Hollis W. Dunkan: So you are descended from a Scottish Engineer. Well, then, Laddie, maybe ye can explain why KVIL Engineering in 1978 was such a disaster.Ye are of Clan Johnstone, I see, and fought at the Battle of Sark in 1448. How did that one turn out?
Geo: Actually Hollis, both my Grandfathers were English. Vince on my Mom’s side and Johns (Welsh name meaning, son of King John) on my Dad’s. My Grandmothers were both Scottish, Hunter, and Sutherland.
I’m a programmer so don’t know from engineering but thanks for the read.
Hollis W. Dunkan: Ah, thanks for the clarification. KVIL still sticks out as having the worst politics of any place that I ever worked, and all of it was in Engineering, centered around fellows names Spence, Smart, and Crossno. Sadly, none of the politics was aimed at getting Ron and the guys the Engineering assistance that they needed – that always seemed to be a side-issue.
Geo: Sorry, you had a bad experience at KVIL Hollis. I heard my fair share of whining from the air staff but I don’t recall many of the complaints being about engineering. Know this though, Ron could have anything he wanted, he chose spending most of the money on promotion.
Hollis W. Dunkan: Most of my time at KVIL was good. You always remember people who were a whole lot nicer to you than they had to be, and Ron, Larry Dixon, Ken Barnett, Dan Bell, Len Mailloux, Andy McCollum, and Mike Selden were among the really great people that I worked with. However, the studio at the Park Cities Bank was poorly wired with absolutely no backup for the studio or to either transmitter. At that time, Ron didn’t have control of the Engineering Budget and everything that I did for Ron would blow back on me because Crossno would become jealous and go running to Smart. I believe that my leaving caused Jerry Kablunde to come aboard as CE and I hope that he didn’t face the same situation. As an aside, I was hired by Crossno with instructions to never talk to Chapman because he was crazy. He was not. I am greatly enjoying your blog.
Geo: All of them were always very nice to me Hollis. 🙂
Jack Schell: Hiya, George. It should come as no surprise to you that I have read almost all of your blog essays. Always interesting…even the ones that take us back to your times singing and playing guitar. Maybe the connection stems from my having also been in a band…singing and playing electric bass and guitar. How about THAT!
Today is different. Your “Radio’s Over” hit me like sticking my finger in an electric socket. Ever do that?
Anyway, like you, I can’t help but lament radio’s current era. I’m close enough to DFW to listen to any or all of the stations I “helped”…mostly K— well, YOU know the one. Break’s my heart. AND, I refuse to accept that I am “…out of touch with today’s modern media or whatever.” I do hear some exceptions which make it somewhat better to catch a few personalities who are connecting with their audience. That’s a good thing…but rare.
One thing that might make me ALMOST feel like “I DON’T GET IT” is to hear stations send people to the internet. If I were in charge I tend to think I’d let the internet send people to my radio broadcast. Kinda like the use of newspaper ads, direct mail, magazine ads, and billboards. The internet is compelling…made so by some VERY clever folks. So. why invite radio listeners to go to a place where they might not want to come back? (Could the sales department have anything to do with this process?) I do see plenty of web ads popping up when going to the radio websites…oh well, that’s just me. You have to know that I joined the air wars when you’d better have a good reason for a double-spot or triple-spot. I think I heard a niner recently.
I’ll soon be suggesting that some of my longtime radio pals get together over lunch in Big D to cuss, fuss, and discuss their opinions…might be therapeutic for us all. Might even get Bill G. to fly in. Are you ever down this way?
John Forsythe: I just retired this year after 50 years in radio. Hanging out in Hawaii right now where radio still sounds original and fun. (although KKCN in Honolulu is big and is programmed like stateside stations but with local music)
I agree that original and fun is always better but comparing kids in the 60’s to kids today, come on, get real. Kids today have so many media choices. A boss jock “posting” a 42-second intro would not interest them. They will respond to a true talent making them laugh and sharing a social media or website video that they can share with friends. There is talent out there but it is a multilayered challenge that most of didn’t have to face in the past.
While in Orlando, check out The News Junkie on Real Radio or evenings on XL 106.7. Some talent is still connecting.
Bob Christy: I’m not an advocate of the “Way Radio Used to Be”. Our memories of the past are better than the reality. In the late 80’s, I bought a 68 Mustang GT. When it was restored, it looked and sounded great, the truth was it didn’t drive worth a damn, the brakes were lousy, it didn’t corner and there was no ventilation. The seats were terrible. I liked it but, it wasn’t a good ride. The reality is a V6 Camry is faster than any of the old muscle cars. Look it up.
Geo: I don’t think they’re done hurting that once great station yet Bobby.
Tim Moore: What Mickey created, Cumulus wrecked in record time. A group that couldn’t take “yes” for an answer. I had the fun of moderating at R& R’s last News Talk Conference in LA. Mickey was on my panel–a fellow Michigan guy by origin. He put his life into KGO. “Smoking wreckage” might be too soft.
Moto: Radio is dead. I think you boys missed the story. It was a few years ago and it received little notice. Few cared and more laughed at its demise. It had become such an awful entertainment venue, more of a dead skunk in the middle of the road, a putrid roadkill carcass. Deregulation was listed as the cause of death, with boring musical formats and even more boring personalities listed as contributing factors. The fact of its timely demise is hardly worth writing about and yet here we are, commiserating over the beating yet another dead horse. It was ruled a suicide.
Geo: We’re looking for the folks that killed it Moto, and I don’t think that just ownership who is is responsible for its demise. I’ve heard some pretty lame breaks on the radio lately that had nothing to do with their bosses. The jock was lame and a way overpaid.
Tom Hoyt: George & Bob,
Youse guys are smart…..but history makes for dull reading if not livened up. In Houston, my home again now, traffic is a nightmare. Mel Karmazin and I once had a fun conversation about how much we both loved traffic jams….that is still true today for radio’s savvy programmers in most medium to large markets. Small market operators we know have it figgered out for their cities and towns. Perhaps seek out those folks who ARE doing good radio…there is still $$$ to be made…somebody, somewhere is doing a great job serving their community, entertaining and informing. Radio is still an adventure, as is life…..not too negative boys…that’s my take on it.
Geo: Nope, we won’t be writing about history Tom, although we may use an incident or two from the past to explain a specific situation. Each station will get an hour to shine and then we’ll talk about what we found. We may even get people such as yourself to choose a station and then participate as we break them down.
Tim Moore: Tom is right guys. The difference is today’s ownership profile is a jagged EKG. As long as there’s a Cox, Hubbard and in secondary markets Mid-West Family (or Duke Wright’s Midwest) a Delmarva and more, some are still doing it right. Not Fairbanks or Susquehanna mind you but in scale, very good.
Geo: Tim, we won’t be comparing any of them to the great companies that you mentioned. Those stations had three very important things going for them, “A Dreamer, A Businessman, and The Son Of A Bitch.” In today’s radio world I think the only one still standing is, “The Son Of A Bitch.”
Paul Cavenaugh: Since you brought it up, I did find a station I thought worth listening to in Islamorada FL of all places. I’m seldom up early enough to catch the morning show down here, but I thought their “Hobie in the Afternoon Experiment” on Sun 103.1 in Islamorada and the Whale in Key West is a pretty decent morning- style afternoon show on both stations. Even more shocking, they played music and featured a local news minute too! Almost like real radio and in a small market like the Keys.
Warren Cosford: As George knows, I sing the praises’ of WMOM in Ludington Michigan. Small Town Radio, intensely Local, owned by a guy who has among The Best Ears for Music of any I know and a Passion which inspires The Kids he has working for him. They’re not ‘Slick’ and often sound ‘Hokey’ but there’s a real Charm to the station. They ‘cleaned up’ at the recent Michigan Broadcaster’s Convention yet there are 9 people working there.
http://www.wmom.fm/Yesterday Elizabeth and I spent the evening with Colin Kennedy, once an Op at The Big 8 CKLW when Paul Drew was PD. Colin claims to have invented The Layover. All I know for sure is…..the first time I heard one was when I arrived in Toronto from Winnipeg to work at CHUM and saw Colin working with Big Tom Rivers. From a Production standpoint, it was like nothing I had ever heard. The two of them were creating Radio to an Extreme. Was that Radio as An Art Form?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSbl2k0snUU Could anyone in Today’s Radio do that today? Would anyone listen?
On the Other Side of that was Progressive Radio. My Fav was WLIR New York. As with Pat Martin, PD Denis McNamara had ‘Great Ears’ for Music and inspired a Creative Quirkiness between the Records. Showtime just aired a Documentary about them. http://dtbdthemovie.com/But really….perhaps it was the role that Music played in Pop Culture at the time. It seems that Music simply isn’t as important in the lives of My Kids as it was to me…..and now that they’re Adults, the only Radio they listen to is in The Car and it’s mostly News/Talk. The music they get on The Web where The Playlist is a couple of thousand.
Geo’s Media Blog is published weekly. For a sneak peek at some new Blogs, or those you may have missed, go to GeorgeJohns.com. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. You can also google, Writing Radio’s Wrongs to see a brand new Blog that Bob Christy and I are writing together about the state of radio today. Sharing and commenting is much appreciated.