Stupid (and Smart) Radio Tricks

Would you believe that Radio One fired its entire airstaff at urban adult contemporary WMMJ “Magic 102” in Washington last week?

With the exception of the syndicated Tom Joyner show in the mornings, their latest brainstorm is to turn the station into a 24-hour a day iPod with no jocks and “all music all the time”.

The only problem is that WMMJ’s virtual "iPod" features the music it likes and not what you necessarily like. Instead of jocks like Olivia Foxx, Suge, Mike Chase, Alvin John Waples and music director and morning show producer Chris Harris on the air live, Radio One thinks listeners will love no jocks and they will love no salaries.

Oh, the weekend staff which must have cost Radio One next to nothing to employ is also wiped out.

Radio One and Done, as I call them, has slithered through consolidation and then the recession as an unremarkable entity and lousy stock investment.

If you’re wondering why Radio One could make such a radical move, they apparently slobbered over their recent PPMs in which they ranked second in the DC market. They saw a ratings increase when they told their jocks to shut up.

Another stupid radio trick is to assume that the People Meter really reports radio listening.

Of course, it does not.

It reports drive-by impulses picked up by devices worn by a flawed group of respondents who picked up an encoded signal.

To radio, that’s listening but it would be a big mistake to think eliminating all live and local jocks will gain listening.

Smart PPM strategists know that the majority of their good fortune in such a flawed system is due to their P-1s who provide the bulk of the station’s ratings. A relatively small group doing most of the listening.

Radio is hell bent on turning itself into an iPod. Without live and local, radio is an iPod of its own making. Most listeners would rather hear their own playlists if foolish owners like Radio One confuse increased ratings with no live and local personalities.

Here's another stupid radio trick from last week.

As you know Mark Mays recently announced he was stepping down as CEO of Clear Channel by years end. But in documents filed last week with the SEC uncovered by Clear Channel-owned Inside Radio (way to go guys!), Mays will remain employed at Clear Channel through 2013.

Now let’s stop and think about this.

Clear Channel, the company that decimated its staff with firings on Inauguration Day 2009 (not to mentioned before and after) in the name of economy will require that Mays will be able to work only 20% of his present hours and still earn $1 million a year.

The wealthy and shameless Mays gets to do virtually nothing for a cool mil.

Something is seriously wrong with an industry that fires people like the Italian government replaces Prime Ministers and then continues to pay them a million dollars for working less than part-time.

This backs up what I have been saying for years that the cutbacks were a fraud.

The nationalization of local radio is unnecessary if financial concerns were the issue.

The greed and only greed is responsible for the heap of trouble big radio operators have brought upon the industry.

I know what you're thinking if you are a Clear Channel employee right now. You want what Mark Mays is getting. More money for only 20% of your present workload. Seems fair.

Oh, one more thing.

Mays will have the right to purchase the company jet – you know, a little plane called the Gulfstream IV. Of course, if the company gets a better offer, Mays gets the right to match it.

The Inside Radio article said, “While often seen as a perk, since 9/11, corporate security experts have recommended executives use a private jet if they’re able to”.

Security an issue with Mark Mays?

Only if he shows up at a convention of all the people his regime has fired.

Not 9/11 security for sure. How stupid do they think we are?

Radio One's decimation of its Washington station and Clear Channel’s shameless payoff to Mark Mays are really stupid, but here is a trick that is really smart.

Very smart.

Saga stuck it to rival Cumulus recently in an effort to attract more great and qualified Cumulus people caught in the Dickey mean machine regime.

Saga cited the Cumulus policy of spying on their employees and pointing cameras at their salespeople in required and dreaded weekly meetings in which headquarters issues marching orders.

Here’s an ad Saga ran – a stroke of brilliance, and a smart competitive move. Note the last line (don’t cheat).

Director of Sales - Columbus, Ohio

We have a panoply of properties starting with AC WSNY, with decades of dominance and proven advertiser results. The proper candidate should be well marinated in creative sales practices and procedures, dipped in organizational skills, dusted with humor, commitment and drive, and finally baked with broadcast sales passion and goals.

Send letter and resume to
Complete confidentiality assured.

Saga Communications – A camera free company

I have said this before and I'll say it again.

Look to the smaller operators and local owners to turn the radio industry around and save it from stupid radio tricks that needlessly continue to damage a great industry.

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