If you were to choose.....

Sid Schweiger sid@wrko.com
Thu Feb 23 09:53:21 EST 2012

"This is a false choice. I'd choose neither one. 

"I'd be looking at many a third option: Organizing a listener revolt. Create as much bad PR for parent CBS as possible about WBZ abandoning its decades-old role.  File complaints to the FCC telling them that the station is no longer operating in the public interest.  Anything and everything possible to make it obvious that the present management is trying to kill the station. Try to get this GM fired for being unimaginative in the face of a perceived revenue shortfall, and for being completely tone-deaf to the listeners."

...all of which will inevitably fall on deaf ears.  FCC complaints will go nowhere, as they have repeatedly stated over and over again:  They do not get involved in programming decisions.  Period.  End of discussion.  If you're going to try to get listeners involved, remember that you will not get anyone to protest who is satisfied with the programming, and only a percentage of those who are dissatisfied.  Personally, I'd aim at the advertisers, but if they're getting the results they expected from their ads, they won't protest either.

In any company, the largest expense is people.  Infomercials, hated though they are, solve this problem.  Either the sponsor pays outright for the time or the station receives PI (per inquiry) revenue.  Ratings seldom if ever figure in a decision to run infomercials.  Let's keep our eye on the ball:  Radio is a business.  Its practitioners are in it to make money.  Yes, it sounds base and crass, but it's reality.  In this economy and at this juncture in the radio business, infomercials pay the bills without a whole lot of expense.

Calling the current GM unimaginative is easy from behind a computer keyboard.  What's your idea for programming something other than infomercials?  How is it going to solve the revenue shortfall AND be something listeners would enjoy, and where's your evidence they would listen to it in enough numbers to make it viable?  I've been in this business 43 years, and I won't even pretend to have more than just a few answers, certainly *very* few on the programming side.  If you got 'em, let's see 'em.

Remember also that this GM works for one of the largest broadcasting companies in the country, and must answer to multiple layers of corporate management.  The first thing his corporate bosses look at is his bottom line.  If it's consistently red, he's gone.

Sid Schweiger
IT Manager, Entercom New England
20 Guest St / 3d Floor
Brighton MA  02135-2040

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