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