Industry Views

Premature Ejection

By Michael Harrison

imThere are media and there are media. There are platforms and there are platforms. Not all cultural artifacts are equal in terms of their utilitarian versus cultural value. Damn the tone-deaf corporate bean counters who are ripping the heart out of the spirit that gives humanity its life force! Marketplace obsolescence should not solely be determined by profit and loss. With all due respect to the idea of public service, what about the concept of loyalty? Shame on the automobile industry! Not only is it turning its back on the needs of millions of people, it is in the process of betraying one of its historic partners in not only commerce – but romance and glory. In other words, the automobile industry owes the radio industry a huge debt. The relationship between cars and radios goes a century deep and has been nothing less than a two-way street. Yes, auto industry, don’t be so hasty to save a few bucks by rushing AM (and then FM) radio out the door. You might just find in the long run that “radio” outlasts the private “car” as a fixture of human activity.

A radio is not a cassette, CD, or 8-track player. A radio is a magic box that embodies a century of culture during which it spun the idea that taking a car ride is a lot more soulful than spending time getting from point A to B via the subway, bus, or plane. The car has been the perfect radio-listening chamber and radio has returned the favor in spades with its music and DJs glorifying everything from little deuce coups to Cadillacs to the T-Bird that daddy took away – not to mention bolstering the ubiquitous culture of automobiles with traffic reports, news, weather, and endless references to this particular form of transportation as being a key component of what it is to be a member of society. Radio has provided the car biz with a century long, non-stop free or generously bonused commercial!

From a purely economic position of self-interest and greed, it is understandable why car manufacturers might consider AM radios expendable and are eager to toss them out like the aforementioned obsolete devices of music conveyance.  So, what if millions of people still listen to it and DEPEND on it for free speech, religious expression, ethnic connection, demographic habit and public safety. Couldn’t the car manufacturers wait another decade before turning its back on such an important – and still vital – relationship?

Hey auto industry, be careful what you’re doing. You’re severely mistaken if you think your poop doesn’t stink and your place in our rapidly changing society is guaranteed. You might find rolling along in this brave new world without radio turns out to be a very dangerous road.

Michael Harrison is the publisher of TALKERS and can be reached via email at Meet Michael Harrison at TALKERS 2023 on Friday, June 2 at Hofstra University.

Industry News

CONFERENCE CLOSER: John Catsimatidis to Tackle AM Car Radio Issue

WABC, New York/Red Apple Media CEO, John Catsimatidis is set to deliver the closing keynote address at TALKERS 2023 on Friday, June 2 at Hofstra University on Long Island. The speech, titled, “AM Radio and the Automobile Industry,” will be the highlight of the event’s closing reception and tackle the existential issue facingim the industry as a number of car manufacturers unveiled controversial intentions to eliminate AM radios from the dashboard of electric and even gas vehicles going forward. In making the announcement about this additional agenda element, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “The automobile issue is rocking the industry and John Catsimatidis has been stepping up to the plate in defense of both radio and good sense. He brings his formidable influence into the arena and we are delighted that he will be delivering a major address to that effect on June 2 at the conference. He has become a radio hero, and this will be another key moment in his growing legacy… and hopefully in prolonging the valuable life of both the AM and FM bands.”

Historic conference nearing sellout

The 26th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important gathering set for Friday, June 2 at Hofstra University on Long Island is nearing an advance sellout. Conference organizers estimate it will reach that point at any time within the next two weeks. Thus 5:00 pm ET on Tuesday, May 23 has been set as the absolute cutoff point – although it could reach the limit any time before that. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “Industry professionals who have attended the TALKERS conference in the past enjoy it and find it to be a valuable experience for a number of reasons beyond the remarkable quality of the speakers and pertinence of the agenda. They appreciate the intimacy of the environment and outstanding ‘who’s who’ in talk media makeup of their fellow attendees. We work very diligently to keep this event within those parameters. Thus, it is only open to people who work within or are associated in some way with the media industry – there is no online open registration – and it all happens within one power-packed day with absolutely no down time.” More than 60 luminaries from the talk media industry are set to speak at a power-packed day of fireside chats, solo addresses, panel discussions, workshops, award presentations, new equipment showcases and endless networking opportunities. All in a beautiful indoor/outdoor state-of-the-art environment conducive to one-on-one conversations. The time to register is now. See more about the agenda, registration, sponsorship and hotel information here.