Technology Bullies……or Why a Radio Sales Career Sure Looks Good Right Now

What do traditional cameras, cashiers, parking lot attendants, travel agencies, telephone receptionists, pharmacists, Tax Prep Services, Paper Maps, Bank Tellers, Taxi Drivers, The U.S. Postal System, Lawyers/Paralegals, Wristwatches, Pharmacists, and Television all have in common?

They are, or are about to become, innocent victims of technology bullies. Each of the above professions and/or industries were doing fine a decade ago until the Technology Bullies wanted in on these solid business models and descended on these jobs and companies like a swarm of electrified locust.

The results are devastating and irreversible if the technology bullies darken your door. Here are just a few examples that are noteworthy: 

  • Three UCSF Hospitals now have automated, robotics controlled pharmacies. Physicians send in their prescriptions electronically to Robots who pick, package, and dispense individual doses of pills. In 2013, Robots filled 350,000 doses of medications. Pharmacists beware.
  • Lawyers/Paralegals – In 2013, ground breaking legal software “read” 1.5 million legal documents for only $100,000 in fees. Human legal fees alone for that volume of legal review are priced at $1.2 million. 2015 projection is that software will read 6 million legal documents. Software will erode the legal profession over the next 5 years by 25%.
  • Bank Tellers – Two words: ATMs and online banking. There really is no need to visit your bank anymore.
  • Taxi Drivers now must contend with Uber, a 3 year old start up that basically operates from an App in most major cities in the U.S. and Europe. By pressing a button on your smart phone, you can go anywhere a Taxi can take you at less cost by independent drivers. All done on your credit card. No phone calls. No cash. Uber is now valued at $18 Billion.
  • Tax Prep Services – Why see a human when there are 3 software options to choose from that can prepare your taxes at a fraction of the cost of tax accountants and complete the painful chore from the comfort of your home or apartment.
  • The iPhone has mostly eaten up the need for paper street maps, traditional cameras, and the wristwatch. Not to mention the need to buy a newspaper, learn about the weather, or use paper note pads.
  • The need for parking lot attendants is just about over as automated pay stations are now the “law of the land,” at least in Southern California.
  • The venerable U.S. Post Office and its loyal carriers, now in the death grip of the combined technology bullies of email, IM, and Internet bill paying. This effectively eliminates the need for stamps and daily mail service.

We point out these examples because it’s clear that when your business model is under attack from Technology Bullies, the outcome goes in only one direction and that is down.

We do not say this with any joy. The displacement of good jobs in an industry under attack is never pleasant as we know too many people who have suffered at the hands of the technology bullies. Man against the machine, hardly.

This brings us to the ultimate “Technology Bully,” a company so diverse, so competitive, so aggressive, and so large that it will report Q2 gross sales of $19.3 Billion with a B…in one quarter alone. Of course we are talking about Amazon. The sheer name strikes fear and terror into any industry this technology behemoth sets its sights on. Amazon is now the world’s largest retailer of just about anything, the largest shipping firm with one day delivery, the largest bookseller, an exploding grocery foods delivery service….and now their next conquest is clearly focused on Television.

If it was only Amazon that was focused on Television, this story might have a different outcome. However, there are now 8 technology bullies with their locust-like gaze focused right at Television and its viewers. As we’ve seen from the other examples listed, how do you think this will end for Television?

Here are the 8 technology bullies we know of so far that are swarming all over traditional Television for its viewership:

• Amazon TV/HBO partnership
• Google Television
• Netflix
• Hulu
• Twitch TV
• DVRs (49% ownership of LA DMA households alone)
• YouTube Original Programming
• Microsoft X-Box Streaming Programs
• The Internet (50% of American TV sets are connected to the internet)

Do you see Television’s looming survival crisis? It’s not their programming; it’s their new and overwhelming competition that does not know defeat, especially Google, Netflix, and the ultimate technology bully, the massive, never lose Amazon. Faced with this overwhelming amount of technology bullies, one can now fully understand how traditional, appointment Television has a tough future ahead.

So what protects Radio from the “technology bullies”?

That’s easy. You see, the technology bullies have really been running hard to get a piece of Radio’s successful 90-year old business model for decades but as they have found, they end up stranded on the rocky coastlines of Radio. From TV to 8 track tapes, to CDs, to Sirius/XM, these early technology bullies never made a dent in this steadfast business called Radio.
The earlier bullies have now been replaced by a new generation of technology bullies and they have faired no better so far. The crowded pure play field, iPod, in-dash options in the car now know that pretending to be like Radio fools no one.

Only Radio is Radio.

The bullies can’t break into our business because none of them are local, none entertain, they can’t inform, they don’t support communities, music alone cannot provide companionship, they offer no help in an emergency, can’t break new artists, have no human interaction, has no station events or concerts, and can’t make people laugh. The tech bullies haven’t cracked that human code and never will.

Human beings are funny sometimes. They say they want all this new technology and music choices yet Radio listenership for Southern California Radio keeps growing. They say they want to hear new artists on pure plays yet still list Radio as their main source to hear new music. They say they want more options in their car dashboard but 82% insist it include AM/FM Radio. The technology bullies did not and cannot predict the strength and loyalty that humans have for Radio and their special relationship with our medium for the past 90 years.

A career in Radio and especially in Radio sales looks so good right now because the technology bullies will never understand what is takes to be in Radio, despite their desperate and over-hyped efforts. So let’s focus on our business and our clients and enjoy what we are so fortunate to do for a living. It’s a great business that offers lifetime employment to those who perform and have a passion for what they do. Never worry about the bullies ever taking over Radio.
So move along, technology bullies, nothing to see here!

Radio is just too powerful and important to our listeners’ lives to ever leave us. Our listeners will flirt with you, try you out, give you great reviews, tell their friends they listen to you, pay your silly subscription fees for a while, complain about no human connection with you, and then they always realize that Radio is well, gee, too good to pass up.

What a great time to be in Radio.

No Technology bullies here.


Thom Callahan