(By Eric Roads) As the world is more than happy to demonstrate these days, change comes at us fast, and often from unexpected — sometimes even shocking – directions. Hardly a day passes that some new scandal or revelation doesn’t come roaring at us, reported by what sometimes seems an increasingly panic-prone media.
In the midst of so much drama, you have to know who you can trust. And in the midst of it all, radio is endlessly calling for unity within the industry, and for all of us to face our challenges together. But that requires trust too. So that’s why I’m asking the question, just as some food for thought: Who do you trust?
People at big radio corporations: Do you trust that company leadership has your interest and the best interest of listeners at heart? Do you believe them when they insist that live and local is still what makes radio great, and trust that they’re doing their best to make that a reality wherever it’s possible?
At the smaller broadcasters, do you trust that the big, attention-grabbing radio players are really in the same business as you are? Sure, they say they are, but it doesn’t look that way sometimes, and maybe you feel that what’s good for them isn’t going to be great for smaller operators. (Just say the word “consolidation and you know you’ll get an earful from indie broadcasters — but interestingly, not always in opposition.)
The FCC under Chairman Ajit Pai is the most favorable to deregulation in many years. Do you trust that that is a good thing in every case? If a new round of consolidation becomes possible under FCC regulations, who will be the consolidators? Will the thriving midsize players come to dominate the business?
Would you trust those operators to solve radio’s longstanding “perception problems” and get revenue rising again?
And do you trust me, and Radio Ink, to cover what’s most important to you and to do it fairly and accurately, and to get you the insights and advice you want and need to hear? I hope the answer is yes, but if you have any concerns, I’d like to hear from you. We know we have an important position as the last print radio trade publication, and we take our responsibilities very seriously.
But finally, and most importantly by far, do you trust each other? Do you feel like people in this business are skilled and dedicated enough to overcome short-term adversity and rapid change and keep ours a powerful, growing, thriving industry? Is that vital, sometimes (or often) eccentric “radio guy” or “radio gal” still a real, if rare, breed of entrepreneur and entertainer? Are we all on the same side here?
I hope your answer is a proud and enthusiastic yes! Because even among so many questions and doubts and real concerns, if we don’t trust each other, and trust in the radio business, what are we even doing here
Eric Rhoads is Chairman of Radio Ink magazine and can be reached at [email protected]