Monday, January 04, 2010

San Diego Radio Shakeup

I used to really care about radio. In some ways I still do and I don't like to hear about shakeups because it usually means people I know at some capacity are losing their jobs. My first job out of college was at a media agency that was responsible for placing advertising on local radio, tv and cable. Arguably, we had the biggest accounts in San Diego and as such were privy to all changes before most people. I remember when "The Flash" flipped and our sales rep was in the office to tell us about it first, before it was announced on-air. Similarly when FM 94/9 changed to it's current format, the sales manager had all of us in our conference room and we listened to the new station, as they announced their new format and having new listeners call in. I was #13.

After 9/11, the urgency of advertising seemed ridiculous to me. The wrong Carl's Jr. spot would run on a station and you'd think it was a national crisis the way we had to respond to things. "We aren't changing the world," I'd think, "it's only advertising." After several years at that agency, I took a position as a media buyer at another agency...with much more pay but a more formulaic approach to media placement, and I suppose I lost my passion for media buying, though I thought I had become very good at the craft of knowing trends and following Nielsen and Arbitron ratings, and bringing value to the clients we had, as well as knowing all the industry research software. I got out of advertising completely with my next job, but when the opportunity to go back to the first company I worked for arose, I jumped at the opportunity. I was now a media planner and it was amazing to me how much the media landscape had already changed. I had already started this blog at that point, and I was still trying to report on industry related when Cantore was sidelined from 91X and Mat Diablo took the reins. But just as advertising on traditional media outlets changed, so too were the resources for information. Chickrawker was always brilliant at covering radio trends and all the breaking news locally could be found on With everyone finally getting on board all the social networks, I've covered radio even less than ever before. When people do something better, let them.

But with all these crazy changes, I thought I'd chime in. I mean, in the last few months radio has gone absolutely nutso in the market. The economy took a dump, old media failed to adopt new media, old talent tried to hold on to their spots in the marketplace because they felt they deserved it and now we're where we are today. Mikey is gone from 105.3, Jeff and Jer are without a gig at the moment, today Dave, Shelley and Chainsaw joined the unemployed, and apparently Halloran is gone, too. On top of that, 91X, Magic 92.5 and Z90 are being auctioned this week. Wow.

Chris Cantore was on NBC to talk about it and you can watch the clip below. As for my opinion of it all, I'm not all my hats, be it a San Diego native who can trace my personal music interest in a timeline of the stations I listened to, as a media planner, media buyer, blogger, or just a fan of good music, I've heard all of this before and when all is said and done, the innovators and people looking toward the future, with their hearts in the right place, will rise to the top. The rest will become a distant memory of how things used to be, like the high school jocks who peaked in high school. Big companies are failing but leaving opportunities for small ones to be born. I look forward to 2010 and beyond as we all hold on and take it by the reins or slowly fade away.

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Rosemary Bystrak said...

In addition to what I wrote above, I wanna throw out some speculation:

1. John Lynch makes a bid for the Finest City stations

2. In 2010, at least one FM station flips to Sports Talk, perhaps another flips to talk

3. Halloran will be hired by one of the three stations as PD, and a new Alt station hybrid will be born

4. Not that I want to see it, but some tweaking of FM 94/9's format might occur, causing a whole new jock shuffle

5. Somehow, big radio personalities will find their way back to the airwaves and/or online radio...including J&J, DSC, Hal, Steve West, Robin Roth. Keep an eye on LegitRadio and X1FM or other independent webcasts to bring the voices back to the people who want to hear them.

All this is based on what I've seen in the past. I have no insider information and all of this is purely how I see things trending.

hilahil said...

rosey - well said, all of it, and you might be on target with some of that speculation based on all the rumors going around. i just hate the thought of having to compete against halloran again! working with him was awesome. monday was a sad and shocking day around here. i have no idea what will end up happening when things settle down - i think we're all just taking it one day at a time right now because that's all we can do - not just us at FM 94/9 but jocks all over san diego. we'll see.