This is a followup to the “Why Talk is Moving to FM” post about a week ago.
I’m actually going to encourage you right wing nuts (and you know who you are!) to read the Huffington Post, specifically HERE. Tamara Conniff is a former editor of Billboard Magazine, which means she really knows the music business and is not a light weight.
This article lays out the details behind the Performance Rights Act currently making its way through the U.S. Senate. She supports the act, but lays out a factual description of what it is and what it could do.
While she supports the idea of the radio stations paying performers to play their music, she also raises the red flag of FM radio turning into a wasteland of right wing talk radio, sports talk and Spanish language programming.
(I tend to think some radio stations and companies would fail, but others would adapt and thrive even paying the “tax”)
Anyhow, put yourself in the shoes of a scared radio company owner. You’re looking at the possibility that this thing still might pass. If you wait for the 9th inning, and then decide to switch your music FM station to Talk, by that point the best syndicated shows and sports networks will already be pinned down in your market and you won’t have anything to put on the air (unless you produce it locally)
KKAT-AM in Utah and WNUW-FM in New Jersey (Philly area) have joined the list of recent switches from Music to Talk.
Look at the rate of this “format flips” as a barometer of if the NAB’s members think they are going to lose the fight with the music industry. If they “flip” now, they can pin down the better shows to secure their future as a talk station. If the performance rights act doesn’t pass, they can always flip back to computers playing random music in six months or a year (unless of course, they have a surge in ratings when they put on Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh :)).