NYU whitepaper clobbers radio while advising it must adapt

Larry S. Miller, director of the Steinhardt Music Business Program at NYU, has issued a freely available and widely discussed whitepaper that administers a whopping dose of tough medicine to the terrestrial radio industry, advising it to adapt, or else. It’s called Paradigm Shift: Why Radio Must Adapt to the Rise of Digital, and is available as a PDF here.

Larry Miller, a RAIN Summit alumnus who moderated a panel of major label executives at RAIN Summit Nashville last year, is the founder and host of Musonomics, a podcast about the music industry. (Info HERE, listen HERE.)

The whitepaper premise is nothing new: Radio faces disruptive challenges from streaming, and must be adaptive. It is the intensity of bad news, supported by metrics from various sources (with special call-out to MusicWatch, Russ Crupnick’s research company), and the level of stern admonishment, which has got people talking about it.

SoundExchange is credited with supporting the production of this whitepaper.

All major aspects of radio’s analog legacy are taken to task:

  • Losing placement in the car
  • Shifting from tastemaking to validating hits created on streaming platforms
  • Exemption from label royalty payments, defended fiercely via Washington lobby, making major labels less interested in radio
  • Poor audience measurement compared to the server-side accuracy of digital, with special critique of non-PPM markets representing half the U.S.
  • Young people not listening much, and mostly unable to identify an AM/FM station they love

The issue of time spent listening (TSL), especially with demographic comparisons, is faced square on. RAIN News has often called this out from Nielsen research, though it is rarely addressed publicly by radio organizations or trade publications. Young people listen less — a lot less — even as reach remains steady. It is for radio as an industry body to decide whether TSL and demographic TSL fading is important. But the metrics are clear. In this whitepaper, Steve Goldstein is quoted: “In 2007, radio’s TSL was around 20 hours. Today it hovers at 14 hours, and it is even lower among Millennials.” (Steve Goldstein, Amplifi Media)

Other quotes pulled from the paper which support the overall tone of emergency:

“The power of music discovery used to lie in the hands of the radio DJ, now it lies in the hands of the playlist curator.” (Mark Mulligan, MIDiA Research)

“We are on the precipice of different advertising channels taking lead positions in the local advertising marketplace.” (Mark Fratrik, BIA Kelsey)

“The more your clients understand about the intricacies of the ratings system, the more likely they are to be appalled – particularly in the presence of precise metrics from online radio players like Pandora and Spotify and digital natives like Google and Facebook.” (Mark Ramsay, consultant)

“My message is evolve or die.” (Scott Burnell, Ford)

In the end, Larry Miller uplifts the mood by forecasting a healthy future, with a conditional IF:

“Radio needs to invest in strong and compelling digital services. If it does, radio can look forward to a robust
future built on the strong foundation it already has in the marketplace leveraging the medium’s great reach, habitual listenership, local presence and brands.”


Brad Hill


  1. Lot of commentary about this on other boards. As readers of RAIN know, the major radio companies have all invested in digital platforms. The most notable is iHeart, which has the largest streaming platform outside of Pandora and Spotify. There also is CBS Radio’s Radio.com and multiple digital sites run by Townsquare, Cox, and others. The real problem I have with this study is the funding came from SoundExchange, which has caused critics to question the motivation of the report. My view is that streaming isn’t replacing AM/FM radio, but rather it’s replacing the purchase of recorded music. We can see that in sales figures from the labels, and in the dashboard of recent cars. It’s becoming hard to find a car that comes with a CD player any more. But that point of view would not be acceptable to a report funded by the recording industry.

    • Every research piece radio comes out with is either BS Nielsen research or “sources available upon request” (my consistent favorite from iHeart). Take a look at some of Pierre Bouvard’s puff pieces. More holes than Swiss cheese… but we’re supposed to believe that?

      • “but we’re supposed to believe that?”
        You believe what you want to believe. This report says what you want, so you believe it. For you, the issue isn’t whether or not radio adapts. Whatever they do is bad.

  2. It is really unfortunate that the radio industry is not reacting as fast as it should. Radio has a unique value proposition which is not completely fulfilled by streaming services, for now. In my opinion, there are still a lot of people in the radio industry that have not yet accepted that things need to drastically change and adapting to digital is not an option but a necessity.
    And when I talk about adapting to digital, I am not talking about offering the FM broadcast in a digital streaming format like it is done on applications like TuneIn, I am talking about rethinking the entire experience with the listener first in mind, pairing the best of what radio has to offer with the new technologies available. I hope that white paper inspire a new breath in the industry.

    • “It is really unfortunate that the radio industry is not reacting as fast as it should.”
      Maybe you can be more specific.

      • The Big A, what I meant to say is that many of the people in the radio industry do not seem to understand the urgency of the situation. That said a lot of them understand that things need to change which is a good start but I don’t think it is obvious to them that there a lot of things that are not working so the change needs to be disruptive instead of being a progressive.

        • “The Big A, what I meant to say is that many of the people in the radio industry do not seem to understand the urgency of the situation. ”
          Really? Like who? The CEO of iHeart understands. That’s why he changed the focus of his company from strictly broadcasting to a multi-platform company. I go to conventions with hundreds of broadcasters, and they ALL understand what’s going on. Same with the TV and cable companies. It’s far bigger than radio, and we all understand the urgency. Thanks.

          • Urgency is as urgency does. Just like everyone in the ivory towers 30 years ago “understood” how racing to the bottom of the music content barrel was the best and most “efficient” path for OTA? So today, instead of re-investing in competitive content and curation; they divest and diversify to other platforms in order to survive. Sad, [sniff]

          • They might understand… they are not doing anything about it. iHeart is a joke, it’s online service has paltry streaming numbers because the user experience sucks and the content can be heard elsewhere, like the RADIO.

  3. Big A, are you saying that beyond iHeart most major terrestrials offer any personalized services? I think you are dead wrong; they offer irrelevant simulcasts of their local stations. Terrestrial will die, it’s only a matter of time. Any major radio broadcaster who has any creative vision for ANY long-term future, better get in the personalized digital game quick. The WhiteSheet is spot-on, regardless of who helped fund it.

    • “Big A, are you saying that beyond iHeart most major terrestrials offer any personalized services?”

      Yes. Remember that radio is more than just music distribution. If all we’re talking about is music distribution, that’s what I meant by streaming replacing cassettes and CDs. Personalized services can be podcasts, which most OTA radio companies do. But if personalized services just means allowing users to build personalized playlists, there’s no profit in it, as evidenced by Pandora.

    • “They might understand… they are not doing anything about it.”
      What would you like them to do? You consider 60 million users “paltry?”

      • They don’t have 60 million active users. They have that many registered users. NOT that many active users. Big difference. Check their Average Active Sessions. Compared to Spotify or Pandora, yes. Paltry.

        • Regardless, the article makes it sound like AM/FM radio has no digital presence at all. It’s wrong about that.

    • I like BoomerRadio(dot)com. It has specialty oldies channels that appeal to people over the age of 35.

        • Many of the people I know who are over 40 are all asking the same thing: “Where on the dial can I hear MY music?” They feel alienated.

          This article mentions that the industry is clueless (www(dot)csmonitor(dot)com/2005/0609/p11s02-ussc(dot)html). I very much second that.

          • I feel it has to do with the decision makers being young and don’t connect with how radio has always impacted boomers and their folks.

          • “Where on the dial can I hear MY music?”
            There are lots of radio stations that appeal to over 40. In lots of genres. Country, pop, R&B, some of the most popular formats have target audiences between 35 and 45. The report in this story says there’s no radio for teens. Which is it? Everyone thinks there’s no radio for them, yet there are lots of stations reaching their age. It’s not about their age, it’s about their taste, which is not always a function of age. Just because an article says the industry is clueless doesn’t mean it is. The industry does what makes money. Lots of boomers are willing to pay $15 a month for satellite. But complain about commercials on FM.

          • “This article mentions that the industry is clueless”
            That article talks about music aimed at people in their 70s, not people over 40. Listeners to 50s music are now over 70. BTW I was in a store today, and they had an OTA station playing all 1950s music. However, it’s a noncommercial station. Still, it can be heard on a standard FM radio. So the music is available, if you look for it.

          • Big A – The reason you heard some 50’s music over the air is because you live in an area where you are lucky enough to still have a station playing it over the air.

            My family and I grew up on 60’s music. In our area, on the FM band, the stations we can get clearly are country, Christian, and pop stations playing 80’s and onwards. On the AM band, the stations we can get clearly are talk/news.

          • I’m in the same area and second what Beth mentioned about the lack of format variety in our area. Maybe because it’s rural and not urban.

          • Big A – While you think that AM/FM radio is awesome, a lot of people out there have figured out the truth about it and have learned that AM/FM radio sucks.

          • “While you think that AM/FM radio is awesome”
            I never said that. I just pointed out that it has adapted, and over 239 million people listen. They are satisfied with what they get, they have lots of other options, and still they choose AM/FM. You choose the other options. That’s great. That’s why options exist. No one is trying to change your mind or sell you something you don’t want. But by the same token, this report ignores a lot of important facts, and my point is simply to report them.

          • Big A – I’ve been chit chatting with them further down the page. They’re into easy listening performers such as Josh Groban. The types of performers they’re into explains why they’re upset with US radio.

          • “Big A – I’ve been chit chatting with them….”

            This article really doesn’t deal with the lack of soft rock on the radio. That’s more of an individual thing.

          • Big A – You mentioned later down the page that HD2 stations play fringe formats. That’s the format streams they need to search for.

          • “Big A – You mentioned later down the page that HD2 stations play fringe formats.”

            In some places they use HD2 for soft rock. There are lots of threads in other discussion groups on this subject. In some places, you’ll hear 50s/60s oldies, soft rock, or even EDM. Depends on local interest.

          • At the beginning of the discussion you mentioned about iHeart. That’s another thing I recommend to them. If they sign up for an account, they can listen to artist specific stations.

          • Actually, it’s not an individual thing, it’s format changes. Josh Groban had songs charting in the top 10 on the AC charts until 2006. That was when I noticed our local AC stations becoming more and more edgier, appealing more and more to the MTV generation. That was when I started listening to Live365, etc.

          • Beth – I personally like what AmazingLiteMusic(dot)com has done with the AC format. They have it ballad-oriented, like it was in the 80’s/90’s/early 00’s, yet keep it fresh sounding by having current lite hits playing heavily in rotation, making it sound less oldy moldy than a typical Soft AC on FM radio would sound.

          • Soft Rock Chick – I stumbled upon and listened to Amazing Lite Music a few months ago. I personally found it to be too oddball of a mix but I think it can appeal to a younger lite AC listener.

      • One other thing that wasn’t mentioned in the report was the number of HD2 stations that play formats like 60s-70s oldies or other fringe formats. More new cars have HD standard now. I rented a small Toyota this wknd and it gets HD Radio. If you sample the stations available in your town, you may find what you want, and they’re usually relatively commercial free. In LA for example, K-Surf AM is also available on 105.1 HD2. It also streams.

        • Yes, let’s rely on a service that almost ZERO radio listeners even know about. HD Radio is a major fail

          • Just because you don’t know about it doesn’t mean it’s not any good. The point is it’s growing as more people can receive it. It’s growing because it offers formats not available on regular FM

          • BigA, Show me those numbers on HD Radio growth, lol. I was in radio for well over a decade. I know what it is. HD Radio has been around for a long time and the general public is mostly unaware.

          • In multiple markets, HD stations have begun showing up in the ratings. That hadn’t happened before. The reason is because HD is becoming more available as standard equipment in cars. It took FM 30 years to become accepted. The point is that contrary to what this article says, radio companies HAVE invested in digital options. The writer obviously didn’t do his homework.

          • TheBigA — I respect your advocacy, but I respectfully suspect that even you don’t believe all of it. Couple of thoughts:

            1. iHeartRadio: I agree that this has been an under-recognized app for years. It is a very interesting project, and it’s important that America’s largest radio group started its innovation years ago, and renamed Clear Channel after its digital app. The iHeartRadio All Access service has some cool technology. The brand has powerful brand recognition in the U.S. and in some other regions. It is the third-largest streaming entity in the u.s., according to Triton Digital. (With that last point we should keep in mind that it represents 850 stations plus pureplay internet stations plus podcasting … so it’s a mighty ship signifianctly behind both Pandora and Spotify.

            2. Radio at large conferences. So, were you in austin today to hear David Field at The Radio Show? I was. It was an old-school pep talk, with barely any reference to digital realities, and he received a roaring ovation. That keynote address is the biggest messaging platform in the industry. It can be used to advance radio into the future, or foster complacency. Your thoughts?

          • Good questions.
            1) Did the Miller report even mention iHeartRadio? My read of it was that he was only aware of the broadcast part of these companies, to the exclusion of all else.
            2) What Field says and what he does are two different things. He just did a deal with a podcasting company. As part of CBS, he now owns their Radio.com streaming platform. He also owns their stake in HD Radio. He may not have mentioned it, but those are the facts, and none of them were included in the Miller report.
            Regarding the NAB, if you wander into the exhibit hall, you’ll see lots of digital presentations and offerings. This is not just about transmitters & towers.

          • BTW, if you or your readers look at the agenda for the NAB convention, they’ll see most of the topics have the word “digital” in them. More times than the word “revenue.” Did Miller go to an NAB before writing his report? Obviously not. My sense is he combined his memories of radio from 20 years ago with whatever items SoundExchange told him to say, and that was the total amount of research he did. The fact that you and RAIN are at the NAB, and you did a seminar that was attended by AM/FM broadcasters shows what a fraud Miller’s report is, and why one week later, no one (outside of you & me) are talking about it.

          • Thanks for your replies.

            “Did Miller go to an NAB before writing his report?” — Larry Miller was a speaker at our NAB/RAIN Summit last year, so he went to that one at least. His whitepaper is not fraudulent — it’s a roundup of radio’s challenges of the last 10 years, what we might call the post-Pandora era for broadcasting. (Post launch of Pandora, that is.)

            I think we can draw distinctions between: 1. recognizing industry disruption, 2. responding to disruption with modest response, and 3. creating meaningful and progressive responses to disruption. In looking at U.S. broadcasting, we can see commercial radio getting to #2 in a general way — repurposing radio shows as “podcasts,” simulcast streams (extremely low listening rates), a bit of movement toward smart speaker competence. Public radio is obviousy in a leadership position, running with the ball 80 yards ahead of commercial radio, especially in the podcast and smart speaker space. Public radio is in the #3 response to disruption.

            David Field will soon be the second most powerful executive in U.S. commercial radio. The CBS acquisition by Entercom, by itself, is an old-school play of scale. Nothing wrong with it, but unrelated to digital disruption. CBS has Play.it, an on-demand audio platform from which we rarely receive news. Entercom has invested in DGital Media, buying its way into podcasting similarly to the Hubbard/PodcastOne deal. Bravo to both radio groups for recognizing importance and fast-tracking their involvement. (Entercom stations are also doing interesting things in some clusters like Seattle.) Besides these items, commercial U.S. radio is doing almost zero original on-demand content, which is clearly the only substantial strategy in this space, and which radio is obviously suited for. That is an unavoidable, inexplicable fact and point of failure to date. (I should also mention ESPN’s radio division as an outstanding early mover with an astounding portfolio of sports podcasts.)

          • Here’s the problem: Radio stations are local businesses. They may be owned by national companies, but as Field pointed out, the revenue is mainly local. National revenue is down. Digital is a national business. So it’s better suited to national content companies like NPR, rather than local stations. With regards to disruption, the people who listen to their local stations don’t want a disruption in their service, and the FCC won’t allow a disruption in local service. So any investment in digital has to be above and beyond what these companies are doing on the air. Digital, especially in terms of music distribution, isn’t profitable yet. So leave that to Pandora and other streaming companies who specialize in it. The majority of the comments here are about wanting specific music formats. That’s not going to be a real business for radio companies. The music industry is standing in the way for real growth in digital music services by increasing the royalties. Had they supported a continuation of the Small Webcaster royalty, we’d see a lot more action there. But they let it expire. That’s not a radio industry problem. It’s a music industry problem. If SoundExchange wants to fund something, they should look into why so many small webcasters shut down at the end of 2015. You know the answer.

          • This article nails it regarding Big Music vs. the Internet. They obviously don’t like the competition. And it’s not just that people are listening to music via alternatives. With internet radio stations shutting down, independent artists will get far less airplay, and listeners will be steered back to the major mainstream artists who bring in the most royalty money.


          • Beth – I was watching the 90’s program on CNN. It told how Microsoft, Google, Apple all got started and now they’ve created monopolies. Same thing happening with other big companies – major record labels, telephone, TV, radio, etc. – big guys squashing the small guys.

          • Seconded, Billy Bob. I agree with Bernie’s stance on media ownership.


          • FYI regarding Bernie’s views, of the six media companies he lists, NONE of them own radio stations. Disney sold theirs ten years ago. CBS is in the process of selling their now. As far as radio ownership, there are over a thousand different owners. One of the problems with multiple owners is you end up with several radio stations in the same town playing the same format. That wouldn’t happen if there was only one owner, as is the case with satellite. So sometimes, multiple ownership and format competition can work against people seeking fringe music formats.

            I always find it interesting that politicians talk about six media companies, yet they have no trouble with AT&T and Verizon controlling telecom, or Sony & Universal owning the major record labels. Six is not enough for media, but two is OK in other businesses.

          • Big A –

            Those 6 he mentions are big TV companies.

            The example of big radio companies he mentions is iHeart, formerly Clear Channel. Big radio companies like Clear Channel/iHeart have resulted in radio homogenization across the U.S.

            Also, just because he doesn’t mention it specifically there, he, and many other politicians and voters and who are progressives and liberals and are critical of unregulated capitalism, are strongly against other big businesses having monopolies.

          • “Big radio companies like Clear Channel/iHeart have resulted in radio homogenization across the U.S.”
            Not true. They own about 5% of the radio stations in the country. There are lots of other companies, single station owners, and about 4 thousand non-commercial stations who all operate very independently. There are also a few thousand LPFM stations who are very different from big radio stations. So there are lots of alternatives. They may not be the most popular, but they exist. And lots of them stream, so they’re available everywhere.

            “are strongly against other big businesses having monopolies.”
            You mean like Apple, Google, Amazon, Pandora, and Sirius? Because they too are multi-billion dollar businesses with very little or no competition. Far less competition than big radio companies.

          • I also second that Billy Bob. That’s why so many over the air stations these days sound like clones.

          • “That’s why so many over the air stations these days sound like clones.”

            Stations that play what your favorite artists also sound like clones. That’s why you like them. The more clones there are, the more widespread your favorite music becomes. If only one station plays your favorite artist, that artist won’t get heard. Other people like other artists. For them, what OTA radio does works fine. They listen in large numbers, and want more stations to do the same, just like you.

            As I said there are thousands of non-commercial radio stations. They aren’t owned by big radio companies. They are not clones of anyone. You should seek them out.

          • “Beth, Billy Bob, Music Lover – you guys all nail it!”

            Yes you all agree that the world is flat. Congratulations.

          • No. We all agree with the other posters here that terrestrial has become a joke. Like Thomas McAlevey, we are of the opinion that terrestrial will die.

          • “We all agree with the other posters here that terrestrial has become a joke.”

            Just wishful thinking. If your favorite music was there, you’d think otherwise. So you all agree with each other that what you believe is true.
            Rather than wishing bad things happen to others, you should just enjoy what you have. No need for you to attack what others enjoy. They’re not going to change their taste in music because you attack them.

          • The evolution of the dashboard is changing things, making terrestrial radio become less and less relevant, especially with younger generations.


            I think the only reason it’s still hanging strong is because older generations tend to be driving older cars. However, with Smartphones and iPhones and iPods, you have FM transmitters that you can hook those up to that will play your downloads through your older car’s dashboard.

          • A teen relative of mine got a new car recently. Some of these 2017 models don’t even include CD players.

          • “The evolution of the dashboard is changing things, making terrestrial radio become less and less relevant, especially with younger generations.”

            Except that about 87% listen every week. Also, every car or truck made today includes an AM/FM radio. Some also include HD standard. However, as Beth points out, some no longer have CD players. FM is hanging on because even with all the options, millions of people still enjoy what they hear. You don’t, so you choose other options. That’s no reason to be angry or bitter, and to spread lies and misinformation.

            One reason terrestrial radio is relevant to millennials is because a lot of them work in it. They are making radio more relevant by using social media as part of their presentation. It’s something satellite and computer generated streams can’t do.

          • I agree there is no reason to criticize other people’s taste and choices. But it’s a mistake to disregard how car dashboards are changing, or the blunt challenge to radio. The loss of dashboard real estate is serious. You’re being a little misleading when you say that all 2017 cars contain radios. They all contain AM/FM reception. In many cases the radio is reduced to a (hidden) app on a screen, layered below online audio choices. In 2013, at the Orlando Radio Show, Edison Research and Jacobs Media showed videos of new-car buyers trying to tune in local radio stations. They couldn’t. That was four years ago. It gets harder every year as the American auto fleet gradually modernizes.

          • Big A –

            We’ve seen lots of tech and music articles like these examples:



            and news articles like this example:


            that tell us differently from what you say in regards to radio.

            So are all these tech and music and news articles that are on the web lying about radio?

          • Also, independent stations, like this example:


            are posting negative critiques of commercial radio on the web as well.

          • “We’ve seen lots of tech and music articles like these examples”

            Of course you have. Future of Music is part of the recording industry. They attack radio all the time. The thing you and other posters here keep ignoring is radio is not in the music distribution business.. Radio is not just another Pandora or Spotify. People in Florida found that out this weekend, when they lost power and internet, and only had their radios for weather information. They weren’t listening for Josh Grobin. They were listening for life & death information.

            WFMU is an example of the stations I’ve been talking about that disprove this “homogenization” of radio myth. If radio is so homogenized, how does WFMU exist? How does NPR exist? You’re saying radio is dying, and then bring up WFMU. Are they dying too? That’s what you’re doing when you lump it all together. Radio is a lot of things. It’s big corporate stations and it’s also small independent radio stations. Just as the music business is large major labels, and small indie artists. They both coexist. There are people who like each of them. That’s how the world works.

          • There’s also a documentary film out that is negative about corporate FM.


            People see, hear or read negative information and it makes them start to question things.

          • “They all contain AM/FM reception. In many cases the radio is reduced to a (hidden) app”

            The point is that the radio is still there. Where is the CD player? That’s the part the Miller report ignores. The reason people are streaming music services like Pandora is because they’ve replaced CDs with the cloud. The music industry feels they’ve addressed this loss of revenue by jacking up royalty fees to the point where streaming companies can’t make money. The music industry resents anyone who makes money from their content, yet they refuse to do their own distribution. So they seem to want everyone else to lose money in their quest to make money. That can’t continue. They need to be held accountable for killing web radio. They have stifled the growth of digital radio. Imagine digital radio if it could make a profit. Hard to do because the music industry won’t allow it.

            Radio companies don’t own car companies. Sirius pays car companies for inclusion in the dashboard. Radio could do the same. That’s how radio got cell companies to turn on FM in cell phones. That’s something done for free in other countries. Is that a replacement for a digital strategy? No. But my point has been that just having a digital strategy doesn’t replace AM/FM, because there’s no real profit yet in digital music distribution. Someone has to pay for the music. We believe music consumers should pay. At some point that is going to be the future, where you pay a monthly music bill. That will be a big challenge to Sirius, because why should I pay $15 for them, when I can pay $10 for everything? That’s why Sirius invested in Pandora. They know subscription streaming is going to be a challenge to them. But believe me, Pandora, Spotify, and Apple will be phasing out free streaming very soon. The music industry is demanding it.

          • “People see, hear or read negative information and it makes them start to question things.”

            You want to talk about a dying business, let’s talk about movies and theaters for a minute, shall we?
            Yes there’s a lot of negative information about radio. Nothing anyone can do about that. People have a point of view. They’re allowed to be negative and say whatever they want. I can’t change that. If that’s the route you want to take, and be negative about things, go ahead. What would Josh Grobin or your favorite musicians say about all the negativity going on today? Whose side do you want to be on? The negativists? That’s up to you.

          • When Hurricane Fran came through my neck of the woods, it had been downgraded to a tropical storm. It came through during the night, when many of our local stations had switched over from live daytime programming to syndicated nighttime programming. At that time of the night, we couldn’t get any local weather on our radio dial, when we most needed it. That made me invest in purchasing a weather radio.

          • The cloud is a storage service for digital files – photos, video, music, etc.

            I backup my digital files on something physical – either a disk or a USB stick – because I don’t trust that the cloud will always be accessible.

          • Our political views play a role into why we are critical of big businesses.

          • We don’t toss criticism, such as from that Future of Music article, aside, as being invalid.

          • “We don’t toss criticism, such as from that Future of Music article, aside, as being invalid.”
            The Future of Music Coalition is part of the Recording Industry Association of America, funded by the major labels. Everything they say and do is to promote higher royalties that are killing small web radio. If you’re against big business, you should be at least a little suspect of what FOMC is telling you. They are no friend of indie radio.

          • When we talk about radio homogenization, we’re not talking about indie stations or NPR, we’re referring to the giants – Clear Channel, Cumulus, Citadel, Infinity Broadcasting, Cox, to give examples.

          • Tied to indie artists from what I see.


          • “we’re referring to the giants”
            No, you said “terrestrial radio is a joke” and “terrestrial radio will die.” That means ALL of AM/FM. Not just the stations you don’t like. The giants happen to be the most popular. That’s why they do what they do. You want them to play less popular music, because that’s what you like. My view is allow people who like popular music to listen to their stations, and you listen to your stations. What’s wrong with that?
            “Tied to indie artists from what I see.”
            Which is why they didn’t support the Small Webcaster’s Settlement Act when it expired in 2015. That meant small webcasters had to pay the same rate as big webcasters, which meant more money for artists. The bad news is it caused thousands of small webcasters plus companies like Live365 to shut down. That wasn’t good for small web radio. So who do you support? Big music? The FOMC wants a government imposed royalty on radio. Do you like Big Government?

          • Billy Bob is right in regards to what radio stations we are critical of when we say “terrestrial radio is a joke”.

          • “Billy Bob is right in regards to what radio stations we are critical of when we say “terrestrial radio is a joke”.”

            They may be a joke to you, but for the millions who listen, they are not a joke. Don’t those listeners have a right to enjoy their music? Does misery like company? Is that what this is about? You want everyone to be miserable? The real issue here is paying for music. You want to enjoy what you want for free. Artists and the music industry want to get paid. How do they get paid when you don’t want to pay? The government? Radio companies? Advertisers? If it’s advertisers, then they get to decide what music gets played. So that means popular artists who attract the biggest audiences. To you, that’s a joke. But to the advertisers, that’s what they want. If you want something else, you have to pay for it, because advertisers won’t. Are you willing to pay for the music you like? A day will come when you have to make that decision. What will you choose?

          • From what I’ve read on their website, FOMC are in favor of fixing the loophole that allows big broadcasters to play music on FM/AM without paying artists. I’m in favor of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, making the big guys pay their fair share.

          • “I’m in favor of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, making the big guys pay their fair share.”

            Did you read the Act itself? There are no exemptions except religious stations playing religious services. Everyone must pay, including small indie stations like WFMU, including non-profit radio stations, including small commercial broadcasters who might play the music you like. The royalty would be imposed by Congress, and administered by a government agency, which means more big government. Big broadcasters like iHeart already pay artists and labels who negotiate directly. Taylor Swift gets a royalty from iHeart. Other US labels who negotiate directly get their royalty from iHeart and other big broadcasters. So the big guys are paying already. The only ones who don’t are the foreign labels like Sony & Universal, who want the Congressional mandate. The music business and the Miller Report don’t want you to know that. The real question is who do you want to pay? The broadcasters get their money from advertisers. So the advertisers pay. They decide what music gets played. When you listen to music on your phone, none of the money you pay for phone service goes to the artist or the songwriters or the label. When you listen on the internet, none of the money you pay for internet service goes to the artist or the songwriters or the label, So who pays for the music? Explain that to me?

          • Big radio and their lobbyists clearly haven’t read H.R. 1733


          • Thanks for that Billy Bob. That explains what we oppose about big radio politically.

          • I have read the Act in its entirety. Here’s the thing neither you nor the author of this article don’t understand: Big radio doesn’t oppose the royalty. Ten years ago, all of the big radio companies and the National Association of Broadcasters went to the RIAA and offered them a direct deal that would give them a royalty. The RIAA turned it down! They don’t want a deal. They want a RIGHT. For that, they have to go to Congress. Here’s something else they won’t tell you: When the NAB went to the RIAA with that deal, a large number of the small radio owners objected and quit the NAB over the proposed deal. This is not about big radio. As I said, and you’ve ignored, iHeart already is paying a performance royalty to Big Machine, Dualtone, Sugar Hill, and a bunch of small labels. That’s the same deal the NAB offered in 2008. Big radio isn’t opposed to this. It’s small indie radio.
            One more thing they won’t tell you: The recording industry spends more on lobbying than the broadcasters. They have brought huge stars to Congress to lobby for their Fair Play Act. Legends, like Smokey Robinson. If you’re in Congress, who are you going to listen to? Smokey Robinson or some radio guy in a suit you don’t know? The music industry has spent hundreds of millions flying people to Congress, supporting research studies like the ones you’ve linked in this thread, and lots of other things. It’s not like they’re not doing anything. The only reason the broadcasters are fighting is because of those small indie stations who will refuse to pay any royalty. If the music industry would exempt them, the royalty would have been done ten years ago. That’s a fact. If you don’t believe me, read this. Then response.


            Read the date: September 14, 2007. Almost exactly ten years ago. All of the big radio groups approved this proposal. Sound Exchange rejected it. Why would they do such a thing? Think of how much money artists would have made over the last ten years.

            By the way, still another thing the music industry won’t tell you is any royalty, forced or negotiated, won’t benefit any artists who don’t get radio airplay. The royalty is just more money for Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lopez, and Beyoncé. Nothing for artists who don’t get airplay. So all this royalty does is make rich superstars richer. Is that really what you want?

          • BTW HR 1733 was never brought to a vote in 2016. As a result, that bill no longer exists. The current Fair Play Fair Pay Act is HR 1836. Thought you’d want to know. The recording industry is actively lobbying on behalf of the new bill, just as they have for the past ten bills.


          • Most indie artists I listen to don’t get airplay because of the type of music they perform. For example, one singer I like is Brooke White. She has a throwback, singer-songwriter sound. I get the sense that she’s happy doing that instead of sounding modern.

            As far as Josh Groban and airplay are concerned, I feel that it’s because of his music. Although based in classic music, his eclectic taste has found him incorporating a variety of genres into his albums. I think it makes him harder to categorize for radio.

        • One of my favorite contemporary soft rock singers is from Ronan Keating. He’s from Ireland. If I want to hear his music while I’m away from my CD collection, I have to listen to streams from overseas.

          • Of contemporary singers, I like performers such as Josh Groban. It is frustrating but I’ve accepted that Josh (and similar style performers) is primarily not a radio artist, he is more of a CD artist. That’s why his CD’s sell phenomenally as they do despite the lack of radio promo. Most fans like ALL of his songs so they just get the CD.

          • Agreed. Talent on radio is very rare these days.

            Thanks to the internet, I’ve become a fan of Nianell. She’s a platinum selling artist from South Africa. Her music reminds me of something Celine Dion would be singing. Sadly, she hasn’t gotten airplay in the US, at least not on stations I’ve heard.

          • I sympathize with the frustration that you and Music Lover and Beth and Billy Bob feel.

            This is a station I’ve been listening to for a while now: www(dot)heartbeatfm(dot)net

            The station started off as a pirate radio station: www(dot)heartbeatfm(dot)net/about-us

            The station has recently added some up to date tunes from the 2000’s to their mix.

          • Thanks for that Idol Girl. Music Lover and Beth and I have been listening to that for a while now too. Glad to see they’ve expanded their playlist.

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