That’s the advice from Community Broadcasters founder and operating partner Bruce Mittman as we continue our series focused on independent operators. Mittman runs the 10-year-old company with Jim Leven, the former Pilot Communications executive. The company now owns 44 signals, which includes stations and translators. They are located in Watertown, NY, Ogdensburg, NY, Elmira-Corning, and NY, Olean, NY. They’re also in Florence, Sumter, and Orangeburg, South Carolina. Like our other independent operators, we asked Mittman what he believes the radio industry must improve on in the coming months and years.
RI: What do you want to see the radio industry do better?
Mittman: A couple of things. I think, first of all, we need a spokesperson for the industry. I wish the public companies would resolve their financial challenges, because they are holding back the rest of us, because they’re giving radio a black eye. I am not suggesting they’re bad operators. I am saying they need to resolve the financial issues that they’re facing so that the rest of us can talk about the excitement of radio and not talk about the fact that a number of the large companies are close to bankruptcy because of their financial condition and not because of their operating condition. The second thing that I am a big advocate around, and I really wish the industry would learn to do, is to sell HD. They have walked away from HD, which for me is an amazing solution. It takes us way down the path towards being a technology and not just an entertainment vehicle. They haven’t really alerted the consumer marketplace as to what HD is. They run silly spots like “We’re in HD.” But nobody knows that. Nobody knows what HD is. They have to get down to a very granular level and start to market and communicate exactly what HD is, why it’s a benefit and why people should care. I think that’s a program that has to be readdressed.
RI: You are in the minority there. You don’t hear that a lot.
Mittman: That’s because the majority doesn’t know any better.
RI: Do you think radio is in a good place? What do you see for the future of the industry?
Mittman: We are growing. The only year we didn’t grow was 2008 when the market imploded. Then we only went backwards by 3%. We’ve grown, on average, 7 to 10% a year. We just see radio continue to grow within the context of the revenue streams that I am talking about — spot, NTR, digital, sports — the things I’ve laid out. If you can do those things, radio is a great medium. It is also a great reach medium. TV is so fractionalized. OTT, over the top, cable, reality TV… there’s so many visual competitors that radio is truly one of the few reach mediums left that also supplies extraordinary targeting and frequency.
Mittman, who is also the President and CEO of the Advertising Firm, Mittcom, can be reached at [email protected]