content is better for ratings than mediocre local content. Want to stave off more syndication taking root? Let’s focus on having better local content.

Finally, as my friend and session panelist Dave Moore pointed out after the panel, the so-called “old days” before de-regulation weren’t everything they are being made out to be. Sure big companies like Clear Channel and Cumulus can have their drawbacks but so did fly-by-night owners who bounced payroll checks and did lots of shady deals that made advertisers shy away from the medium. The old days are never as good as you remember them to be.

I honestly think this continued insistence on complaining about how things are now and pining away for those golden days or yore are two of the biggest problems facing radio today.

Please, stop looking back. Let’s focus on going forward.