Sorry. I fell asleep talking about radio with a couple friends. There really isn't much to discuss so I had a nice snooze dreaming about the "good ol' days". We all know today's radio, in general, sounds horrible. Well, let's clarify: Most stations sound horrible. We should give props to those owners that do care, and didn't buy the cookie cutter formula. Listening to major market talent is always fun, but not when they are reduced to reading liners. It's so bad you can virtually predict when the stop set starts. And so much voice tracking leaves little to be desired. Add to that short playlists, you may as well put in for favorite compilation CD and put it on replay shuffle (wait, that's what people are doing with their iPods!). Sirius XM, under Mel's leadership, get's it. I have heard several jocks on various Sirius XM stations that TALK to the LISTENER! What a concept. Anyway, I took a break right after starting this blog. Quite frankly I got bored with the industry I love because there isn't much to write about. I would be rehashing what you are already reading elsewhere.
However, I got a message today from a radio friend. He said "I just told 3,000 people about your blog. Two wrote back and told me it hasn't been updated since August." That was my queue, you know, in life we wait for our queue to do something we've wanted to do. So, I'm back.
Which leads me to today's topic: The relevance of radio. However, there is a twist. I don't mean relevance to the listener. I mean relevance to us, in the industry. How relevant is radio to you?
Some of you know I was a moderator for Radio-Info when the founder Doug Fleming was alive. And I accepted a larger role when his parents regained their rightful control over the site. I was very interested in discussing radio with other "radiophiles". I was very interested in the daily news. I was very interested in hearing of format changes and personnel changes. Reading about rumors that became reality was fun. It created many great discussions and friendships were formed. I was very hyped about the industry. All I did was eat, drink and breath radio.
However, I'm not much interested anymore. I still check out the major radio sites such as AllAccess, Radio Ink, and Radio and Records from time to time. Every now and then I'll check up on some of the more prolific radio blogs, many of which I link to on this blog. But I don't really visit the message boards anymore; Not as often as reading what notable professionals have to say. There is just rarely anything new or exciting to discuss about terrestrial radio. For me, it's like watching a beached whale die. There isn't anything I personally can do to help fix it, get it floating again, or breath some life into it. Since most stations will only hire cheap talent and with some of the experiences I've had in radio, quite frankly, I'm picky about who I would work for too.
Terrestrial Radio as we know it now is becoming irrelevant to me. I still love it. I still want to take a station from 0 to 100 in 10 seconds. But I'm finding it harder and harder to find a quality position at a quality station. That's not to say they don't exist, because they do. But there are so few of them anymore, and generally speaking, when you know you have the best job out there, would you leave it? Only for a better one, and better jobs are getting harder to find too!
So what am I passionate about then, you wonder? Internet and Satellite Radio, New Media, Social Networks and my own Internet radio show. There is so much to discover on the Internet as far as radio is concerned. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of radio shows on the Internet. Many are done by newbies, and sound horrible. But there are good ones out there. Some are better than what you hear over-the-air! Satellite radio, or more specifically Sirius XM has some good talent. I had an opportunity to listen to a couple channels (the 80's Channel, Classic Rewind, Hair Nation and Lithium to name a few) and I heard some notable DJ's/Announcers doing a bang up job. I was listening to real radio! Yes, I admit the localism was missing but that was eclipsed by the good content.
But now, in major markets localism means "appearances" or "remotes" and that's it. And who goes to a remote to see the station staff anyway? They should be going to see the customer, not the announcer! And I'm sorry, but I don't listen to the radio for traffic updates. As a matter of fact, I think traffic clutters up the hour with useless information. On most stations, the weather is usually done by the TV weather guy/gal which I can get from the TV! Or, if I really need to know the weather, I will check Weather.com (don't tell me you don't). In smaller markets, there is either voice-tracking or syndication so that the localism is limited to poorly produced spots.
New Media and Social Networking will eventually replace radio as we know it. While I can romanticize about the golden days of radio, they have come and gone. It is time to accept the future and apply some of the newest tools to the industry we love in order for it to even survive it's evolution! "Radio" will continue to exist, just not as we know it now. It will be more "social". More "open source". It will be created by the listeners for the listeners.
In the coming blogs, I will review a different social network each week, it's pros and cons, and will reveal how radio can best use it to reach it's listeners. In the mean time, why not check out Radio Twit, my Radio Professionals Guid to Twitter. It's free. You can also check out my radio show at http://www.charlieprofitradio.com.