Experience from someone who's been there is a tremendous asset...especially after having a chance to step away, learn and view changes impartially for a fresh perspective.
CBS Radio needed fresh prespective.
CBS Radio needed fresh leadership.
CBS Radio needed "been there" experience from someone who knows how to get "it" done.
And CBS Radio got it.
Bringing Dan Mason back to CBS Radio looks like the right decision. CBS Radio's 7% drop in year-to-year revenue for 2006 was a direct end-product of industry, listener and customer perceptual losses in branding trust.
From bold format changes across the nation (in the spirit of innovation) that failed to connect with new audiences.
From poor decisions handling the entire Howard Stern transition to Sirius satellite radio, messing up millions of listener's morning routines...especially after CBS Radio tired to fill the programming vacuum unsuccessfully.
Worst of all, from breaking "brand trusts" with listeners through perceived manipulation...and not delivering better products; the quality level of radio stations CBS Radio listeners have long expected from CBS Radio.
This change is an important step in rebuilding trust.
Before they brought back the CBS Radio name, they were Infinity Broadcasting -- the company that invested in radio's best talent, best programming, best leadership, best sales teams, the best radio market's. Before Infinity, it was Westinghouse. And before Westinghouse, it was CBS Radio.
CBS Radio has long been radio's crown jewel...with the exception of the last few years. Perhaps it is coincidence that CBS Radio's performance and perceptions changed after 2002 when Dan Mason "retired" to begin consulting. Perhaps not. Perhaps CBS Radio was just a victim of traditional media losing out to new media. Perhaps not.
The fact Dan Mason is coming back is a good sign for returned CBS Radio growth. Dan's been there. He'll debunk myths and move the group forward. He knows what it felt like within Infinity during its "championship" years, its legacy years as radio grew through the 70s, the 80s, and the 90s. And he's largely consulted new media (such as Sirius) through SaboMason since leaving CBS Radio/Infinity in 2002 (while also consulting CBS Radio).
One of Walter Sabo's respected strengths is his passionate viewpoints on creativity for radio, regardless of format. No doubt CBS Radio will benefit from Dan's recent experiences with Sabo.
New ideas and fresh perspective to the table...while also bringing "been there" assets.
Things seem to be looking up for CBS Radio again. And that's a good thing for all of radio.
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Tuesday, March 27, 2007,