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The Dumbest Quote By A Radio Station Owner Ever

“Pandora is Web streaming, not radio. Satellite programming is called Digital Audio Broadcasting by the FCC; it is not radio. Radio should take steps to educate the consumers (and media) as to this fact. Radio is what comes out of a radio, not a computer or smart phone from the Web.”

Go Country 105 GoCountry KKGO Saul Levine Pandora SiriusXM Internet Radio Streaming Richard Wagoner WaggonerIn an interview with Richard Wagoner of DailyBreeze.com, Saul Levine, owner of “Go Country 105” KKGO Los Angeles and a few other AM’s in Southern California bestowed up on us that doozy of a statement.

It is that line of thinking that will make traditional AM/FM radio obsolete. This is like saying that music played off of CD’s or MP3’s is not music. AM Radio is a century old technology. It should’ve been replaced with an improved technology years ago.

Actually that is finally happening. It’s called streaming. Listeners do not care what method their audio programming is coming from as long as they are provided with the compelling programming they are searching for. It doesn’t matter if its Pandora, a streamer on Live365, SiriusXM, 100kw FM, 500 watt AM daytimer, or their own IPod. Choosing not to accept them all as equals competing for the ears of a potential listener just means your irrelevant to one more person.

Radio’s biggest hurdle right now is that it has disappointed almost every potential listener at one time or another. Just take a look at these two examples of how regular listeners treat the medium: here and here. Every listener has gotten hurt at one time or another by format changes, hosts coming and going, or not hearing what they want locally. Solving those issues is close to impossible, but emphasizing the good is not. Just give them compelling programming and they’ll return. What is the difference between someone’s personal music collection and a station completely automated? Absolutely nothing.

Don’t run from technology and newer mediums either. Embrace them and make them your own. Thankfully CBS and Clear Channel have begun to do so. Its not hard for small market and independent owners to do so either. The tools are there, it just takes a little bit of time and dedication to put them to work.

If Saul Levine had his way we’d all be commuting to work in our horse and buggy listening to a transistor AM radio. If this line of thinking is prevalent throughout the industry we’re all in trouble.

Profile photo of Lance Venta
Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

5 Comments


  1. Exclusivity in programming may be the greatest long-term hope for terrestrial radio. If you have the only outlet in town for a product that people in large enough numbers want to hear, you will put yourself at a distinct advantage as a programmer against the competition. And, in this era of ever-advancing technology, what qualifies as competition goes well beyond the other AM and FM and HD sideband stations in a given market.

    On the point of the importance of exclusivity, consider what ESPN Radio does to its affiliates, all but strong-arming them into carrying the Mike & Mike morning show to maintain their affiliation. But radio is not the exclusive home for M&M — to the contrary, their show is also carried live on ESPN2. That is a serious problem, particularly in PPM markets. If a given listener has an Arbitron PPM device and has M&M on in the background on their TV when he or she is getting ready for work (as opposed to listening to it on a radio), the local ESPN radio affiliate isn’t receiving credit for it — and nor should they, since that person isn’t actually listening to their local radio affiliate and isn’t hearing that station’s advertisements.

    Even Sirius/XM, despite the many bad decisions it has made in regards to programming in recent years (e.g. signing Martha Stewart to a four-year, $30 million deal in April 2005), recognizes the importance of having exclusive content that people are willing to pay to hear. If you want to hear Howard Stern’s radio show live, you have to listen to Sirius/XM.


  2. MR. VENTA FAILS TO GRASP THE ISSUES INVOLVED. PANDORA IS TRYING TO COAST ON THE COAT TAILS OF RADIO. THERE IS
    NO REFERENCE BY MYSELF THAT PANDORA IS NOT MUSIC. BUT IT IS NOT RADIO. STREAMING ON THE INTERNET IS, WELL, STREAMING, IT IS NOT RADIO. THE STREAMING PEOPLE ARE ATTEMPTING TO HI JACK A ONE HUNDRED YEAR OLD TRADE
    MARK. THIS ALLUDING TO HORSE AND BUGGY IS BS.
    VENTA IS DEVIOUS. HIS RAGE IS
    PREDICTABLE. RADIO IS DOING WELL. AND PANDORA CANNOT MAKE A BUCK BECAUSE THEIR MODEL IS FLAWED. MR. VENTA
    YOUR STUPID RAGE CANNOT MAKE PANDORA OR COMPUTER STREAMING INTO RADIO. YOU ARE CONDONING THEFT OF A TRADE MARK.

  3. Profile photo of MattParker


    Levine breaks his own record. Terrestrial “Radio” is dying and it’s arrogantly stupid people like Levine that killed it. This guy has record of frequent flips and failures in “radio” unmatched by anyone – with the possible exception of Randy Michaels. This guy claims he went to law school but apparently flunked the class on intellectual property which covered trade marks, since he clearly doesn’t even know what a trade mark is.


  4. Is that really Saul Levine himself? If so, wow, Saul Levine takes time out of his busy day destroying radio to bash a radio blogger’s posting from a year ago? There’s so many names to describe this man, many of which will make him blush I’m sure.

    Saul (if thats really you there), Radio is no longer just the Marconi way of transmitting it thru megahertz and kilohertz. It’s now in your pocket and competing w/ AM&FM in the car. You may not like it and will continue to argue otherwise to your deathbed, but facts are facts.

    The only way to survive now is manage to make compelling programming or else be caught in the whirlwind of ‘Net Radio, Satellite Radio, as well as (yes) your big-name competition.

    Oh, and 1 more thing Saul (if thats you), you have better things to do w/ your life than to bash a year-old blog posting from a radio observer. it’s just childish (to put it extremely lightly).


    • Something smells in Denmark. The vicious attacks on me obviously have a self serving motive. Here is the record and facts-I pioneered FM radio in LA when no one else wanted to keep FM on the air. I kept Jazz on the air for over 35 years. I kept classical music on the air for 20 years plus. What kind of flip flopping is that. Is the writer a retard or just vicious. As far as horse and buggy, I keep three digital
      HD channels on the air in LA, and stream internet programming to over 500,000 persons a week. I was just named the No. 3 person-off air-in LA Radio. Those wired juke boxes that try to horn in on radio’s name and history just plain SUCK. You do not have to go to law school to see and smell deception and lies. More than one million persons in LA listen to my stations weekly. To para-phase Winston Churchill, that is some horse, and that is some buggy.

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