The big radio controversy this week stems from a Clear Channel corporate PD, Darryl Parks, who went off on the FCC’s efforts to address the AM radio problem. While the blog in question has been taken down, it appears here, and has stirred up a lot of anger, especially among those who are toiling away, trying to keep amplitude modulation stations alive and well.
But that wasn’t the part of Parks’ rave that stood out to me. Another of his swipes was laser focused on the recent Radio Show in Orlando. He dismissed it as “the yearly circle jerk gathering of broadcasters.”
Now I have a horse in this race, having been honored with a Super Session presentation in conjunction with Arbitron and Strategy Analytics’ Roger Lanctot. This year, the Radio Show addressed key issues facing radio from the “connected car” to digital sales to talent coaching. And I have to believe that the majority of attendees came away from this year’s conference with a renewed focus, some action steps, stronger personal and professional connections, and even a few great stories to tell about what’s happening in the radio business.
But too often, radio’s self-haters – people who make a living from the business but torpedo it any time they get the chance – go after conferences and conventions like The Radio Show for no apparent reason. We all may have different angles and believes about what’s ailing the business and how to grow it, but the big truth of radio’s challenge in the digital era is that we’re in it together, for better or for worse.
Mobile is a great example of this phenomenon. You may believe that the future is apps like iHeartRadio, or individually branded apps like the kind we design and build at jacAPPS, or the NextRadio FM chip in smartphones. Or a combination of those solutions. But however you view radio’s opportunities or speed bumps, industry events like The Radio Show provide a great forum to discuss, debate, and learn about what’s next in mobile – and a myriad of other issues.
Did I like everything about this year’s show? Of course not. We all have our issues, whether it was the choice of host city, the hotel/resort, individual sessions, or who won or lost Marconi awards. Those types of criticisms are natural.
But to dismiss the entire event as useless, pointless, and irrelevant displays an arrogance that is not only misguided, it is a big part of what’s wrong with radio.
How many companies don’t even bother supporting an event like The Radio Show, yet wonder why key issues that affect them aren’t being properly addressed by advocacy groups like the NAB and RAB? Or the corporate honchos who personally make the trip to Orlando, but deny other key managers and players in their companies the opportunity to learn from and experience the event?
And in Parks’ case, he couldn’t have possibly been in attendance at The Radio Show, thus making his remarks even less germane and more misguided. If you want to gain some insights about an event, try showing up for it.
So, Darryl, maybe next year in Indianapolis, you’ll decide to be a part of The Radio Show, and maybe even take the time and make the effort to help make it better. It’s close to home there in Cincinnati, and you may just find that it has more value than you think – assuming, of course, that you’re allowed to go.
There’s never been a time in radio where individuals have had more opportunity to be a part of the problem or be a part of the solution.
Darryl, you are part of the problem.