I was interested to read in Media Guardian* on 16 July:
"GMG Radio's sale triggered a £1.33m payout for Stuart Taylor, the former managing director of the radio division. Taylor received £710,000 as a "transaction bonus" on achieving the unexpectedly high sale price, another £509,000 for loss of office when he left GMG on 30 June following the sale"
I've put part of it in bold as it made me think about 'transaction bonuses'. I wonder who invented these in radio, and when?
Just for fun I added-up all my annual wages in the 17 years I was at Trent/GEM-AM from '77 to '94. It started at £4,250 in 1977, and gradually went past the (then) stunningly high £10,000, later over £20,000, and in my last few years almost reached the 'Himalyan-high' of £30,000.
So, give or take a few thousand, my total basic wage over 17 years was £260,000.....
Now what did I get for 'transaction bonuses'?
And what did I get for (as Head of Programmes and Music) achieving 23% reach on GEM-AM, and 34% reach on Trent-FM, Nottingham ?
Of course the currently 'politically correct (radio) attitude' to these 'old days' is that groups such as Midlands Radio (which owned Trent/ GEM-AM for the later years) were not financially viable as stand-alone groups - it's been argued that the Saga group was making a loss and inevitably had to be 'swallowed' by a bigger fish.
Presumably, all the radio 'gurus' (and young would-be radio 'gurus') make such judgements based on the HUGE profits the large groups make?
Because GMG group had to 'write-off 54.2 MILLION from the value of GMG Radio'* which ran the Smooth and Real station brands before the sale.
Of course Radio Trent, GEM-AM and Saga never such HUGE losses, something the 'radio gurus' might be well-advised to remember..... as well as radio investors, the government and Ofcom.
I'm sure I'm noted as being a sceptical as regards the way UK commercial radio is run nowadays, but surely someone sensible in government can do something to allow some LOCAL stations to be started up again!?
With cautious management, local ownership, and the marvels of today's technology, it would be easily feasible to have a station with 18 hours live, that makes at least a small profit. And it could target more than just the under 30 year olds, and have local features rather then the mind-less 'show biz gossip' that has made the vast majority of listeners turn way from it to BBC Radio 2 (not as good as it thinks it is but hey it has no real competition...)
A new local station (in an area such as Nottingham) certainly would never lose MILLIONS or give disgustingly large pay-offs to people who over-saw stations that clearly failed because of their centrally controlled, non-local programming policies.
When the history of the first FIFTY years of commercial radio is written in 10 years time, I'm happy to be judged on the stations I ran for love rather than money, which had large audiences; the time is right for reviving 'Radio Like It Used To Be'...