Group's portfolio includes over 300 stations.
There will be no more weekly reports on record adds from any of Cumulus Media’s portfolio of more than 300 radio stations. The group’s EVP John Dickey tells Billboard.biz he will no longer report record adds to any of the trade press—a move that affects some publications more than others, especially those that still rely on such reporting to compile weekly playlists and charts.
Cumulus’ change will not affect any Billboard Radio Monitor charts or features, which are based on electronic monitoring of actual station broadcasts, rather than reported play provided by the station.
“I wasn’t trying to affect anyone negatively,” Dickey tells Billboard.biz. The move, he said, was based on his own hopes to inspire more creativity within his staff: “I’m hoping this will positively affect our business on the programming side. In my way of thinking, it’s designed to give our program directors and our music directors more discretion and, ultimately, more creativity and leeway to add music and play music that they have strong convictions in for reasons above and beyond charts and callout research.”
Dickey made public his views on reporting adds as far back as last year, during the NAB Radio Show in Philadelphia. During a panel session at that confab, Dickey called for an end to the decades-old practice of radio stations reporting their adds to trade publications and record companies. “It’s the root of a lot of evil and somebody ought to take a stand and do away with it,” Dickey said in late September.
Now, Dickey and Cumulus are making that move. “From our perspective,” he told Billboard.biz, “if a radio station wants to add a record on a Friday or a Saturday, or a Tuesday or a Wednesday, they ought to be able to do so. As long as their decision on playing a particular song or an artist is based in good, solid, sound intelligence.”
Dickey said that his PDs and MDs can now feel free to make their decisions about record adds based on local or national trends, “or something they feel is going to be a breaking trend that they’re catching wind of.” No matter the motivation, he said, “That’s a decision that we’ll respect and that’s a decision that they’ll live with or die with as they pursue their ultimate objective, which is to gain popularity and audience and listenership for the radio station.”