Radio Industry Curls Into Fetal Position Following Stern's Exit Announcement
Envisioning their stations going out of business and their mortgages going unpaid, radio broadcaster are lamenting the loss of $100 million in ad revenue when Howard Stern leaves broadcast radio for Sirius satellite radio in 2006. And so the 16 month, futile, search for Stern's replacement has begun. Executives, who once worshipped Stern will now, predictably, begin to spout phrases like, "Oh, we'll be fine. There's plenty of radio talent out there. Howard isn't the only rating getter." Or excuses such is this one from Entercom Communications CEO David Field, "What did it mean to late-night TV when Johnny Carson left? The reality is, that was not the demise of late-night TV." While true, it's not as though television ratings haven't suffered over the years as the proliferation of media options allows consumers to easily gravitate to better content, forever fragmenting what's left. The same will be true of radio. More choice. More fragmentation. We're not going back to a three network television world or a radio environment as bland and limiting as the current one. When Stern leaves, radio will suffer.