RADIO? IT’S OVER – BOB CHRISTY 9/17/18

I spent almost 49 years in radio and most of the time I loved it, I loved the business, the people and I loved our listeners.

I’ve listened to the radio business slide into mediocrity, sure it still has listeners, plenty of them. There are fewer every year and the entry level listener, the kids, the teens aren’t listening anymore, at all. Why should they, there is nothing there for them.

I read the broadcast media, blogs. What I read is excuses, people looking for “one neat trick” or an “amazing hack” to turn things around. What I read most often is from people in a defensive posture, muttering “but, but, but…”  

 
 
 
 

 

 

15 thoughts on “RADIO? IT’S OVER – BOB CHRISTY 9/17/18

  1. George, something I learned in timeshare that answer a question. If you ask a room full of adults what like about vacation they will answer … destress, See new places, relax etc. Ask a room full of kid, you get one answer…Becase it’s fun…When I was a kid I loved radio because it was fun…Can anybody say that today?

  2. 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?

    • Jack, thanks for the reads man. Wow, Mr. Bassman, yes how about that. I’ve almost finished K-What’s obituary which I will publish soon. I guess we were lucky that we got to work at some radio stations Jack where the music was just the stage for all the other activities.

  3. Joey Reynolds has been preaching this exact same sermon for the past ten years, but (seemingly) nobody is paying attention. Next week there will be a ton radio people descending on Orlando for the NAB/RAB Radio Show, the biggest convention for the radio industry. Everyone will be patting each other on the back and proclaiming how great things are. I love radio with a great deal of passion, but realistically I agree with this entire piece and about WLTW Lite FM (an appropriate name) and it’s relationship to WCBS-FM. Did Bob know that BOTH are programmed by the same man…Jim Ryan? It’s true. As long that the profit column is longer than the loss column, expect nothing to change in the foreseeable future. Truly a sad commentary.

  4. 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 for the back-patting, check out The News Junkie on Real Radio or evenings on XL 106.7. Some talent is still connecting.

    • Enjoy your retirement John, glad I got to do a few of those 50 years with you. I agree with you that yesterday’s radio won’t work today but today’s radio doesn’t work either. However, the spirit of yesterday’s radio would work today.

  5. 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.

    What radio had then, what we did with it was terrific for the time and we pushed the business forward. We tossed out the old rules and wrote new ones. I don’t hear any of that energy or progress today. There are things from the past that are valid today. Attention to detail is one. Production quality and technique is another. There are many more, we can discuss later.

    Our California canyon house is almost a hundred years old, when it was built it had kerosene lighting and no central heat or AC. I wouldn’t want to live like that today. What our house does have is style and a certain “feel” to it To my mind those are the qualities that radio today is missing. It’s the same with the new Mustangs, Camaros, and Challengers, they have the style and look of their predecessors, but are much better cars in every respect.

    George and I have discussed this at length, so much so, it drives my lovely wife crazy at times. We’ve gotten beyond the “Old days were great” stage and we’ve moved on. It’s time to discuss the way forward from where the business is right now and where it needs to go

    • Yes, we have Bobby, and several people think they have the answer to big ratings. However, as Jim Hilliard taught both of us long ago, he who rings the cash register is the biggest station in town.

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