And We Wonder Why People Look Down On Radio

The past few weeks have not been very kind to the job of radio air talent.

On-air prank leads to suicide. Becomes huge story globally. Check.
Trial involving two high profile hosts. Check.
Host gets suspended for making fun of caller with mental illness. Check.

And now today word comes out of a Program Director/Afternoon host fired in Springfield, MO for lying about serving in the military.

When’s the last time there was a positive story about radio talent? We wonder why listeners are abandoning the medium for Pandora, podcasts, or whatever other alternative they’ve found.

But it’s ok. The industry has found its salvation. They’re going to give Sprint millions of dollars in free advertising in exchange for activating a chip to put FM on cell phones. How about they find a way to make people want to use that FM tuner first and not keep driving the negative publicity home.

ADDENDUM: Let’s change the negativity. If you have a positive story about radio that you think needs sharing e-mail it to us and we’ll post it.

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  1. Jason says

    There is still plenty of positive things going on in the world of radio, but it almost never gets the attention of the national media, remember the old line, “if it bleeds it leads.” I doubt any big networks will cover a “local” DJ raising money for charity, or awareness about bulling, violence, cancer, blood drives, suicidal rescues etc… unless it involves a big name like Ryan Seacrest or Bubba The Love Sponge. I agree it has not been a good year for radio but It’s not a big ratings getter for any TV network, Newspaper or online blog to report on the good, just look at how many shares or likes and comments a negative story gets as opposed to a good positive story about radio, or anything. lets try not to put blame on radio most of the blame goes to society for being so Bss Aackwards… I’m sure you might disagree and i could be wrong in part but it’s just my 2 cents.

  2. Tom Pagnotti says

    Ya know Lance… if we wanted to read snarky things about the industry; we only need to tune in to all of the malcontents that post on radio boards.

    For the record I’m now a voice guy that had a great career in the majors in a top ten market – on a station that did some amazing things. Yeah it was a while ago for me (about seven years)… but exemplary radio exists today!

    You want positives? You only need actually look for them.

    My client stations have done more than their share.

    WYNZ (Portland Maine) and morning host Chuck Igo have raised thousands of dollars and tens of thousands of pounds of food for Preble Street in Portland. (A non-profit that feeds the hungry.) NOT by just going on the air and saying “hey help us.” But by rolling up their sleeves and getting into the trenches to really make a difference.

    Live hosts were on the air 24-7 with vital lifesaving information on “New Jersey 101.5” during Hurricane Sandy. (And have since spearheaded an effort to help “Restore New Jersey.”)

    Everyday WSOY (Decatur, IL) morning hosts Byers and Company talk about and get involved in issues in their community… so too does client station KFOR (Lincoln, NE). It’s why both have been nominated for Crystal Awards for service to their community.

    Want more? WJVC on Long Island doing their annual toy drive at Christmas and making the holidays brighter for thousands of kids in their area… Mix 94.1 in Concord, NH paying the bills of people that really needed fuel assistance…

    WVFJ (The Joy FM) for providing thousands of people in the Atlanta area with holiday dinners…

    Or WBBN (B-95) in Hattiesburg (MS) that simply do good radio… radio good enough to earn them double digit Arbitron numbers book after book…

    From Fresno to Fargo, Boise to Boston… I’ve got clients that prove you’re wrong.

    Deep down – we know ya love radio — who among us (but for the very biter cast aside) doesn’t?

    Could we please start touting the positives about the medium and stop trying to beat it into the ground?

  3. MattParker says

    Sprint faces a very uphill fight in a market dominated by AT&T and Verizon. Their marketing is based on offering unlimited data – meaning you can stream and download audio and video without overage charges. If you want Internet radio in your car, Sprint is probably the best choice. If you have Internet radio, who needs a terrestrial chip.
    Carrier phones come with bloatware (aka crapware) you didn’t ask for and can’t uninstall. Often, the carrier gets paid for putting the app on your phone. Sounds like that’s the case here. However, FM radio in a phone needs an antenna. It only works if you listen using (wired) headphones. And more and more people are using Bluetooth.
    I’ve had two Smartphones. Both had FM radio. I almost never used it. Reception was very poor (much worse than my 20 year old Radio Shack “Walkman” type radio). I got maybe half the stations on the phone I could get on my old mini-portable. Even for local station I could get off the air I preferred using streaming apps like TuneIn, and IHeartRadio.
    Here’s what these broadcasters should do. Make deals with the carriers to pre-install their streaming apps like (CBS) and IHeartRadio (Clear Channel, Cumulus, Salem). Include in the deal that using the app for streaming audio does not count against your data totals. If they start getting Smartphone users listening more, they might start selling more spots in the audio streams – maybe even get broadcast advertisers to buy both on-air and streaming avails. One advantage: If I use to listen to, say, 1010 WINS in New York, current technology would allow CBS to insert spots local to my area in the stream (so, in effect, I listen to WINS but hear KYW spots).

    Lance, it’s sort of ironic that you are looking for more good news about radio while you write articles about Cumulus starting these “national formats” – basically killing local radio, local involvement and local radio people. The one thing terrestrial radio has to make it different is being local. Radio’s problem is not whether the news is good or bad. There is no bad publicity (I think it was Barnum who first said it). The problem is so few care. Most people aren’t paying attention. Radio has no buzz. And the real story about radio talent is there are so few left.

    Let’s not forget those people you mention who got fired: Management wanted outrageous. They hired people to be outrageous. They told people to be outrageous. They pushed them to be outrageous. Then they washed their hands of those people and threw them under the bus. Talent escorted from the building. Managers stay, collect bonuses and look for somebody else to be outrageous (or adopt a national format).

    1. westcoastliberal says

      Radio overall today sucks. Ryan Seacrest has the personality of a can of beans; nobody is getting excited because there’s nothing there, period. Trying to shove Radio down listeners throats simply by including an FM tuner on a Smartphone will have zero effect on Radio’s demise.
      Had the government not loosened up the ownership limits, Radio might have had a chance to compete as technology moved forward. Now it’s too late as TSL numbers show; the consolidators have screwed the pooch, strangled the goose that laid the egg, and younger demos could give a sh*t about Radio. They’re not coming back.

  4. Mark says

    So, in my market, there’s a syndicated morning show, where two guys talk about penises, and taunt female callers…’if I were in a Knight in Armour outfit, with a hole in my crotch, and something was sticking out, what would you do with it?’ same group owner has a sports station where the local Wednesday feature is ‘Turd of the Week’, nominating a stupid sportsman, etc. A recent new sports syndicator uses the word ‘a*s’ like it’s something everyone wants to hear. So, it’s ‘lowest common denominator’ that catches the flies, but not the advertisers.

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