Many of my broadcast brethren, including one I highly respect, Harve Alan, have posted the video of Jim Cramer commenting on the business of radio this week on Wall Street Confidential on TheStreet.com. Many radio types bristle at the comments but don’t really say much more than that. And really, there may not be much more to say…but that’s not gonna stop me.
From the opening introduction by host Farnoosh Torabi, including the words “Radio…maybe a dying medium” to Cramer’s defining, comment of “Radio is over as we know it.” Clearly, this is not a PR video from the NAB. However, it is completely true.
What Cramer says in this video is exactly what is going on. Look, I’m not a financial whiz. I could tell you I know everything there is to know about “the street” but I would be lying through my teeth. I know I have a 401k and I know every time I’ve tried my hand at trading stocks I have wisely invested in companies that are no longer with us. I hope it wasn’t my fault. (I don’t need that kind of guilt.) But, I do know the truth when I hear it.
- When you decide that all that matters is great cash flow, and cash flow starts to go down, then you don’t have anything.
- Once XM and Sirius team up then there will be a uniform satellite service and will be in every car.
- Cars are what radio is about. (At least for the last 30 years)
- People who own radio talk a big game (Nothing wrong with that, gang. It’s show biz.)
And the big enchilada…
5. Radio is finished, as we know it!
Yep it is…JUST LIKE IT ALWAYS IS! Radio…as we know,is always finished; just like any medium that reflects its audience. That’s just fine. Radio must continue to reinvent itself. That’s what makes radio great!
The trouble is, going back to the cash flow truth; there is no money to re-invent. If you only have people and marketing to cut back, then you have no one to re-invent and no way to tell anyone about it. (So I guess from a logical standpoint, if you don’t have anything new to say then save the money on saying it.)
So the truth is, let radio…as we know it, be finished but look ahead to what it is now and where it will be next. It might be more difficult than it has ever been, but radio must look at ways to exist and differentiate itself in a world crowded with even more listener choice.
Many of those choices wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for radio. Perhaps radio can learn from the choices it helped to create.