Both Inside Radio and R&R Today reprinted the scathing assessment one Wall Street analyst offered regarding the state of radio. The two publications, however, chose to present different spins on the focus of his criticisms. Here’s how Inside Radio chose to summarize CL King & Associates senior analyst Jim Boyle’s comments on their front page on August 20th:
Boyle blasts radio’s largest groups for not doing enough to make the "revolutionary changes" necessary to help radio recover. He says "There is a notable sense of denial of how harsh the prospects have been and continue to be for radio. The classic CEO reply is radio is not bleeding as badly as newspapers. We concede there is too little radio ad demand, but there is also too little rate card integrity and too little investment in radio’s product and people for the long-term."
Here’s what Inside Radio left out that R&R chose to include:
The industry’s larger groups do not appear ready to institute revolutionary changes yet in sales, programming, promotion or station clusters.
Leaving out one sentence may not seem significant, but one of radio’s problems is that our industry’s leaders (including Inside Radio’s owners) refuse to accept the notion that we are in this fix because of radio’s obsession with cutting costs. While Inside Radio touches on "radio’s product and people," the focus of the quote is sales. Focusing on sales issues implies that radio is more a victim. Boyle’s criticism is far broader suggesting that the real problem is lack of leadership.
This is not the first time Boyle has criticized radio’s leadership. In 2004 he wrote:
The giant radio platforms, whose execs are spread too thin and are more distant from the local setting, have been under-performers by several operational metrics.
Four years and many budget cut-backs later radio is no better off. Revenues continue to drift southwards with no end in sight. Boyle was right in 2004 and his new assessment is accurate. When radio came under attack by alternative media including satellite and internet radio we failed to respond. Rather than invest and innovate, radio responded by turning program directors into product custodians, cutting programming and marketing budgets, and adding commercial inventory.
Years of cut-backs has proved that radio cannot solve its problems by cutting expenses. Radio will not turn around until it begins to invest to prove to listeners and media buyers that we believe in the product. When will Boyle's "giant radio platform" leaders finally get the message?