Values versus valuations:
Radio and recession
As economic news
grows worse and forecasts become gloomier, perhaps it is time to remember
that values other than just the balance sheet were in tremendous evidence
in September. The importance of those values has not diminished but
the pull of the balance sheet is altering the weight they are given.
So where do we think radio will go and how will it react?
Clues so far?
Creativity stifled? Radio
That is rather depressing: To us consolidation
has already meant that creativity has become somewhat stifled
as focus groups find out what people say they think they want
and stations give this to them rather than allowing the kind of
gamble that may create the truly great or flop but certainly is
likely to make the medium more lively and entice talent into it.
TNot that many we fear in commercial broadcasting, although the cost of radio is so low compared to television that we remain fairly hopeful about public sector radio.
We also hope that the satellite radio companies in the US can weather the storm and in particular that, even in a recession, there are enough Americans who will pay 3 dollars a month extra to do without commercials to make the Sirius model succeed. If it does, then XM will trim its policies. If they both succeed then the pressure will be on for less advertising clutter in commercial radio and the combination of programme content and advertising will have to be re-thought. Where that's done with the "creative accountants" in charge, we can only hope for some real failures.
Where the creative control comes from the programme makers we contrarily hope for success; And if creative programming pulls in the audience in a new environment all the better.
In the meantime the most practical policy to us is to support public broadcasting where you can and push for more community broadcasts-were there enough public pressure for community broadcasting the commercial lobby might have to back off. And with more stations run by widely differing groups, all the more chance of creativity and diversion in the medium. .
Any views? Please comment
on the above. For that matter, if you can put the time aside,
we'd like your "Guest comment" pages this year to stimulate
more feedback and dialogue.
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