Friday, February 20, 2009

"I have to be wrong a certain number of times in order to be right a certain number of times. However, in order to be either, I must first make a decision." Frank N. Giampietro

"You have not done enough, you have never done enough, so long as it is still possible that you have something to contribute." Dag Hammarskjold

"A trifle is often pregnant with high importance; the prudent man neglects no circumstance." Sophocles

Today's image: untitled by Hanna L. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

Doing the homework for an upcoming talk and noticed more than one canard needing attention. Allow me to take this opportunity to disabuse you of three patently false notions. With apologies to Adam and Jamie let's get on to some myth busting...

1. The youth no longer listens to radio (alternatively, youth listening is in serious and irreversible decline).

Busted. Not supported by the facts. One example. Radio programming ace Brian Kelly has gained reach among Milwaukee youth improving his 12-17 cume persons rating book after book. The most recent numbers, Fall 2008, show Brian's 103.7 KISS FM posting an increase in teen cume rating of over 36% compared to the earlier Spring numbers. Further, Brian's team continued to deliver exceptional adult numbers. #1 Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49, Women 18-34, Women 18-49 and Women 25-54. This is only part of the story. 103.7 KISS FM captured the highest share of Women 18-34 of any station in the nation delivering an incredible 25.6 share. Those Gen X and Gen Y women are obviously tuned in and happy. But it's the combined performance of 103.7 KISS FM and sister station 99.1 WMYX that is truly amazing. Brian Kelly has built much more than two successful radio stations, he's built and leads a team and they're on a mission to create killer radio from scratch every single day. Clearly, it's working. Word to the wise: take notes.

2. College students have no interest in or involvement with creating radio.

Busted. Facts counter the argument. Exhibit A: WSUM FM, the student radio station at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Hundreds of students are seriously engaged and involved in playing radio. In fact, there's a waiting list to participate. Best of all, the station sounds great. Don't take my word for it, listen in, they're streaming, here.

3. CBS is making a major strategic error in LA. The abandonment of talk on FM and the debut of a new Top 40 music format.

Since I was not invited to be a party to the discussions concerning the business objectives of CBS Radio in LA please permit me to speculate. Having given this matter considerable thought, Dan Mason and his team have come to believe that they have a better than even chance to win, to be in a better economic position because of the changes.

But wait, there's more. Some experts are suggesting talk is the single best long-term strategy for winning on FM and some LA market watchers are claiming that KISS FM is practically invincible. In their view CBS is walking away from the future of FM and taking on a fool's errand. Let's take these down in separate responses.

Busted. While the "all music formats on radio are dead" meme is said by advocates to be stuff born of pure critical thinking, it ain't necessarily so. Please see #1 above. Music radio is very much alive and well and profitable. The gang that's pushing to get music off of FM stations, those calling spoken word programming the only true salvation securing radio's future are promoting a thesis that's too clever by half. Among pubcasters this flawed notion is taking on the authority of a pragmatic sanction (i.e., industry consultants and thought leaders supported by the research demanded we do it). Music isn't what's getting radio into trouble or putting it in harm's way. My sense remains that responsibility is one of leadership and a massive failure of imagination.

Busted. Incumbency is irrelevant. One need only recall the events of 1986. KISS enjoyed a 10 share and unprecedented success. Emmis launched Power 106 becoming the new market leader in less than one year. The sheer idiocy here is calling the new CBS music format a loser or a failed strategy when it has not yet been heard (as of this writing). Let's agree to follow the counsel of my longtime friend Rick Sklar and give the CBS gang the benefit of being on the air for a month before beginning to listen critically. Let's also agree to let the audience and advertisers weigh in before making any declaration.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend. See you next week in a brand new show.

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