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Field: Radio Is Disrespected

Entercom exec fires back at analysts questioning radio’s ‘relevance’

A question from a Wall Street analyst about radio’s relevancy got Entercom President/CEO David Field irked this week.

Noting that streamers TuneIn and Spotify are “doing a radio-type business,” an analyst at the Wells Fargo conference asked how traditional radio can remain relevant in the dash.

Fields said radio has repeatedly faced this question. “There were guys asking this 20 years ago when CDs came into the dash,” and again when satellite radio was introduced some 10 years ago. “There’s a pattern here,” said Field.

He called it “a lack of respect for what radio is and what it has accomplished.”

If you aggregated all the listening, including broadcast radio, satellite radio and streamed stations, traditional radio makes up some 90% of that, he said. That’s compared to television, which faces disruption from satellite, cable and other services, so local and network TV “is about half of where they were” at one time, he said.

Yet television doesn’t get continually asked about its relevance, Field pointed out.

Traditional radio is valued by listeners because “our service is not just music,” clarifying he’s not “not denigrating the other services. We have local content, local personalities. We offer companionship.” Put all that together, and radio is successful, he said.

Radio’s content is on many platforms. Listeners can hear Entercom stations on TuneIn, for example. “If I pull out my phone, I have apps to listen to stations directly or indirectly,” or to tune into Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio, Field said. Entercom is making “sure wherever people are listening to audio in the future, we’re going to be there.”