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Unemployed Radio Broadcasters: the NAB Still Loves You (for $179).

Tough times necessitate creativity, not to mention a little bit of compassion. Not to be left behind the National Association of Broadcasters serves up both by offering what it’s euphemistically calling a “free agent rate” [scroll down to the bottom] which gives discounted registration of only $179 to its upcoming Radio Show convention. Radio magazine is little more direct in reporting that the discount is for unemployed broadcasters. Looking to avoid that word, the NAB instead likes to say that the rate is intended for “[r]adio broadcasters who are currently between jobs.”

The "free agent" entrance to the NAB Radio Show.

The free agent entrance to the NAB Radio Show.

Not to nit-pick, but to actually say someone is between jobs implies that there’s another one on the horizon. But given the way that the largest radio consolidators like Clear Channel and Cumulus have been laying off staff, it doesn’t seem like there’s too many radio jobs left waiting for all those “free agents,” unless we include operating the wireless intercom at the drive-through.

Somewhat ironically, the only Cumulus employees at the Radio Show might be those new “free agents” since, according to Jerry Del Colliano [scroll about half-way down], the company has forbidden its staff from attending. Whereas the newly “free” Clear Channel broadcasters will have the great pleasure of listening to their former boss, CEO Mark Mays, at the “Super Session Breakfast.” What a way to start the day! At 7:30 AM it just might be most tolerable with a hangover from the previous night keeping the B.S. obscured in a post-alcohol haze.

I hope you, dear reader, understand that I’m aiming my snark at the Scrooge McDucks running (or ruining) the likes of Clear Channel, Cumulus and the NAB. I intend no fun at the expense of the unlucky broadcasters unceremoniously kicked to the curb by Mr. Mays and Mr. Dickey. If these guys keep up their current mode of business, the “free agents” at the NAB Radio Show will outnumber the working broadcasters two to one, and they’ll have to pay the unemployed guys the $179 to show up.

The audacity to fire thousands of personnel and then magnanimously offer them a $120 discount to attend your industry’s biggest trade show exemplifies the attitude, misplaced priorities and sheer ignorant greed that is killing commercial radio.

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