Industry News

UNESCO Takes Strong Position on the Continuing Need to Protect AM Radio in Cars (and All Terrestrial Radio)


In conjunction with today’s celebration of World Radio Day 2024 (WRD 2024), the United Nations educational, scientific and cultural agency UNESCO has issued a powerful statement supporting the necessity of AM radios remaining in automobiles and the importance of all “terrestrial” radio for the maintenance of freedom and peace throughout the world. The following position titled “Radio, the Trusted Guide in a Changing World” has been posted on UNESCO’s WRD 2024 web page:

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” World Radio Day 2024 marks 100 years of radio, a period in which it has become the medium that is arguably closest to human hearts and minds, providing news, entertainment and education in all corners of the world. It satisfies our need to be informed both for day to-day decision-making and in times of emergency and crisis. Over the past century, radio has proved itself as a crucial medium in maintaining freedom of opinion and expression, often being the only one still up and running in times of crisis. Studies have repeatedly shown that radio has the greatest trust, with most citizens rating it above television, the internet, social networks or the written press. Radio is a triumph of accessibility, immediacy and intimacy, and there’s a strong public-interest case for protecting it and our access to it. We believe that remaining easily accessible to all people, in all places, regardless of how they receive radio means using terrestrial broadcast networks (both analogue and digital) – still relied upon by the majority of listeners globally – and fostering online access to radio that is just as democratic and open. Cars are a particular concern, consistently among the most popular locations for radio listening. Whether it is terrestrial broadcast or internet, radio in cars should not just be easy to find, it must be impossible to miss. Information is a public good and a shared resource for all of humanity. Radio has its place in the digital transformation of the information ecosystem, complementing the internet and digital platforms. The evolution of communication technologies should advance people’s right to receive information and ideas through any media – instead of regressing it. We call upon governments, regulatory bodies, the technology and automotive industries, and all members of the global radio community to put safeguards in place to ensure that radio continues to thrive; to protect the free and unfettered access radio provides to a plurality of opinions and to trusted information; to allow radio to continue to help communities and all minority language speakers to receive information and participate in democratic processes; and to ensure radio remains available to all people regardless of their financial means or personal circumstances. 

TALKERS founder, Michael Harrison, who has served as executive advisor to UNESCO on WRD 2024 and fully supports its stated position on preserving radio, states, “Working with UNESCO in this capacity has sharpened my global perspective on the AM car radio issue in as much as the argument in America focuses primarily on the use of radio for emergencies – a limited and short-sighted proposition to whichim the automobile industry has intelligently responded. The issue however is much larger. As UNESCO’s chief of section for media development and society, Mirta Lourenco puts it, ‘The free flow and easily accessible information provided by terrestrial radio supports the spirit of the First Amendment via the concept of media pluralism and more. This expands to a valid concern about privacy rights – which is equally important to freedom and democracy. With GPS and internet platforms simultaneously in our cars, we are turning the enormous power to invade the privacy of individuals over to a mere handful of Big Tech giants. They know what and who we listen to, including where, when and how we travel.’” Harrison adds, “Finally, I am compelled as a lifelong radio broadcaster and publisher of a major trade journal to protect the viability of radio stations as a going concern and the well-being of their owners, employees, and listeners.”

Industry News

Gunhill Road Releases Special Tribute Song in Advance of World Radio Day 2024


Gunhill Road, the enduring band that has been making multi-genre rock and pop music spanning more than five decades, has released a brand-new song and video titled, “Over The Radio Waves,” just in time for World Radio Day 2024 (February 13). The song is a heartfelt tribute to the continuing influence of radio around the world and calls for broadcasters and listeners alike “to all stand together” in celebrating the 13th annual edition of the United Nations/UNESCO-designated international day. Gunhill Road has developed a unique niche in recent years along with tens of thousands of internet followers powered in large part to the attention and airplay given it by talk radio as a result of the group addressing topics of news and social concern in a highly musical and creative way. The band consists of co-founding member/pianist Steve Goldrich, longtime guitarist/vocalist Paul Reisch, noted Broadway theater instrumentalist/guitarist/vocalist Brian Koonin, and TALKERS publisher/vocalist Michael Harrison who performs a rap segment on the song. Radio broadcasters are encouraged to play the two-minute recording license-free during the 11 days leading up to World Radio Day. Download an audio file of “Over The Radio Waves” here. See the accompanying music video here. To arrange an interview with Michael Harrison, please email


Industry Views

Benztown CEO/Founder Andreas Sannemann is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast

The CEO/founder of Benztown, one of the world’s most successful creators and suppliers of radio station jingles and imaging, Andreas Sannemann is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Sannemann is a leading international audio imaging specialist, composer and entrepreneur based at Benztown’s European headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. He joined forces with Dave “Chachi” Denes (who is a past guest on this podcast) and Oliver Klenk in 2008 to form the company.  Benztown’s American headquarters are located in Glendale, California. The international production giant provides imaging and other types of programming content and branding to radio stations in the United States, Germany, England, Australia, New Zealand, and more servicing over 2,300 affiliates on six continents. Audio imaging for the 21st Century and beyond – that’s Sannemann’s mission! Michael Harrison says, “I’ve been talking with broadcast industry leaders around the globe, as we lead up to the United Nations ‘World Radio Day 2024’ on February 13, to acquire a greater comprehension of the massive scope of this medium beyond the US. Sannemann and I discuss the state of radio around the world from his knowledgeable perspective in Germany.  I’ve always had a special place in my heart for jingles and imaging. The audio jingle has gone through many incarnations over the years, but our modern world has not grown so sophisticated as to relegate them to being a relic of the past. Catchy, ear-wormy jingles are still a major part of product branding, and this continues to be a rich and valued tradition in the radio business where personalities, shows and especially stations regularly present a harmonic group of people singing names and call letters. Jingles and imaging are a key part of the radio ‘esthetic.’ Radio-lovers and audiophiles will find this conversation illuminating.” Harrison is serving as executive advisor to UNESCO for “World Radio Day 2024.” Listen to the podcast in its entirety here

Industry Views

The Problems Facing Radio Were Not Caused by Consolidation

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media Implementers
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, “Sterling On Sunday”
Talk Media Network

imAs your friends get fired and on-air hosts are replaced with WideOrbit and Profitable Software, the mournful refrain is to unfairly blame consolidation. Consolidation has, in fact, made the medium financially viable and brought hundreds of individual stations from a river of red ink to the glow of black ink. Prior to consolidation, over half the radio stations in the U.S. lost money – year after year. Not a secret stat, those numbers were revealed annually by the NAB.

The flaw in the deregulation law was the elimination of the rules regarding financing of station acquisitions. Previous regulations required a licensee to prove it had the financial resources to cover expenses through the term of the license. Licenses could not be purchased with debt. Licensees could not sell the license until it expired. Radio stations could not be used for speculatory financial gain. When those rules were tossed, the industry hit a financial tailspin from which it has not recovered. That’s the problem.

That is not a “problem” with radio. In talks with publisher Michael Harrison about his exciting role in the United Nations as executive advisor to World Radio Day 2024, we shared a key observation: The world’s radio industry is overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Working with clients in London, Toronto, Montreal, Amsterdam, Athens and Sydney, the passion for the medium continues to grow and is supported by audience engagement and response.

Internationally, there is a robust radio set design and manufacturing industry. European listeners seek clothing featuring radio set themes and artwork. Believe me, the food at the NAB Europe is much better than that crap served here.

Follow the money. Radio is not legacy media. Radio is proven media – proven for over 100 years. Local retail advertisers are a practical lot. They buy advertising that works for this weekend. If it doesn’t bring feet to the floor and dollars to the door, sponsors just don’t repeat-buy.

I was the in-house programming guru at SiriusXM Satellite Radio for eight years starting pre-launch. The reason Sirius exists is test after test revealed that Americans liked radio so much, used radio so much, they wanted more stations. More choice. More.

Consolidation, with considerable credit to Randy Michaels, allowed radio to convert from a frequency media buy to a reach media buy. That puts radio in budgets with TV. The opportunity right now is to actually monetize radio’s clout as a reach medium. Create scarcity. More spots mean cheaper spots, smaller budgets and higher expense. More spots mean much less efficiency for media buyers. Media buyers have to spend their budgets. They would prefer to spend that money with one or two outlets before lunch rather than having to “make the buy” by purchasing dozens and dozens of stations acquiring spots that are cheap, bonused, thrown in, flanked, and here are some tickets.  The fix starts with raising the price to meet the public’s perception and usage levels of radio.

Walter Sabo has grown audience share for a roster of clients that has included SiriusXM Satellite Radio, RKO, ABC, Apollo Advisors, Hearst, Wall Street Journal Radio and many others. Reach him at Learn about his unique radio show at

Industry News

Industry Mourns the Passing of WRHU GM Bruce Avery

The vast Hofstra University community, its Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and the greater national radio broadcasting industry mourn the passing of longtime WRHU Radio general manager Bruce Avery.  Avery passed away peacefully at home Saturday evening (1/14) after losing a five-year battle against an aggressive form of prostate cancer.  He had held the position at the Long Island, NY facility – until his recent retirement in 2022 – since 1994.  During that 28-year period, he successfully mentored countless students of radio broadcasting and played a major role in building the multi-Marconi Award-winning WRHU-FM/ into a powerhouse among America’s campus radio stations. In 2021, WRHU was the recipient of theFace - Forehead prestigious “World Radio Day Award” from the Academy of Radio Arts and Sciences of America in conjunction with the United Nations‘ UNESCO General Conference.  Recent recipients of this high honor include WTOP, Washington, DC; 1010 WINS, New York; and KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh. WRHU is the only campus radio station to receive this award. Hofstra University president Susan Posner states, “Bruce was an incredible friend and mentor who had a major hand in turning WRHU into the multi-Marconi award winning station that it is today. We will truly miss Bruce and cherish everything he gave to WRHU. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”  Lawrence Herbert School of Communication dean Mark Lukasiewicz adds, “Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Bruce’s widow Veronica, his children, and his extended family. We were fortunate to be able to celebrate Bruce’s career with him only a few months ago at his retirement luncheon, where former students and colleagues shared stories and fond memories of his decades of service at WRHU. At that event, we announced the establishment of an endowed scholarship in Bruce’s name, recognition of the deep impact he made on generations of students.”  For the past two decades, Avery also served as an extremely popular meteorologist on News12 Long Island which posted a heartfelt video tribute to his legacy that you can see here. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.