Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why Country Is Down This Summer: In the 1992 presidential campaign, the Clinton brain trust used the expression, "It's the economy, stupid"; meaning the economy would drive the election. Where our format is concerned, "It's the music, stupid." It all starts there, no matter how great everything else is on your station.

This past summer, Country radio experienced a slump. Lon Helton's Country Aircheck reports 28 stations down with just 16 up in share. I believe that this is not because there is any inherent problem with the format. There were plenty of good songs, but there wasn't one "must listen" song in current rotation. And several superstars released less than stellar new songs that got immediate heavy airplay; suppressing the recurrent and gold play of established hits on most stations. No matter how great our stations sound, it's tough to overcome.

Combine that with the fact that the economy forces most stations to go on summer vacation where mass marketing is concerned.

The good news is that the fall will be better. There are reaction songs making their way up the charts, like Chuck Wicks "Stealing Cinderella" and the Billy Ray Cyrus/Miley Cyrus duet "Ready, Set, Don't Go". Kenny Chesney has his best single in years, "Don't Blink".

Let's hear it for a great fall for Country radio!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Why We’re Going To Be All Right: Once upon a time, radio was challenged by TV; Radio adapted and survived. Then major TV Networks were challenged by cable then satellite stations. They survived and adapted and today maintain the most eyeballs most of the time. Now the traditional radio dial is challenged by Internet, I-Pod, Satellite, cellphones and other audio sources soon to be video enhanced.

In spite of all the gloom and doom I read, I’m confident radio will survive and adapt to whatever distribution platform our listeners receive our programming on whether it's cellphones, Internet radios in the car, on the computer or in their dental work. And here's why: WE KNOW HOW TO DO THIS! And we will continue to get better at it. Our radio programming remains the most compelling of the audio mediums. Have you heard some of these Internet stations? You need No Doze to stay with them. And it’s not just radio people liking radio stations better than the public. The public by and large likes radio better when given the choice.

This is not to say that our future relevance is automatic. We need to distribute our programming on all the new platforms while continuing to build our brands in order to maintain and even enhance our relevance. But remember, no one can do this better than we can: Today’s radio professionals.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bringing You Closer To Your Inner Cowboy: The beauty of Country music ... and Country Radio together is that for three minutes and forty seconds, you can be a Cowboy. You don't have to get dirty. You don't have to break your legs riding a crazy horse or a bull (I actually did this once, though my legs remained intact). You don't have to get up at dawn. But the music and the radio allow you to have the best part of the fantasy which is altogether American and altogether cool.