For Radio, It's Cut And Ruin

The layoffs and staff dismissals continue proving that even though consolidation's leader, Clear Channel, couldn't make it work, lesser consolidators continue the failed practice known as downsizing. Just in one day news that CBS -- the failed consolidator-in-waiting laid off the entire staff at WAQZ, Cincinnati. CBS is supposedly doing a little nip-tuck of its own on staffs elsewhere (Inside Radio rumors Memphis). LMAs are all over the headlines and radio people know what LMAs bring -- layoffs. When Citadel takes over the ABC stations, want to bet they don't increase hiring by 20%? Radio doesn't need fewer people to run their stations. They need more. And while they're at it, they need to pull the duct tape off the hands of their managers, programmers and sales executives. They need to make up for ten years of self-induced decline. No one will ever make me believe that the iPod killed the radio star and I work with college students who hate radio -- literally hate it. Or should I be more specific -- hate consolidated radio. They tend to love the KCRW's of the world -- a station that successfully marries intelligent over-the-air broadcasting with the Internet. So it's business as usual for the consolidators who know nothing else but cut and ruin. There's little solace for professional radio people who had to hold their noses while the consolidators wrecked a good business unless they enjoy watching the consolidators squirm at the hands of their Wall Street co-conspirators. The only good news I can report -- and this is very good news -- is that many stations will be spun off as consolidators fold. If these stations wind up in the hands of smaller, regional owners then boy, do I know a lot of good employees waiting to go to work for you! But it may be too late. Radio is losing the next generation.