March 16, 2016 at 9:37 am #18767DanOregonParticipant
I’m curious what the board’s take is on the current state of radio with three major radio heavyweights facing steep challenges.
Considering CBS is pulling out of radio, the hedge fund that took over I HEART is 20 BILLION in debt and Cumulus has cratered, what will the radio scene look like in five years? 10 years?March 16, 2016 at 11:01 am #18768
KCBS and KGO are stations that I can routinely receive in the evenings. They are owned by CBS and Cumulus, respectively. I like listening to the news on KCBS. This is a disaster. I am sure that Edward R. Murrow is turning over in his grave (that’s a figure of speech; he was actually cremated).March 16, 2016 at 12:51 pm #18772mwdxer1Participant
There is so little “real news” today. So much on the air is either politics or non news stuff. Murrow, I am sure would also be complaining about which direction news has gone. Cumulus destroyed KGO. Like them or not, they were a powerhouse talker on the West Coast. Their ratings dropped like a rock, after Cumulus bought them. Anyone can Google the story the way they let most hosts go and all. There were a lot of boycotts of the station as well as advertisers that dropped their ads at that time. But radio is going through a major change. Except for DXing, my listening is generally done on my wifi radio. I have access to thousands of stations Worldwide. I can catch the news from KEX and the next from WABC or even 2GB Sydney Australia. One complaint I have heard from liberals and moderates about the loss of moderate or left radio talk. Yes, in the NW, there is little of it, but with a wifi radio, there is plenty of it nationwide, as well as any kind of talk or music a person might want.Where radio will be in another 20 years, who knows? But I bet there will be a lot more streaming.March 16, 2016 at 2:20 pm #18774Andy BrownParticipant
The current state of commercial radio is easily labeled “failure.” It comes as no surprise as it has taken two decades of malfeasance by very large group owners to achieve their milestone of wrongdoing. It took them the first decade to realize they were in over their heads and the second decade to develop a more stringent model (if you call massive layoffs and excessive automation, nationwide programming of the narrowest type regardless of genre a “model”) to try and stop the bleeding. It’s also worth mentioning that Pandora, the streaming leader and the so called ‘reason’ that radio has failed (it’s really just an excuse given by radio sales people), is also on the verge of bankruptcy.
The Telecom Reform Act did not achieve what it was supposed to and in fact, quite the opposite has occurred. There are few mom and pop radio stations left struggling as most of them sold out, but the broadcast landscape is now littered with automated drivel of the corporate type that no one really listens to. Face it, when all the stations in town are not only owned by 4 companies but also programmed from outside the market and delivered by computers and not people, the public stops tuning in. Yeah, sure, there are a few on this board that will talk about ‘ratings’ and such, but that radio sub-industry is more crooked and fixed then any other I can think of. The public is left to their own alternate devices to keep up on new good music, breaking news and local information.March 16, 2016 at 2:24 pm #18775
On another radio board that I have been frequenting, I hear much bemoaning about the direction that terrestrial broadcast radio has been taking (this includes shortwave). One of the participants on another board has stated repeatedly how a few years ago, he dismantled the extensive shortwave antenna farm that he spent countless hours building in the 1980s and early 90s, as the interesting DX catches on shortwave are mostly a thing of the past.
I want to keep it positive. I will do my darned-est to find some legitimate use for broadcast band receivers, even if I am reduced to only listening to CBR 1010 and KTNN 660. If I ever make the sad determination that there is NOTHING that is listenable on the broadcast bands, then I am not coming to this or any other radio boards to talk about it.March 16, 2016 at 3:30 pm #18776radiogeekParticipant
The only good thing that might happen (though I’m not holding my breath) is a financial meltdown of the big companies, followed by a commensurate drop in the license price for full power licenses. Let the big investors take a haircut and give radio back to the local owners who made it what it was.
The barrier is license cost and ownership rules. Let any good media company have a clear signal at a fair price and then let’s see how great radio can be revived.March 16, 2016 at 6:02 pm #18783QPatrickEdwardsParticipant
Like many, I have moved from terrestrial radio to on-demand content, such as podcasts. With a good data plan for mobile digital devices I can pretty much listen to what I want, when I want, and rarely tune in a radio anymore. For personalized streaming music, I have my own private Shoutcast server at my house, streaming what I desire to listen to, processed the way I like it.
Radio hasn’t even been any good for breaking news or emergency information anymore and that was radio’s strong point for so long, with that now lost, radio no longer has a strong point (with the exception of live sporting events) and it is just a matter of time before the big, expensive AM plants will have to be shut down.March 16, 2016 at 7:52 pm #18785
I find it slightly ironic that the one place where music radio with personalities still exists is on volunteer run stations like KRVM, KXRY, and KBOO. In some ways, this is sad because I recall growing up in an era where radio personalities would draw attention to new records and get listeners excited about them. There was suspense!
Today, we seem to be heading toward an era more like that Isaac Asimov and his robots. Your music player beats the radio because it’s a personalized jukebox. Nonetheless, both are jukeboxes; they’re impersonal.March 16, 2016 at 8:01 pm #18788greenwayParticipant
I’m just a listener but with all due respect to all the engineers etc who are still employed in the industry I would hope for a culling of the AM band to maybe seven ppwerful AMs even in a large market provided that the larger slices of the pie allow more ad revenue per station….Maybe this will promote more live and local programming…I can’t think of another reason to tune in to AM other than just the fact that I still love DXing…March 16, 2016 at 8:01 pm #18789
In the past, I have run across people who would offer the following snarky reaction to this topic: So, you just came to realize that commercial radio, particularly AM has nothing of value to offer. I am so shocked that you could be so naive as to not realize this. Any person with an ounce of sophistication would realize that the stations of OPB and KQAC are the only stations worth one’s time. In civilized countries, they don’t even use the AM broadcast band anymore.March 16, 2016 at 8:12 pm #18791greenwayParticipant
With no real knowledge of the industry I would think a drastically reduced number of AMs could do all right in the USA what with our 24-hour car culture and our great distances and the readiness with which we travel them frequently..Just an uneducated thought that has run through my radio mind occasionally…March 17, 2016 at 12:46 am #18797Dxer1969Participant
Well said. MW DxerMarch 17, 2016 at 1:10 am #18799semoochieParticipant
It has been pointed out that the All News format’s demise may be hastened by the fact that their news gathering organizations are tied directly to their TV stations. Since CBS owns most News stations, after that tie is severed, what will keep these stations viable players?March 17, 2016 at 2:39 am #18800mwdxer1Participant
Back in the 60s and 70s with so much Top 40 rock & Country on the air, radio was fun. I worked on the air myself. We had contests, remotes (Those were fun) and the request lines kept the audience entertained. We played the Top 40 Countdown each week and we had tons of listeners that kept track of the list each week. A visit to the Seattle Record Distributors was always enjoyable. They would be pushing and hoping for the next hit record. Radio was really a blast and I am happy for the great years I had in those days and I do miss it. But I don’t see those days ever returning. Kids of today have too many choices and would never follow what we did.March 17, 2016 at 4:02 am #18802Dxer1969Participant
Another excellent post, MW Dxer1. My sentiments exactly!
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