Friday, September 25, 2015

                                   WHEN IS TOO MANY, TOO MANY?

Are there too many Radio stations?  I have come to the sad conclusion that there are. Well,

let's see. As of July 30, 2015 there were 15,455 licensed full power stations in the U.S.A.

according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the FCC. This is an ever changing

number, but the biggest increases are in LPM's (low power FM) - 1,149 in the past year!

Then added are 6,366 FM translators and boosters. However, AM stations DECREASED

by 4 to "only" 4,698. FM commercial stations had an increase of 7 to 6,613. FM educational

or non-profit stations stand at 3,989. If you add in all types of TV(UHF-VHF), the total broadcast

stations are at 30,465. Boy! That's a lot of licenses and frequencies being used isn't it?

When I entered radio in 1955, the number of AM stations were about half what there are

today...around 2,600 then. Back then-in the 1950's, I could listen to half of the United States

from my bed( in Ohio) at night:WLAC, Nashville & John R.,WLS, WABC, Jack The Bellboy in

Detroit, KDKA, WLW, Del Rio Texas and my personal favorite-Dick "Moonglow" Martin from

WWL in New Orleans. These are but a few of the fabulous frequencies found on a much less

crowded dial. I got to thinking about this the other night when I was not sleeping well, and turned 

on my trusty red bake-o-lite 1971 Archer AM radio to "listen myself to sleep".

Out here in Southern California with the mountains and rugged terrain, it's very hard to receive

much but static these days. FM is even more difficult. I can't hear any of the local stations without

much interference from afar. I always thought the FCC erred in the beginning by not making dial

space at least 20kc instead of 10kc. Same idea for FMs in megacycle spacing.

This would have made side band usage for today's digital HD much easier. AM radio doesn't

really have much of a chance as it's being "strangled" by too much frequency intrusion. After all,

there's only so much room on the dial-AM or FM. Only a span of 530 to 1700 kc to cram in 4,700

radio stations. This should not have ever been allowed to happen in my view. I can't figure out

what the FCC's end goal is. As an analogy, it's like over stocking a pond with too many fish-to

the point that very few can survive. OR, too many fishing licenses are being issued to "fish the

pond" dry. Whichever the case, neither scenario bodes well for the industry, the advertising

community or the all important listener(s). That's my RadiOpinion...what's yours?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

                              ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN...THE BEAT GOES ON

As if society doesn't have enough law suits these days, now comes the latest to re-surface as it

regards RADIO VS. PERFORMERS RIGHTS ACT. Litigants such as Music FIRST Coalition,

FMA(Future of Music Coalition), AFTRA-SAG and various Recording industry groups are after

the "Deep Pockets" of terrestrial radio to obtain Fair Pay for Fair Play. They contend AM/FM

stations should pay for all performers on a record or on recorded music played over the air waves.

Naturally, the NAB and large corporate broadcast entities don't agree. Radio says that paying for

songs played on their stations would be unfair-especially to smaller(small market) radio stations.

Radio has always had a "Quid Pro Quo" association with record companies and artists. Free adver-

tising and promotion for the performers right to compensation for said air play and exposure. The

new fee structure would make it nearly impossible to stay in business. It would force them to resort

to "All Talk" formats, or close down all together. The NAB feels the record labels should pay their

artists. The pro performance people note the fact that Radio has already agreed to compensate digital

downloading on-line sources, as-well-as various Satellite Music outlets. They also say that Radio has

been paying composers and publishers since 1923, why not the performers?   It a two sided coin of

which I can see both sides. I don't know how all this started many years ago. It's  sort of a which

came first "chicken or the egg" scenario in the making of this "omelette", but both seem to be

arguing over the cost of the frying pan!  However, the various remedies proposed, are too complex  

thanks to all those lawyers who always have to complicate things more than is necessary.

Why there's even a new litigation campaign brewing on the back turntable from ABS Entertainment

 (representing Al Green's music and others) to stop the playing of  "Oldies" which were recorded  

before 1972... at least until the proposed language for a fee structure for the playing of these "Oldies"

can be determined..yet different for "newer" music played since 1978! Does that mean that these

pre -1972 "Oldies But Greedies" will now be found only on public, ethnic and/or college radio

stations? Will the Temptations, Elvis and The Beatles find their "niche" as the NEW Classical Music

right next to Mozart and Beethoven? Is it a case of re-biting the hand that fed you, or an overdue

overhaul of the the PRA-Performer's Rights Act?  Here's a proposal:

 If the "performers" wish fair compensation for each Radio station air play they get, then terrestrial

Radio stations should get fair advertising rate compensation for the duration of that "performer's"

music that was played. Maybe then, both sides will discover: "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" and

"It's All In The Game", that "It's Now Or Never"so "We Can Work It Out" and be "Happy Together"

if you want some "R-E-S-P-E-C-T .

That's my RadiOpinion....what's yours?  -   Gary Allyn