In article after article, and analysis after analysis, political wonks are in agreement that the Democratic strategy (assuming there is one) is flawed. Yes, President Bush has made lots of errors, and Republican office holders may indeed end up paying the ultimate price. But just sitting around and gloating about how the other guys are screwing up does not a strategy make. Yet, no Democratic leadership has stepped up, there are no solutions being offered to the country's many problems, and the opposition party just doesn't seem up to the task.
What does any of this have to do with radio? In the last several weeks, satellite radio (the President Bush of our story) has really begun to take some real lumps. Many financial analysts have soured on XM and Sirius. In fact, Sirius stock has lost about 25% of its value year-to-date – yup, since Howard Stern showed up.
In some corporate radio headquarters, this has led to some serious shaudenfreude – feeling good about someone else's misfortune. Hey, my hand is up. We've taken some good-natured shots at satellite in this space, too.
But it all begs the question about what commercial radio is really doing to improve its position? While it's comforting on one hand to note that satellite is finally receiving the scrutiny it so richly deserves, what are we doing to truly make our business more compelling and viable? Where is the investment in our content? Where are employee training and recruitment programs? Even on the HD Radio side, throwing up hastily programmed side channels isn't going to be enough to motivate consumers to spend several hundred bucks for new hardware.
Like the Democrats, we'd better come up with something better than "satellite radio is hurting, too" if we're going to get ourselves out of this mess. We need industry leadership, some different thinking, and a real investment in our business – not just gloating about XM and Sirius' problems.
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