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?
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