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Radio Suffering Through Worst Year Since 1954

November 26, 2008 2:39 PM ET

Like pretty much every other industry during a recession (except maybe the alcohol and fast food sectors), terrestrial radio is seeing record declines in 2008, with the entire industry having its worst year financially since 1954. Revenues are off seven percent from last year's numbers, and 2008 marks the eighth consecutive struggling year for the industry. To put things in perspective, things haven't been this bad since the main attraction beaming to antennas was The Lone Ranger and Joseph McCarthy's hearings against supposed Communists and the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn. Things are somewhat more optimistic in the small markets, where radio has seen their revenues grow by 0.6% over the last 20 months. In the bigger markets, however, the market has lost 4 percent of revenue monthly. One can't fully blame satellite radio for the downturn, as SiriusXM has its own struggles as its stock currently hovers at the 17 cents mark at press time.

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Widget Hopes To Save Pandora, Internet Radio
Sirius and XM Finally Merge, Become Sirius XM Radio

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
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