Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gary Allyn's Radiopinion


It's been quite some time since my fingers cued a vinyl record.
I have to say, I miss it. I miss the "feel" of the grooves on my
fingertips, the circular racing of the turntable beneath the record.
I miss the feeling that I controlled it, I-The Disc Jockey-would let
go and the sounds in those grooves would be heard by thousands
of ears. One had the feeling that your fingertips, hands, and arm
was just an extension of the turntable's tone arm, and thus connec-
ted to the entire transmission chain that brought entertainment to
listeners. It was something special..at least to me. Little ol' me. I
put the 331/3, 45, or 78 rpm round, flat, pressed vinyl on a spinning
turntable, placed a tone arm with needle on it and then talked about
it as though it was your very own child you were introducing. And as
you were doing all this, you had time(barely) to notice the label, the
label's color and logo, the running time, the title, the song writer(s)
name, the publisher(ASCAP/BMI etc.)...I still see them in my sleep.
Most of us Disc Jockeys could even tell you what was on the "flipside".
 I felt like I was an integral part of the Radio station. I was needed.I
also had the notion that the listener sensed that special connection...
maybe it was just me.
Today, it's the Digital Jockey who makes his or her connection through
a computer, through software, and onto a computer screen with a virtual
on-screen "button" to push, which brings up the digitally enhanced music
to the listener(s). It seems so simple. So clinical. So hyper-technical. So
sterile to me. Those in today's radio of 10101010's will think that we "old
guys" are like the outdated Model-T Ford. If so, they probably never had
the experience of actually touching the music through a vinyl pressing, or
they believe that the Digital Jockey is truly a better method. It's one of
those discussions that really will never be solved like: Who was better?
Joe Louis or Muhammed Ali?  Johnny Unitas or Tom Brady? And on-and-
on it will go. As for me? I prefer to be an extension of the "flow" as a Disc
Jockey instead of an extended piece of high tech equipment-Digital Jockey.
That's MY RadiOpinion....what's yours?

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Well, we’re in the communication business. While this appears obvious,
there is much more to that word communication than just thirteen letters.
In the business of Radio Communication, it means connecting a listenable
"product" or format to the listener’s ears. Especially in Radio, the first
appeal is to the EAR, just as in Television, the first appeal is to the EYE.
Just HOW we sound appealing has been the subject for debate over many,
many decades. What sounds appealing to one, may be a turn off or tune-out
to another. In other words, this whole area of communication is subjective
at best. It’s really what’s in the mind’s "ear" as to what is appealing.
If you agree with that thought, then one must decide WHOSE "ear" are we really
talking about? Whose "ear" are we to do the appealing? You, the programmer?
You, the air-talent? You, the General Manager? You, the Music Director?
Or is it the "ear" of the listener? In many cases, it’s a little of each. This is
probably the wrong approach. As I said at the out-set, we’re to connect with
the listener’s "ears" in order to communicate our "product". Therefore; it would
follow, we must find the best, easiest, most direct way to do it. All too often
over the past 20-25 years it’s either been a "corporate" or "company" policy
of force-feeding the listener(s) in a market as to THEIR way of trying to
appeal to the audience. Instead of becoming easy, simple, or direct, the
Radio community has decided on complicated research methodology which
has been skewed to fit the "corporate" or "company" philosophy. If the
ultimate goal is the most listenership, i.e.; listeners, then it’s that market’s
listeners who should be "telling" you what THEY want to hear…not the other
way around! In Radio, there’s just too many intangibles that go into the make-
up of a listener-friendly station. Honesty, believability, attitude, tempo, and
probably most important-information and entertainment…to mention a few.
All this, BEFORE research of any kind. This is the basic "stuff" of any Radio
Station. Simple really. Today, Broadcasting and communication has become
too difficult, confusing, and un-necessary for even those in this business to
understand. No wonder the poor listener is drowned in a "sea of mediocrity".
Voice tracking has replaced the "live" D.J. I always thought that it takes a "live"
voice to attract "live" real-time listeners. It prevents spontaneity and the instantaneous
quality which Radio always promoted itself on...and prided itself in.
No wonder rating shares are down(along with revenues). No wonder Satellite Radio
and the Internet are poised for a "golden opportunity" to take over what was once-in
Marshall McCluhan’s words-a "Hot Medium". A medium that has now "cooled"
due to improper management dictates and diluted federal regulation.

EARSHOT: "lest we forget, it’s the Public’s airwaves"

That's my RadiOpinion, what's yours?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


For those of us who were fortunate enough to be a part of Radio's "Second Golden Era", many of us
wondered whether our work was going to be "little noted, nor long remembered"-to paraphrase Abe
Lincoln. In most lines of work, a "Torch" is passed on to those who follow. In Radio, the "Torch" seems to be smoldering, if not almost extinguished. If we are to "pass the torch", who would receive
it?  A Voice tracker? Syndicated program hosts? I Heart Radio? Maybe you know someone.
It's a rather sad commentary when you listen around the dial(AM or FM) and find little in the way
of "Star" quality personalities, interesting communicators, or creative programming. On the other
hand, where can a radio novice go to learn the radio business? Most will say a small market is the
place to start. But this is where most stations run syndicated programming,very little local involvement, and no budget to pay a decent wage. Broadcast schools are few, college radio is a
possibility, but campus operations have few commercials to educate the new generation in the world
of REAL Radio. Talking about radio in a classroom is of some value, but "hands on" experience is
still the best way to learn. The new radio wannabe can always go online and download various
radio air check sites and listen to the way it was done in "The Golden Era"(1935-1955) and/or "The
Second Golden era"(1955-1975). Listening is NOT doing! One has to find his or her niche and
personality without copying those of the past. It's hard to be an "Original" in most any field, but radio
is quite difficult to be original and achieve desired rating success. I'd love to pass along my half a
century of radio experience...but really, just where are you? Come out and be heard please.
That's my RadiOpinion....what's yours?