State of Radio

Radio

My love for radio began as a kid, it struck a nerve and I’ve liked it ever since. It became and still is a huge passion for me. My first radio job was at 14 and I’ve loved every moment ever since and it’s been years, a lot of years. There’s been good times and bad, but my passion never really waned. Through it all, I’ve learned many life lessons.

What I’m about to discuss is my thoughts on radio. It’s like trying to get through to a family member or help a friend. Intervention would be a nice way to describe it. Like many things in entertainment: television, music and movies…nothing is like it used to be. There’s still decent stuff, but if we’re being truly honest, the only things that have gotten better are technology and porn. Well, radio isn’t like it used to be either. Now, before some say who’s this fossil talking? There are some great things at radio, a few, but not many. You KNOW it too. You could be thinking a few words…jaded, bitter. Not really. I love my life and just care about radio, which has been a huge part of me forever. It’s basically, tough love. If I didn’t speak my mind on this, well, it would be because I don’t care and I do. I’m not wanting to see it all just go away.

As a kid, I studied and learned from the greatest radio personalities and the finest radio stations in many different formats on the planet. Just by paying attention and I got a hold of airchecks every month. I was going to school. A few of the people and places…Howard Stern, Scott Shannon, Rick Dees, Human Numan, Alan Kabel, Bubba The Love Sponge, Johnny B., Kevin Matthews, Steve Dahl, Garry Meier, Neil Rogers, Z100, KIIS, WPLJ, KROQ. I could go on forever. They’re all very different. Some did entertaining talk, some played the hits, but they’re ALL entertaining in their own way.

Management folk always say, where do we find the talent? Well, how about  making radio exciting again. FUN, REAL, HONEST E N T E R T A I N I N G!!!! Kids today, MOST, not all, don’t give a shit about radio. You know it’s true. There’s a few kids that are still into it and would love to do it, but not like it used to be. Now, WHY is that? There’s many other choices, sure, and we’ll get to that, but the main thing is radio just doesn’t grab them and make them care. If you want to make a difference…you can’t just be a dj, you’ve GOT to be a personality. Evoke emotion. Share your life. When you crack that mic open, give the people SOMETHING WORTHWHILE…something funny, interesting, informative, but always entertaining. I had a PD recently of a cluster tell me that his stations we’re the best in the market. I thought, he MUST be insane. The talent at the stations this guy ran, rarely said anything interesting. It was the typical dj stuff of… “that was, this is.” Plus, his stations didn’t make the most money. So on both counts…programming and sales…not happening. I just smiled at him. Why vaporize him with the truth. MAKE PEOPLE WANT TO CARE. Once you do this, the people will grow in your audience. There’s many factors to stuff, but this would really help.

I’ve never seen such tight ass idiocy than I have over the recent years. It keeps getting worse. I would love to see it get better, but this is a huge problem. Management doesn’t know how to deal with money, so heads get chopped like a holiday. It’s an annual thing. Oh sure, there’s the economy sucking, but this sucking began LONG before that. It might fix your bottom line now, but you are KILLING the business and your radio station’s future life. Clusterfuck USA! Management thoughts are like…. “We gotta get our budget in line” (which they screwed up to begin with), “We can replace so & so with this person and pay them peanuts,” (sure you can and they stink…and then you wonder what happened later), “Let’s have King Kong voicetrack 10 stations across the country,” (King Kong may be talented, but this is a shit storm) etc. Money makes the world go round and it’s something we all like. It’s just that the radio business, much like the U.S. Government, doesn’t have a freakin’ CLUE how to truly deal with cash. It might help if they knew how to deal with people.

What’s the #1 thing? What comes out of the speakers. THE RADIO! I want to be REAL CLEAR. I LOVE technology…all of it. I think it’s fantastic. I’m not against ANY of it, but it needs to be used properly. So many focus on everything, but what the product is, which is the RADIO PRODUCT. Some will say, people don’t listen to the radio and we need to focus on this other stuff. You are right and you also wrong. All of the technology, whether it’s iHeart Radio, TuneIn, iPad, phone, pick your device….regardless, it’s STILL THE RADIO PRODUCT. It’s just a different form of transportation. Just because you drive a truck, instead of a car…are you not still a human???? It’s still the radio! It’s the mode of transportation to the people, but it IS the radio, period. The RADIO broadcast should ALWAYS be NUMBER ONE…not the website, not Facebook, not Twitter, not Pinterest. Social media networks are ALL important and should be a major focus, but radio sometimes makes it seem like THAT is the #1 thing. It is NOT. It MIGHT be to your web person. “We gotta get our hits up!” Oh, fuck! The website is important, however pictures, video & audio on the web doesn’t matter if your radio station SUCKS. Work on the #1 thing FIRST! Make every moment on your radio station MATTER. You MUST do it. The times of just radio competitors are over. We have radio, tv, people playing music, tv, movies on their devices, video games, Pandora, Spotify, iTunes etc.

I feel much better expressing myself about something that means the world to me…radio. Media is constantly changing and that can be great and I accept it, HOWEVER, sometimes media doesn’t work on what is TRULY important, because they are so concerned with saving their ass at the expense of people and QUALITY entertainment. That way of thinking will get you killed in the future. Television is hurting from the tv nets to the stations. Newspapers are nearly dead. The music and movie business has moments of excellence and then periods of WTF!?!

Radio, your bags are packed, the flight is ready. It’s time for you to leave for your rehab. Will you go? Probably not. I hope it works out for you.

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