Stern dollars

Steve West
Fri Oct 8 09:25:25 EDT 2004

>I'd like some of whatever it is Stern is smoking.  While satellite radio is 
>a good place for shock jocks like him, Bubba the Love Sponge, Dopey & 
>Anthony and others of their ilk, I can't see it "blowing up" FM anytime 
>soon, if ever.  If anything "blows up" terrestrial radio it will be IBOC.
>I'm amazed that his "persecuted artiste" schtik has held up all these 
>years.  Would serve him right if the move bombed badly

I'm not sure Stern is so far off base.  I think that in time, what we know 
as commercial AM and FM will radically change, but not completely due to 
Stern's move.  Here's my theory:

1. The FM stations which will see a big void with Stern's departure in their 
morning drive will have to come up with something.  My guess is that most 
will simply do wall-to-wall music for a time, to lessen the effect his 
departure will have on whomever the unfortunate next morning host is.     
Inevitably, these stations will have to move to a more local, information 
intensive approach.

2. I think we will see a major push by the two satellite broadcasters to get 
Americans to purchase new home receivers.  This, coupled with XM & Sirius 
being available as standard features in cars & trucks will make the medium 
instantly available, pretty much on demand.  Couple that, with the satellite 
broadcasters' hiring most of the major terrestrial talent away, I think will 
make satellite a major attraction to listeners.

3. If XM/Sirius ever figure out that they could provide a 'basic' free 
subscription package with a few limited music and news/talk channels to 
attract an initial audience then intice them to purchase an enhanced 
package, you guys better figure out that terrestrial radio is essentially 
doomed, except for the few FM stations which understand that they key to 
success will be a full-service format, modelled after what AM was doing in 
the late 70s/early 80s.   As for AM... under this scenario, it is all but 
dead.  HD Radio (IBOC, for those who care) is an abysmal failure and anyone 
who has studied it knows this fact.  If the FCC pushes ahead with its 
requirements that all stations go digital, on time... the end is near.  
(perhaps that's why my station cluster just this fall has inked sports 
contracts with the major pro teams for live games on each of it's stations.  

Stern?   Aside from delusions of grandeur, he is correct in a number of 
areas about the demise of traditional AM & FM.  But whether or not one 
believes that, one thing is certain:  all things evolve, and the next 
logical step for broadcasting is for the total music 'stations' to be done 
nationwide via satellite, and FM to be the place for your local information 
with some music and lots of talk.  That's the inevitable evolution of radio, 

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