That was the prevailing thought when Galileo challenged the views of most 16th century intellectuals and asserted that the earth circled the sun. For questioning what everyone took for granted, Galileo was persecuted, tortured, and forced to recant his heretical ideas.
Judging the impact of Pandora on broadcast radio is another example where people don’t seem concerned about facts or evidential proof. They just know in their heart that Pandora will devour broadcast.
Radio’s Galileo is Mary Beth Garber, president of the Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA). While most broadcast leaders seem uncomfortable challenging the self-serving assertions of new-media pundits, Ms. Garber has been a lone voice defending broadcast radio, first against satellite radio, and now against Internet radio.
In 2005 at a time when The New York Times was gushing on about satellite radio’s threat to broadcast, Ms. Garber rose up to question all the happy-talk about satellite radio. The Times predicted satellite would hurt broadcast badly. Ms. Garber was brave enough to disagree publically.
The Times (along with most pundits) predicted up to 45 million subscribers by 2010. The actual number turned out to be less than half that.
Now the headlines are about Pandora. A Google news search finds nearly 600 stories on Pandora’s IPO.
Nearly all of them tell the same story about the near death of the company, the phoenix-like return, and how Pandora has severely hurt broadcast radio. Take the 2005 NYT satellite story, replace the word satellite with Pandora, and it could pass as a Pandora story.
That’s perhaps why Ms. Garber once again stood alone to defend radio when Radio Ink decided to weigh in on the Pandora story. Her reward was a dismissive ad hominem attack that completely ignored her points.
If anything, Ms Garber was too kind to Radio Ink. The author showed no evidence of uncertainty or ambivalence. He appeared to have drunk deeply from the Pandora punch bowl essentially declaring Pandora the victor over radio.
Cutting and pasting 400 words from the Pandora S-1 (no sense writing anything original when it’s all there in the document), the writer laid out a withering attack on broadcast radio.
Many of the 600 IPO stories saw through the fluff and puffery of the S-1, and recognized the battle is just beginning. Not so Radio Ink. No other source led the Pandora cheerleading like Radio Ink did.
In the end, the story simply exposed the extent of Radio Ink’s naivete. It reads like a Justin Bieber fan club letter, showing no critical thinking, or for that matter much thinking at all.
For every consolidation horror story, there’s a broadcaster doing good radio. For every complaint about commercial radio’s vacuousness, there’s a radio station fan who wakes up every day to radio.
Sure there’s bad radio out there. There always has been. But there’s also a lot of good radio being done.
Maybe Radio Ink could spend a little less time leading cheers for the other team and more time better understanding and highlighting the good radio that keeps broadcasting on top.