Tuesday, December 15, 2009
THE CEO'S NEW CLOTHES Chuck Geiger
When we hit the 2008 economic fallout, broadcasters cancelled research, marketing, consultants and a compendium of crutches. You would think that stations would have dug down deep and emerged with a new sense of purpose and being after the Fall of 2008. Finding creative ways to execute a listener and client fueled brand of radio, regardless of the format. This hasn't happened to the degree it should. The voice tracking, WAN-delivered programming and satellite formats have taken over the airwaves. Local programming is next to nothing. The costs have been cut to the bone, stations are barely able to afford paper clips. Yet to most, business continues like nothing is wrong, oh wait - We have a different business model that is a zero-based budget or no budget for anything.
We should have cut costs before the fall and we probably would not be in this predicament. Why did we wait until there was nothing left to begin to cut costs? This reminds me of Hans Christian Anderson's fable: The Emperor New Clothes. The Emperor cannot see the cloth himself, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing unfit for his position or stupid; his ministers do the same. When the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they dress him in mime and the Emperor then marches in procession before his subjects. A child in the crowd calls out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor cringes, suspecting the assertion is true, but holds himself up proudly and continues the procession.
We acted like we had clothes on and continued business as usual until we really had finally realized we had no clothes on at all.