"Radio consolidation has
contributed to a 34% decline in the number of owners, a 90% rise in
the cost of advertising rates, [and] a rise in indecent
broadcasts. If ever there were a cautionary tale, this is
My late good friend Bill Gavin was a
man of great ethics not given to retreat when faced with opposition.
Recognizing my own steps of going against the flow, he
cautioned me to be prepared for a chorus of dissention, but that time
usually proves one�s point.
So more than ten years ago when I
became outspoken on the pitfalls of radio�s deregulation, my
thoughts returned to Gavin�s wisdom, without which I could not have
continued the battle. His
words, �Time will prove you
right� kept echoing each time I felt like the lone ranger on a
horse going nowhere.
The arrogance of the broadcast bigwigs
stuck in my crawl. When I threatened going to the Department of
Justice and the Federal Communications Commission I was actually
taunted with, �there is no FCC, there is no DOJ, you idiot�.
It was especially difficult when I discovered they were
correct. Both the
Department of Justice and the FCC excused my complaints and volumes of
evidence advising me I was going against the flow.
Deregulation was in vogue and anyone unable to march in lock
step, was dismissed as a trouble maker by both the chieftains of the
industry, the NAB and the very agencies in charge of guarding against
such abuses. Gone was the blood of true broadcasters, replaced instead
by those who valued dollars over common sense.
It became obvious to me more than ever our society must have laws and regulations with teeth or the greed of man would prevail over ethics and decency. Imagine the highways without guidelines for motorists and no police to enforce them.
My own elected officials, senators and
congressmen, who previously hung out in my station's lobby, begging
for free air time, disappeared, intimidated by the power of the new
media monopolies. Most trade publications refused to question the
damage being done for fear of being blackballed by a flood of
subscription cancellations from the very companies enjoying their lack
Only in recent weeks have the words of
Bill Gavin returned to remind me the importance of what time delivers.
While the media giants hoped the public would sleep through their grab
of even more power, almost overnight they have realized their payoffs
to public officials have met their matches.
The public is speaking and those in our
nation�s capital are listening.
Let�s hope the White House hears the thunder of dissent to
their desire of further deregulating the media.
Thank you Bill, for those words of long ago. I hear them � LOUD AND CLEAR!
Reader - SOUND-OFF
Thanks for your hard work and diligence, John.
God Bless Bill & Janet
Gavin would contribute an important perspective of the media monopolies of today.
I think his wisdom would tell us "caution" in the least. Perhaps he's doing that
through you John.
FCC chairman Michael Powell was given his throne by Bill Clinton. It
shouldn't be that hard for President Bush to sweep his ilk from office.
You are such a gem! I love reading your
recollections and, I hope you know, I've always had the utmost respect
for your contributions. I thought it was kind of an interesting
juxtaposition on your work at WABC during the strike many years ago
(helping the corporation) and your pronounced position now against
massive consolidation that is considered by today's executives to be
anti-company. Do you think it's because the business of
broadcasters has fewer real broadcasters and that 30+ years ago the
landscape in radio was somewhat different? I guess it's the difference
between being a member of a collective rather than hoarding everything
for yourself. The absolutely amazing thing is that 3/5ths of the
guardians of the public trust at the FCC don't know what "public
trust" means. Or maybe they just don't care. I'm glad you do.
I am 35 years into the Radio biz, and follow your brilliant comments on the state of radio with relish. Keep hammering these crooks that run Clear Channel and Viacom - because you speak for the hearts and minds of not just US radio people, but broadcasters around the globe. I am VERY concerned that the American public seems to have been lulled to sleep on the consolidation issue and the blatant corruption at the F.C.C. Bad news - it is not much better in Canada, Mr. Rook. Politicos get the "donations", and surprise, the same backers get to play fast and loose with their pack of stations....granted by the rubber stamp CRTC. In our country, FM'ers are averaging 24 % year over year profit- and screwing staff and public alike. Keep the faith.
** ......the two most abundant elements in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity......**
Re: We are waiting Mr. President
I sincerely doubt Dubya will step up to the plate. You have to have integrity yourself to right a wrong.
Re: Rush is full of . . . .
I had the displeasure of working with him briefly in 1976,he was full of shit then and
is now, but on a grander scale.
Rush is confused with the facts. That's how it's done today except that it's bought and paid for in advance.
It's hard for me to believe Rush, would even say something like this. Everybody who was in the music radio business in those days, knew that Top 40 was a "bottoms up" clear for music. Hell, the biggest complaint was that listening to those 2 huge signals at night, was that all you were playing was music we'd already dropped in the medium markets, because we had added them so far in front of LS and ABC. At any rate, maybe this wasn't something Rush knew in Mckeesport.
I have always been a fan of 'el-rush-bo. After hearing his rants lately about deregulation, yes indeed you are correct sir, we know who butters his bread. I always believed his line of bullshit that he was 99.9% correct. NO MORE.
I just read the piece on WLS and Art Roberts on your website. I started
in radio as a sophomore in high school in 1969 and had already spent several years
as a loyal Art Roberts listener in Iowa. I was glad but not surprised to read
your opinion of him as a person and a talent because it so exactly matches
what I've always thought. I've always remembered that Art spoke one-on-one
with listeners. Also that he made a commercial a pleasant, helpful, even newsy
conversation rather than a "spot". It's the way we were always told to do it in those
non-voicetrack days. I don't know how successfully I applied the concept but whatever
success I had, I owed to those nights listening to Art on WLS.
All Content on
this Web site � 2003 John H. Rook
All Rights Reserved
The opinions, commentary and satirical material posted on JohnRook.com are those of John Rook, unless otherwise identified