Jason Lindquist (jlindquist) wrote,
Jason Lindquist
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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