From “We did it to ourselves”

January 15, 2008 – What’s Important? Connoisseur CEO Jeff Warshaw is old-school.

What’s important is investing in your business, investing in your community, investing in your people. I totally understand why what’s happening at many stations is happening: they’re leveraged so high, they have to grab any piece of business they can. It’s not the iPods, it’s not the Internet that’s the problem. We did it to ourselves. People consolidated, borrowed too much, paid too much, cut training, cut innovations, and they’re also cutting rates. When a car dealer is buying advertising and he can buy wonderful stations for cheap rates‚ well, that’s why the market is shrinking. The radio business has to re-set itself and people have to reassess what station values really are. They have to go in and pay reasonable prices and run them like real businesses, instead of like ever-increasing cost-cutting machines. I see a lot more pain ahead for the industry, but I’m hopeful that stations end up in the hands of dedicated operators. But right now, mostly, nobody’s investing, nobody’s innovating new formats. We’re doing it, but the big companies aren’t. In Erie, we put on a new station and Bob FM became #1 in its first book. We promoted it, we got out in the street. Radio’s still a great business, if you do the things we used to take for granted. Do the research, do the promotion, try a new format, get on the street. (Hey, we give away tee-shirts.) And the people who have that kind of passion, bring them in.

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