Future Focused – Radio is Dead … Almost

Go Lean Commentary

‘Focusing on the Future’ means letting go of the past!

This is easier said than done, but when it comes to investing time, talents and treasuries we should always focus our energies on going forward and not going backwards, on where the market is going and not where the market has been.

Alert: Radio, as a communications medium, is dead and dying. This applies in the advanced democracy of the US and in the Caribbean.

Doubtful about this actuality in the Caribbean? See the article in Appendix A below describing the closure of the state-run national radio station in St. Lucia.

Other media for communications – think newspapers, magazines and books – are also dead or dying. These are also identified as Old Media. In a previous blog-commentary, the following observance was made:

Print is not dead… yet? I almost didn’t notice!

If print is not dead yet, does that mean it is going to put up a fight? Will it make a comeback? I say “No”. It is just a matter of time. Print might experience only a slow death, but die … it will.

This has been the conclusion of the movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean – available to download for free. The point is that societies have been transformed; old strategies, old tactics. old implementations simply do not work anymore. Ignore this reality at your own peril.

Doubtful about this actuality in the US? See the article in Appendix B below describing the regulatory transformation to allow Old Media companies to consolidate to survive in the US. (Some media firms have a winning model; see Appendix VIDEO).

This fact – transformations in society – was an early motivation for the Go Lean book. It identified that the Caribbean region had been beset by these macro transformations, identified as Agents of Change in society:

  • Technology
  • Globalization
  • Aging Diaspora
  • Climate Change

The Caribbean region had not keep pace and suffered the peril … alluded to above. Our region is now in crisis.

Alas, the book asserts (Page 8) that this “crisis is a terrible thing to waste” and has provided new strategies, new tactics and new implementations so as to elevate Caribbean society. According to the book (Page 186), stewards of the Caribbean must embrace New Media – Internet and Communications Technologies – in order to communicate and engage Caribbean people in society. The book presents this Case Study:

The Bottom Line on Old Media versus New Media

The internet and mobile communications has changed the modern world; many industries that once flourished (music retailers, travel agencies, book sales, line telephone companies), now flounder. Media distribution via the internet or mobile devices are referred to as “new media”, while old distribution channels like newspapers, magazines, TV and radio are referred to as “old media”. The mainstream (“old”) media is pivotal for “freedom of the press” as they are effective at standing up to big institutions like governments and corporations. The art of “good” journalism requires the deeper pockets that mainstream media bring to the market, but old media is dying financially.

New media, on the other hand, is an aggregation of mainstream media. With the ubiquity of new media devices, people have freer, easier access and more options to news and information. On the plus side, there is now a greater diversity of ideas and viewpoints, on the minus side, with too many options, people tend to isolate their news consumption to only the views they want to hear. As new media matures, it is expected that it will take over the social responsibilities of old media, adopt the best practices of journalism, like fact checking (with the ease of information retrieval online), and finally return the industry to financial viability.

Old Media – radio, print (newspapers & magazines), etc. – is the past; New Media is the future.

This commentary continues this series on the Caribbean Future; this is Part 3 of 5 on this subject. The full series flows as:

  1. Future FocusedPersonal Development and the Internet
  2. Future FocusedCollege, Caribbean Style
  3. Future Focused – Radio is Dead
  4. Future FocusedPolicing the Police
  5. Future Focusede-Government Portal 101 – Available November 15

As initiated in the first blog-commentary in this series, a focus on the future mandates that we focus on reaching young people. Hint: they are not consuming Old Media.

So the stewards of a new Caribbean must engage New Media.

The Go Lean book provides a 370-page turn-by-turn guide for forging a new future; it details “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to engage Internet and Communications Technologies (ICT) and forge change in the region to foster a new future. This Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This is a Future Focused roadmap.

The Go Lean book also details that there must be a super-national management of the region’s airwave spectrum. Remember, some Caribbean member-states are only a few miles apart; two islands are actually shared by 2 different countries with a border within – Hispaniola with Haiti and the Dominican Republic; plus the Dutch and French sharing of Sint Maarten / Saint Martin. The book therefore states (Page 79) this excerpt:

D6 – Communications and Media Authority
The radio spectrum must be regulated on a regional level, beyond that of just one member-state. So as not to forge conflict with one radio/TV station from one member-state overriding the signal of another station in another state, the CU will be the overseer of all radio spectrum. This oversight will also extend to satellite regulations and broadband governance.

Though the current coordination among member-states is facilitated by national treaties, the accedence of the CU treaty will supersede all previous legal maneuvers. The scope and jurisdiction of this Agency will be exclusive to the region.

Auctions of radio spectrum can be a big source for garnering initial capital to launch the Trade Federation – this is how the CU can pay for change. But to monetize the management of radio spectrum will require one prerequisite step: convert all TV broadcasts to digital (from analog signals). This exercise is complex as it requires re-tooling all TV receptors for digital conversion – newer sets are already digital compliant. Countries like the US and the EU facilitated this conversion by granting decoding devices for the general public. This effort is too big for any one Caribbean member-state; it will require the coordination of a super-national agency, this Communications Authority.

This agency will also regulate other aspects of the media industry, promoting broadband acceptance and proliferations; plus serve as industry regulator for content issues. This agency will also liaison with an independent CU Agency for Public Broadcasting to facilitate/coordinate endeavors in the arena of public television and public radio. This includes providing funding.

Other than this Public Broadcasting functionality, this agency is modeled after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the US.

Way Forward
Is there a Way Forward? Can the medium of radio be saved or maintained as a communication source to influence Caribbean minds?

Yes, but only for a little while; and perhaps only with the older generations. The Caribbean youth will require New Media.

There is a Way Forward; consider mobile (smart phones) and internet (browsers social media, search engines, etc.). But there is still some effective conscientizing taking place … on the radio. (See a previous conscientizing event here).

Consider this interview here with a “Radio Personality” in the Bahamas:

Title: Interview with a Radio Personality – Louby Georges
Radio is dying, yet many still depend on this medium for their livelihood, and as a means to engage the public. The promoters of the Go Lean movement conducted a structured interview with a “Radio Personality” in the Bahamas, Louby Georges, the Host of the show The Flipside on ZSR Sports Radio 103.5 in Nassau. He is on the frontlines of the battle of conscientizing the Caribbean market on the need to reform and transform our societal engines – he advocates for the Bahamas to better manage civil rights and human rights with the Haitian-Bahamian community; his quest is for the Bahamas to be a pluralistic democracy. (Louby is identified in this interview as LG; while the Author‘s questions are formatted in Bold). Consider his responses here as related to this endeavor to engage Caribbean people through the medium of “Radio”:

Tell me your story:

LG: I am a minority in a homogeneous society. I was born in the Bahamas after 1973, to parents that were not Bahamian citizens, (they were Haitian heritage). Therefore, I was Stateless for the first 19 years of my life. It was only at that age, that I was able to apply for my Bahamian citizenship. The award was not automatic, I had to jump through a lot of hoops, but in the end, my Bahamian citizenship was recognized. I am recognized as a “up and coming” young leader by International monitors.(I just attended  the World Festival of Youth and Students 2017 in Sochi, Russia this past October). Yet, in my own country, people would rather I “sit down and shut up”.

Tell me about your journey in radio:

LG: I started in television, as part of a entrepreneurial endeavor with some partners. It was a weekly 30 minute show on the local Cable TV channel; I provided insights of the Haitian-Bahamian community. I was subsequently offered to do “The Flipside” on the radio for every weekday. I have been doing this for 4 years now.

Though your advocacy is for the Bahamas to accept their eventuality of a pluralistic democracy, why  do you remain when it is so obvious that your presence as a pro-Haiti advocate is not welcomed?

LG: The Bahamas is the only home I know – though I speak Creole and have visited Haiti, the Bahamas is still my homeland – and I love this homeland and these people. If something is wrong in my home, then it is up to me – and other citizens –  to do the housekeeping. I have a passion for this home and a disdain for being a stranger in a foreign land.

Considering all your travels, where in the world would you consider the best place to live?

LG: I have truly travelled – though I have not lived anywhere else – before the World Youth Festival this year, I was also invited to Youth Leadership conferences in Latin America and in the US. I have seen the good, bad and ugly of the world, but for me the best place to live is here at home in the Bahamas. Is it perfect? No, but it could be “better in the Bahamas”; despite the cliché, I truly believe that.

As a businessman, how do you feel about the Bahamas economy?

LG: It is not good, some may even say the economy is dying. Many of the problems stem from the single source of economic activity, tourism. If only we can diversify then there would be so much more potential.

How do you feel about Caribbean security?

LG: This is sad. On a scale of 1 to 10, our homeland security can be rated as a 3. We must do better, be safer.

Accepting that the Caribbean in general and the Bahamas in particular is your homeland, what would you want to see there in … 5 years?

LG: More opportunities and more capital for local business minded people. Which comes first, the capital or the opportunities? Let’s work hard to solving that in the next 5 years.

What would you want to see in the Bahamas in … 10 years?

LG: We need population growth. We need a bigger market so that our economy and society can grow. It is that simple, if we want to make progress, we must grow.

But so many Caribbean people have fled their homelands; this problem persists. Your parents emigrated from Haiti; large number of Caribbean people emigrate everyday. How would you feel if your lovely daughter here, decides that she wants to live in the US, Canada or some European country?

LG: I wouldn’t feel bad, but I would hope that she would have the same love for our homeland as I do. But I would understand. My country seems to “push” people away more than they are being “pulled” by other countries. This is why some of us must fight to reform and transform our country. Count me in for the fight.

What would you want to see in the Bahamas in … … 20 years?

LG: Our country is more than just Nassau. I would like to see more Family Island development. Those islands would be perfect to try different economic diversification models.
Thank you for your responses Louby and your commitment to the Bahamas, Haiti and the Caribbean. We see you; we hear you and we feel your passion. We entreat you to look here, going forward, for more solutions on making our homeland better places to live, work and play.

As related in the foregoing article, Louby Georges believes that radio can still be used to conscientize with the Bahamian population. But he cautious that this business model is failing more and more each day. See this article here depicting dissension within the media company / radio station (ZSR 103.5 FM) where he works:

Takeover of ZSR 103.5 ‘defective’, but URCA approves Sebas’s radio deal

In 2017, a focus on the future for interstate communications must also consider broadband, streaming and/or the Internet. This consideration is embedded in the Go Lean roadmap. In fact, the book presents the good stewardship – a new regime – so that ICT can be a great equalizing element for leveling the playing field in competition with the rest of the world.

This CU/Go Lean roadmap details many aspects of the societal reboot for the Caribbean, not just ICT alone. In fact, the roadmap features these 3 prime directives to reform and transform society – all Future Focused:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book stresses that transforming Caribbean communications-media “engines” must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. …

xxvii. Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.

The Go Lean book presents a detail plan for elevating existing tertiary education options and adding new ones. This federal government – CU Trade Federation – will NOT be academicians, but it will facilitate new and better education options. The motivation of this charter is the recognition that college education has failed the Caribbean region. We need to double-down on the intra-Caribbean strategy – promoting the many universities among the 30 member-states – and e-Learning options.

This Caribbean-style is Future Focused.

See the many considerations of this strategy in these previous blog-commentaries from the Go Lean movement:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=13321 Making a ‘Pluralistic Democracy’ – Multilingual Realities
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10750 Less and Less People Reading Newspapers
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=10052 Fake News? Welcome to America
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=8328 New Media Example: YouTube Millionaire – ‘Tipsy Bartender’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6464 Sports Role Model – ‘WWE Network’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5353 POTUS and the Internet
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3974 Google and Mobile Phones – Here comes Change
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1634 Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right – A Book Review
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=248 Print is dead … soon

The Go Lean movement has collected the insights of Caribbean media entrepreneurs … like Louby Georges in the foregoing interview. This book was the result. This movement declares that while “Radio is Dead or Dying”, there is the appealing opportunity for a new media landscape. Imagine a www.myCaribbean.gov network for 42 million people, 10 million Diaspora, and 80 million visitors. Imagine too, a Caribbean Union channel on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. This prospect, and the benefits are before us if we prepare and forge a new unified, integrated Single Market for all of the Caribbean.

Yes, this vision is within reach.

Welcome to the future, to New Media. Say “Goodbye” to yesterday, to Old Media. Can we transform our Caribbean society?

Yes, we can! While this is not easy – it is heavy-lifting – it is conceivable, believable and achievable.

This is the kind of Future Focused efforts that are needed to reform and transform the Bahamas and all of Caribbean society; to make our homeland a better place to live, work, learn and play. 🙂

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix A – ECCO Boss believes more local radio stations could close

The General Manager of the  Eastern Caribbean Collective Organisation for Music Rights (ECCO), Steve Etienne,  has expressed the view that Saint Lucia could see the closure of more radio stations, following the recent announcement of the planned closure of state-owned Radio Saint Lucia.

He said the planned closure has come as no surprise to him.

“It should not be a surprise to anyone because RSL has operated in challenging situations that have been known to the public for some time,” Etienne observed.

However the ECCO official noted that the closure of the station will leave a void in the field of broadcasting because RSL played a unique role, despite its association with the government.

“They provided a lot of information and educational focus in lots of the areas that are not normally seen as attractive to radio,” Etienne stated.

He observed that ECCO has had a long relationship with RSL.

“We will miss that relationship,” Etienne said.

He noted that the station owed ECCO a substantial sum of money which the organisation will be seeking to recover.

Etienne explained that the closure of the station would be a loss to ECCO’s members because RSL provided a lot of air time for local music producers.

He stated that the station had a day set aside for playing local music.

“We will miss that, but I think that the slack will be picked up by other media houses – some have already started to focus on having specific segments for local music,” he remarked.

Etienne expressed the view that what is happening to RSL could befall  other broadcasting entities.

“We have far too many radio stations and we haven’t got the finance – our economy cannot sustain or support twenty  or so radio stations that we have and if business is done as business ought to be done, then  several other radio stations will go the same way as RSL,” the ECCO General Manager said.

He explained that because ECCO is funded by a percentage of advertising revenue, the organisation is aware that lots of radio stations are struggling.

“Or  at least they are telling us they are struggling and if that is the truth, then many would follow RSL,” he pointed out.

According to Etienne, Saint Lucia needs a thriving economy.

He declared that having radio stations that are unsustainable will not help the economy.

Source: Posted May 13, 2017; retrieved November 12, 2017 from: https://stluciatimes.com/2017/05/13/ecco-boss-believes-more-local-radio-stations-could-close


Appendix B – FCC Moves to End TV-Newspaper Ownership Ban

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission said he’ll move to weaken or kill local media ownership restrictions next month, potentially clearing the way for more consolidation among companies that own TV and radio stations.

Chairman Ajit Pai told Congress he’ll ask the FCC, where he leads a Republican majority, to eliminate the rule barring common ownership of a newspaper and nearby broadcast station, and to revise restrictions on owning multiple broadcast outlets in a single market.

“If you believe, as I do, that the federal government has no business intervening in the news, then we must stop the federal government from intervening in the news business,” Pai said in a hearing of the House communications subcommittee. He said that’s why he offered his rules revision to “help pull the government once and for all out of the newsroom.”

Republicans have been calling, without success, to weaken or kill those rules for more than a decade, and Pai’s ascension to FCC chair as President Donald Trump’s choice gives the party a chance to accomplish that goal. He set a vote for Nov. 16.

Relaxed rules could help Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., which earlier told the FCC that its proposed $3.9 billion purchase of Tribune Media Inc. would violate local-market ownership strictures in 10 cities.

Pai cast his ownership proposals as part of his commitment to the First Amendmentthat guarantees free speech — a live topic since Trump threatened broadcast licenses over news reports.

Democrats announced opposition even before Pai spoke.

“The already consolidated broadcast media market will become even more so, offering little to no discernible benefit for consumers,” Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat, said in testimony prepared for the hearing where Pai and the other commissioners appeared.

Broadcasters eager to consider merger deals have chafed under the ownership restrictions. The rules were written to guarantee a diversity of voices for local communities, and broadcasters say they’re outdated in an era of media abundance featuring cable and internet programming.

The local rules are separate from the national audience cap that limits companies to owning stations that reach 39 percent of the U.S. audience, which Pai didn’t address. That rule could force Sinclair to sell some stations in return for approval of its proposed purchase of Tribune. The deal is before the FCC and antitrust officials for approval.

Pai’s proposed deregulation could set off local transactions, involving station swaps and other small-scale deals, Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker said in a note.

“We do NOT expect transformative M&A,” Ryvicker wrote, using a shorthand term for merger and acquisition activity. She said the broadcast industry would be strengthened because two-station sets are more profitable than stand-alone outlets.

Pai’s proposal needs to win a majority at the FCC, and will be subject to intense lobbying in the three weeks leading to the next monthly meeting when the vote is to take place.

Regulations to be revised include the local-TV rule. It allows a company to own two stations in a market if at least one of the stations is not ranked among the top four stations locally, and if the market still will have at least eight independently owned TV stations.

Pai told lawmakers he will propose to the commission that it eliminate the latter provision, known as the eight-voices test, and put in place a case-by-case review for allowing exceptions to the top-four prohibition.

Pai also said he’d seek to eliminate a rule restricting common ownership of a TV station and nearby radio station. The agency is to publish the proposed rules on Thursday, he said.

The National Association of Broadcasters said it “strongly supports” the proposal.

FCC restrictions have “punished free and local broadcasters at the expense of our pay TV and radio competitors,” said Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the trade group. “We look forward to rational media ownership rules that foster a bright future for broadcasters and our tens of millions of listeners and viewers.”

The News Media Alliance, formerly called the Newspaper Association of America, focused on the newspaper-broadcast rule, put in place in the 1970s.

“Outdated regulations preventing investment in one sector of the media market do not make sense, particularly when newspapers compete with countless sources of news and information every day,” said the trade group’s president, David Chavern.

The Free Press policy group objected.

“We need to strengthen local voices and increase viewpoint diversity, not surrender our airwaves to an ever-smaller group of giant conglomerates,” said Craig Aaron, president of the group. “Pai is clearly committed to doing the bidding of companies like Sinclair and clearing any obstacles to their voracious expansion.”

Representatives of cable and satellite-TV companies wary of the negotiating clout of combined stations have said they will be concerned if the top-four restriction is relaxed or eliminated. Broadcasters are raising fees they charge to cable and satellite companies in return for permission to carry their signals.

“Pai’s statement to end media rules is most retrograde in FCC history,” Michael Copps, a former Democratic FCC commissioner, said in a tweet. “Halloween sweets for Big Media, paves way for huge Yule for Sinclair.”

Source: Bloomberg posted October 25, 2017 retrieved November 12, 2017 from: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-25/fcc-s-pai-sets-nov-16-vote-on-lifting-media-ownership-limits


Appendix VIDEO – Hearst CEO Says the Death of Old Media Is Not True – https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2017-10-24/hearst-ceo-says-the-death-of-old-media-is-not-true-video

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