Soon To Be Classics

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Baby, If You Ever Wondered...

Request Week #3

The Wednesday request for "All Request Week" was appropriately enough about my opinions of Radio today and 15 years ago. Any of you who know me will guess my response.

It's not so bad. (Ok, you didn't see that coming.)

Part of the reason that I say that is because I have been out for 3 years now and I'm to the point where I can almost enjoy listening again. Once you know there really is a rabbitt in the magician's hat, the trick loses its effect. It was the same with Radio for me.

What I will say, is that I worry about the future of Radio. There are several causes for this:

- Satellite Radio
- Clear Channel Communications
- the NAB
- And some idiot named Stern

I was involved in local radio. We ran PSA's (public service announcements), birth announcements and even a "swap shop show" on our AM station called "The Trading Post". We served the community, got to know them and they got to know us. My listeners heard me grow from young idiot, to bachelor, to married, to a parent. What was cool, is that I was allowed to let them see that part of me. You don't see that anymore. Satellite Radio is an industry puts a single jock (if there even is one) into anywhere from 1 to 5 markets at a time. However, it's like cable compared to free tv. Cable is a superior product and as soon as they can sucker everyone into paying a monthly fee for radio, local radio will all but disappear.

Radio is also suffering due to large corporations like Clear Channel Communications who took the ball in 1996 when that idiot Clinton signed the telcom bill ("It'll lower your cable rates, we promise!") and ran with it, buying up every station they could, SIGHT UNSEEN. Literally at a NAB meeting, the head of Clear Channel told a crowd of station owners that he would "have purchased 2 to 3 new stations before his speech was over". The result? A complete homogonization of the radio dial. Wonder why every station sounds the same from city to city? Blame Clear Channel. The National Association of Broadcasters stupidly gives their blessing to any group that comes along and says they're good for Radio. Right.

As for Stern. The "King of All Media" set such a low bar for all of us morning jocks that it brought us all down. A funny story, is that I know a guy who was at WABC in NYC when Stern was fired. According to him, the scene in "Private Parts" where Stern defiantly walks out was in reality Stern crying like a baby begging to keep his job. I guess it's in the translation.

So, as much as I love Radio, it won't be the same in 10 years. Maybe even 5. My advice? If you find a good station, support them. They won't be around forever.


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