Sunday, November 17, 2013

                            Gary Allyn's RadiOpinion

                                                  UNDER THE INFLUENCE

It's always very flattering when someone who worked with or for you; or someone who was just
a listener perhaps, comes up to you and mentions what an influence you had on them. I like that, for
at some time in Life, we are all influenced by someone or some event. Sometimes for the good,
sometimes for the not so good. Most of the time it's your parents, an athlete, an entertainer, a
family member, a good friend, or some special inspiring event. As for me, it was Bill Stern the great
Sportscaster. Thinking back, "The Bill Stern Sports Reel" probably influenced more than I realized.
Bill was thought by many to be the greatest sports broadcaster of all time. I can't refute that claim.
Now, Bill Stern was also known to "make up" a few "facts" and stories, but I didn't care. No one on the air had the flair or pizazz of delivery Bill had. I was probably 8 or 9 years old when I could not miss his nightly "Sports Reel" on NBC. I listened to WLW at the time. This was the early to mid forties, and we all could use some relief from World War II.  Bill provided it to me-and how. I even remember he was sponsored by Colgate Shaving Cream...I still remember the singing jingle:

Bill Stern the Colgate Shave Cream man is on the air!
Bill Stern the Colgate Shave Cream man with stories rare!

Take his advice and you'll look nice,
Your face will feel as cool as ice,
With Colgate shaves you'll be a fan!

Funny, I still use a lot of Colgate products to this day. I know advertising works. That's Influence!
Well, Bill would always...always end his heart tugging story with: "..and that's the three-uh, mark for
tonight". What did he say? Was it three-ooh mark? Or was it the thrill mark for tonight? I could never
understand what he was saying, I never heard that before. I remember when the end of the program
was nearing, I would ask everyone in the living room to "shush", shhhh! Quiet, I have to hear this!" Then I would press my ear tightly to the woven fabric speaker screen on the front of our Stromberg-Carlson console radio. "here it comes". he's about to say it! "....."and that's the three-old mark for tonight". No, that's not right...what was Bill saying there? My parents were no help either. Alas!

So several years go by, I'm in a senior high school Journalism class when teacher Ms. Van Tress was mentioning some journalism terms used in newspaper writing. She said that at the end of a written or typed story one used the term or numbers: 30(thirty). It meant "The End".  Zap!!!  BINGO!!!
Something akin to a lightening bolt shot through my brain and I loudly exclaimed: "Ohhhh!" like I had been hit by a baseball bat! Ms. Van Tress asked if I was all right. I replied that I was...I had just thought of something. Yes I did alright. 
THAT'S what Bill Stern meant.."That's the three-oh mark for the night", meant it was "Thirty" or "The End". WOW! What a relief that I finally figured it out. Now I realize, how much Radio can influence you. Thank you Bill Stern for influencing me. You not only gave me a love of sports, but less than a year later I was a D.J. on WING in Dayton, Ohio. You, Bill, gave me a love of Radio. All because I listened to the "magic" you communicated to me through the air waves. I WAS indeed, 
UNDER THE INFLUENCE!     " and that's the three-oh mark for now".
  For More on Bill Stern check this out:


Tuesday, November 12, 2013


              Gary Allyn's RadiOpinion


I saw this provocative article the other day in another fine Radio website:

RADIO MUST REINVENT ITSELF An article in Radio Ink tells it like it is. Saga Communications CEO Ed Christian warns: 'If we accept the reality that we are crawling, we need to adapt what we do'. Christian maintains that 'radio needs to rebuild its image in order to remain healthy in a slow-growth world'. Ed goes on: radio needs to focus more on its product and take care of the people who produce that product. 'We can't clone a plant. Our business is about our people. We need to get our product right. You can treat people with respect and make money. You can do both, even in a 2 percent world'. Listen up bankers! Consolidating radio stations into factories full of line workers, firing top talent and programmers and voice-tracking from another state kills its product and its respectability.

It has always bothered me that Radio can not figure it out that you need a product 

before you can sell it. It seems obvious. But most owners, CEO's etc., always give 

short shrift to the on-air product. In their zealousness to achieve the desires of their 

corporate bottom line, they usually eliminate the one thing they need-people

 I've always believed it takes people to reach the ears of of people(the audience). 

LIVE, on-the-air people. I knew from the very first day I was on the air back in 1955, 

that revenue, from commercials, was necessary.

I was taught that commercials were sacrosanct. We all know that's what Radio

is REALLY about, but the listener doesn't...or doesn't care. As a programmer, it

became an ultimate compliment to my programming when my station was "sold

out". Two stations I was affiliated with were "sold out" 24 hours a day! It CAN be 

done. Somewhere along the way, starting in the 70's, Radio, and programmers,

decided that big ratings were ahead if they just had "commercial free hours" or

"commercial free Monday's" etc. Little did they suspect they were leading to

their own demise. Once you inject the idea into the listener's heads that fewer 

commercials is a good thing....they want more. Eventually, you have to play some

advertising on the air, and now after all the "commercial free" hours, you now

point up the fact you HAVE commercials, and invite listener tune out. You have

now defeated the purpose that Radio needs....MORE TUNE IN!  Not tune outs!!

Besides, I've worked at too many stations that have had 18-20 commercials per

hour and have been overwhelming #1.  If station's entertain and inform with real

live people on the air, the commercials have a way of blending in as just another

element of the broadcast hour or day. Also lost, is local commercial production.

Local copywriters are almost extinct. Commercial production is a lost "art".

Local commercials can be entertaining and not tune out prone. Just ask the

"Master"-Chuck Blore. He's been doing it nearly all of his life-WELL!

Too many in management think if they just hire some super salesmen, they can sell 

anything on the air. Product be-damned! It doesn't work that way very often. 

Hoover had to make a very great vacuum cleaner before it could be sold to 

the public. Why have Japanese car makers over taken GM automobiles? 

They produced a better product through competition.

The masses-the people-do comparison shopping. It's the same with Radio. The

listener shops, compares, and settles on a favorite. A better product makes for

better ratings. Better ratings make a better "Bottom Line". Yes, Product matters!

A vital part of "reinventing" itself, Radio must start with rehiring talented people!

Yes, it IS product first, Sales after!  At least that's my RadiOpinion, what's yours?

Friday, November 8, 2013

                                    GARY ALLYN'S RADIOPINION

                                         SONG TITLE TITILLATION

Over the years there have been many stories of use, abuse and misuse of song titles on the part of

disc jockies and/or announcers on the air. A couple come to mind. When I was programming

KCBQ in San Diego, a bulletin came to the news department warranting an interruption of the

music format. It was the death of President Eisenhower. After the newsman finished his somber

delivery, our morning D.J. followed with: "I Wanna Live" by Glen Campbell.  Then there was

the tale of another tragic event that caused another news bulletin break into regular music pro-

gramming. Only this time it was an automated station. This time following the bulletin, was the

song: "Drop Kick Me Jesus Through The Goal Posts Of Life" by Bobby Bare. Again, while at

KCBQ, Robert L. Collins was doing afternoon drivetime. Bob loved taking song titles and turning

them in to double entendre. He would always say...."now Spanky and Our Gang Bang out another

hit"...Robert L. always cackled when he back announced the Stones hit "It's All Over Now" with:..

.."I used to love her but(t)'s all over now"...Bob's other favorite was: " here's Janis Joplin with a

little Piece Of My Heart-on(hard on)-KCBQ". He always hit the post though. Always. Whether

unintentional or on purpose, they're funny 40 years later.  Back then, I wasn't too pleased. I imagine

many of you have some similar situations. If so, I'd love to hear about 'em.

All this brings me to a list of Top Ten Country Western song titles that was emailed to me.

Top Ten country song titles are:

10. I Hate Every Bone in Her Body But Mine
9. I Ain't Never Gone To Bed with an Ugly Woman But I Woke Up With A
8. If The Phone Don't Ring, You'll Know It's Me
7. I've missed You, But My Aim's Improvin'
6. Wouldn't Take Her to A Dogfight 'Cause I'm Scared She'd Win
5. I'm So Miserable Without You It’s like You're Still Here
4. My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend and I Miss Him
3. She Took My Ring and Gave Me the Finger
2. She's Lookin' Better with Every Beer
And the Number One Country & Western song title is...

1.       It's Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night That Chewed My Ass All Day.

And my "favorite" I heard on a Texas station was: "Mother's not dead, she's just Sleepin' " by
the Louvin Bros. Only in this wonderful business called Radio can this happen. Love it!!

That's my RadiOpinion....what's yours? 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

                       Gary Allyn's Radiopinion

                                   Brenda, Bobby, Burl..enough already!!


Now, I love a good Christmas carol or song as much as anybody. But after 60 years,

I'm getting a little tired of "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree"and "a rump-a-pum-pum" 

with "The Little Drummer Boy". If that's not long enough, we now have stations starting 

their All Christmas music formats November 1st!  Joy to the World and Feliz to your Navy 

Dad.  Yep, there's only 55 more days of a "Holly Jolly Christmas" and The Chipmunks. 

I know, this usually gets some decent rating points for these "brave" but tedious stations.  

I know, I'll be able to hear this again in Target and Sears while shopping. Just can't get

 enough of those badly segued Christmas The Singing Dogs barking their way 

through "Jingle Bells"and deftly merging into "Mary's Boy Child" by Harry Belafonte or 

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir!  I cringe.

Oh! I know, there's always a 5, 6,or 7 year old coming along who's never heard these "ripe"

holiday "chestnuts" before. I worry that they're now sentenced to hear them the rest of their 

lives! Before you scold me and call me a programming "Scrooge", I love the Holidays. Perhaps

we should just throw common sense and programming philosophy out in the snow with

"Frosty" and enjoy it all. But I fear some group or dogmatic person will come along and

picket these stations for having too many songs with Christmas in the lyrics! It's only a matter

of time. If the lawsuits then prevail, that'll cut the Holiday song list down by over 80%! 

We'll have to get Brenda Lee to re-record "Rockin' Around The HOLIDAY Tree" I guess.

I can't even imagine Bing Crosby ever singing "White Holiday" can you? And Mel Torme 

would never have written "The Holiday Song" today. Somehow hearing Sinatra sing: "I'll

Be Home For The Winter Solstice" won't cut it either. While I wait for political correctness

to offer some new songs...Little Drummer're safe.  For now!.." a rump-a-pum-pum...

That's my RadiOpinion...what's yours?

By the way, Stan Freberg's "Green Christmas" is still funny after 55 years. A CLASSIC!

Listen here: