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We Are But A Small Speck in the Media Universe…

How small? Really small. Take a look at how radio stacks up against other media companies…

“Media Cartographer” Evan Shapiro

By Paul Marszalek

A colleague complained to me recently that she was struggling with a programmer who “thinks his [generally low performing] radio station is the center of the universe.”

It got me thinking. Most business experts today believe there are only two routes to success; you’re either a giant, or you’re a boutique — there is no middle.

Retail offers plenty of examples. You’re either Home Depot, or you’re the independently owned hardware store on the corner. Even Ace Hardware, with 5300 locations, is basically a collection of locally owned franchises.

In media, it’s the same thing. You’re either a behemoth, or a boutique — it’s hard to be in the middle.

In the grand scheme of media, Radio, collectively, is microcosmically small. More tiny are the big three radio owners, the Alternative format, and the rag-tag troupe of largely independent Triple A stations (the boutique of boutiques).

But actually how small is radio, and how big is everyone else?

Evan Shapiro is a media expert who has done a lot of things, primarily in TV. These days he’s an adjunct professor at the business schools of Fordham and NYU, among other things. Recently he’s become a “Media Cartographer,” and his latest hit is a map of the U.S. media universe.

Regularly updated due to mergers and additional data points, it’s a fascinating view of not only media consolidation, but in turn, who really is in charge.

Take a look at his map. You can find iHeart, the largest radio group, as an orange dot in the lower left hand corner – just above Apple.

There is incredible beauty in boutique businesses, and in boutique media offerings. I’m a fan. But it’s also good to know where you stand.

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