Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Change? Or, Small Change?

Today's headlines:
Mel Karmazin math from yesterday's analyst call: “Sirius currently has nine percent of all listening and 15% of the total U.S. radio revenue. Thousands of stations dividing up 79%” of total radio revenue, hundreds (internet streamers) dividing up twelve percent of listening).

  • Music Week's digital specialist Eamonn Forde tells the BBC this morning that record companies have given up album sales in exchange for the "opportunity" to establish a direct relationship with digital music buyers.
Lots of spin in the air today, eh? .. which makes it a great moment to enter a "no spin zone," The Corner Office:

It is easier for an organization to keep its established focus: the station manager who simply redoubles his or her efforts to make the budget for the quarter; the programmer who is totally absorbed in the specifics of PPM meter logs. It is not that these people are not hard workers or devoted to their jobs; in many cases, they are valuable employees. But one person’s “focus” is another’s “blindness to the change around them”. Radio as an industry has been slow to acknowledge and absorb the change implication of the digital revolution; many among us just wish it would go away and let us get back to business.

That’s where the agents of change can help; they can raise the larger issues that will determine our long term future. These issues include:

What real purpose do we serve for our listeners? For our advertisers?

What are the unique resources we bring to that job?

What are the values of our organization that guide our allocation of resources?

What is the process we use to get the job done for our listeners? For advertisers?

In our business, we seldom stop to ask those questions. First, they are sometimes just too hard to answer and second, we are running at a thousand miles an hour to get our normal business done. The urgent crowds out the truly important, the really strategic questions. It is admittedly easier to go back and switch-pitch the advertiser who didn’t buy our cluster on their last avail. But every day we fill with that frenetic activity, to the exclusion of the important strategic questions, is a day closer to risking irrelevance in a digitally connected world.

-- Greater Media Chairman & CEO Peter Smyth

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