To quote my good friend Jerry Garcia, who lives on despite not being with us (was he ever really?), "What a long strange trip it’s been." A decade ago, I first walked through the doors of the Network Magazine Group. My career before then had been made up of a series of programming and managing jobs at radio stations as apart geographically and formatically as KFRC San Francisco and WAPP New York. Who knew the job of running Network 40 would turn out to be one of the most stable in the radio and record industries?
The past 10 years has seen unprecedented changes, both within our disparate businesses and without. The economy set new highs and gave birth to the dot.com boom. It’s now searching for new lows and trying to decide how to deal with the dot.bomb fallout. We’ve gone from a Bush in the White House who took us to war with Iraq to Clinton who went to war with Hillary and the moral code of outraged Republicans. Now we’re back to Bush who wants to go to war with Iraq. For the first time in the history of our 50 states, we’ve been attacked on our own shores. Not by Iraq or another country seeking war, but by a murky group of mercenaries who feed off hate and blame America and Americans for everything bad with their lives. We live in a time of unprecedented wealth and fear…fear that our wealth is but a mirage and fear for our lives as we travel.
Meanwhile, the business that has been our life bears little resemblance to the recruiting posters we originally fell for. Huge radio companies that boasted the ownership limit of 12 stations a few years ago would now be termed "mom-and-pop operations" by an industry with expanding ownership limits. Our parent company, Clear Channel, owns and operates over 1,200 radio stations. The radio industry is dominated by a few large companies. The record industry has seized that fact and made it the root of all evil. Of course, they ignore the fact that the record industry has seen more merging and downsizing than radio. The record industry has never been confused by the facts.
Ten years ago, when I first walked through the doors at Network 40, the record industry was healthy and wealthy…if not wise. Remember A&M, EMI, Polydor, blah blah blah? They are but distant memories of an industry once bustling with energy and setting new sales records every year. Now it’s an industry facing new technological challenges and coming up with no answers. Since the beginning, the record industry has been looking for the next superstar. Now, we’re looking for a way to stop global piracy. Perhaps the answer is a superstar pirate.
Into this breach steps the next incarnation of the Network Magazine Group. Our company has been on the cutting edge of the generations of the music and radio industries since The Album Network first debuted as a stapled tip sheet a quarter of a century ago. We’ve answered the bell by providing various magazines that highlighted various formats, including The Urban Network, Network 40, VirtuallyAlternative, Counter Intelligence, TotallyAdult, Urban Inspired and DJ Network…just to name a few.
It is a trade magazine’s job to reflect the wants and needs of an industry. The Network Magazine Group has been the best at that reflection since the beginning, and we believe this next step continues that tradition. Many programmers are overseeing different formats as a part of their continuing occupation. Those who aren’t move across format lines with no hesitation. It’s the same with music.
To reflect that reality, the Network Magazine Group has combined all of our weekly publications into the one you are now reading: The Network. This new book includes everything you want to know about music and radio. You don’t have to pick up several different magazines. The Network is the only read you need.
Those of you who are worried that this combination leaves something out should relax. Everything you’ve enjoyed in the other separate magazines is here. It’s just combined to make it easier for you and to give you the big picture.
With The Network, you can find out everything you need to know about all music and radio, across all format lines. It’s all- inclusive.
We’re proud of The Network. For the first time, all of the professionals associated with the Network Magazine Group are working together for one common goal: to produce the best publication in the radio and music industries. We’re also proud to continue the tradition of the Network Magazine Group…that of accurately reflecting the wants and needs of radio and music. As a true reflection, The Network remains a work in progress. As we sought many of your thoughts and ideas for the original concept, we will continue to seek your input in the weeks to come until The Network is the best in the business.
Welcome to the next step. We won’t rest until The Network lives up to it’s motto: "The only read you’ll need."