Thursday, December 17, 2015

12.17.15 Bee-otches of the Day: terrestrial radio

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Name: terrestrial radio
Age: 95
Occupation: alleged entertainers and informers of the general publicLast Seen: everywhere
Bee-otched For: failing
It was ten years ago yesterday that Howard Stern kissed terrestrial radio goodbye.

He threw a party in New York complete with Robin, Fred, Baba Booey, Artie and other members of the show throughout the years. He ended up moving his well-oiled mach-ine to Sirius on 1-9-06 and never looked back.

Since Howard left traditional radio, some wonder, how well is it doing? Well, the answer ain't that great.

Here in Grand Rapids, we have three major radio groups running most of the stations. However, two of the three companies' stock prices are less than $2: iHeartMedia/Clear Channel ($1.10) and Cumulus (a quarter). Townsquare is doing a little better with $11.50 per share.

As for Howard's old company, CBS, they're doing OK at $47.50. Then again, unlike most other radio companies, they also do TV and other entertainment entities, so no harm done as far as we know.

But what about Cumulus? A quarter per share is nothing short but embarrassing. Then again, this was the old ABC Radio Network.

True, CBS effed up when they switched many of their O&O Stern affiliates - successful or not - to the ill-fated Free FM. All Stern clones all the time without the pesky subscription fees. Of course, Free FM tanked and many of their former stations ended up flipping to sports. Some of those stations - such as Detroit's 97.1 The Ticket - are quite successful.

But let's face it: terrestrial radio sucks, especially in the morning. The only morning show that has managed to take some of his listeners that didn't make the switch to satellite is Free Beer and Hot Wings. After all, look at WGRD Grand Rapids. They're a perennial top five fave in town. Now, I wouldn't call FB&HW Stern clones, but then again, here in their home state of Michigan, they've still lost two affiliates. Then again also, both stations were sister stations to Bob and Tom affiliates.

But as for B&T, let's face it: Bob Kevoian, half of the show as-is is retiring at years' end. What they will be doing after the new year begins is anybody's guess. Then again, B&T is simply lame. They were funnier pre-Janet Jackson nipslip, but the only people who tend to be major B&T fans are yokels and those who really don't have much choice on the radio, i.e. people in rural areas.

So the question is, why are Cumulus and IHM failing? Simple: bad programming decisions. Remember, it was Cumulus that banned the Dixie Chicks from their stations because of Natalie Maines' anti-Bush speech over a decade ago. Now, the company is banking on the stupid Nash format, which hasn't been successful at all. Look at 94.7 in New York. They've been around for a few years and they haven't cracked a two share. But the biggest question is, WHERE'S THE ROCK?

Cumulus seems to not have a lot of good rock stations, which might help to explain their quarter stock price. Personally, if 94.7 was some type of kick-ass rock format, they'd be OVER a two share by now and the station could have some great revenue. But, no. Instead, they choose to make boneheaded mistakes made by the now-downgraded Dickey Brothers.

Something to think about is that since I started this very website 16 years ago, the stations in my old homeland of northern Michigan have changed very little in terms of management. One shocker came in 1998 when Del Reynolds sold his stations to a Chicago firm, Calibre Communications for $7 million. Calibre became Northern Star and made some bad decisions, such as investing in stations in the upper peninsula. Del bought back his stations a few years ago for around $1.7 million.

And don't get me started on that Texan and how he fucked up a certain 100,000-watt monster and shut down several stations in Michigan's coastline.

The point is, radio hasn't gotten a whole lot better since Howard left. Instead, there's groups that are struggling and the only thing worth saving them might be a merger. Personally, I think if radio realized that they've done a wonderful job abandoning their audience, well, there you go. If radio groups listened to the fans instead of consultants, they could be worth saving. Otherwise, they might see the same fate as those Texan-owned stations up north.

They'll be as empty as the Artie/Jackie chair.
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