Gene Kranz allegedly said: “Failure is not an option.” This also goes for the attitude of the Danish Liberals and Conservatives with regard to national commercial radio: Just because all previous attempts to run a national commercial radio network have failed, failed and failed again, there is no reason to think that running a commercial network in Denmark will end in failure. Well, is there?
From a political science perspective the interesting question is what, if anything, politicians and bureaucrats have learnt from previous failures. And why (not).
The first thing we can note is that the Liberals and Conservatives want that commercial radio channel. Why? Well, hmm.. yes… Okay: They want a competing channel so that that Socialist-Leftist-Communist behemoth called DR (these days DR is an acronym for … nothing) can be blasted into oblivion one channel at a time. Maybe there are other reasons, but never mind: The point is that promoting a commercial national network is an ideological priority for the parties – and please do not ask me why they keep forgetting that commercial local radio has proved viable in Denmark for the past twenty years.
Second, what is the cost for the government of private companies going out of business? Okay, so the Ministry for Cultural Affairs lose some expected income from fees for access to the sixth network (actually, the ministry will forfeit any demand for fees this time), but what is the real cost to politicians and bureaucrats? Nothing. Zero. Nada. The issue is so much below the radar of the political agenda that there are no votes to be lost on promising national commercial radio. Sure, there are some administrative costs, but who cares?
So my prediction is that as long as we have a Liberal-Conservative government, successive ministers of Cultural Affairs will try and try and try … and forget the wisdom of Adam Savage: “Failure is always an option”.