Now Radio Wants to Syndicate Management

I caught this little PR blip in Friday’s NTS Online.

“So, Just What Is ‘Syndicated Asset Management?‘”

It seems that Mark Masters, the founder of Talk Radio Network has put together a team of legal, sales and programming experts to help syndicate management to radio stations that carry syndicated programming. Honestly I don’t quite know how to react to this news.

Putting together the daily news and my rambling commentary for RadioNX has kind of freed me from the constraints of the radio business. I’ve been out of the ‘fold’ for almost two years now. As time rolls on, it becomes more and more apparent to me that I will probably never work in the radio business again. Eh’ it happens. One thing this realization brings, is a freedom to say what I really feel about what is happening out there. I do not, however, want to turn into just another “angry guy” ranting about what is, isn’t or should be about the radio biz. That being said, here goes…

From what I can gather from the web site of the Syndicated Radio Asset Management Company, what they do is provide “managerial talent.” I’m guessing it’s essentially a consulting group to consult management on how to manage a radio staff that manages syndicated programming or some such thing. I’m not completely sure, and I’ve gone over the sites “proposition” a number of times.

This is not a picture of the management team at Syndicated Radio Asset Management Company

This is not a picture of the management team at Syndicated Radio Asset Management Company

Without going over a lot of old territory again and again… isn’t this the kind of thinking that’s gotten radio into the mess it currently finds itself in? It’s a consulting group that, I imagine, comes in and helps you hire people or manage management overseeing radio stations that syndicate programming (I know, I’ve repeated this twice now, I’m still just trying to wrap my head around it). I’m sorry, but what’s really to manage? All of the programming is coming in off the bird, so it’s not like you have to manage the talent. Phil Boyce (or someone like him), who also happens to be one of the managers in this company, is already in New York doing that. It’s not like you really need a Programmer, all of your programming is coming in off the bird, and Mr. Boyce (or someone like him) is, as we already stated before,  managing your clock from New York. OK, OK… you get a couple of bumpers and maybe a slot for the news here and there. So hire a really hot imaging guy and a couple of talented newscasters.

What are we really talking about here? I would guess, sales. I guess that part makes some sense. Not my area of expertise, so I’ll go along. What do “Syndicated Radio Asset Management Company” get out of the arrangement? According to their website:

“…by taking a percentage of currently unsold inventory plus modest base fees”

So, they get a chunk of your inventory. OK

So what really frosts my cookies? Now that FM stations are finally putting talk on the air, at least 10 years later than they should have, this is what we get. The same old, tired AM talk programming being thrown on big-stick FM’s, appealing to the same old tired and aging AM talk audience. FM talk isn’t here, it’s just AM talk on the FM dial. The manager can flip the switch, fire the talent and put the usual suspects on the AM dial on their FM’s. And what do you know, they’re pioneers! Now that’s progress. Wow, how revolutionary!

But wait, it gets even better. Now that we’ve entered this brave new world of “FM Talk,” after we’ve shot all the fish swimming in our local talent pool, created less locally compelling content and slashed our operating expenses, let’s pay a bunch of consultants that sold us much of the syndication in the first place to tell us how to run it (hell, it’s coming out of New York, they already run it) for some of our inventory. Brilliant!

This isn’t anything new, we’ve had “Syndicated Asset Management” since the ’80s. It’s called “Consolidation.” And look how well that worked out.

*John Ford is a Broadcast programming professional with nearly three decades of experience in local and network major market radio Programming and Consulting. Including stints as a VP of New Media Sabo Media, Network Programming and Imaging at ABC Radio Networks, Greenstone Media. Programming, Imaging and Morning/Talk positions at WIOD/Miami, WLLZ/Detroit, KZPS/Dallas, The Edge/Dallas, Zeta 4/Miami, WSHE/Miami and others. John’s also an uber-geek who holds numerous Apple Technical Certifications and enjoys breaking and fixing code and kit. Reach him at his website