Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mike R is Kinda Interested in Syndication

By the purest coincidence, The Hardline briefly turned to the subject of syndication a shortly after Your Plainsman's trailblazing article on the subject a couple of weeks ago.  Mike had been browsing the latest number of Talkers Magazine that was devoted to syndication.

Michael Rhyner, Canny Market Observer

It wasn't a long conversation.  When Mike brought it up, Corby was instantly dismissive.  His position seemed to be that syndication was all right for some kinds of shows, but not for The Hardline.

Corby Davidson, Conservative Media Strategist

Mike was not so sure.  He didn't challenge Corby outright, but -- and I might well have been imagining things -- you could tell by the sound of his voice as he discussed the contents of the article that he was thinking ahead to the future of The Hardline and, possibly, KTCK Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket.

I do not need to remind faithful Confessors that Michael Rhyner was something of a visionary in this market when he cobbled The Ticket together a decade-and-a-half ago.  His musings on where the market is headed ought not be taken lightly.
Michael Rhyner, Ecstatic Radio Prophet

Now, as it happens, when I wrote the article a couple of weeks ago, I did not think The Hardline was a particularly good candidate for syndication in its present form -- and by "form," I didn't mean Mike-Corby-Danny-Grubes-Ty, which is a perfectly splendid form of very talented men.  I meant the overall flavor of the showgram, which is probably the least sportsy and most blue of the shows.  Perfectly marvelous for the long-time listeners who love the insidedness of it all (me too), but possibly a little too spicy for quick success in a new major market.

Upon reflection, though, I think The Hardline might be a very fine candidate for syndication into North Texas small-to-medium markets.  Sort of like what Wolfe was planning to try with Greggo the Hammer.  (Not only more potentially Hardline-friendly markets, but no -- or less -- danger of competition with other Cumulus properties.)   If that were successful, perhaps they could dip their toe into Texas metro generally.

And I don't need to tell you that any expansion into nearby markets -- depending on how nearby -- might help solve some of The Little One's abysmal signal problems.  Maybe not for local Confessors, but for those in outlying areas who now rely on iPhone apps and Internet streams.

Inexplicably, neither Ticket nor Cumulus management has turned to Your Plainsman for far-seeing radio advice on any of the topics upon which I have presumed to offer guidance.   

No offense taken.  


Phil K. said...

Rhyner articulating that syndication might be a viable option for staying relatively solvent (on the business side) is hardly "visionary."

It's simply an act of survival in the market.

Actually, it's the opposite of visionary. It's reactionary.

The Plainsman said...

Thanks, PK.

My remark about Mike's status as a "visionary" went to his having seen the viability of sports-and-guy-talk radio when that concept was in its infancy quite some time ago. With respect to marketing, it's obvious that The Ticket's owners and managers have not leveraged its market value and talent for a long, long time. Not a lot of visionaries on staff at Cumulus, and probably not Susquehanna either. And, of course, Mike no longer calls any important shots there.

Nor is syndication a necessity for "survival in the market." That phrase has meaning only when one defines the market one is marketing. The Ticket "succeeds" without syndication because it currently measures its success in this major metro market. And, as noted, the availability of alternative ways of getting the content (internet streaming, downloads, smartphone apps) makes syndication less of a necessity.

But I still think Cumulus could make more money if they put some of these shows in potentially Ticket-friendly markets.

Thanks again, Phil.