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Senator Ernest Hollings
Man of the Year
Those who have visited this website over a period of time know I�ve long been a critic of radio�s deregulation, the flood of vulgarity oozing from the public airwaves and the attempt to legalize payola by a new generation of broadcast owners.
Having invested five decades in radio, I simply could not remain silent while my pride in an industry I loved and respected was darkened by a lack of appreciation for the ethics and professionalism of those who created it.
For several years I attempted to raise the awareness of these issues at the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Justice and with members of congress. Throughout this time I was fueled by the wisdom of an industry icon, Bill Gavin, who many years ago told of how often he went against the grain advising, �John you and I are not sheep, just be persistent and time will prove you right�.
It was not until Ernest Hollings was receptive to my concerns that I began to see a hint of success for my efforts. More than any other person, I credit Senator Hollings with reversing the downward slide of radio as he took steps to have Michael Copps of his staff named an FCC commissioner. Copps along with Jonathan Adelstein of South Dakota joined forces to shed light on the dark shadow that is today�s radio. Both gentlemen responded to the issues I believed were so important to radio.
Unbridled deregulation, indecent programming and payola is now receiving long overdue attention.
As I watched the �Open Forum on Decency� spearheaded by Alaska�s Senator Ted Stevens, I was reminded how it was a direct result of what the Senator from South Carolina started prior to his recent retirement.
Thank you Senator Ernest Hollings. The leadership you provided is now receiving the attention of the broadcasting industry that could be the catalyst for saving it.
In my book Senator you are �Radio�s Man of the Year�.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and pleasant retirement
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Whatever you do � there�s a hall of fame waiting. Could be frog jumping. Rubber band collecting. Gambling. Who knows? But let�s focus on just one � The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland? The cradle of civilization revolves around the Tigris and Euphrates while the cradle of Rock and Roll revolves around � Lake Erie? While Drew Carey may be trying to convince me that Cleveland rocks � it still seems kinda L 7 to me. Don�t get me wrong, I�m sure the people and the places are great - - it just doesn�t seem quite - right. What about New York or Philly or Detroit? What about Memphis with Sun Records? Or Lubbock with Buddy Holly? I�m sure there are tons of places that have some connection to the roots of rock � can�t they all get just a little respect!!? Maybe have branches of the museum??
OK - so we�re time warped to Cleveland. Let�s forget about where it is. Let�s talk about who�s in and who�s not � and ask why. I know it�s tough to decide who gets in. Must be like choosing the girl on the Bachelor. But it seems that many artists need to fit the hipper-than-thou mindset. You could have 100 hits, but if you weren�t addicted and recovering from something or die young or maybe just plain weird - it�s tough. It�s almost better if you�ve been struggling for years. (There used to be a word for that � �unsuccessful�.) But then some cool artist says you were �an influence� � and you get a free pass. That�s a crock. OK - - So we got Elvis. Must have Buddy, Chuck, The Beatles, and The Stones. Got to have Little Richard and Fats. Tons of others. FINE. But how in the world is it humanly possible to leave out a main soldier, a trailblazer, and a star so bright that you gotta wear shades just to check him out - - Pat Boone. He�s around one of the Top Ten artists � of all time. Not just this week or this year - - all time. The man wears white bucks (holy moly!) and sings Tutti Frutti. That in itself takes off the chart guts. The Boonemeister brought black music to white audiences � big time. OK � in his way. But remember � white radio wanted NOTHING to do with black artists. Pat built a bridge. His bridge. For Gods� sake, the man�s a bridge builder. That�s gotta count for somethin�?! He sang Long Tall Sally and Ain�t That A Shame. Damn! You know how hard it was for a white guy to stay in rhythm and sing those songs? We know white men can�t jump. Well, in 1957 they mostly couldn�t tap their foot or snap their fingers to that Rock and Roll - and Rhythm & Blues beat either! Mr. Boone did! There was a time when Pat had at least one record on the chart every week for 4 years. No one else - - - has ever done that. No hall pass for Pat? When does the hypocrisy end? Where�s the love?
I�ll tell you what�s up. The music-critic-Rolling Stone-magazine-cooler-than-Andy-Warhol -establishment is full of self-serving crap. If their attitude were any more self-serving they�d elect themselves - if they could get away with it. If the Beach Boys hadn�t put out Good Vibrations they might be in the same situation. Then the only museum they might be in would be the Peterson Automotive Museum. (She� real fine my 409.) If the Byrds didn�t have a Dylan connection they might be in the Audubon Museum. We�re tough on our musical heroes. We remember Pat on the TV urging people to pray, while we remember Jim Morrison as a drunk, dying in a bathtub. I�m sorry, which one was the role model? People Are Strange, indeed. The Milkman drinks milk while our rock heroes shoot H. Is this the Hall of Shame? I�m not saying we shouldn�t honor those that we honor, but can�t we have a little balance? Maybe it�s just that Pat � being Pat - reminds us of our own indiscretions or our own past failings? After all, he can�t be that good. He kinda is. Get over it. Pete Rose isn�t in his hall of fame because he bet some games. Pat�s not in his because - - what? Why? It�s crazy. This sucks pond water.
So I urge anyone that�s written a Love Letter In The Sand � or had an April Love - to write your local critic, the Hall of Fame itself, Bill O�Rielly, your congressman, George W, Drew Carey, whoever - and demand that they wake up and smell the dairy products and elect the guy in the white hat to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Black hats are easy to come by. It�s the clean, white ones that are hard to find. This one�s pretty clean. Isn�t it time for a good guy to win?
Michael Lloyd was a Vice President of MGM Records by the age of 20, and for more than 35 years has been producing hit records and soundtracks, earning more than 100 gold and platinum records along the way. Some of the artists he's worked with include, Lou Rawls, Barry Manilow, Dionne Warwicke, The Moody Blues, The Monkees, The Osmonds, Donny and Marie Osmond, Sammy Davis , Jr., The Righteous Brothers, Debby Boone, Pat Boone, Air Supply, and Frank Sinatra, just to name a few--and I mean a few.
Michael was also the Music Supervisor for the film "Dirty Dancing" and produced the "Dirty Dancing" soundtrack album. He's also done the scoring, music supervision, or had songs placed in 38 feature motion pictures.
You�ve said it better than I can�.Thank you Michael
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At a time when AM/FM is under attack, one would hope they take every effort to propel the assault. Instead, programming today continues to be dictated by a sales manual, where closing up shop on weekends and holidays has long been the practice.
In radio�s greatest era it provided some of its most exciting programming for holidays. Unlike today when a wave of repeat shows and second string performers cover for the station�s main menu, consistency was maintained on holidays and weekends. With a talent roster of six or seven regular stars, never more than two took the same holiday, a Saturday or Sunday off. For example, if Larry Lujack was on vacation, Art Roberts moved to cover him with Art�s time period covered by Chuck Buell or Kris Erik Stevens. The all night man, Jerry Kaye covered for them and the relief talent covered for Jerry. The concept wasn�t new, it came from watching NBA and NFL coaches, who always made sure some seasoned veteran�s were in the line up. This provided an opportunity for each personality to introduce and make the WLS audience more aware of them. It also gave me an opportunity to explore future changes that may unfortunately occur.
In my seven years as Program Director of KFI, the same vacation rotation concept was used. Any on-air star on vacation was replaced by another name most recognized as being a KFI personality. Even the "relief" talent was a familiar voice to the listener. Never were two relief talents on the air back to back as is the case these days.
I'm often amazed when a programmer excuses the lack of detail by saying, "it's not a rating period". Ratings should never dictate programming, but paying attention to programming 24/7, including during those non rated periods, does indeed dictate ratings year after year.
Any programmer interested in job security always has a backup game plan. In my many years of consulting, I regularly reminded Program Directors they should always have someone ready as backup for every talent in their stable. They also understood I would never be caught off guard in having a backup for them if need be. Again, pages from a successful NFL or NBA coaches manual. Those who might remember...the stations I consulted or programmed seldom had any changes.
December was always an exciting month for programming. With a sales staff already having wrapped up their efforts for the year and on vacation, programming instead took advantage of a giant audience no longer in school or at work by encouraging them to vote for their favorite song of the year. They would be programmed throughout the week leading up to New Years and in countdown fashion on New Years day. Recording stars endorsed our promotion and offered holiday wishes. Station jingles and promotional teasers all featured holiday sounds in the background. Two weeks before Thanksgiving, WLS began an annual drive to collect contributions in cash and gifts for the needy at Christmas. The station on-air talent delivered Christmas gifts and money to needy families starting a week before Christmas. Santa was �tracked� live as he crossed the skies on Christmas Eve and the count down for New Years was aired beginning from New York, then Chicago, Denver and finally Los Angeles.
Yes, it was a far cry from the fill in menu being offered today at a time when radio can ill afford a programming holidaze.
(read John Gorman's comments here)
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A BRIEF, INCOMPLETE HISTORY OF RADIO
by Dan O'Day with illustrations by Bobby Ocean
A READER ASKS:
"Following your advice in an earlier column, we've looked for and actually hired part-timers from several unusual places. (One was a waiter our GM had while trying to pitch a potential client, another a door-to-door salesman who came into the station lobby.) But when they get on the air, they seem to clam up and become much more boring than they were before we hired them. When training 'newly discovered' part-timers, what are the most important things to start with?"
TELL THEM STORIES...
...about how & why you got into radio, who influenced you, your best radio moments, what you still hope to achieve.
Stories about Larry Lujack, John Records Landecker, Robert W. , Wolfman Jack, Gary Owens, Dr. Don, Allan Freed, Dan Ingram and
Cueing past the splice, heavy phones, cue burn. Solid Gold, Hot Nine at Nine, Hot 100. WABC and KHJ and KLIF and WOWO and WLS and making it to the big markets. Friday night countdowns, Saturday Swap Shops, Sunday drag racing commercials, twin spins, doubleplays, triple shots and instant replays.
Staying up late talking radio, swapping tapes, "borrowing" ideas, "embellishing" your ratings, deepening your voice, losing your voice, losing your place, losing your keys, losing your cool.
Few have mastered the art of communication better than Dan O�Day and Bobby Ocean. Combining their talent offers memories of radio�s past and a suggestion on how to prolong it�s future.
Click here to read the rest of
A BRIEF, INCOMPLETE HISTORY OF RADIO
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Talk Radio�Playing the Hits
Several months ago, I wrote, �most of the syndicated talk shows are bogged down in the boredom of politics, unable to address the real issues concerning the masses.� I explained talk radio was not �playing the hits�. Like the record promoter paid to promote a �stiff�, talk shows bought into the politics of the beltway, a constant diatribe of liberal�s vs. conservatives, republicans vs. democrats. It was as though they had forgotten the listener, instead allowed the politicians to decide what the �hits� were. After a year or more of witnessing an election campaign that side stepped the real issues, the public have about as much interest in politics as politicians have in serving the public.
One could easily see the tail wagging the dog simply by watching white house press conferences. Reporters attending those functions were just as out of touch as were most talk show hosts. The agenda was set by the politicians, with reporters seemingly unaware of the questions millions of the citizenry would ask.
It may have worked in the past, but not in the new era of the internet where information and communication is a whole new experience for a populous thirsty for answers. No longer is the choice for information limited to the old media�it�s a whole new ballgame.
The internet is replacing the newspaper of yesteryear and talk radio could easily find itself in the same wagon as music radio. It had best add more variety to its �playlist�and pay more attention to �playing the hits�. Internet radio is knocking at the door and am/fm talk radio is inviting it in.
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Telephone Cheat Sheet
In your telephone attempt to reach a real live person are you tired of wasting time listening to a menu of monotonous mumbling and punching the key board in answer to each question �the machine� asks?
You can thank Paul English for a quick code in connecting to a real human at many of those places you�ve spent hours trying to reach.
Print out his �Telephone Cheat Sheet�.