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The suckdom that is corporate commercial radio - Jason Lindquist
Idle ramblings of an idle mind
jlindquist
jlindquist
The suckdom that is corporate commercial radio
Wil Wheaton linked to a history of Los Angeles' KROQ-FM. I had no idea that the big LA station that even I had heard of in suburban Chicago was such a shithole operation (from a technical perspective) for so long. It reminds me of the later heyday of Chicago radio while I was growing up. Deregulation killed all that, but good. The quintessential quote is about 3/4 down the page, from Infinity's Mel Karmazin:
If we're going to be in the advertising business, we want to be in the radio business. And if we're going to be in the radio business, we want to be in Los Angeles. And if we're going to be in Los Angeles, we want to own KROQ.
That's the essence of what's changed. People who own radio stations are not in the music business, not in the radio business, not in the entertainment business. They're in the advertising business. All they're about is making larger and larger truckloads of money:
We've always said that we like to grow our cash profits by 20 percent a year. We think that's cool.
and the way to do that is to do anything, anything to boost ratings and allow you to squeeze more money out of the suckers that want to sell things to 18-40 year old men.

With wireless broadband becoming widespread and cheap, we'll see if competition from internet streamers forces some changes. If you can dial up something better on your iPhone than the corporate-programmed satellite-fed shit on the FM dial, maybe it'll beat some sense into that industry.
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Comments
From: pokiri Date: April 24th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
What makes you think that internet streamers aren't going to be monetized?

Advertiser-supported free content isn't going away, whether it's google products or radio.
jlindquist From: jlindquist Date: April 24th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
What makes you think I think that internet streamers aren't going to be monetized?

Of course ad-supported free content isn't going away. But if market share for broadcast radio doesn't go down (or at least fail to grow at a rate the conglomerates desire,) there won't be a reason for them to cater to listener demand.
From: pokiri Date: April 24th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
But why would it go down? They're doing exactly what they need to to cater to their core demographic.
jlindquist From: jlindquist Date: April 25th, 2008 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)
They're doing exactly what they think they need to do. And it's not paying attention to their customers (listeners) and providing a product that those customers actually want. That would require work, and working people cost money. So it's taking something that works for one group of customers in one place, and running it nationwide. It's lobbying Congress to change the station ownership laws so that they can own half the stations in a market, and program them so that none of them have any competition.

They're not catering to anyone. They're leaving us with little if any choice--until something comes along that competes with them again.

(Satellite radio is a farce--both carriers are owned by different sets of the same conglomerates that own most of the terrestrial stations. (And of course, now they're being allowed to merge.))
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