Saturday, March 14, 2009


Gaylord Fumbles Again

Is Gaylord Entertainment secretly funded by other musical genres to tear down what was country music chord by chord? The logic of their business decisions over time seem to defy common sense and lack of understanding of the core value of WSM and the Grand Ole Opry.

This week, like a lot of other corporations, they thought the thing to do was throw a lot of folks under the bus to 'cut costs'. Did any executives lose their jobs or have a cut in pay? Or did they get a bigger bonus package because of their cuts?

Their latest decision has made the front page of the Nashville Tennessean. They let Keith Bilbrey go - someone who had worked for their station for 34 years, an on air public good will ambassador for their Opry franchise and an announcer on the famed show. Has any other Opry announcer ever suffered such a fate?

Check what Gail Kerr had to say:

"The ride ended because of money. Gaylord Entertainment, which owns the station, has dissolved 350 positions. Bilbrey's midday shift had fewer listeners than the morning and afternoon drive times, so he got the boot."

I would be willing to bet that they spent the least amount of promotional dollars and effort for his shift. In fact, shouldn't they be firing the marketing and sales staff instead for not being able to provide the sponsorship and ratings they seem to covet? That's where the problem is. Replacing him with some nameless person in a computer terminal won't solve anything. Did the executives give up their perks? Their cars? Their expense accounts? Did they eliminate the executive bonuses?

Why doesn't Gaylord just give up the Opry and WSM franchise? It's clear they think everything can be run without any human involvement; they think profits are nothing more than a macro button they can automate. They blew the Opryland franchise and the family aspect tied to the Opry. Yeah, the world needed another shopping mall instead.

Boycott their hotels when you go to Nashville. Send them a message. The micro managing have to have a quarterly profit because Wall Street says so mentality has got to go. If you're in the entertainment business - you provide entertainment. You don't get rid of it. Was it worth the front page publicity and bad public will it generated for that 'decision'?

It's about PEOPLE Gaylord - will you ever learn the lesson?

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