Radio and Records, the paper of record for 35 years in broadcasting, is suddenly gone. Unthinkable really. Everything I’ve been seeing about the demise of the unit points toward the economy, the rapid decline in the ad business, and an even faster decline in the record business.
But one part of the disappearance is strangely unmentioned. And I’m really not sure why.
We faced it in radio years ago. When duopoly (remember you could only own two or three to a market then) first launched, there were occasions of competitors buying up the other like formatted station and blowing it up. Happened not that long ago in St. Louis when Bonneville blew up Kix106.5 to change formats after they acquired WIL-FM.
When Billboard, now Nielsen bought R&R, the handwriting was on the wall. Several staff members left R&R pretty quickly on the take over. It really did remind me at the time a lot of what radio did in the early days on consolidation.
Wednesday, the show stopped. No more need for an additional staff or the costs involved. Now R&R is gone. The cash flow rate became too low, so rather than prop it up, Billboard which does a lot of the same things, made R&R vanish.
Its a cash flow world. This is just one of the segments that happen in capitalism. Its the death cycle of many industries, print clearly being one of them.
I wanted to be a journalist when I was young. I was inspired by Woodward and Bernstein and their efforts at bringing down the Nixon administration through Watergate. I wanted to do that. I wanted to make that difference.
Reality hit me when I walked into my first J class and discovered 1) all the writers were as good or better than me 2) reporters made squat. I decided business was the better career path.
Change seems to come faster and faster. We have a President who’s popularity rating as measured by Rasmussen just hit ZERO. And that’s in the first 130 days. Employment is at a 35 year high, newspapers are going away, gold prices are skyrocketing.
And R&R is gone. Just like Liquid Paper, the dial up modem, reel to reel tape machines and the clack clack on the UPI/AP machines.
Not good. Not bad. Just is.