Originally Published 05.19.2005 – by Mason Ramsey
Gone, Scared and Corporate … Was, there ever any Doubt?
Individuality. It’s gone…but it lurks in the shadows. There is an audience out there who really do want to relive the old glory days of radio; to experience the fun of what used to be American Graffiti … the passion and excitement of listening to a program that entices the senses of your mind.
But, with senior corporate and radio programmers in control, it’s not likely you are going to hear that any time soon. In fact, it’s not likely at all. Mainly because they are afraid! Down to their last micro – managed hair on their head.
There is hope though, a radio program combining music, personality, lifestyle, and topical content … driven with listener interaction in a format that carries energy in a forward momentum.
It is a ratings bonanza waiting to happen … and it’s called entertainment! But, if it’s going to happen, you’re going to have to get those guys out of the way, and let some real innovators get in there. “Ice is out…I’m in!” Maverick.
Today, most every radio and TV station rely on the research and focus groups that tell them what America wants to watch and, what they want to hear on the radio. Only, America is celebrating mediocrity and has given up its desire through complicity … mostly through corporate ownership. At this time, they don’t realize they have given up. America is accepting what’s on, bitching silently to them-selves while turning the channel in hopes of finding what they like.
The philosophy of “making it sparkle” by leaving it in the hands of the on-air talent has gone by the wayside, because of the corporate micromanaging. The days of creative individuality on the radio has “gone scared” in today’s world of “Let’s not offend the sensibilities of our listeners.” And it’s not just content, it’s “Let’s not play that song, because it didn’t test well.”
Firstly: Today’s FCC rules and regulations have given personalities like Howard Stern a platform to challenge the “Let me see your tits” freedom of speech. That kind of radio is most certainly something that Howard and others may want to do, and certainly have the right, but it destroys the real fabric of entertainment for personalities who only want to entertain without the restrictions of that corporate mindset, who think, ‘that’s what creative radio is all about.’
Secondly: The corporate thinking is this: “Cookie Cutter radio. There’s only room for a couple of people like the Howard Sterns on radio.”
The sad truth is: The ‘Shock’ idiots of the radio and morning airwaves think that ‘It’s the only way to attract and keep an audience.’
And they are the lucky ones who are managed by the ‘Shock’ administrators of broadcasting who are lucky enough to be in their position, which ruin it for the rest of us. It doesn’t give us (me) anywhere to turn. It leaves most of the people in positions of corporate responsibility afraid to be in radio for the entertainment value because it might affect the bottom line of fiduciary responsibility. “Let’s play it safe.”
Here’s what I say: THEY HAVE NO FAITH IN THEIR PROFESSIONALISM, which leads to an uncertainty in the bottom line…making money.
The administrators are so afraid to go out on a limb because they are nestled in their cushy positions and don’t want any one to mess with their status quo, because it steps outside of the box.
People are longing for the entertainment of radio, yet; Most programming is defined by the research of research, from the research group that was researched by another research group. Please, where does it end?
Remember, looking back does not distract from the now and the present. Something classic can actually become fresh, dynamic, bold and newly entertaining.
So, what if it’s religion, sex or politics, it’s not bad!
Anytime you talk religion, politics, or sex, you are bound to piss off someone, somewhere, and not just because they are living in the Bible belt. Even if you merely refer to those topics…someone, somewhere may have a differing opinion. That’s just the way it is!
We need owners and managers who will not shun at the first sign of complaint. And the same owners and managers who are committed to that entertainment philosophy and won’t run to the corner when those one or two thin skinned listeners found a simple comment to be too offensive.
But here’s the thing, just because it is religion, politics or sex, doesn’t mean that it’s Howard saying, “I would love to have sex with you in the church pew.”
Why can’t you say sex on the radio, instead of referring to it as ‘romance’ or some other back yard meaning?