Breaking free of an abusive relationship with radio
InsideRadio reports: “Two of New York’s biggest ratings gainers in Nielsen’s June survey are stations that went commercial-free for three of the survey’s four weekends, further validating the power of commercial-free as a ratings driver.” Seattle talk stations should do the same, next ratings period. The stations should cancel all infomercials and play non-stop “best of” recordings of their top talk shows. Once the ratings book drops, take a look at the outcome. Do this until it becomes clear to the bean counters that the station should either change format or go to a non-stop infomercial format 24/7.
Do you know of anyone who ever came out on top by always being a follower and never a leader? Leaders win. To lead, stations have to step across that line in the sand and boldly go where no stations choose to go. Forget commercial-free weekends. Just change the format!
If you have taken a road trip lately, you know that stations in Portland program the same formats, syndicated talk and sports as do stations in San Francisco and Denver. A LEADER will step out of the box. KIRO FM is a leader. KIRO sounds better than many major market talk stations. Not every market has a Dori Monson. [Let’s start with Dori because, for some unknown reason, Dori irritates so many listeners] Ron & Don are not cookie cutter talent, they stand alone. Dave Ross has few, if any equals. Even Dori-haters listen to the Dori Monson show. Don O’Neil is so obnoxious you’ll sometimes have to tune away. You’ll be back. It’s compelling radio, most of the time. Name a talk radio station that sounds better than KIRO FM. WGN? Certainly not KGO.
You can transplant Phoenix music stations into Seattle and the ratings leader would sound the same as the current #1 music station in Seattle, and so on down the list. Only the call letters would be different. Weekend radio in Seattle is the same as weekend radio in Phoenix – INFOMERCIALS. So, music stations, syndicated programming and religion are called “cookie cutter” radio. That means these stations are cut from the same mold. Or, to put it another way, the executives there are stuffing dough in their briefcases, same as the executives are doing here. Stations cut back on talent so that corporate execs can skim profits. If a company has to file bankruptcy, no big deal.
Corporate radio has given stations such a beat down that the stations no longer resemble themselves. It has gotten ugly. The air talent is gone, the station is interchangeable with any station of same format in any market, the stations have 18 minutes of commercials each hour and the love is gone. It’s like a drunken, wife-beating husband. The kids (listeners) hang on, only because it’s all they’ve got. Until…Mac Daddy Pandora comes to town. Now, you are offered continuous music. Exactly the music you want to hear after being disappointed by radio time after time. No more of those 6-minute-long punches being thrown at you three times every hour. While radio sleeps it off on the front lawn, you pack your smart phone and ear buds. Now, the kids can choose their candy, and you get your fill of romantic sounds or 24/7 rump-shaking speaker blasters. Life is better! And Pandora has radio giving up it’s weekend income trying to get you back.