January 4, 2019

What will be the biggest issues/challenges the radio/music industry will face in 2019?

Raphael Opida, WIOQ: The ongoing rise of digital platforms and the smart speaker “war.” Being able to train the listener to turn the radio on at home with their Amazon Alexa-enabled device or Google Home. As much as we have people listening in cars, we have to adapt to the digital/app listening more than ever before.

Java Joel, WAKS: Based on 2018, the biggest challenge CHR has right now is finding HITS. Can we get some core artists, tempo and variety up this bitch real quick??? How about some non-hacky songwriting? Artists that care more about how they sound than how they look? Is that gonna be a thing in 2019? Hope so!

Mike “OD” O’Donnell, WKRZ: We need to make radio continue to be an important part of everyone’s daily plan. You hear all the time about how people are still there but the frequency of them listening throughout the week is going down. The overall cume number hasn’t changed, but the instances have decreased. We need to continue to make the medium unique and stronger, and give them something nobody else can give them. That’s why I believe in the concept of being live and local with unique personalities and unique shows because you can’t find that on streaming radio.

Kobe, WWHT: Continue to find ways to stay relevant in the fight for our audience’s attention with other forms of media/content.


Mike Miller, WZFT: If we can fit another Ariana Grande record into the hour.

Jeff Hurley, WLAN: The reality is that revenue will probably be flat. We may have to assess how we are reprioritizing and distributing our resources to maximize results. We’re definitely going to have to continue to grow in the podcast, streaming, digital world, and discover ways of monetizing these areas more.

Jimmy Steal, KPWR: With a nod to David Byrne, “Same as it ever was.” Except now digital disruption is forcing us as an industry to fix these issues ASAP! Challenges: declining PUMM, finding the next generation of amazing star content creating talent, addressing spot-loads. Who’s ready to lead?

Rob Roberts, WRQX: We need to focus and commit to bring young and new talent into the industry.


Brian Michel, iHeartMedia / Atlanta: Creating the best content. It’s easy to get lost in the mechanics and distribution, but the best content still wins.

Sassy, WKXJ: Not having any bodies to take over the jobs when seasoned DJ vets retire. They aren’t prepared and either you produce in 12 months or you’re out the door.

Max Volume, KOZZ: Developing new talent

Brian Mack, WXXL: Ownership capital structures…are they built to grow, evolve or divest?

Toby Knapp, WASH: Along with the business realities, revenue issues, and workload issues we always face, there are a bunch of things going on. There are many for music stations, renaming relevant sources of discovery in an age when fans of music can get what they want from so many places on demand. I also think our music station programmers are going to have to change the way they think when it comes to playing what our fans want to hear. The way music stations conduct research for playlists is due for a complete overhaul, as I question how the data is actually gathered and who is actually taking the time to provide that feedback. We will continue to be challenged by the unfair, ever-changing rules of the ratings playground imposed by the Nielsen cartel which, frankly, holds radio hostage to an algorithm of measurement which is completely flawed. 2019 will also force companies to face the legal realities which could come from podcasting. What are the rules of the podcast game? Finally, we’re going to need to address the fact that we have a serious talent crisis brewing. Who is the next gen of superstar talent? Are they trained the way they need to be? Can they actually operate a studio, a board? Do they know what to do in the event of an emergency? It’s more than just recording a voicetrack. It’s more than just clicking send. And what happens when a real crisis happens in the middle of the night?

Jon Zellner, iHeartMedia: Aside from the obvious answers like any and all devices offering music and other content, our biggest challenge will be our inability to re-evaluate, re-examine and re-think our mission utilizing 2019 technology and a fresh set of objectives.

Valentine, WBHT: I think we will continue the battle of time spent with us versus the billion other choices. How will radio stand out, enhance engagement and make those vital connections with the people, so they make us the first choice.

Matt Johnson, KSLZ: I believe we’re going to have to think differently about how we measure our success, and I think persons using measured media will have a lot to do with that.

Derrick “DC” Cole, WAEB: I feel our challenge will be growing and helping our talent really cut through all the distractions listeners have in their lives in 2019. Luckily it has been helped with the smart speaker, also with a new pool of talent to look at with the explosion of podcasting.

Kevin Kash, WIYY: Radio must continue to grow with the ever-changing landscape. New avenues into podcasting, digital, and beyond (shout out to Buzz Lightyear). Stay current with technology and human evolution.

Dom Theodore, Radio Animal Media Strategies: The biggest issue is the lack of anything exclusive. The industry is driving out all of the exclusive content creators, and the sterilization of radio is not doing us any favors at a time when we need more unique content than ever before. We have to stop killing the unique content creators and actually draft more of these creative types into the business.

Buzz Knight, Beasley Media Group: One of our biggest challenges for 2019 will be how we find and create new opportunities to engage with Gen Z and make our content welcoming for consumption. This generation has to be part of our eco-system and we must rethink how we interact and reach out to them so they are part of our future.

Greg Strassell, Hubbard Radio: We need to ensure that we carve out time during our busy daily and weekly agendas, to apply thought in the areas that make us more creative and innovative, and spend energy in thinking how we can re-invent brands and create more unique listener experiences.

Jonathan Shuford, WRVW: Keeping up with the speed by which music is being discovered and consumed.


Chris K, The End: We have to continue to try and keep people interested. Young people have so many options to consume audio entertainment, we have to breed the next generation of listeners and keep them engaged and entertained with compelling content.

Fish Boy, WKRZ: If the music cycle we experienced last year continues into this year, the biggest challenge for our format will be to present more of a variety of artists and the challenge for the music industry will be to break the cycle of the same artists and sounds on the majority of records that we get. Maybe it’s incumbent upon programmers to seek out new and different artists instead of waiting for the labels to release them. Everything’s based on the internet and streaming so these artists are out there to be found. Radio just needs to take more of a leadership role in this area.

Chris Michaels, FM100: Making sure our core artists put out the right hits. We had quite a few core artists in 2018 swing and miss. It would be great to have new Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Ed Sheeran in 2019.

Randi West, WMTX: Cultivating talent, and advancing ourselves digitally.

Next Week’s Question Of The Week:
What are your professional and/or personal goals for 2019?
e-Mail your responses to: jodorisio@fmqb.com or bburke@fmqb.com