In the opening scene of the movie Patton, the late George C. Scott in the title role gives a stirring speech to an unseen group of men prior to battle. After describing the aggressive action he expects from his troops—perhaps nervous about what was to come—Patton says:
Thirty years from now, when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks you, “What did you do in the great World War II,” you won’t have to say, “Well… I shoveled shit in Louisiana.”
A Radio Ink article from January 6, 2009, estimates Radio revenues will decline by 13 percent or more this year, making for a lot of nervous Radio troops. As the economy flounders and Washington politicians panic, things may indeed become worse. However, Radio—from among all the traditional media—is best positioned to weather this financial storm
While other media suffers from increasing labor and material costs, Radio’s fixed costs are likely to increase only slightly in the coming year. There’s a reason newspapers have been shrinking, both in number of pages and in page size. The cost of producing a daily paper has grown enormously, while the revenue base has continued to shrink. Television costs—especially production costs—continue to be high. Radio, meanwhile can script, produce, and air an ad for only a few dollars in cost, with the cost of repetition of that ad dropping to pennies per airing.
The stations that survive this shaky economic period will be those that maximize revenues while minimizing costs—all while maintaining the level of quality programming listeners have come to expect. Through automation and fresh ideas—such as the responsive pricing available with yield management—Radio will not only survive…it will emerge from these troubled times stronger than ever.
To paraphrase Patton:
Thirty years from now, when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee and he asks you, “What did you do in the great 2009 Depression,” you won’t have to say, “Well… I sold 50-cent spots in Louisiana.”