We are gathered here today to pay our respects to the almost departed. The roses in the window sill have tilted to one side. The life support system is being disconnected. The fat lady is singing. The National Anthem is playing. The sign-off has begun.
This is not a test.
On the opposite page is a letter to R&R reporters from Joel Denver. In a few, short sentences, Joel signifies the beginning of the end of R&R’s dominance in our industry.
Is it arrogance? Is it stupidity?
I have a “few” problems with the letter. I know it is unlike me to point out the mistakes of R&R, but please allow me a few words to belabor the obvious.
Joel describes a “dynamic new system of music information gathering and analysis” in asking reporting stations to provide their “plays per week.”
The Network Forty took the lead when we began tabulating and charting our exclusive “Plays Per Week” 15 months ago. It is gratifying that R&R finally admitted that their charts are inaccurate and are making a belated attempt to right their wrongs, but to characterize their “change” as “dynamic” and “new” stretches the imagination of even the most schizophrenic in our business.
Nice try, Joel, but that dog won’t hunt.
A bigger mistake than trying to rip off the “Plays Per Week” designed and innovated by The Network Forty is the way it was done. Joel doesn’t ask radio stations for their input…he just decides what he thinks is best and demands it from the reporters.
As much as we would like to take credit for it, “Plays Per Week” wasn’t a brilliant concept developed by the staff of The Network Forty. The concept was suggested by a number of our reporting radio stations. Programmers across the country were questioned about their ideas and “Plays Per Week” came out of this networking. We constantly ask radio what we can do better to serve their needs. Unlike R&R, we know our degrees of success directly relates to our ability to reflect the needs of the radio and record communities. Besides, we know our readers are smarter than we are. We value their input.
Joel asks stations to report their “projected” plays per week. As a programmer, you’re now required to give R&R information about what you’ll be doing next week.
So, now R&R wants to be a “tip” sheet. How interesting.
R&R asks that you give them programming information for the coming week so they may, as a privilege of being an R&R reporter, make that information available to your competition. Beautiful.
So, if you go to the trouble of plotting your music a week in advance (and we know everyone programs their music weeks ahead of schedule), what happens if, say, a superstar releases a new song on Thursday? Well, you couldn’t change your music scheduling because then you would be accused of supplying R&R with incorrect information. So, I guess, under the R&R system, you’ll just have to keep the new releases off for a week to 10 days. I’m sure the record industry will have to problem with that. Not to mention your audience, which will have to wait to hear new releases until the practice meets with R&R’s criteria. And what does it matter if your competition gets the upper had by playing the new releases before you do? As long as you’re complying with R&R’s edicts, what do you care?
How long has Joel been out of radio programming? No one schedules their music weeks in advance. There are too many things to consider: environment, promotions, remotes… and something R&R seems to care les and less about…new music. The idea is ludicrous.
No one can predict how many times a record will be played a week in advance. Radio stations have charts to s how a particular record’s strength in relation to the other records, but the exact number of plays? It’s impossible.
The Network Forty produces two Mainstream charts each week. One is our Plays Per Week chart, compiled from the number of plays records received the previous week. The other chart is derived from programmers’ forecasts of how they believe these records will perform the following week. By comparing the two charts, you can plot the past, present and future.
But predicting the exact number of plays for the new week? No way.
Other than the obvious reasons cited above, plotting next week’s music is too time consuming. Radio programmers have more than enough to do already. Should they change their working habits because of the whim of a “tip” sheet? As an industry trade magazine, it is our job to make radio’s task easier…not more difficult.
R&R doesn’t seem to care…as long as it meets their needs.
R&R seems oblivious to the obvious. BDS has become an important tool for our industry because it separates fact from fiction. BDS accurately reflects the number of plays a record receives on monitored stations. BDS doesn’t attempt to forecast. It provides an exact history…reality. Reality is what drives our industry. It’s high time R&R went along for the ride.
R&R, once the leader in our industry, is becoming, with each passing day and each new letter to its reporters, a follower. BDS creates an exciting new monitoring system. R&R has been trying to catch up with them for three years. The Network Forty begins publishing “Plays Per Week” 15 months ago. R&R tries to claim our innovation as their own.
It ain’t gonna happen.
What’s next, Joel? R&R Overnight Requests?