From the Desk of Dave Van Dyke... June 2006


Dear Radio Executive:

The Unified Theory

Last month you may have heard the rumblings of a number of broadcasters, journalists and media buyers conveying frustrations with the on-going "bunglatudes" of the radio industry. This is a sure sign that as a group we still haven't found our way toward the light.

Some of the suggestions or recommendations floated in recent weeks actually make very good sense. For example, the concept of overhauling both the NAB and the RAB to be significant contributors to the on-going marketing and selling of the radio industry.

To its credit, the NAB has been more proactive toward this end than has the Radio Advertising Bureau, but both must be restructured in order for the radio industry to be best served. A coordinated process behind marketing the radio business to Wall Street and the advertising industry is the right call. It is perhaps the single best reason the satellite radio industry was able to make such a solid marketing presentation for itself.

On the other hand, the RAB would be the natural organization to step up to be a more aggressive proponent of the radio industry with on-going campaigns inside agencies and in front of marketers to point out the true value of radio.

HD radio is next. Our on-going research here at Bridge Ratings is finding not a whole lot of satisfaction right now with the HD product. The just-released HD radio consumer satisfaction survey suggests that the radio industry has much more development to do. One of the key responses from our limited sample of HD radio users for their dissatisfaction is the reception and broadcast quality of HD. The average person cares about ease of use and accessibility of the technology they may someday adopt. JL Media's Rich Russo had a great idea: why not make HD an easy and inexpensive upgrade to existing radios - some sort of universal converter. What a brilliant and simple idea? We've got to have some engineering geniuses out there who can develop this?

And finally programming. Among the comments I heard last month was that our most highly lauded broadcast companies have some of the best programming minds in the business being under utilized in order to place better content on radio stations both analog and HD. And with consolidation, there are many more programming intellects who have been forced out of the business who should be back at the ranch developing and overseeing shiny new formats.

There's frustration oozing out of the tiny fractures of the radio industry's supporters and defamers. Without a unified theory of marketing and programming the business, terrestrial radio will continue to take that proverbial one step forward and two steps back into the future.

Your feedback is vital to our company's on-going success. I look forward to hearing from you.


Dave Van Dyke



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