None Is More

You've got to hand it to Clear Channel. They never give up.

After years of touting "Less Is More" to the advertising community (or should we say to their shareholders), they've now come up with a another new idea.

None is More.

No commercials 24 hours a day.

KZPS, Dallas is running no 30's, no 60's -- not even tens.

No "blinks" -- another Clear Channel innovation.

They call their latest brainchild integration because one sponsor gets to buy the entire hour and gets a mention at the top of the hour then the djs give the sponsor about two minutes of casual mentions during the hour's music programming. Each advertiser owns their category. The New York Times described how this concept would work for Southwest Airlines -- one of KZPS' first sponsors:
"You know, the best way to get down to Austin for South by Southwest music festival is Southwest Airlines. They have tons of flights. It's the way I travel".
Wait just a minute here!

Let's take time out from making money to examine how Clear Channel is neutering the dj again (remember virtual voice tracking?) by reducing him or her to a pitchman who gives their own recommendations and probably doesn't even get paid for the endorsement.

Does anyone remember personalities?

Okay, forget personalities. How about just good "More Music" Drake-style jocks.

This stinks.

I guess Lowry Mays really meant it when he was quoted in the press as saying Clear Channel's job is to sell products because it sure as hell isn't going to be entertaining people -- not with this misguided idea.

The next generation has to be laughing out loud. Radio lost them during its obsession with consolidation and Wall Street. Surely, Clear Channel doesn't think going "no commercials" while still doing commercials and phonying up the programming is going to work.

Don't call me Surely -- as they say in Airplane.

Let me get this right.

No commercials. And yet commercials. If it wasn't Clear Channel I'd think this was double talk (ha ha).

Jocks who aren't running spots are pimping themselves out by dropping in mentions that are really tantamount to commercials and in the process probably not getting talent fees for their endorsements.

Call the union rep.

If you think this is all lunacy, then consider this.

In my work with the next generation at USC it has become apparent to me that Gen Y does not hate commercials. I was startled to discover this because even though I am a professor, I am a recovering radio guy which means we all know everything there is to know about the future radio listener. Except we'd be wrong.

They like commercials -- in moderation but they don't like what's in the commercials -- the stuff ad agencies think is funny or that spot by the tongue-tied son of the owner of the largest car dealer in your market.

And by like commercials I mean content that speaks to them.

And by moderation they tell me four or six spots an hour -- and get this -- one at a time not in clusters. They hate clusters. Bill Drake was right.

In other words None Is More is not necessary.

They'll listen to your commercials if you cut them back to six an hour (don't care if they are 30's, 60's or 10's) and if they are not nonsensical idiotic radio commercials.

So Clear Channel has done it again -- solved a problem that doesn't need solving.

What needs solving is what Cox and a few other terrestrial operators are doing -- cutting spot loads with plans to reduce them further, pressuring inventory so prices can come up and doing it all without a peep out of them.

Talk Is Cheap.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words.

One of these things is not like the other one.

So, don't get all excited. I'm betting the KZPS experiment is not going to work. They may tell us it's working, but you know.

Some nay sayers will say, "well, you just don't like Clear Channel and won't give None Is More a chance".

Not true.

I love Clear Channel. Without them I wouldn't have the ability to be teaching right now and speaking my mind without having to sell subscriptions.

None Is More is simply a bad idea.


My First Annual Lowry Awards recognizing individuals and companies who embody the concept of Less if More is coming this week. You've never seen awards like this before. Sign up below to guarantee delivery (then check your email filter and be sure to confirm).

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