Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The End Of An Era

Radio & Records is no more. As someone who spent seven years at the publication during two different stints, I have mixed emotions.

When I moved to Nashville in 1990 to work for R&R I was certainly familiar with the weekly newspaper from my days in radio. It was the publication for the radio industry and working there was a great entry into Nashville and the music business.

After four years in editorial and sales I moved on to Warner Bros., but R&R was still a daily part of my existence since it was my job to get records up its airplay charts. 

Three years ago R&R once again became part of my life when Nielsen, the company I was working for, bought it and closed Billboard Radio Monitor, the industry magazine I was writing for at the time. In March I was laid off from R&R in what was apparently a pre-cursor to today's news. 

There's a lot of speculation about the "whys" and "wherefores," but my own take is this: the editorial content that R&R offered, particularly on its Web site, was really no different than what could be found elsewhere. For readers and advertisers alike, there are simply more choices these days.

With few exceptions, the news that was on was the same news that was on and all the other radio industry-specific Web sites. With slight modifications, the "news" was simply a re-write of a press release. There was no further investigation or insight, which is something competitors and Inside Radio do very well.

As for the weekly magazine, the charts that were included were old news by the time they reached subscribers a week after they were first distributed via e-mail. Back in the day, before electronic distribution, I remember grabbing the magazine when it came in to A-B it with the station playlist. We didn't have local research and that was my way of finding out what was happening nationwide.

It's cliche to say that information moves faster these days, but it's the truth. I read more about the demise of R&R on Facebook in the minutes following the announcement than I did on any industry Web site. I'm sure Twitter and plain old texts spread the news quite quickly too. That's a fact that all newspapers and magazines face on a daily basis.

Is there a need for a weekly radio industry trade magazine anymore? My gut tells me there's not. Especially not at a time when information flashes past us in bite-sized morsels and radio programmers are stretched so thin that they don't have time to sit down.


  1. It would seem the R&R site is now down (5:30pm EST). Didn't take long to get that papercut.

  2. Well said, Ken! Within minutes after I received my first of many "Breaking News" text bulletins shortly after 12Noon today, the story together with posts and comments were all over the place! Now, you don't really have to wait for anything you want to know more about.

    As a radio jock, MD, PD and now a GM -- R&R has been a part of my life every week since 1975. This is a sad day for both Radio and Records.