Mourning Boston Radio Stations – Neal Bocian


Before I begin let me commend Kathy Kiely, President of the Ad Club; Pierre Bouvard, President of Sales and Marketing for Arbitron; Mike Sheehan, CEO of Hill Holiday; Peter Smyth, Chairman and CEO of Greater Media; David Field, President and CEO of Entercom; Julie Kahn, Vice President of Entercom and everyone else involved behind the scenes, in putting together what could have been and should have been a fabulous afternoon.

Here we are (a few hundred people in attendance, including radio reps, management, advertising agencies, and clients alike) at the Ritz-Carlton from 2:30 in the afternoon to 6:00 in the evening listening to the leaders in our industry speak to us about the power, the future and the opportunities available to us in radio. The excitement and anticipation of what lied ahead was truly inspiring.

As Kathy introduced the guest speakers from all over the country, and having them gathered all in one place and at one time was no easy task to accomplish. Beginning with Pierre’s keynote introduction and his speech about PPM and the opportunities that lie ahead in radio-to Mike’s passion for the creativity that radio, like no other media affords us-to Peter Smyth’s excitement and inspiring talk about reinventing ourselves in the radio space with our clients; to David’s Power Point presentation that included the stability of the radio audience across the country as compared to the deterioration in newspaper readership and TV viewership, you had all our hearts pumped up, and our mind’s craving for more.

Unfortunately, that was the beginning of the end. When the next guest speaker, the President and CEO of Clear Channel Radio, John Hogan, gave his perspective the enthusiasm changed. Listening to him talk about the demise of the radio world, the deterioration of the quality of programming, the less than quality sales people in the industry was enough to make me angry!! How dare you, Mr. Hogan, come into our home, of which you are a family member, and totally change the entire sentiment in the room to “shit.” Yes, Mr. Hogan, these are challenging times, not limited to the radio world, but to “ALL” businesses!

Radio Boston WEEIThis country has been losing jobs to the tune of over 500,000 plus per month! We all know that… we’re living it. With that said, there are opportunities out there for all of us. Those of us who want it will get it. If they are creative and show the value that radio brings to the table, clients will achieve their goals. The days of selling radio are over!! The days of getting our clients to buy into radio is just beginning (read Stop Selling Radio!!) All media must embrace new technology! Radio websites, banners, streaming audio, streaming video, podcasting, email blasts and SMS text messaging must be promoted and integrated into the strategy, the creativity and the execution of our client’s campaign.

I found your perspective on the future of radio, Mr. Hogan, humiliating to my brothers and sisters in the audience. You are a leader in our industry, and with that title comes responsibility to lead our respective “tribes” with ideas for improvement and reinventing ourselves in order to gain market share. I know that’s what the audience was anticipating. I know that’s what I was expecting.

Anyone can be negative these days, it’s the responsibility of our leaders like you, Mr. Hogan, and leaders like myself, to encourage our young people, as well as our seasoned people to grab the bull by its horns. We should be the evangelists and ambassadors of radio and the new products that each of the stations brings to the table.

That’s what our job is Mr. Hogan, with all due respect! You failed us yesterday, MISERABLY. You failed me as the CEO of Neal Advertising, and you failed the entire radio world in the audience who were looking for direction and hope for their future. The landscape for “RADIO DAY 2009” was designed to bring all the radio stations together in a by-partisan fashion. We are all in this together and we will all get through this together. At the end, those standing will be stronger than ever before.


Lastly, there are opportunities out there for radio. The demise and deterioration of newspaper readership and circulation is the potential growth dollars for radio. The automotive category, including Tier 1 and 2 have both cut newspaper and TV expenditure. Don’t you see the potential dollars that are going to be available in that one category alone?? Take the audience, the reach, the frequency and the new products that radio has on the interactive front, and you have an integrated game plan!

On top of which, you can measure the effectiveness of a campaign, CTA, while it is going on!! Your loyal audience is now interacting with your client’s engaging message–how good is that Mr. Hogan?

Respectfully, Mr. Hogan, you owe the entire audience an apology.

With all this said, I just wanted to commend the Ad Club once again and the rest of the radio managers and staff for their perseverance and hard work through these challenging times. My hat is off to each and every one of you!!!