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Posted by: Voice Over, April 12, 2010, 3:35pm
Seattle has the "Soundies"!

By Todd Bitts
April 12th, 2010

The Puget Sound Radio Broadcasters Association was started in the mid 1970's. The primary driver of PSRBA was Rich Robertson, who was at that time GSM of KVI Radio, Golden West in Seattle. There were others. As the GSM, then GM of KVI-FM, I joined the effort to somehow band the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett broadcasters together in an effort to jointly promote radio sales. I'm happy to say, after 30+ years, the group is still together.

Early we used to sponsor creative workshops. Hoping to promote radio thru the creative departments of ad agencies and direct clients, we had the likes of Stan Freeberg, Dick and Bert and others come to Seattle to stage workshops to help creative people learn how effective radio could be!

That morphed into the "Soundies"! I call them the Oscars for radio creativity! Some credit Shannon Sweatte, others Steve West for being the "father" of the Soundies. Begun in 1990, the Soundies just held it's 25th annual event at Teatro Zinzani, the whimsical dinner theatre, across the street from Seattle Center.

Judges from across the country are enlisted to help pick the best of the best in about 20 different categories.

   Todd Bitts        Jim Dai       Jack Allen

PSRBA has added, besides creative awards, a "Radio Believer! award and a "Crystal Soundie" award. The Radio Believer is the client who makes the best use of the medium. This year's winner is Jerry O'Day from Schick Shadel Hospital. I knew Jerry when he sold radio in the Seattle market for his dad Pat, at KYYX, and others. Jerry said "What can I tell you? My budget has grown, and I bought my way in!" Amazingly, Schick's budget grew from $300,000 in 2004 to now over $2.4 million in 2008! Jerry is a believer.

In addition, Shirley Thom, having just celebrated 50 years in radio, won the Crystal Soundie! Kind of a "Lifetime Achievement Award".

This is the Queen of the Soundies, Shirley Thom with yours truly

Shirley began her career at KVI as a secretary/receptionist back in March, 1960. She moved into traffic/continuity, moved to KOMO in similar jobs, raising herself to sales then to sales manager under then GM Bob Atkins. Shirley operated a school for radio sales people, has authored a book "Life is a Sales Job" and is one of the first people to create a Grid Card rate card that changed the way radio is sold across the country. She currently continues to work for CBS Radio in Seattle, volunteers at colleges and universities as a guest teacher and speaker on how advertising works and Radio station operate.

Previous Soundie winners include the likes of Les Smith, Dorothy Stimson Bulitt, Larry Nelson, Michael O'Shea, Pat O'Day, Dave Niehaus (the voice of the Mariners), Steve West, Mac Steen and Edie Hilliard.

I'm happy to have known 24 of the 25 Crystal Soundie winners.

25th anniversary of the Soundies! Radios answer to the Oscars! Cathie Valentine-McKinney, Tyrone Noble, Steve Goetz and Kacie McKinney! Great night!

PSRBA continues with 33 member stations who meet monthly, continuing to find ways to further radios place in the overall media scheme of things.

I'm particularly happy to have been President of PSRBA 3 of 4 years in the early years. Maybe it was because I was the only one who said yes back then! But, I believed we were stronger together than apart. I'm glad to see the heritage is continuing in 2010.


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