Today it was announced that KLSX in Los Angeles was going to flip Friday from talk radio to mindless pop music without DJ's. No more Adam Carolla, Tom Leykis, and goodbye to any chance of Opie & Anthony getting an affiliate in L.A. (I'm sure their days are numbered in N.Y. terrestrial radio too, CBS Radio is pretty broke).
CBS Radio, Clear Channel, Citadel, and the rest of them are losing money like crazy. Selling stations, voice-tracking others, laying off endless amounts of people. Nobody is buying ad time anymore either. Who the hell listens to radio ads anyway, most people do what I do when I try to listen to terrestrial radio and a commercial comes on: I change the channel, usually to another station that's playing a commercial (if you haven't figured it out yet, most terrestrial radio stations play commercials at :06, :20, :36, and :50 after the hour, it's called Quarter Hour Maintenance, a way to get higher ratings, and therefore sell more ads). No ad revenue means no way to pay staff, or keep a station on the air. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars just to keep a radio transmitter powered up every year. Which means that you'll probably see a lot of stations just go dark.
Satellite radio and the iPod and other MP3 players also added to the quickening demise of terrestrial radio. Once you've been spoiled by commercial-free music, it's hard to go back to terrestrial and their 5-10-minute commercial sets. Even 1-2 minutes seems like too much nowadays. Plus the audio quality of terrestrial is shit compared to satellite or mp3. Over-compressed and analog mostly. They tried to save it with HD Radio, but that flopped.
I saw this coming a long time ago. I think a lot of it probably started when they deregulated radio in the 90's. Less companies owning more stations. Firing anyone with any actual talent and automating half the stations. Watered-down playlists didn't help either. I remember back when I worked for a Z-Rock affiliate years ago, they did research that basically told them to play Led Zeppelin every hour. Aren't they geniuses? I'll have to go into that abortion of a network called Z-Rock in a future blog, I have way too much bile to spit out about them.
So, like the endangered species, the elusive 'Newspaper', terrestrial radio will also get sucked under the Paradigm Shift that the Internet caused. Old technologies die, new ones are born. Some will morph into something new, some will just fade away, and I'm going to sit back and watch it all crumble. Got any popcorn?