Thursday, March 4, 2010

This One's For You, Mikey

Another radio guy I know got sacked today. I asked him what happened and he said his boss said that "his talk breaks were too long". That's about it. This guy worked mornings, so if there's a place where your talk breaks can be lengthy, that's where. I'm Facebook friends with him, so I'll get updates on things that he did with the station and he always seemed to be out in his community. Nice guy, well liked, not a big ego. Big deal. His talk breaks were too long. Here's a box. Pack your stuff.

I've said this before, but show me a radio station that pushes a "more music" morning show, and I'll show you a loser. Now more than ever, it will be personalities that radio needs to save itself. It just needs the incomprehensible incompetence of radio management to get their boot off of the personalities' throats, and it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon.

It's abundantly clear that the most successful radio shows have nothing to do with playing the hits, and everything to do with showcasing the biggest personalities: Limbaugh, Stern, Dees (ok, maybe that one's a stretch). Yet, time and again, we jocks are told to cut the chit chat and spin the tunes. I've even had a market manager tally up the number of songs played over one week's time and told me that that number indicated that I was talking too much (forgetting the fact that they had added two extra :60 commercials each hour and the average length of a country song had increased by over a minute). And this was a boss that I actually had respect for!

People can get music almost anywhere these days. What's sorely lacking is entertainment. Satellite radio was supposed to be the next big thing when it arrived because it was all music, commercial free. Subscriber numbers have been disappointing. In fact, a large number of people simply signed up for the service because that was the only place they were going to be able to hear Howard Stern. A personality. An entertainer. Music is omnipresent. There's only one Stern. Again, a lesson. Staff a radio station with personalities people want to listen to, and every sales person will be driving a Bentley. Christ, what's so hard to understand about this?

Lately we're seeing some music artists starting up their own record labels because they grew tired of how things were handled in a typical record label operation. Maybe that can happen with radio, where a bunch of jocks fed up with the "just play more music" mentality can put a group together and show the suits how it's supposed to be done. I don't see any other way for radio to pull out of its death spiral. Every radio salesperson elevated to a position where they can make decisions over programming is akin to a morbidly obese guy eating another triple cheeseburger. A quick death is inevitable

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