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Rotella Responds to Smerconish’s Switchover

NJBA president says “real radio” is still best option for broadcasters

New Jersey Broadcasters Association President and CEO Paul Rotella made the case for traditional radio in his own letter to the editor as a response to a recent column in the Philadelphia Inquirer by Michael Smerconish, “In Polarized Broadcast World, Time to Turn Dial.”

Smerconish’s announcement that he’s transitioning to SiriusXM has raised cheers and jeers from those who question his place in the talk radio format. Unlike many commenters, Rotella focuses on Smerconish’s claim that traditional radio left him.

Rotella asserts that local radio remains king, arguing that its audience share compared to subscription services is proof positive that the traditional medium is doing just fine. Adding to this, he says, is the continued loyalty of industry names like Rush Limbaugh and Ryan Seacrest, who have built and maintained brands on the radio dial. If that’s not enough incentive to stay, Rotella reminds readers that advertisers favor betting their ad dollars on free-over-the-air services.

On a broader level, Rotella sees traditional radio as surviving and thriving because of its community focus and ability to operate uninterrupted during times of crisis. He reminds readers that local, not satellite, radio operators are the ones who broadcast Amber Alerts and warn communities about health and safety issues — calling this the “real value” of the medium.