Monday, December 10, 2007

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear(Channel)

Here's my comments for the Holiday sung to the tune "Let it Snow":

Oh Radio out there is frightful,
And our jobs once so delightful
Now lost, there's no place to go,
Let 'em Go! Let 'em go! Let 'em go!

It doesn't show signs of slacking,
Our shows replaced by voice-tracking,
And the ratings fall way down low,
Let 'em go! Let 'em go! Let 'em go!

After we finally lose our jobs,
Cumulus says: "it's the norm",
Just hold back all those sobs
Fill out that unemployment form

Radio is slowly dying,
And the FCC lets 'em keep on buying
While their budget gets trimmed way down low,
Let 'em go! Let 'em go! Let 'em go!

Happy Holidays, and to all a good job seeking sight!

Saturday, October 27, 2007


After being in and around Radio for more than 50 years, I contend the main problems with this business has remained two-fold: The FCC and Corporate CEO's. Each entity is usually headed by non-broadcast experienced people. The FCC has over-reached it's original purpose: to assign call letters, and limit power & frequencies. I have always thought this strange idea of private companies having to "lease" a license from the "State" for the privilege(not the right) to broadcast. To me, it all goes back to Radio's beginning when it was never considered to be a part of the "press". Who's "freedom" is protected under the Constitution? Can you imagine if Newspapers had to do what Broadcasters have to do in order to print? Why, there would be great hue and cry if one corporation owned 1,200 newspapers? That would be considered too much power and influence. Not so with Radio.The NAB is, and always has been, a powerless entity. And not much has been heard from AFTRA either. The big corporate owners aren't going to say anything. But, remember this...
Broadcasting is not a "necessity" in the lives of most people for them to rally to our cause. It strikes me rather odd, that in the age of more and more regulations and silly laws enacted at all government levels, that the FCC wants to de-regulate! This from a panel of people who are mere political appointees. The real power is still in the people..only we can initiate change. We are in the business
of Radio because we have a "voice". Isn't it time to speak up and speak out for the profession we
wish to make a living in? Use that voice and let Government know we need to have some common
sense brought back to Broadcasting. What we need is another power "surge" from the folks...yes,
Radio folks like you and me.  That's my RadiOpinion, what's yours?

Friday, September 7, 2007


Early results are in on the new PPM (Portable People Meters) from Philadelphia and Houston, and so

far I would have to give them an "A-". I give a "minus" because I don’t believe there is any rating

system that is going to be completely or entirely accurate. That being said, the new Arbitron

electronic monitoring system may be the best available tool for audience measurement now being

offered. One thing for sure, PPMs out-perform the old diary method. I never liked diaries, did not

believe them to be accurate, plus, the methodology was based on erroneous recall of diary

participants. I knew this forty years ago when I was a Program Director in San Antonio, and a day

time Spanish station placed first in the ARB at night! I was suspect of Arbitron diaries when an  

ARB diary keeper came by the station to ask me what it might be worth to be paid for filling out his diary in our station’s favor. I was in dismay when a "book" came in showing an album rock station in

the ‘70's as number one, yet had only three diary keepers in the Men 18-24 category...each one

represented over 30,000! Radio ratings have always been a little "skewed" in some fashion, an

inexact science to be sure. I remember twice in the sixties when C.E. Hooper ratings were taking 

their co-incidental phone call polling to see who was listening to a station in the past fifteen

minutes of their call, I received calls while on the air on our station’s "hotline" (or inside) phone

number from Hooper’s surveyor. Naturally, (and truthfully),I said I was listening to my station.

To think large advertising buys were made off such mis-information. Now, with the new PPM

method, this shouldn’t happen as much. I suppose a rating participant who carries one of these

"page-like" devices could call a station and ask to be remunerated for listening only to that station.

It’s happened before, as in my above recalled story, and people are very clever at

winning prizes or obtaining favors from the broadcast media. I still believe that a ratings participant

knows he or she is a part of something important, and won't necessarily listen the way they normally

would. However,the PPMs have already shown in the early sampling returns, that the diary method

was quite poor indeed, and certainly didn’t follow a radio listener’s every movement of the dial.

This is going to change a lot of things in the way Radio programs, and the way it sells that

programming. A change that’s for the better.

That’s my RadiOpinion, what’s yours?

Friday, August 24, 2007


Have you heard the latest? Commercials that is. They’re getting shorter and more frequent. I think this is an idea whose time has come. Especially to Radio, a medium in search of more revenue and less clutter. These new "quickie" ads are referred to as "adlets" or "blinklets". I like ‘em. For years I have been saying to the few who would listen, that shorter commercials would "free" up more time for more program material and content on the air. After all, programming has sacrificed much over the years with shorter promos, condensed liners,
shorter newscasts(even NO newscasts), fewer DJs and air talent, no jingles, and smaller budgets. Now it’s the Sales Department’s turn. This should have happened long ago when individual music selections got longer. It’s the old management quandary. How to meet the annual budget and make a profit, while satisfying the listener’s desires for fewer commercial interruptions.
"Adlets" are 10 second spots, while "Blinklets" are 2 seconds...mere mentions. These mini-messages are now being embraced on Madison Avenue, so there’s hope for a change in the way commercials are bought and sold. Many stations are charging 20 percent of their station’s one minute rate card rate for the "adlet", and the "blinklet" goes for 10 percent of same rate card’s one minute rate. Station’s using the new shortened ads are limiting these to no more than a mixture of 3 per hour to further cut down on clutter. This is debatable with me however. Whatever, or however a station chooses to produce revenue and spread it’s commercial load through-out the sound hours is a matter of individual need and/or programming taste. But I applaud those for trying a new approach to ads and their placement. I believe there can be even more dividing of the length for ads and commercials. Why does it have to be 30 and 60 all the time?. This was ingrained into Radio sales consciousness many years ago, an idea stemming from the old "network" days. As long as the division of commercial time adds up to 60 seconds( for timing on network situations), why can’t commercials be 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 40 or 45 seconds...even 50 seconds? How often have you wished you had 10 more seconds when producing a 30 second commercial? Or sometimes you don’t need a full 30 or 60 seconds to get the advertiser’s message across. Instead of resorting to "fill" music or sound effects, the sponsor would have a choice of a 20 or 40 second spot. Much is changing in Radio these days...technically, musically, and formatically. Now change is needed commercially! I always liked the old Top 40 promo line: "You’re listening to the sweet sound of success" (station jingle). People(i.e. listeners) love to be associated with success despite what they tell survey and ratings takers.. A winning station is usually a successful top billing station.
Now, there’s a better choice of ways to achieve that success. Multi-length commercial time. That’s my RadiOpinion, what’s yours? -Gary Allyn

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


**A Re-Post of Blog a few years back!

AWW-GUST! Not my favorite month. Whoever coined the phrase: "The Dog Days of August" surely knew that it was not a month for us humans. As the un-relenting rays of the sun melt the landscape in the Midwest and other parts of the U.S., not even dogs want to venture outside. What to do with these thirty-one days of Summer doldrums? Listen to the Radio? You must be kidding. There’s nothing on the air that would excite the senses. What happened to Dick Biondi, Tom Clay, Lee Baby Simms, Cousin Brucie, The Real Don Steel, Dr. Don Rose, The Weird Beard, Wolfman Jack, Wally Philips, Loman & Barkley, Jack The Bellboy, Doc Downey, Alan Freed, Happy Hare, Dusty Rhodes? What happened to the Summer songs? Where has the exciting contests such as: "Cash Call", "The Last Contest", "The Big Kahuna Beach Patrol", winning a Backyard Cookout, gone? Was it a dream, or did I imagine that Summer used to mean "fun" on the radio? Listening to radio programming today makes it seem that "fun" was so very long ago. AWW-GUST! What a "fun" month to get exciting programming started. There is still a chance to turn AWW-GUST into AWE-GUST! An awe inspiring, ho-daddy, meet ya at the Stones concert, type of month! I mean, there’s absolutely little competition. Baseball is struggling through it’s remaining forty-five days of it’s regular season. Football is starting it’s boring pre-season. Presidential candidates are blathering and pandering for votes a year ahead of time. Television is still in re-runs, and hoping that there will be a "Last Comic Standing". Sorry. No "American Idol" until January. "Survivor" is weeks away-unless you count those of us who manage to make it through this AWW-FUL month! AWW-GUST! A month so-oo AWW-FUL that there’s no Holiday for some time off.(You can bet government employees hate this month). Even songwriters have disdained this hot bothersome month. There was "April In Paris", June is Busting Out All Over", "September Song", but no song about August! Well, Neil Diamond’s album: "Hot August Nights" may be the closest salute we have. Half a month to go before I breathe a sigh of relief. Now, people are heading home from vacations, and some school has already begun in some areas. Astute programmers should already be in "Summer" mode. But, I just don’t hear it, do you? You sure aren’t going to hear any "fun" on the Internet stations either. AWW-GUST! It should be a time for "Pool Parties" and "The Endless Summer". Instead, it’s become a time for a "fool" for an FCC, and music that’s an "Endless Bummer". That’s my RadiOpinion, what’s yours? (By the way, can anyone name a song title with August in it? See, I rest my case).- Gary Allyn

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Two weeks ago, The New Seven Wonders Of The World were named. This got me thinking about just who or what would be The Seven Wonders in the Radio World. Below are some of my lists of seven as they would apply to the broadcast industry. They are just some that come to mind, and are in no particular order: First, seven wonders that have had great impact:

1. The Gramophone ( and all phonograph records)
2. Guglielmo Marconi
3. Computers
4. Audio tape and compact discs
5. Heinrich Hertz (discoverer of Radio waves)
6. Lee DeForest
7. David Sarnoff

Now, seven "Wonders" of modern radio:

1. Martin Block
2. Alan Freed
3. Gordon McLendon
4. Todd Storz
5. (Tie) Bill Drake, Geo. Wilson, & Chuck Blore
6. Arthur Godfrey
7. Howard Stern

Here’s my seven "Wonders" of recorded music:

1. Louis Armstrong
2. Bing Crosby
3. Elvis Presley
4. Frank Sinatra
5. The Beatles
6. Ella Fitzgerald
7. Hank Williams

And just for fun, here are seven "Worst Wonders" of recorded music:

1. Tiny Tim
2. Mrs. Miller
3. "Weird" Al Yankovic
4. William Shatner
5. Yoko Ono
6. Sal Mineo
7. The Singing Dogs

There they are, just some of the "Wireless Wonders" wandering through my brain and onto this page. I’m sure you have your own list in the above categories, many you may think are better. Perhaps you think I’ve left out more deserving entries. If so, I’d really like to see your "Seven Wonders". After all, it’s Baseball’s Hall Of Fame Induction weekend...what an appropriate time to get your nominations in. That’s this week’s RadiOpinion, let’s see yours.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I remember many years ago when I was just starting out as a Disc Jockey, people would ask what I did for a living. After I proudly said that I was in Radio, several would respond: "Oh, you’re a parasite...a whore!" Meaning, that I made money off the talents of others. I always resented that remark. Still do. Sadly, many in the Recording Industry have felt this way, some still do.
Now, after decades of reflection, Wisdom-which comes from experience and age-has caused me to rethink my chosen profession. Especially today, when the Recording Industry is calling for more royalties to be paid to them for play...where ever it may occur. This is the same Industry which has invested untold millions into promoting or obtaining "free" air play, then turn around and demand "performance" pay for each play. Let’s go back. There used to be a recording contract between the record company and the artist...spelling out how much they would get paid on records SOLD, not PLAYED. When Radio became a force for attracting audiences, at some point, the Record companies and Recording Industry decided to replace their overhead costs with revenue from the source of their promotion- Radio stations. They cleverly called this once-recorded session, a "performance". And as such, wanted money for their artist they signed, to be paid for each "free" play they got on Radio.
 I never understood how any Radio Station could agree to this arrangement.
How is a recorded anything a "performance" once it has been "performed"? Well, it’s not! No more of a performance than listening to the playback of a voice mail. My how the tables have turned! (Or should I say hard drives?) We pay THEM for "free" air play. Chutzpah? I guess! Sort of reminds me of Credit Card Companies charging over 20% to use their "free" card! How often has the Record Industry wheedled, prodded, & cajoled DJ’s, PD’s and Music Directors to play their songs? Too often to even guess. How often has the Recording Industry(i.e. Record Labels) offered free this and free that to get their "performers" heard and/or played? The numbers would be staggering if known. Ever hear of "Payola"? Why, we also were given copies of records that were marked: "For Radio Station Play Only-Promotional Copy"- remember??
I would often tell the more aggressive Record Promotion people that I was not in business to "sell" records for them. I was in business to attract a large audience for my station to sell air time. Besides, it wasn’t just their music or song I was using, it was many things: News, personalities, contests, dial position, transmitter other words, we had overhead too. Furthermore, we made our play list largely from record store sales, and the public demand. At least that’s the way it should be. I’m all for writers, composers and artists to be paid for their work. But it should be based more fairly, and on sales... sales created by the exposure from air play. The Record Industry should be grateful for the free air play. Instead, they want to penalize the purveyors of play! Not Nice! Now, who’s the parasite? Now, who is the bloodsucker? Now, who wants money off the work of others? Today they're
after the Internet, tomorrow it'll be terrestrial Radio. Be forewarned! In that regard, I propose the following: If the Record Industry wants paid for each recorded "performance", perhaps those in Radio should receive a 15% "booking fee" for exposing their artist on our "stage". They want 16 cents, Radio should get a 15% commission. OR, maybe a due bill should be sent for the air time that their "performance" took. Imagine what dollar amount that would be in New York? Lastly, Radio could spread the air play more evenly, that is, play songs less...adjust it's programming to cut down the frequency that any song is aired. Something has to be done to make the various profiteering Recording Industry groups and organizations know that they’re "cutting their electronic nose to spite their face". Parasites Vs. Bloodsuckers? Perhaps we’re all in these categories. I hope not, because you can only leech, and suck the blood from a dying carcass so long before it’s DEAD!!

That’s my RadiOpinion, what’s yours?      

Thursday, July 5, 2007

HD or not to HD..that's the question.

The question on many radio people’s minds is about HD and whether it’s worth the effort or expense. In my RadiOpinion, it is. Anytime one can add something that enhances the sound quality, it improves the chances for listeners to LISTEN to your station and enjoy it. So why not do it? If an AM station can sound nearly equal to an FM station, that’s a big plus. If an FM station has CD or better sound capability, that’s a plus. HD is an upgrade. An upgrade that levels the playing field to most forms of digital sound reproduction wherever they’re found. We’ve come from vinyl records to tape carts to computer hard drives in the last fifty years. Engineers have installed equalizers, audio processors, and software enhancement to make their on-air product sound better. HD is now the latest innovation in that chain of sound bettering evolution.The ability to add more sub frequencies gives a station more program
possibilities, more opportunity for revenue. I really don’t see a downside to HD. What radio in general must do is to promote it better, and get more receivers in the marketplace. Television stations and manufacturers are doing a superb job of marketing HDTV, while Radio is failing to capitalize on an idea that Television is just "handing" us. This is something which Radio has lost sight of. You must be topical and take advantage of the trends others have spent their millions on to promote and make the country aware of . Radio can spend less by just "piggy backing" to what is already working. Whether "Surfin Bird" by The Trashmen, or "Sugar Sugar" by The Archies will be dynamically improved with the infusion of the HD experience, remains to be heard. Just maybe AM Radio can at least get back to playing music once again, and become the competitive force it once was. For AM , less talk and More Music has always worked. Now it can go to work and have a chance again. HD or not to HD is not the question, it’s the ANSWER! That’s my RadiOpinion, what’s yours?
Comments at:

Friday, June 22, 2007


*** This is a re-post of my 2007Opinion. 

To come to the aid of our Medium. The time is right for a "takeover". That’s right, our medium has been stagnant far too long. Every day we read of complainers, whiners, doomsayers, and nostalgic ramblings; but no ACTION! I’ve been guilty of this myself. The accent has been on the negative instead of the positive. How can we "take back" our Medium of Radio? It requires only
one positive person per market to start. He or she can just decide, today, to make his or her station fundamentally sound. Get back to the basics of broadcasting: to entertain and to inform. Above all, be LOCAL. Also, get back to the idea of mass appeal programming. Let’s also lobby our PD’s, GM’s, and owners of this concept. We must also continue to lobby, write and/or call
the FCC (the Futile Communications commission) to stop the mergers and corporate takeovers. Tell all who will listen that we want more local ownership and programming once again. Those in the Union stations, let AFTRA know. Ask what they’ve done to save jobs from being lost to voice track machines. We need people to talk to people-LOCALLY. What a concept!
All of us must stop worrying about so-called "competition" from ipods, cell phones, mp3s, satellite stations and the Internet. Too long Radio has been in a defensive mode. Now is the time to go on the offensive! Radio has beat back previous challenges such as television, the Walkman, MTV, cassettes, 8-track players & Jukeboxes.. AM radio has survived the FM challenge. Radio will survive the latest technological upstarts as well. We just have to do what we do best. Entertain and Inform on a LOCAL level. And have faith. Faith in a FREE medium for a Free society. Remember, Faith without action is dead! Let’s rekindle the fire that once was great Radio. It only takes a spark. Any spark plugs out there? Well, now is the time to stand up and be counted.
That’s my RadiOpinion, what’s yours?      

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I’ve done a lot of thinking and research on this idea for more than forty years, and I’ve come to the

conclusion that they have. At the very least, ratings companies have caused the fractionalization of

radio programming to the detriment of the industry as a whole. Ratings changed the focus from

mass appeal, to narrow casting...the appeal of all demographics, to the appeal of just one. To being a

"Big Fish" in a large pond, to being a "Small Fish" in a smaller pond. Let me try to explain it.

Many years ago, a respected colleague and a National P.D. told me to go to a baseball game and look

around at the makeup of people in attendance. He said that those were our audience to program for.

Kids, teens, adults of all ages and types. I never forgot that. Arbitron came along in the sixties and

arbitrarily decided on breaking the audience into 12+, 12-24, 25-34 etc. Who decided that this was

the correct way to measure groups in a whole "sea" of listeners? Was that correct?. Perhaps not. Even

now, Arbitron, with their new PPMs have a new category: 6-12 (the i-pod generation). As I

understand it, the new emphasis of using Portable People Meters, will be on the cume ratings, more

 than AQH. If this is true, then should there be a return to mass appeal programming ?

In my opinion, yes! How can you have a large cume with a narrow focal point on one particular

demographic? I always had the feeling that anyone had a right to listen to a station and not be

offended. That’s all changed-for the worse! We’ve all heard and seen the various ARB contests to

"trick", or skew the ratings. It’s time to stop trying to program to the ratings, and start programming

to our audience! Again, using the baseball analogy: Imagine a large stadium as a the sum of radio

frequencies available in a market. Imagine game time(sign on), and when the people arrive, they are

herded for counting into groups. 18-24 that way, 25-34 this way, etc. Then when the "attendance" is

announced, it is broken down demographically-but rounded off to zeroes. 12,000 18-24's, 18,000

25-34's and so forth. They all wanted to see the game, but were categorized as if they would see it

differently because they were in a specific age category. Not only that, say the 18-24's had to sit in

left field and could only be marketed food that they would eat. The 35-54's had to sit in right field

and be marketed food that they would consume. Most would cry "foul. It’s almost as absurd in Radio 

the last 35 years. My suggestion to those wanting to attract a larger cumulative audience, you’d best

be thinking of broadening your scope to include-rather than exclude-certain segments of the potential

listening public. I’ve always been a little skeptical of a survey that rounded people off to zeroes

anyway. You can always keep your eye on a certain "player", but don’t ever lose focus on the "game"

itself. Don’t let ratings or advertisers blur your vision. They may not have the best interests of the

"game"( at heart.     That’s my RadiOpinion, what’s yours?

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Where Have All The Good Programmers Gone?

Calling all good programmers! We know you're out there, but you just can't find
a radio station who'll hire you. Today, more than ever, programmers are sitting
at home listening to poorly programmed stations, and wishing they could just get
 their hands on them. Trouble is, radio ownership and/or management don't
really want good programmers. They want people with the title of "Program
Director", but they really want people who'll follow the corporate or company
policy. Most of the time, management is from sales or bottom line thinking.
Not programming. He who controls the purse strings, controls the station.
I've never understood this kind of philosophy. In the past, whenever program
people have been in control, radio has flourished. The station has done well
both in ratings and revenue. Some examples are: Bill Drake, Ron Jacobs, Carl
Como, George Wilson, Dave Moorhead, Ken Palmer, Ted Atkins, Ken Dowe, to
mention a few. You would think radio owners would consider programmers
when it comes to naming their next General Manager wouldn't you? Instead,
they perpetuate and promote a "hotshot" sales person to take control of a
product called: entertainment. Because, that's what Radio is. Of course, anyone
with more than fifteen minutes in the buisness knows where our bread is butt-
ered. Sales, revenue, commercials, air time. We know that, AND we know
programming too. The reverse, however, isn't necessarily the case. Few sales
oriented GM's rarely know programming. There are scores of programmers and
Disc Jockies who have become successful time salesmen, but I know of no sales
person who has become a programmer. Moral? Time sales is relatively easy,
Programming is hard! To the salesperson, Programming is just something
to sell. Sales, in those GM's minds is first; not the other way around. I wonder
if Ford,Toyota or General Motors thought of the car salesman first, or their
car/product first? I wonder if Hoover thought of the door-to-door salesman
first, or the vacuum cleaner? Common sense says they had to have a good
product first, then someone to sell it. C'mon radio owners. Get some of that
common sense, and take a chance on an experienced good programmer. A
good programmer is a terrible thing to waste. Or, as Jon Bentley once said:
"Brilliance is typically the act of an individual, but incredible stupidity can usually be traced to an organization." That's MY RadiOpinion, what's yours?

Gary Allyn

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Morning or MOURNING Shows?

Remember the Sacramento radio station tragedy where a young woman dies due to a stupid water

drinking contest? When is this kind of so-called Morning Show going to end? When is someone

finally going to put a stop to these Morning Teams and Shows where vulgarisms, inane and dirty

humor, bizarre stunts, and unfunny juvenile patter assault the Public's airwaves? Where is the

station's GM and ownership in these matters? Oh, yes, the people involved in this dangerous

promotion are now fired mainly due to public outrage and media scrutiny.This type of "wake up"

show should never be allowed on the air in the first place. Why does management continue

employing these young morons with little talent other than being obscene. I knew years ago,that it

takes no talent to be vulgar on the air. Anyone from 1 to 101 has a right to listen to a radio station at

anytime and not be offended. And someone please tell these smut meisters that they are not fun, not

funny, and not needed. This kind of radio morning madness is an affront to the moral standards of 

this country and to those who listen to radio. I'm not advocating censorship, I'm imploring

management (and perhaps the FCC) to crack down on the content of radio shows to make sure that

simple common courtesy, reasonable behavior, and non rudeness are given to a beleagured and

besieged listening public.
The de-regulation act has contributed to much of the programming problems regarding these

"sick"radio morning shows. But you can't let management or ownership off the hook either. Why in

the World would you pay millions for a broadcast license, and entrust it, and your most valuable

revenue producing time slot, to 23 year olds? These people are only 5 or 6 years into adulthood, and

are still talking to their own fad-oriented peer group; most of whom had difficulty passing the exit

exam to graduate from high school. Radio is in great peril when it not only loses local control, but

locally, ownership loses control of it's employees as well. Morning shows are turning into

"Mourning" shows it seems. As for the FCC(The Futile Communications Commission),I gave up on

them decades ago when I realized it is made up of political appointees who know little about the

business it is to regulate. Typical Capitol Hill...when in doubt, listen to a lobbyist instead of your

constituents! That's my RadiOpinion, what's yours?