Friday, January 16, 2009

More bad publicity for the radio industry

Just as the radio industry needs all the strength and help it can get in order to survive in this economy come two stories which will not only impact the lives of a lot of people around the country, but will also have (another) negative impact on radio advertising and revenue.

Now comes word that The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) announces it is laying off ten percent of its staff, with a hiring and salary freeze as well.

So let me get this straight. Does this mean that the radio stations, which need all of the favorable publicity and image they can get in front of potential advertisers, can no longer afford to keep their collective publicity machine alive? Some message this sends to ad agencies and local advertisers. The organization responsible for materials and publicity about what makes radio a potentially good source for advertising is having financial problems. This makes a tough job even tougher, at the worst possible time. Ouch.

Meanwhile, the word is that on Tuesday, while the nation is focused on Inauguration Day, that "Clearance Channel" (as I call it) will announce significant employee and air talent reductions across the country. Considering they already use voice tracking in markets as large as Detroit and Chicago, I'm afraid to think of how much worse things will turn within the next week.

I suppose when you have one executive running 5 stations in the same market, each station only gets 1/5 of the effort. But the wrong people suffer on this. And that includes the listeners.

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