Can We Write in Dan Wieden?

Is the Candidate That's Good for Us Good for Our Business?

By Published on .

Doug Zanger Doug Zanger
A couple days ago, Ken Wheaton and I got into a funny debate John McCain and Barack Obama. I'll spare you the details, but it was close to a fraternity argument. Just a bunch of blustery garbage filled with vulgar language and childish name-calling (mostly me) and short, curt, Republican-esque smarminess (mostly Ken). It was actually fun because, quite frankly, we weren't taking it too seriously.

What is serious, though, is considering the impact that O'Biden or McPalin has on our business.

In reading candidate positions by Ira Teinowitz (here's a look at Obama; here's a look at McCain), it's clear that either of them could help or hurt. Sure, we might like a McCain tax kiss, but we believe that Obama is the best choice for our business for a couple of reasons: media ownership and the internet. However, we're not looking at his positions unconditionally.

I've been somewhat ambiguous about media consolidation, especially in radio. That said, I am a big proponent of improving the quality and diversity of what happens in the industry both on the air and on the ground. We're working on the Radio Heard Here campaign. One of the issues we focus on is encouraging the idea of pushing creative and programming boundaries so that the listener and consumer has more choice and better content. I do believe that larger broadcasters can achieve this (and are doing so, like CBS Radio's digital initiatives). But having independent ownership could potentially afford more opportunity to reach these goals faster. I'm not for wholesale relaxation of rules, but feel that there shouldn't be uber-tight regulation either.

We're about to launch an internet radio broadcast studio and the idea of net-neutrality is important to us. Being able to innovate and deliver content without feeling as though we are handcuffed by boundaries is a cornerstone of this effort. I like Obama's position of getting the web's speed boosted and offering up more accessibility. For us, more ears and eyes opens up much more opportunity for this part of the business to thrive. But it goes a little farther than just the web. I have a colleague who believes that radio towers, in their current incarnation, will be gone in 10 years and be replaced with digital delivery. I tend to agree with him and the more opportunity we have to develop and innovate in the digital space, the better.

Overall, and from a personal perspective, I just think that Obama suits us best. It's clear that I list fairly far to the left due to my beliefs and geographical locale. But it's something bigger than that to me. I love this country very much and feel as though that the spirit of what Senator Obama can bring is what we need to regain some confidence, focus and energy. Sure, there are plenty of holes in both candidates. I mean, this is POLITICS for goodness sake. But we have to choose one of the candidates and, from where I'm sitting, Barack Obama would be best for us.

Unless, of course, Dan Wieden decided to enter the race. Then, my decision would be very easy.
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