The Radio & Records To Do List

First, the record labels:

1. Stop the RIAA lawsuits against college kids and youth by declaring victory and giving up on this failed strategy that has backfired by increasing piracy not stopping it.

2. Give up trying to sell monthly subscription plans so listeners can access millions of songs – most of which they don’t want. Consumers are showing they want to own music, not rent it. And by own, I don't necessarily mean they paid for it first.

3. Drop attempts to get Congress to revoke the performance rights exemption on radio. If eventually successful, it will only hurt the industry it may someday need to promote its music especially if radio becomes a mobile content provider.

4. Renegotiate the copyright fees for Internet streaming and guarantee long-term stability of rates. Radio may be declining but the Internet is where the labels future customers live. This will help an endless number of streamers promote music that labels can sell.

5. Start an iTunes-type online store in conjunction with a consortium of radio stations to promote music, play it and share the revenues from the site.

And, here’s how radio can make things better:

1. Hire more sales people. Revenues are down. Triple the sales staff. Pay attractive commission rates to avoid vacuum cleaner salesmen. And train them.

2. Make all morning shows local.

3. Put a personality afternoon drive show on the air. Listeners from the next generation say the number one way to even have a chance to get them to listen to a radio is to put morning show type personalities on at other times of the day. I know groups won’t do this because it will cost more money than hiring cheap talent, but it can help radio with available listeners.

4. Get into the podcasting business.

5. Encourage a faster rollout of the Portable People Meter. The diary system is a liability -- just as radio CEOs who are leading the fight against it. PPM will show increased listening. That's a good thing. Paper out. Digital in.

6. Adopt a one-PD-for-one-format policy and list on a single sheet of paper management’s specific goals for the year ahead. Have the PD agree to these terms. Then leave the PD alone and support him or her with a budget that will be agreed upon in the “contract”. If your PD achieves the goals to the station’s satisfaction, reward him or her with a raise and another contract. If not, you have the right to review the entire situation.

7. Improve corporate governance and hold CEOs and top executives more accountable for their actions and compensation. Continental Airlines is one of many airlines hurting these days. When they announced massive layoffs recently, the two top Continental execs relinquished their salaries for the remainder of the year sending the right message to those surviving the cuts. Hey Farid and Al Liggins – your stock is worth between $1 and $2 dollars. Give up your compensation (and stock options) for the rest of the year. Make do with last year's jet.

8. Stop voice tracking. Hire live talent instead. Get rid of a strategy that saves money and loses listeners.

9. Adopt posting in major markets. Advertisers -- the ones who pay you -- want it. Enough said.

10. Give your morning show the ability to connect with people by being a consumer advocate, helping them pay their bills or save their homes and provide them with chances to interact with the music acts you air.

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