You Know Radio Is In Big Trouble When...

The big box stores are supposed to be selling HD radios and breathing new life into a declining industry -- if you believe the hype.

Nope -- not flying off the shelves.

Instead, Wal-Mart is selling new George Foreman grills that come equipped with speakers that allow you to hook up your iPods while cooking -- God forbid you have to be away from an iPod for a few minutes.

Here's the pitch on Wal-Mart's site:
"Whether you're grilling indoors or outdoors, you'll love the convenience of listening to your iPod or other MP3 player while cooking. This electric grill has all of the features you've come to expect from the George Foreman line, along with a built-in amplifier and speaker".
Isn't that what radio used to do? Entertain at the old barbie -- and everywhere else.

Radio is losing its place to the changing lifestyles of its listeners. You don't need the George Foreman grill to tell you that -- just look around at all the people using MP3 devices instead of radio. But the Foreman grill, already? Geez, what a low blow.

You know radio is in big trouble when...

QVC does a big sales push on home shopping network and they can't sell any radios. They can't even sell enough to put the number remaining to be sold on the screen -- too embarrassing. And QVC likely had to eat the radios it couldn't sell. (Maybe they could put them on the George Foreman grill).

Now I have heard people say it doesn't matter -- that QVC sells to older women anyway but if that's true they are certainly smarter old women. They understand what radio operators don't -- that HD radio (whatever that is) is not desirable. It's the Custer's Last Stand of radio and the carnage is everywhere. Imagine, all those digital channels with nothing to listen to. And no digital radios to listen on.

You know radio is in big trouble when...

Group owners attack the ratings technology that it will eventually have to embrace causing everyone including agencies and buyers to question its viability. I see several radio groups taking credit for derailing the Arbitron People Meter (PPM) rollout in many of the top markets. I've said it before and I'll say it again, they have some legitimate methodology and response concerns. But once you've destroyed the very instrument that you're asking advertisers to rely upon -- what kind of victory is that? It's stupid -- like a lot of other strategical blunders in radio.

And you really know radio is in big trouble when...

The industry is a monopoly that can do just about anything it wants and the most it can accomplish is drive its stock down to near worthless prices. How bad is that?

Maybe cutbacks, firings, voice tracking, "Less is More", proliferation of nationally syndicated shows on a local medium and HD radio didn't work.

Ya think?

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