The trouble with Radio, by Dave Charles, MRI-Media RESULTS Inc

In North America, every week you hear of a radio company downsizing.  Good talent is being let go or outright fired in Canada and America.  It’s a dam shame.  We all remember getting our first job in Radio. It was thrilling at the time and the world of radio was opening up to us with bright expectations.

The radio industry we love is being weakened because of these firings.  Go to Seneca, Mohawk, Humber Colleges and meet the next generation of talents training to join the radio ranks.  I often lecture to talk to new talents about the radio industry.  Lately, the news is not good.  The opportunities are few.  The excuses range from ‘two years of Covid hell’ to ‘the board wants to see us profitable’ to ‘the format is more important than the talent’ to ‘we voice track all shows except for the morning show’.

The audience in all demo’s has way more choice than ever before.  You can get YOUR music on demand from a number of sources.  Blogs are growing in popularity but not in revenue generation.  Good blogs are replacing local shows because frankly the talent is not being developed by overstretched content managers.  Multi-skilling for content managers is the norm rather than the exception.  Format Captains running 8 stations in a cluster.  I know of three in the business now and everyone of them is struggling.

Listeners can no longer be enticed to play contests.  As we’ve mentioned before, our research shows that less than 2 % of your audience will actually play contests.  Prize pigs will, but they’re not your real audience.  When probed they go from station to station like virtual Casino players do.  They have no loyalty to your station.  No contest can fix a failing format.  But great talent can!

What radio needs to rethink is finding and developing real personalities.  As the lyric goes ‘ALL TOUCH BUT NO CONTACT’. This is Radio’s current reality.  Soul-less talents with little connection to listeners and their communities.  This ‘voice track’ generation is hurting radio’s chances to make a meaningful connection with their listeners.  Voice trackers give you generic info from the station’s website but most have very little interaction with their audiences.  Texting has helped somewhat however most content managers have not trained talents on how to use text properly.

Those who have been fired and trying to find new radio work are knocking on my door at Media RESULTS looking for clues as to what happened.  Most of these talents were left high and dry.  Many will find other work, but, not in radio.

The Covid pandemic is over.  The economy is struggling to recover in some sectors. Radio for some is no longer an essential Element in their universe.  If we continue to cut and chop our talent pool my prediction is that radio will find it very hard to compete with other information, entertainment and music sources.  It’s already happening.

Image by Naser Mohammadi from Pixabay

About the Author

Dave Charles, President Media RESULTS Inc.

Mobile: +1 289 242 8313.

Email: [email protected]