Saturday, January 21, 2017

                        An Indefinite Sign Off.

Good People, due to lingering health issues(none terribly serious), I shall suspend my column

indefinitely. Many  thanks to Claude and Rollye for letting me share some space for this blog.

And thank you for stopping by over the years while I wrote of my love for Radio.

God bless you...(fade to "light").....

                                               Gary Allyn

Sunday, November 13, 2016

                                    MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE DISC JOCKEYS

From time to time, I'm asked who some of my favorite Dee Jays or air talent are, or have been.

Since I started in Radio in the Fall of 1955 to the present, I have compiled a mental list of those
whom to my way of thinking were some of the best "communicators" I have either worked with
or heard on the great electronic tube known as RADIO! Now, it may be time to ascribe that
mental list to paper. Keep in mind, this is only MY list. They are in no particular order, as it seems
impossible to rate each individual numerically due to his own persona on the air in markets which
are too varied for comparison. Each of us subjectively hear talent differently. Each of us have a
"taste" of what kind of DJ each likes...depending on the kind of format that DJ is performing in.

My list encompasses various formats and many styles of voice and delivery. Some you may know,
others you may not. So,with that in mind, let me list my "Top 40" Allyn's All-Timers:

Tom Clay
Lee "Baby" Simms
Jean Shepherd
John R.
Chuck Dunaway
Jimmy Rabbit
Dick "Moonglow" Martin
Frank Ward
Robert W. Morgan
Don Couser
Wally Philips
K.O. Bayley
"Happy Hare" (Harry Martin)
Howard Edwards
Rick Shaw
Gene "By Golly" Barry
Gary Owens
Bill Randle
The Real Don Steele
Jim Runyon

                                              Picks That Also Clicked:
Dick Biondi
Bobby Ocean
Jim Hawthorn
Tom Lyons
"Wolfman" Jack
William B. Williams
Charlie Tuna
Morton Downey Jr.
Rege Cortic
Don Sherwood
Al Loman and Roger Barkley
Russ "Weird Beird" Knight
Alan Freed
"Shotgun" Tom Kelly
Chuck Brinkman
Hal "Baby" Moore
Robert L. Collins
Royce Johnson
Casey Kasem

                                               Bubbling Under the Top 40

Chuck Buell
B. Bailey Brown
Perry Allen
Leo Underhill
Hy Lit

There they are, the Top 40 + air personalities who arrested my ear during my lifetime in and
around the Radio business. There are several "big names" from major markets missing, as
well as some from the medium and smaller markets. But this is, after all, MY Top 40 list.
I'm sure you have yours. Don't be offended if I left you off. The above mentioned are truly
"diamonds" in a broadcast sea of so many "gems". Most of these legends became so due to
their preparation, their attitude of wanting to entertain, and they were professional to the core.
Each unique personality connected one-on-one with the listener. That's what it's all about.
They knew how and when to sell the station's call letters and frequency, the music, and the
commercials that paid their salaries. If you want to hear greatness on the radio, just find one
of their airchecks, and you'll hear what I mean. If you want to get into this medium of Radio,
hearing any of these gentlemen listed above is must and mandatory homework! But, as usual,
that's just MY RadiOpinion....what's yours?

Sunday, October 23, 2016


The trend is clear, the die is cast. Corporate media is growing bigger and bigger each day. Is this
a good thing?  There are many who say "No"! More, does not necessarily lead to more revenue or
larger ratings numbers. In areas such as interior design, it's accepted that "Less" is generally "More".
Not so for the Media. Corporate takeovers usually result in staff members being eliminated and
melded into one small staff to do the work of what may have been several media entities in a market.

When a corporate giant merges what was once several entities, they normally eliminate up to 80%
of the total staff members it took to run them separately. Makes good business sense they say. Yes,
good for them, not so good for the industry. It's been estimated that more than 35,000 jobs have
been eliminated in just the last few years. Forbes magazine put out a list of the "Bottom" five jobs
in the marketplace, and Broadcasting was in that dubious grouping. Thanks to de-regulation, what
was once a good paying profession, has now been driven to the dregs of the societal workplace.
Now, for some unknown reason, the FCC has released 750 more low power licenses. I guess the
Federal Radio folks won't be happy until all of the dial positions and frequencies will be in use.
No more room, and no more people coming in to run them. A sorry looking future as I see it.

Remember when there used to be three hour radio shifts? When there used to be six to eight D.J's
or announcers on a radio station? Now, these have been replaced with "Voice Trackers" doing most
of the work of many. To me...this is going from more to less in a big way. Having several stations
in one building also reduces internal sales, traffic, and management people needed. This media
centralization has led to de-localization as well. What was once now less. Much less.

Just read last week that USA Today(Gannett) plans to merge with another large  chain of almost
120 newspapers. Look for the same condensing of personnel. Again, more outlets run by fewer
people..thus less human contact. The listening and news reading public is the loser in each and
every local area served by these centralized power grabbers. But they are finding out that more
entities don't lead to higher numbers in either their ratings OR their corporate bank accounts.
AND, in the local marketplace, people are finding out that they're definitely getting Less from
what they perceive is MORE...more intrusion into their lives from afar. MORE intrusion from a
large power structure can be expected to offer LESS. As for our government officials? Well they
are "more or less" disinterested.  That's my RadiOpinion...what's yours?

Monday, October 3, 2016


Let's take a short course on the evolution of progress...both Good and Bad shall we?

Since the dawn of time, man has always been inventive. First, the wheel, eating utensils, musical instruments, clothing, fire, then gunpowder; plus various weapons of war, and on-and-on until the
Industrial Revolution. From the mid 1800's to the mid 1900's inventions took place that would alter
and illuminate our way of life. Each century produced marvelous miracles that would move people
forward into a better future. The pre-historic "wheel" led to wagons, trains, and planes that would transport goods and people faster and farther with each succeeding era. The Chinese discovery of
gunpowder was the forerunner to explosives, bullets and bombs. Man's first fascination with music
and musical instruments paved the way for the first recording to be made, which in turn became
record players, recording devices to listen to and thus, to entertain the human spirit. Along came
a way to hear this entertainment and information was called Radio. Radio. It was like hear sounds through the air into your very ears - instantly. And when Television came into
our lives...more magic. Pictures AND sound through the air that was unseen by the eye, but came
to a receiver near you. There seems to be no limit on what the human brain can imagine.

Now, of course, I've left out many incredible inventions, such as the printing press, electricity, the
telephone, the smelting of iron and steel, and all of the medical marvels and cures in History, not to
forget the awe inspiring "Man on the Moon" flight in 1969. So, we arrive now at the early stages of a new century-2000. A new century filled with industrial robotics, driverless cars, GPS navigation and maybe one of the great inventions so far ..the micro chip and/or the computer!

I take this long route to explain, that of all the incredible advances in the human experience, most
can be used for good or evil. An explosive can be used for building dams or Mt. Rushmore...or, it
can be used for violence and harm. A gun used for self protection can also be used for killing.
Even an airplane who's faster transportation can be used for evil such as in the case of "9-11".
Medical drugs used for curing many illnesses, can be used for addiction or murder. You get the idea.
But few inventions can be mainly used for good. Radio is one of those few. Radio is benign. All
Radio purports to do is inform and entertain. All one has to do is listen. That's it!

I find it somewhat comforting to know I worked in a business that was a "Good Guy". I mean Radio
doesn't explode, Radio can not "hack" into anyone's computer, Radio never killed anyone on purpose,
Radio by it's very nature does not harm it's listener base. In short, Radio is meant to be "Good".
However, as in all societies, "evil" usually comes from within. In due time, a society can cause it's
own demise. This too could happen to Radio if not carefully watched. The real down side to all
of mankind's progress can result in a "bad" outcome. How so? Well, if we continue to invent those
things that make Life easier, and in the process, we eliminate the workforce needed to produce or
maintain these inventions, what happens to society who is the ultimate benefactor of this progress?
Who will work if robots do it for us? Who would be sick if everyone becomes healthy? Who would
be employed in Radio(or any job) if automation became the norm? Where would individual wealth
ever be achieved? Where would incentive go to keep humanity alive? Maybe we'll know in the next
100 years or so...but for now, let's enjoy all that's "good" in our lives. And among the diminishing few left is RADIO....definitely one of the "Good Guys". That's my RadiOpinion, what's yours?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

   Effort to preserve radio history starts in Missouri

I saw this article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and thought it quite worthy of notice to publish
here by calling attention to having us all try to become involved. There are many "archives" out
there on the internet and such, but this seems to be a NATIONAL effort in conjunction with the
Library Of Congress..and could be very worthwhile to keep our history alive for future generations.

 Missouri will host the pilot project for an initiative to make radio history available through a national archive. Here is some of the text from the Post Dispatch:

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ( ) reports that the Radio Preservation Task Force, overseen by the Library of Congress, is collecting and cataloging radio recordings. Missouri is the pilot in part because of preservation efforts already made in St. Louis and Kansas City.
Task force director Josh Sheppard says there has never previously been a concerted effort by one federal institution to trace old recordings.
"We realized pretty quickly that at least 75 percent of recorded radio has been discarded or destroyed," he said.
The group is hoping to have 1.8 million to 2.5 million recordings identified by 2020. Digitizing efforts will follow, as money and time allow.
Mark Gordon, president and CEO of the Missouri Broadcasters Association, which has members from about 380 stations, said the association has reached out to all of them, seeking recordings.

"Radio broadcasting brings communities together," Gordon said. "It's how they learn about one another. There is a nostalgia for people who grew up with it, but for some who haven't experienced it, they hear this is what it was like."

"People can read what was in a newspaper, but if you want to hear the voices of people making the news, or you want to hear the sound of that event, there is nothing, unless this archive can be put together".

"We have to grab what's left out there and get a hold of it".

I think it behooves us to contact the task force director Josh Sheppard mentioned above, to see how
we can participate in this much needed collection of radio history. It certainly would be nice to know that those of us who "labored" in the broadcast profession over the years would leave the knowledge
to show future generations about OUR Golden Age of Radio. That's my RadiOpinion-what's yours?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

                        YOU KNOW YOU'VE BEEN IN RADIO TOO LONG....

..If you're called to a DJ staff meeting in San Antonio, but you work in Cincinnati

..When that old stained coffee pot in the break room has been replaced by Starbucks
   coffee PODS

..When the call letters to your station ends with .com

..If the rest of the air staff is on the computer's touch screen under: "audio files"

..When you ask for splicing tape and a razor blade, and they point you to a first-aid kit

..When that Teeny Bopper who was always contest "caller #8" back in 1960, is now a 
  grandmother..and is STILL contest "caller #8"

..When the young all night jock thinks a cart machine is a mechanical device that makes
   Go Carts

..If the Program Log is NOT on 24 sheets of 8.5" by 14" paper anymore

..When there's six stations in the same building you work at..which is 5 more than the
  whole town had when you first started in Radio

..If you still think "RAP" Music is not music

..Now that request lines have become "Chat Rooms" or "Tweets"

..When they replaced the turntables with a "mouse"

..The day the General Manager was replaced with an "app

..When you find out your P.D. is younger than your favorite pair of earphones

..When the station employees think Chuck Berry is a Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavor

..The day the "drive-time" jock became a "thumb drive"

..If you believe Keith Urban is just not rural

..When your paycheck comes from a bankruptcy court

..When the sales staff outnumbers the songs on the station Playlist

..Especially when the janitorial staff outnumbers the D.J. staff

..If you remember that Emerson, Lake and Palmer was a '70's rock group and
  not a law firm

..If the Program Director thinks a "Record Hop" is a gold medal winning Olympics
  event ( including a skip and a jump of course )

..When the air staff was renamed: "The Good Guys, Gals, Gays and Transgenders"

I thought I'd have a little "fun" with the above, and I'm sure you may have some of
your own. As the General Electric advertisements used to say: "Progress is our most
important product". In the case for Radio, I'm not so sure there's been that much
progress, nor do I think our "product" is all that important anymore. You decide.
And remember: "old disc jockeys never die...they just seg-a-way".

But that's just MY RadiOpinion....what's yours? (you don't need an "app" for that!)


Sunday, August 21, 2016

              SOUND. IN THE EAR(or Minds "Eye") OF THE BEHOLDER.

Sound. Something so simple is really quite complicated. Especially when it comes to Radio.
A lot of people over the years told me that I "had a great sounding station". What does that
mean? Is it the music? The Microphone? The control board? The transmitter? The DJ's?
The over all audio chain? Sound is so subjective, that any ten people could(and probably will) disagree.
   Every person has a different receiving apparatus...the EAR! Each individual is different in
his or her ability to "hear". It could be the size or placement of one's ear. It could be the 
physical limitations of one's audio range he or she is born with. Some people can't hear
very high notes....some can't perceive the low or bass notes in a frequency range. 
   But before any recorded sound reaches the ear, it has more than likely been "tinkered"
with. Studio engineers, producers and talent have had their sound "product" adjusted to
their hearing, and what they want the final product to sound like. I know many major
recording companies used to engineer their music played on radio stations to have a
frequency mid range which would sound best on car radios. In the 1950's and '60's, most
car radios had a cut off frequency in the 7,500 cycle range, therefore "DJ Promotional"
copies of records were usually adjusted to that range...the general cycle range of the 
typical AM radio station as well. Music usually "popped" more, sounded stronger in that
mid range. Once FM came along, it's range was much higher and lower in the extreme
ends of the frequency spectrum. Then somewhere in the 1970's, many savvy radio
engineers sought to add various sound tweaking devices.Then appeared graphic equalizers
and sound compression units which would be added to microphone amplifiers, to the audio
chain itself ..before and after going through the transmitter. Now, in the digital age, there
are enough technical devices to enhance and edit sound, I really don't know what I'm
ACTUALLY hearing anymore. Then, after all is said and done to a radio station's audio
signal, the listener will have your radio station running through his or her receiver with
their own settings of loudness, bass or treble...most likely undoing what sound modif-
-ications were done to the station or it's music or sound settings beforehand. 
   I always had in MY minds "ear" what I wanted my station to sound like according to
what format was being aired. High energy, soft approach, mellow sounding...whatever you
decide, make sure you, and only you, make the final approval of "sound" for your radio
station. What type of air talent, jingles, music, make sure they conform to one person's
hearing that matches yours. There's way too much jumbling and mixing of "sound".
Make it basic, simple and as close to the original sound of a "normal ear"as possible.  
  Now, I guess the next "sound" mystery to tackle will be which sounds better? Digital
or Vinyl? Or, what's the best speakers or earphones to use. Well, "to 'ear' is human".
I say: Too many sound"cooks"(or kooks) just may be spoiling the sound broth!

Like I's all in the ear of the beholder isn't it? That's MY RadiOpinion..what's yours?