The Past is Prologue

You need not have an advanced degree in investing or have Wall Street insider information to see a trend that is so obvious, if we would only spend 10 minutes to really look at it.

2013 was a great year for Radio stocks with most publicly traded Radio companies doubling and/or tripling their 12 month performance. These stunning Radio stock increases can only be attributed to 3 key factors; a greatly improving ad revenue environment, a higher dividend to shareholders, and the realization from trading houses and investors that the ad supported, local Radio model works very well after all.

Why did it take these “experts” so many years to come to the same conclusion all of us in Radio knew all the time? Perhaps we need to understand that it takes most businesses a very long time to become established, profitable, and worthy of the public’s trust, like Radio has.

If the past is prologue, as suggested by William Shakespeare, then perhaps we need to be more cautious on what the financial/media experts are calling the “next big thing”. It is very difficult for any new medium to compete against Radio in the long term which makes investing in companies looking to compete with Radio a very risky proposition.

Here are just three glaring examples of why betting against Radio is a very bad investment decision.  Continue reading

Radio Rumbles On

I’ve been reading about the “death” of radio for far too long, and would find it all most amusing, if it were not so misguided and plain wrong. Each commentary is as dire as the next. Each story is the same and all you have to do is change the decade and the latest “threat” to Radio and it all goes something like this:

1. TV is killing Radio. “It won’t be long now until Radio is gone,” Billboard Magazine (1960)
2. Cassettes and 8 track tapes in the car will “kill Radio, why would you listen anymore?” (A Music Expert, 1970)
3. The Sony Walkman will “Rapidly eclipse Radio” (A major Advertiser, 1984)
4. Betamax and VHS will “erode Radio listening substantially.” (Local TV station, 1985)
5. The Internet will “destroy over the air Radio listening.” Various. (1990)
6. Consolidation will “turn off listeners in droves.” Various. (2000)
7. Sirius Satellite “will soon replace traditional Radio within 5 years.” – Various bloggers (2007)
8. The IPod “will bring Radio down…once and for all” Various Bloggers (2008)
9. Pandora and “pure plays” will cripple Radio forever” – Various Sources (2010)
10. In Dash “Internet Radio” in cars “signals the death of traditional Radio” Various critics (2011-2013)

Yet for all its competition, known and imagined, from its long line of “expert” critics as well as its own weak PR efforts, Radio is still having explosive growth in many sections of the U.S. and especially, in Southern California. In fact, I would call Radio’s momentum a “re-birth” … growing and adapting in ways all these critics have somehow failed to see. These rants against Radio reflect unprofessional journalism at a high level and are not the true state of the Radio industry today. Rather than just offer my opinion, I think it would best if we all look at some undeniable facts about Radio Today and why it is more popular with listeners and Advertisers than ever before.  Continue reading