Brent Farris: I like Hockey.. was a keeper for two years back in High School. Sure I was 2nd string but still liked to play. I loved Orr and Gordie Howe and Mario even Gump Worsley (yeah I am old) but I wonder could they play for 2, 3 or 4 teams at the same time? Each Team is demanding different playing styles, uniforms, different team members and do it all with no practice. Just show up at the game, play and then on to the next team.
Then I thought about the coaches, could they coach, book the games, lug all the requirement equipment.. sharpen all the skates, and watch all the other teams so that they had a chance of knowing what to do to win?
On second thought, maybe they could….. they didn’t ….but maybe they could?
Not sure about radio, NOT evolving? I think it did, just not in a way that makes great talent want to play the game. I say More Hockey Players on the radio!
Bob Christy: I’m an old hockey player too, My senior year in High School, four guys got D-1 scholarships, and I wasn’t one of them. That said, a couple of months ago I ran across a piece of tape from WHDH during the massive blizzard of 78. WHDH was an AC with a very good news department. It was a total emergency situation. A city bus was buried on the street below the station’s studio windows. The snow was so deep in the city it reached the 2nd floor of buildings, No power, etc. The jocks were acting as news anchors while the news people gathered news. I wonder how many people on music stations today could step up and do something like that for four straight days and do a great job of it? They all did a hell of a job, and when you talk to them today, they all say it was one of the best things they’ve ever been involved in.
Geo: I believe Fred Jacobs recently did a research project where he discovered that most of the air talent is never critiqued. How can that be? Radio is fighting for its life and leaving the air talent to fend for itself ain’t gonna work. That’s the reason Bob Christy, and I are doing our new Blog, Writing Radio’s Wrongs. We are listening to radio stations across America and then critiquing them based on today, not yesterday. Hey, you can’t blame it all ownership, every time a talent turns on the mic they have an opportunity to entertain.
Jed Duval: George and Bob, I think both would have an interesting read, but the only people who will study and embrace what you observe are those in your choir anyway. I ran into an ex-WIBC-AM sales savage back from the Blair Broadcasting days, who left screaming in 1992 when Sconnix and Roy Cooper parted ways. John worked for TV stations, Crain Communications, Terry Lingner Productions, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Lamar (the folks that purchased Naegle). John thinks and agrees, independently, with Moto (Cris): Electronic media, especially radio, at least in most major markets, has died by suicide. Those who buy advertising thinks that most radio and TV advertising does not work, so they don’t see the value that makes decent broadcast advertising rates worth the effort. Without the Jim Hilliards, Dick Yanceys, and Jerry Bobos to lead the way (and the George and Bob to provide the products and ratings), most radio station managers do not have the intestinal fortitude to build up their rates and instead spend time and effort on cutting costs.
According to the legend of Jim Hilliard, Jim came back to Indianapolis from Philadelphia in 1968 with a plan to a rebuild a radio station back up (WIBC) to dominance and protect it for the future by launching a companion FM (WNAP) with modest investment, but out-thinking and out-flanking the competition, ratings book by ratings book. Very few people think that way, but you and Bob understand in a way most broadcasters, in my experience, dismissed then, and still do now.
Bob Christy: On December 30th, 1994 I was driving to a meeting with our station’s attorneys in Wellesley, MA. I was on the Mass Pike and had dialed around the radio checking things out, KISS, EEI, WBZ regular programming on the air. I turned on WBUR, Boston University’s NPR station and they are doing wall to wall coverage of a shooting at an abortion clinic in Brookline. I listened for a few minutes and turned back to WBZ, nothing. I called Len Malo at our station and told him what was going on, he checked it out and broke in on the air with a bulletin. I went back to WBZ, still nothing…I knew at that moment the clock was ticking on the number one radio news outlet in Boston. It took WBZ a half hour to catch up. The funny thing or maybe not so funny is at the time WBZ was in the same building as WBZ TV who was all over the story. WBUR is the top radio news station in Boston today. They are on top of breaking news and do brilliant deep-dive coverage of stories as well. The long form stories they did on the Whitey Bulger trial were brilliant Today in LA If KPCC in Pasadena had a better signal, they’d be on top on radio news in LA in short order. The thing that all these NPR news operations have in common is total commitment to news, and they get great demographics by doing it. Fred Heckman once told me, “if there is a column of smoke in the sky and you can’t tell them why it’s there, you’re finished.” it’s still true today and always will be.
Geo: Yep, you only have three choices Bobby, be first, be best, or be different. Doing nothing is also a choice albeit not a good one.
Jim Harper: Go Get ‘Em, Guys! But remember the Old PD Rule we had when it comes to doing a critique on a jock: First, you stroke them, Then you poke ’em.
Seriously though, this is gonna be a blast, and I can’t wait. My guess is that there will be a LOT of crying. Hell…do my show first! 12noon-6pn Saturdays on Lite96.com
Geo: Jim, I hope you remember all those critiquing pointers you gave us when “Writing Radio’s Wrongs” hits the internet.”
Jim Harper: Like most kind and wise men, you never asked or seemed to want anything but to engage in interesting conversations and see people succeed. Maybe THAT’S the point? I could never repay you for the success you’ve helped me achieve.
My FAVORITE Georgeism: “OK…let’s stop discussing this great idea before we talk ourselves out of it.”
Geo: Jim, I was so busy when we worked together that I didn’t have enough time for that stroke him poke ’em stuff. I’d just listen to a tape along with the air talent, and as soon as he did a good break, I stopped the tape and asked him if he could do a bunch more of that? If he said yes and actually did it, I handed him the keys to his new car and got the hell out of there. What did I get for you? If it’s that black Shelby GT, I want it back? 🙂
Barry O’Brien: I appreciate your concerns, but I’m wondering how many people would listen to a radio station that focused on the negative all the time. Then again, I just sold the stuff you put on the air, so what do I know? It all worked out ok.
Geo: It sure did Barry!
For some sneak peeks at some upcoming Geo’s Media Blogs, go to GeorgeJohns.com, or you can google Writing Radios Wrongs to see a brand new Blog that Bob Christy and I are writing together about the state of today’s radio. On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and comments like those above are much appreciated.