The studies we highlight are conducted by credible companies like Nielsen, Pew, Rasmussen, and other nationally recognized organizations. Yet each time we report on a positive study, we invariably receive negative comments and criticisms questioning the accuracy of the studies.
Writers insist that it can’t be possible that people still like and regularly use radio. For example, Nielsen recently found that over 70% of Americans cume radio on a daily basis. Usage of radio far exceeds usage of any other audio medium.
But large numbers of critics question numbers like these. They argue (with virtually no supporting evidence) that with Internet streaming, iPods, and other alternatives, it just can’t be possible that so many people would still use radio.
The fact that new-media supporters constantly attack radio and question any study that shows radio’s strength doesn’t surprise us. What surprises and deeply disturbs us is that radio people are just as critical.
It seems that too many people working in radio no longer believe in radio and instead believe that it is just a matter of time before new media consumes terrestrial radio.
We realize that the last few years have been difficult for radio. Many fine broadcasters find themselves out of work. Too many radio stations have been stripped of essential resources, working with skeleton staffs (or no staffs) and few (or no) tools to effectively program.
For those who became victims in one of the recent radio group financial implosions, it must be hard to continue to believe in a future for radio.
We can understand the negative attitude of one who still works for one of the meat-axe wielding groups. The fact that negativism pervades radio well beyond the relatively small proportion directly impacted is of greater concern.
We hear from people who do not work for one of the troubled groups who come to work in radio everyday rooting for new media. They see themselves as the “mop-up crew,” killing time and taking home a paycheck until someone shows up to turn off the transmitter.
Radio’s ultimate fate depends on radio’s collective belief in itself.
If broadcasters don’t believe in radio, it is just a matter of time before listeners stop believing in radio. If broadcasters from general managers to weekenders sleep-walk through the day not caring what their station sounds like, then it is just a matter of time before listeners pick up on the lack of concern and drift away.
The advertising recession will end one day. Some believe things are already picking up. Forward thinking owners will soon realize that cutbacks have hurt their stations and start adding back some of the resources they cut. As dark as things seem today, things will get better.
A change in attitude will take longer. Radio people working in the trenches beaten down with bigger work loads and fewer tools will remain suspicious and skeptical long after the turn has begun.
The future will be bright for those radio people and stations that managed to maintain a positive attitude during these dark days. If you believe that radio’s glass is half full, not three-quarters empty, then the opportunities will be even greater than before radio’s near death spiral.
Radio is facing a difficult challenge and to succeed it needs believers. If you sincerely believe that digital is going to roll over radio and there is nothing radio can do to stop it, perhaps it is time to move on. You will feel better, and you’ll make room for someone that believes radio can win.
Note: This first appeared in FMQB with suggestions on how to maintain a positive outlook. Read the original at: http://www.fmqb.com/article.asp?id=1595113.