My blog post on April 2nd brought a lot of reaction. I wanted to highlight my response to a question from a reader abouut ‘Mix Mess Multiplies’ , she wanted to know why Dan & Kim left WHYN-FM?
Here is my response:
…I don’t know specifically what was behind the thinking of WHYN-FM management. There are some general radio trends that I am confident played a role. The first is that even before our recent recession there was no industry shedding staff like radio. Contributing factors to this was first, the elimination of local ownership of local radio stations and the rise of group radio station ownership. We are now in a period of group consolidation, where broadcasting groups are buying other radio groups.
The major radio groups are stock companies. Each must maintain a certain stock price. Failure to do so either means management change or hostile takeover. This buying frenzy has placed massive pressure on cost control. In running a radio station you must have broadcasting equipment and electricity. No longer is the human element considered important. Developments such as the ability to syndicate programs, where one personality is heard simultaneously on an infinite number of stations, and voice-tracking, which allows a disc jockey to record his voice into a computer and have it played back in between songs hours, if not days later, have contributed to the blood bath. In fact, you can go to a facility housing multiple stations and walk through the ‘broadcast studios’ and not see a single person. The major cost these companies can plan and control is staff.
As to Dan and Kim, again I have no knowledge as to the specifics of their situation. We do know they had a contract. My guess is it was signed pre-recession. The tanking of the economy was a tough period for all media. WHYN-FM management probably was presented with a budget from their corporate office, Clear Channel Communications. The local station had to meet certain profit goals. Dan and Kim’s contract was coming to an end. Their deal was signed in better times and it reflected the economic realities of the time. Times have changed. They are husband and wife, so it would be unworkable to lay-off one of them. WHYN-FM management also probably made a cost-benefit calculation of the impact of paying new people in a deal more favorable to the station (I am guessing it would be) versus a potential ratings impact of the loss of Dan & Kim.
The station may have simply concluded they were never going to beat WMAS-FM with Dan & Kim and it was time to change horses. WHYN-FM recently hired Rob Anthony away from WMAS-FM, this could be evidence of the station moving in a new direction in an attempt to capture the 25-54 female demographic. The failure of Dan & Kim to fade away has set-up an interesting dynamic in a media market that is, on the surface, pretty sleepy.
Let me conclude this lengthy reply to your comment with a prediction. Life is a pendulum. Conventional wisdom, business practices and broadcasting practices swing back an forth over time. As ludicrous as this sounds in our current media environment, I still remember Jungleman and Tommy Mack (WHYN-AM) and the gang at WACKY 102 (WAQY-FM). They connected with the listener in a way few radio stations do today. I look forward to the day when a radio station achieves success with personality radio. What is past is prologue, just give it time.