By Holland Cooke
LOS ANGELES — Just as many on-air people who thought they survived radio’s perennial Blue Christmas firings heaved a sigh of relief came the biggest single-week talent bloodbath in radio history. Remaining iHeart GMs/PDs/DJs/talkers/support staffers still fear aftershocks.
Grab the arm rest.
What happened was predicted with chilling clarity…in 1995, by my client Paul Gleiser, who still owns radio stations in Texas, and with whose permission I share the following. Grab the arm rest:
Listeners are already sorting it out.
Before iHeart touted how its “new organizational structure” would employ Artificial Intelligence, most AM/FM broadcast hours – among all stations in the USA – were already robotic. Now even more stations’ morning shows will be imported.
Side-by-side with also-automated digital audio competitors, music stations are easy to spot. They’re the ones with 6 minutes of commercials back-to-back and fewer music flavors. And other than sports and public radio stations, talk radio is largely Trump radio, a candle burning at both ends; mostly monologue; unlike Twitter where everyone gets to talk.
These are propitious times for the remaining indies we wistfully call “Mom & Pop” owners, unhobbled by untenable debt and hell-bent on executing the craft we love. With big corporate competitors mailing-it-in, local personalities and information are now all the more conspicuous.
Many who got whacked last week are still stunned. But when that passes, the self-aware will realize how the broadcasting skill set can advantage them in lots of other occupations (with better hours).
Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) s a media consultant working at the intersection of radio and the Internet; and he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show on RT America. Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke.