"Cogito ergo sum"
"Je pense, donc je suis"
"I think, therefore I am"
In whatever language you speak it, Rene Descartes's famous self-analysis phrase on existence speaks volumes about the shape of radio, the ad industry and media itself.
With the latest ad revenue results for the last 6 months (down 15% to 32% year-to-year, depending on the radio group in the U.S.), the radio industry (and media in general) thinks the market sucks...and therefore it continues to be.
The industry/market seems to be in a vicious self-perpetuating cycle: huge operating/financial debt loads, dramatic downturn in economy, smaller ad budgets, more media competition for fewer $$$, staff cutbacks, weakened local programming, more syndicated/voice-tracked content, missed budget goals, forced unpaid days off, speculation about inevitable radio group bankruptcies, more cutbacks -- leaving remaining staff with work overloads, etc.
Execs are even turning down their contracted bonuses and stock options. When it gets to that, you know things can't be good. With times like this, everybody hurts.
Gosh, all that bad news does wonders for industry self-confidence.
"I think therefore I am"
We are all living in the "aftermath of a go-go economy." As Peter Drucker, father of modern management practices, once said: "Every such era believed there would be no limit to growth. And every one ended in debacle and left behind a massive hang-over."
For the last year or so, this is the massive collective hang-over.
Now that the NAB is looking for a new chairman, Radio could use someone with serious vision mojo to help the industry see out of this morass. Someone who can take a room of radio CEOs and get them to see past this mess they helped create on their own watch.
Who is that person?
As the expression says, "Go where there is growth." (as said by Google CEO Eric Schmidt and countless others.)
As another well-known expression goes, this time from Albert Einstein: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Who can avoid doing the same thing as radio has done before and go where there is growth in order to expect different (better) results?
On the Jointblog, we've already suggested Stuart Smalley...but he is busy trying get to formally accepted into the Senate.
What about the return Eddie Fritts? Doubtful, as Fritts left due to the board's need for change and who now heads The Fritts Group, a D.C.-based lobbying operation that represents Fortune 500 companies on Capitol Hill.
Too bad Bill Clinton is also busy with political conflicts.
Jack Welch? He seems to have time on his hands.
Someone smart who can think different, express change and the new reality...and lead others to growth...
Tom Peters? (if ever there a need to returning searching for excellence, this is that time)
Or, to be really contrarian, how about Jerry Del Colliano?
Who do you nominate for the NAB search committee to replace the resigning David Rehr?
New NAB chief: "I think, therefore I am."
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Wednesday, May 06, 2009,