In a Crisis, Radio Should Be Bigger Than Ever — So Why Isn’t It?


Terrestrial music stations have a major cultural opportunity right now, but employees say a muddied strategy is standing in the way


Mandatory Credit: Photo by Everett/Shutterstock (10277803a)
Broadcast radios first decade prompted novel uses. Photo shows a shut-in woman, wearing radio headset, listening to radio on stand next to sofa. 1923.
Historical Collection


Radio personality Kevin Ryder was “baffled” by KROQ’s “cold, heartless attitude” when he and his morning-show team were fired at the end of March. The station has long been an alternative/rock staple in Los Angeles, the second-largest market in the country, and Ryder had been on the air for more than 30 years.

“The new people in charge now weren’t here for the building of the world-famous KROQ,” Ryder, one-half of the popular Kevin & Bean Showsaid on air when the station let him go, live one final time. “I don’t think it means anything to them. It’s a numbers business, and there’s no family aspect to it anymore. It’s only numbers, but this place was built without numbers. It was musicians, artists, and the special relationship between music, the station, and our fans.”

AM/FM radio provides localized, round-the-clock information and entertainment via friendly neighborhood voices — so in theory, it’s the perfect platform in a global crisis that forces hundreds of millions of people to stay home. But Ryder is one of many in the radio community — including on-air hosts, music directors, program directors — who have been shocked by sudden job losses in recent weeks as COVID-19 has spread across the U.S., and news out of the industry has been one bad thing after another. Why is terrestrial radio missing the opportunity here — and how should it be fighting to get back on top?



  1. Here’s a hint; when you get the same transnational corporate shareholder class OUT of radio that also sent our jobs and industry to China, Mexico and India so they could make more $$$ is when things will improve.

    Not a second before.


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