Handing the keys over to the kids in radio….

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By Marty Forbes

PSR Contributor

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Friday November the 6th, 2015

 

Handing the keys over to the kids in radio….

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Pat Holiday

My long time friend and colleague Pat Holiday is writing some pretty spectactular blogs these days and his successful history in radio makes these blogs 100% relevant and respected.

One recent one covered, and I’ll paraphrase the topic, with all the changes in media, distribution, ownership, and technical advances affecting tuning and programming maybe the ‘old school guys’ (like me/him) may not be as relevant in this new environment as we once were.

For reference the complete blog is here:  http://www.fyimusicnews.ca/articles/2015/11/02/pat-holiday-talent-timeless

I was thinking about an analogy for this and it reminded me of when I first asked my father for the keys to his classic Corvette.  Dad ‘hesitatingly’ knew I was ready to take his 454 horse power Stingray rocket on the street when I asked for the keys at age 18 BUT before he handed them over he provided some sage advice so that we ‘both’ felt comfortable with this paradigm shift in our relationship.

That being said I think it’s time to do as Pat says – but not without some of “Dad’s sage advice before we do!”

I fully ‘agree’ with Pat’s premise but fired back a short retort to him along with a few other thoughts that I think are important before the new kids put the throttle to the floor in the ever changing world of radio.

Here they are:

Another excellent column Pat – and I can certainly identify with your thoughts on ‘next gen’ broadcasters.  

 

I too think it’s time for new ideas and concepts and they’re likely not going to come from ‘old guard’ programming concepts.

 
My only concern is that, with the massive layoffs and centralized programming departments, these younger broadcasters still need guidance on WHY and HOW radio works – because if the basics aren’t there the rest simply won’t matter.
 
Being digitally integrated is huge – I agree – but if you don’t take your eyes up off your smartphone or laptop to ‘talk’ to listeners; to be in the public eye; to get involved in LOCAL community efforts then these broadcasters aren’t utilizing the full magnitude of the elements that make ‘good’ programming become ‘great.’
 
We’ve all watched people gravitate to the ‘legendary’ morning guys at events – people like Terry Dimonte, Gerry Forbes (brother plug), Brother Jake, Humble and Fred, Rob Christie, (and many other highly successful broadcasters) whereas today most of the morning shows on radio have almost faceless single name hosts who never seem to step out of their homes or the station after hours.  Community engagement still works yet it’s slipping away from some operations.   
 
Nothing bothers me more nowadays watching radio station promo booths ‘shoved to the corners’ at key events and being manned by street team people who are too busy playing Angry Birds or Words with Friends instead of actually chatting with listeners about the radio stations they are there to represent.
 
Plus, ALL great performers need one thing – ‘coaching’ – and the greatest losses (in my opinion) are in the mid to upper levels of Programming – so that daily interaction just isn’t there anymore.  
You and I got to our positions by working with and for some of the finest minds in broadcasting – a list too lengthy to mention but I’m sure you‘d agree that having those people guide us along through the various formats, ownership changes, rule changes, and competitive situations we faced was the key to US ending up in the corner office of Standard Radio of which we both were so fortunate to have done.
 
As you mentioned in the column a great deal has changed for guys like you and me in the industry over the past few years….some of it obviously good, some of it bad….but witnessing the reaction to your columns with comments on Facebook it’s clear that  ‘mentoring’ and ‘teaching’ is still badly needed in the industry.  
 
I still love chatting with the ‘talent’ in the various radio stations I visit constantly – and I hope they don’t think of me as just an “old grey haired bugger who used to be in the radio business.”
 
When I offer a comment most of them say “hey – thanks for listening” or “I havent had an aircheck in months (or ever)” – damn simple.   If the very basics of radio are not done well or even done ‘at all’ some of the new found creativity will simply not be successful and that would be a pity.     One other thing….there’s nothing better than ‘reverse’ mentoring too.  I really love sitting down with young folks in the business, or speaking at things like the Broadcast Educators Association of Canada conventions, to learn from the folks in the business today so that I get a better understanding of the current situation.  It’s win/win.
Plus…I love being the ‘oldest guy in next gen’ – and as you know “I teach Twitter.”   

There you have it.  I think most of us in the industry are waiting for the ‘next big thing’ – something exciting, new, innovative, fun, game changing – kinda like what Netflix did to Blockbuster – and some day somebody will make that breakthrough – I hope.

If nothing else keep reading Pat’s blogs – on FYI Music – and follow him on Twitter @patholiday – because I know you will learn lots from a man who accomplished much in his career.

Marty’s Musings 
http://radiowiseinc.blogspot.ca/

5 COMMENTS

  1. Great points Marty! Getting out there and interacting face to face constantly is a win win, and it’s always ton’s of fun, and very gratifying.

  2. This is just part of what’s wrong with all the non live shows and syndication these days. Listeners want to form a bond with the announcer. Meeting him/her in person is the greatest bond they can get. I used to love meeting listeners. Many became friends which in turn, turn into lifetime listeners. It’s simple.

  3. Well, as an educator in the field I agree with some points but disagree with others.

    I’m [email protected] if you want to email directly.

    “Most of the morning shows on radio have almost faceless single name hosts who never seem to step out of their homes or the station after hours. Community engagement still works yet it’s slipping away from some operations. ”

    No. For example, I find the format change in CFOX to identify more with the audience more so than Jeff O’Neill’s show has ever done. Jeff’s, Karen’s, etc. ‘banter’ is absolutely directed toward the local market. And I’m not even a ‘fan’. Karen Daniels at ‘JR is ‘faceless’? Rick Cluff has died? Holly and Jonny at Virgin? MOST stations (if you listen) have some promo and talk, which involves the area / community, so nothing has changed in that regard.

    “but witnessing the reaction to your columns with comments on Facebook it’s clear that ’mentoring’ and ‘teaching’ is still badly needed in the industry. ”

    And what / how, would that “badly needed mentoring” look exactly? “Shafe in the box” (who has moved on with a wonderful project in Roundhouse radio), has agreed that “the industry” has moved on with regard to skills and other potential career opportunities. Skills (such as “story-telling”) are taught and emphasized, be they on-air, or on line. Writing, market, demographics, psychographics, broadcast law, podcasting, on line production, writing, on line marketing, content creation, etc.

    “One other thing….there’s nothing better than ‘reverse’ mentoring too. I really love sitting down with young folks in the business, or speaking at things like the Broadcast Educators Association of Canada conventions, to learn from the folks in the business today so that I get a better understanding of the current situation.”

    The BEAC has been touted as “a bunch of old guys” and rightly so. One event a few years back had 7 people on stage discussing “women’s role in Broadcasting”. 1 (one) woman was on stage, from CBC.

    This sounds like a “whine” similar to “ain’t nothin’ been good since Bob Seger”.

    I see this first-hand. You can’t put the egg back into the shell. Let the young be the young. (let the old be old.)

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