The following is something Kevin asked me to bring up on Monday’s call. It is an email from George Johns, one of my mentors of over 30 years in the radio business. He is emailing his client in Santa Rosa, CA. Sometimes, I am fortunate enough to be copied on his thoughts.
For credibility sake, George is considered to be the inventor of Adult Contemporary Radio with the launch of the legendary station in Dallas back in the ’70s called KVIL. It was one of the first stations to bill well over a million dollars every month. The company he was with outperformed ratings to revenue ratios by over 4.5 %, which was and still is an almost impossible feat. The message here is to look beyond everything going on. Who are the survivors? Who is going away? Where do we spend our energy?
I thought it would be a good idea to give everyone a head start on this conversation by sharing this email.
Adams Outdoor Advertising.
Gordon, who would have figured that a virus so small that we can’t even see it, would bring the world to its knees. I guess it just wasn’t afraid of all those warships and supersonic jets that we’ve spent billions and billions on.
Since moving to America from Canada in the early ’70s, I’ve been through several crises, and more than once I wondered what the hell I was doing here. Gas shortages, skyrocketing interest rates, a recession, 911, the collapse of the real estate market, and the banks, to name but a few.
Luckily though, I went through all that with Jim Hilliard who looked at each crisis as an opportunity. With each one he’d predict what businesses were going to fail and those who were going to get filthy rich.
Once Jim figured out who had nothing bad times ahead of them, he wouldn’t allow his salespeople to call on them. He knew that no amount of advertising would be able to save them, which meant they’d never be able to pay their advertising bill. It’s kind of like the government foolishly bailing out Boeing, I mean, who the hell is going to buy a Boeing jet? The only way Boeing gets rid of the stink of those death planes is by ridding themselves of every person who worked on that disastrous project. A bailout is only going to delay that any shot they may have at a comeback which also means the Feds can kiss the bailout money goodbye.
However, unlike the government, once Jim figured out who was going to prosper, he sent his sales force to help them. Their job was to recommend what products those clients should be focussed on, and also how to best advertise them.
Even though we had our best years during crises, I doubt very much that Jim longed for them, but he sure didn’t look frightened whenever they showed up. Geo
Just because you have a microphone doesn’t mean anyone should listen.
It’s never too late to start again.
It’s 5 o’clock somewhere has never made more sense.
Initially, the movie director called WIBG, where he was transferred to the Program Director, me. Told me his “you’ve never heard of him star” named Sylvester Stallone had requested he call WIBG since Sylvester grew up with his Mom in Philly listening to WIBG. They asked me, the WIBG morning guy, if I could do the movie cameo…..for their zero budget. I said, “No, thanks, but that’s RIGHT up the alley of our 9-Noon guy Don Cannon.”
And so went MY movie acting career.:-) (Philadelphia Freedom)
Xrey: Hey BG – remember how Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now” always annoyed Chapman, and he claimed every copy we played was allegedly “off-center”? I find out decades later that the recording studio’s master tape machine had wow & flutter. Thank goodness I don’t have perfect pitch. (Philadelphia Freedom)
Do you recall the year KVIL’s license renewal came up, and we were required to interview community leaders and address their pressing issues in our public affairs programs, usually buried on Sunday mornings? The late, great newsman Ben Laurie was sent to interview civic leaders in our city of license, Highland Park, TX. They claimed there were no problems such as homelessness or rampant crime to address in their fair city. Ben comes back empty-handed.
So while some stations were saddled with hours and hours of boring programs to address D/FW’s problems, KVIL handled our ascertainment requirement with the long-running Sunday morning “gab-fest,” known as “Staff Meeting.” An unscripted hour with all our jocks, random guests & passersby, and maybe an occasional celebrity recorded Fridays after Chapman’s show with everyone just shooting the $#!+ and commenting on everything from headlines to local market gossip. Good times! (Philadelphia Freedom)
Rev. Robin: Hi George, cool that Tom makes those mojitos…I reserve the right to try one sometime. blessings. (It Takes No Brains)
Geo: You have to be careful with those, Robin, too many of them could cause a girl to say my favorite prayer, “Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh God!
Red Robinson: George Keep on punching I read your stuff all the time. Good radio was always in the hands of people like you. What happened to radio is happening in newspapers and magazines. They have taken the low road. Hey, they are corporations, and you better toe the line or get out now. (Our Good Economy Is Good For Whom?)
Geo: Thanks for the read, Red. Hey, what I can’t understand is when I was just a kid, my folks would drive from Winnipeg to Vancouver on vacation, and I’d listen to you on the radio. How is it that we’re about the same age now?
BTW, there are two guys at KVIL who don’t get nearly enough credit. The first is Dan Bell, the best overnight man that I ever heard. Dan has the ability to talk to the listener and was very good at it. The second is Mike Rey, who dealt with the nuts and bolts of Programming and allowed Ron the freedom to deal with the big picture. Mike was willing to be the “bad guy” when necessary, and that helped Ron lead the team. (It Takes No Brains)
Ivan Braiker: Thank you, George! It was a wonderful time, and as you know, I so enjoyed working with you, and you remain number 1 on my list of who to have dinner with! (Do You Believe In Magic?)
Geo: Those indeed were fun days, Ivan, we thought they’d never end my friend.