Know who the enemies are if you want to win the war




By: Art Vuolo

On The RadioThe former publisher of Inside Radio, Jerry Del Colliano, feels that what’s killing radio is constant denial. The “big guys” who run the mega radio companies are saying things that scare me. Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reported that Clear Channel Vice President John Hogan said: “Performance and capability is not our problem. Our problem is one of perception.”

No, it’s not. Look what they’re doing. They try to grow a business by cutting back. They embrace the wrong technology (HD instead of mobile/Internet). They have driven off the next generation — have no clue what they want — and think the problem is about perception. No one cares about perception — they care about content and how it is delivered.

Dan Mason, president of CBS Radio, said, “The Arbitron People Meter will revolutionize the industry,” probably because actual radio listening has been underreported using the old system. Mason said, “For this industry to have to defend itself against the iPod is not only ridiculous, it’s wrong.”

Repeatedly, I’ve preached about the iPod, but it’s not the only thing radio has to defend itself against. The enemy has been redefined as Internet radio, mobile phone competition for listening time (texting, phoning, etc.) and social networks. To beat the “bad guys,” you need to know who they are.

Radio may be just the ticket for baby boomers, but it’s not even on the radar screen among most 18-to- 24-year-olds. Del Colliano said, “Radio people seem to deny that they need to attract this audience, and they get nasty when you tell them that radio may have to deliver content in ways other than terrestrial signals.”

As a baby boomer, I see my generation is approaching the checkout lane and Gen Y (young people) are just starting to live, spend and buy goods. As much as radio groups say they understand the Internet, they don’t. It is a delivery system and it needs content. One would think they would want to be in that business. Thanks, Jerry, for letting me borrow some of your thoughts.

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I’ve been skeptical about the future of HD radio, but 2007 was a “breakthrough year” for HD radio sales. Biquity, the company that “fathered” it, says 330,000 HD radio receivers were sold in ’07, a 725 percent increase from just 40,000 units purchased in 2006.

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Mark your calendars for Feb. 29, when Dick Purtan and Purtan’s people of Oldies WOMC-FM (104.3) will host their 21st annual radiothon 6 a.m.-10 p.m. to benefit The Salvation Army’s Bed and Bread Club. More on this annual fundraiser, which will again be at Oakland Mall, coming soon.

In addition to The Salvation Army, Purtan has lots of love for Detroit Children’s Hospital. Many years ago, the crew there saved the life of one of his six daughters, Jackie, who now produces his radio show. Well, you can help the hospital with the click of your computer mouse and help it get a free “Fun Center” from Colgate. It costs you nothing, helps the kids and takes less than a minute to do. It’s a long Web address, but go to corp/CommunityPrograms/ show-the-love.cvsp and vote for Detroit. Currently we are second only to Charlotte, N.C.

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Kudos to JJ and Lynne at classic rock WCSX-FM (94.7) on their recently completed radiothon to benefit the Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan. The duo helped raise $80,000 in 15 hours for CLF. In the 17 years this radiothon has been taking place, there has been nearly $3 million raised to help children and adults in their battle with blood cancers. These radiothons show the good side of what radio does, and it’s people who donate their time and energy to pull these events off with little to no reward for themselves. They deserve our thanks and appreciation.

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Dr. Don, Rachael, Gunwald, Mike Scott and the whole gang at country WYCD-FM (99.5) did a super job last week with the St. Jude’s “Country Cares for Kids Radiothon” at the Oakland Mall. Program director Tim Roberts called the event a huge success, raising more than $469,165 for St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., which thankfully was not damaged in last week’s tornado.

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Several readers have asked, “Where’s Dick Purtan?” Program director Scott Walker said the Dickster had a nice vacation, with his amazing cancer-survivor wife, Gail, planned long before the Disney cruise broadcast that preceded it. He will be back at the microphone Monday morning at Oldies 104.3.

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Sure have noticed a lot of Jim Harper on TV lately for pop hits WMGC-FM, promoting his Magic 105.1 morning show. Since Clear Channel has tied the outgoing ad budgets of their stations, including competitor WNIC-FM (100.3), Jim’s station is taking advantage of the situation. I guess Chris Edmonds and crew will have to count on word of mouth to help his efforts.

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Swing music lovers can hear the early music of Frank Sinatra this evening at 6 p.m. from Tom Wilson at WMUZ-FM (103.5) and WRDT-AM (560).

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Art Vuolo has published the Radio Guide for more than 30 years and runs Contact him at

Reprinted from the Sunday Oakland Press, February 10, 2008







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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Austerman published on February 10, 2008 12:55 PM.

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