Radio & Traveling – Then & Now

Version 2Sue and I just returned from an eight-week, 11,175-mile cross country road trip across America traveling through 23-states. Seeing America from the car has been a Bucket List item for both of us. Our jobs have had us seeing this great land from the air; mine as a radio manager and educator/consultant, and Sue’s as a flight attendant.

Radio Then

Since my earliest days, traveling anywhere meant an opportunity to hear new sounds emanating from my radio. Every station had its own unique style and programming presentation.

I remember a trip to Millinocket, Maine that got me giggling, hearing the local newscaster struggling to pronounce a foreign country’s name or the names of their leaders. I remember hearing records that I’d never heard played on the radio before. It sounded like Maine.

Years later on a return trip to Millinocket, this radio station now aired mostly syndicated programming. It didn’t sound like Maine anymore.

Radio Now

A road trip Sue & I took to Key West, Florida last fall taught us that finding radio stations we would enjoy listening to was a real challenge. The variety of formats boiled down to mainly, R&B/Hip-Hop, Classic Rock, Country, Religious or Public Radio on FM and Sports or Conservative Talk Radio on AM.

But that wasn’t our biggest problem, cruising down the highway at 65-mph, it was when we found a station we enjoyed, it wouldn’t be more than 5-minutes before we found it being interfered with by another FM radio station making our original station virtually unlistenable.

So, before we drove out of our driveway in Virginia for our two-month long road trip we signed up for the two-month free trial of SiriusXM radio.

Community & Companionship

Dan Mason nailed it when he said radio is all about community and companionship. Take either away and you’ve lost what radio is all about.

Our road trip’s daily drives between destinations took place during the midday. Local radio stations we heard were all in full automation mode. Some were voice-tracked, many were not. They offered no companionship.

Pat St. John

However, when we pushed our SiriusXM button on the dashboard, we would hear the end of the Phlash Phelps morning show and four more hours of Pat St. John; ALL LIVE.Pat_st._john

They talked to us. They shared listener phone calls. We felt part of a large community called the United States. We heard about weather for where we were going next or weather for places we had just visited. We heard about other people’s travels and made notes about places we might want to visit.

We even learned from Pat a function that’s on our iPhones we didn’t know even existed, called “announce” that says the name of the person calling you. We both activated it on our iPhones at the next rest stop.

As a radio jingle lover, Pat St. John has a large variety of jingles he plays during his show. He even had his grandson on the program.

McDonalds or Burger King

Over our many miles, we saw lots of fast-food places. McDonalds and Burger Kings were everywhere. We didn’t need to wonder what the food was like at either of them, we knew. We basically avoided them and opted instead for a local restaurant.

And it made me realize that something similar had happened to radio.

I could turn on a station in any city, in any state, and in short order tell you whether it was iHeart or Cumulus. The Best Practices formatics were served up like fast-food. Consistent, reliable, predictable and automated or syndicated.

We even stopped in to visit some radio friends and their radio stations to take a tour. What we saw were empty studios and computer automation running each station.

Mount Rushmore

We’ve always wanted to see Mount Rushmore. It did not disappoint. But it also made me realize that the reason we both wanted to take this road trip adventure was to visit places, people and things that were one-of-a-kind.IMG_0836

We listened to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City. We rode the Hooterville Cannonball in Jamestown, California. We climbed aboard Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose” in McMinnville, Oregon (still the world’s largest amphibious aircraft). We went to Yellowstone, America’s first national park and walked around Devil’s Tower, America’s first national monument.

Everything on our list was something special, unique and one-of-a-kind.

Innovation

Touring the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, I couldn’t help but note some correlations between cars and radio.

The Ford Model T came along at the same time massive oil strikes were being hit in Texas; cheap cars and abundant cheap energy.

Radio was reborn after the introduction of television due to the invention of the transistor – that made radio very small and very portable – as well as its introduction in the automobile dashboard. It was a time when commuting from the suburbs to the city for work became the rage.

One innovation drives another.

Car Guys & Radio Guys

If you’re a car guy, you most likely want to make your car go faster.

If you’re a radio guy, you want your radio station to have more power.

Crosley got his WLW up to 500,000-watts (from his original 20-watt station) from 1934 to 1939.

It’s why AM broadcasters fought for and received power increases for their 250-watt Class C AM radio stations to broadcast with 1,000-watts full-time. What ultimately occurred was that the AM radio noise floor increased.

Now we see it happening again on FM with the drumbeat for Class C4 FM radio stations.

This too, won’t end well.

It also misses the point of what makes radio something people want to hear.

The Best Radio

Paul McLane just wrote the forward for latest edition of the textbook “The Radio Station.” In it he said “Radio is best when it engages, provokes, entertains, informs us.”

I quite agree with Paul, adding Dan Mason’s thought that radio is best when it serves a community and provides companionship.

In the end, if you were to ask me, “what does great radio sound like,” I’d have to say, “you know it when you hear it.”

55 Comments

Filed under Education, Mentor, Radio, Sales

55 responses to “Radio & Traveling – Then & Now

  1. Mike Buxser

    And now the NAB is advocating uping or totally doing away with ownership limits meaning more vanilla, corporate radio that will take away even more local stations to be replaced by stations in a box with no local content. Radio works when the station personalities connect with the listeners. That connection has always been what made radio special. Unfortunately, that connection is being destroyed.

    Like

  2. Kirk Harnack

    Excellent perspective, Dick. Thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful article.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Professor Dick, a Real Radio Travelin’ Man:
    “Radio is best when it engages, provokes, entertains, informs us.”
    Radio is best when it serves a community and provides companionship.”
    “You know it when you hear it.”
    “You Ain’t Heard Nothin; Yet” – BTO, Al Jolson & Folks Who Still Know how

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bob Harlan

    Radio station owners today are either oblivious to, or most likely accept the fact that the music content they play is available from a variety of sources. Because of this, they are playing to an aging listenership. Even the 65+ group is, however, also aware of some alternative music delivery sources. But as the ages drop, the awareness grows, making the two key phrases from your great article so spot on! However, we have to be aware that the Millenial Generation and younger, never made radio a “must have” part of their lives, so broadcaster owners need to be quick to analyse how to grasp their attention or radio will fall from its once high-standing place in our society.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Scott Cason

    I can tell which stations are locally owned, and which ones are owned by the big consolidators by scanning the dial before they ever utter a word. Local guys, unless they are lucky and have someone who knows how to set it, don’t know anything about an on air processor and usually put them on the air with what ever preset it boots up on. Ever heard a Hot AC station with a Jazz preset? The consolidators process their signals to within an inch of their lives. “Hammered dog $h*t” is what a friend of mine once called it. And I can rarely listen longer than a couple of songs before turning it off. They don’t have any local news…or national news for that matter….because consultants tell them not to, even if we are now a society starved for information. Look at how people are attached to their smart phones. There are some great local stations out there still, but sadly, they are few and far between.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dick, Great article, I am from Key West and glad you had the opportunity to visit. Growing up, we had one FM and 2 AMs. We would get our second pop station in 1981, and if forced the other FM to dump B/EZ for AC. We would hook our cable TV line to the back of our FM receivers to hear Miami FM radio. Now, there are a dozen or more signals.

    I ask you to do more research of the C4 class. My primary FM is in a rural depressed market. We just lost the only grocery store in one of our communities. No furniture stores, no car dealers yet we continue to staff a studio under these conditions. Many would of gave up, and have.

    I am limited to 3,400 watts because I need to protect a station 175 miles away (which by the way kills my signal in my 70db on certain days). There are several smaller communities where the COL station has abandoned those communities. We (and many others) continue to serve them. A 2-3 db signal increase does not sound like much, but will help us and many other small stations serve those towns, and also provide more potential advertising opportunities to make up for the dozen or more businesses that have shut down in our COL.

    The C4 will not displace or create any detrimental noise floor.contact “This too, won’t end well” is a blanket statement, I ask you to contact Matt Wesolowski at SSR Communications 601-201-2789 before you make a final conclusion of judgement.

    For many of us. I could save many of our stations that do not subscribe to to the cookie cutter format and do still provide local service.

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    • Hi Damon, Thanks for adding to the discussion with your own personal situation.

      Most of my radio career was spent in what was New Jersey’s only radio market, Atlantic City. New Jersey is a state that is like a keg tapped at both ends by the major cities of Philadelphia and New York City. A lot of the state’s population commutes into one of those two cities daily. The major radio signals are assigned to those cities too. Operating radio stations that provided local service was challenging with so much major market competition.

      I’m not a broadcast engineer, but know that political legislation often is blind to the laws of physics.

      Having run a 50,000-watt FM station on the Jersey shore, I know that atmospherics would send our signal over great distances at times. For many years, this never posed a problem, until Docket 80-90 put a slew of stations on our frequency. Then I would get calls saying I was interfering with their signal. (We were NOT.)

      Later, my company would LMA a small FM stick and I would “enjoy” the same type of atmospheric interruptions with that signal in reverse. So, I’ve been there from both sides of the problem.

      In the early days of TV, the FCC did not take spacing into consideration when giving out TV licenses and it made it so people could not clearly receive any TV station. They would put a hold on TV license assignments for a couple of years to try and figure out what to do. It’s an interesting piece of broadcast history that you might want to read up on.

      What I’m saying is, we’ve been here before.

      I think when you said that “There are several smaller communities where the COL station has abandoned those communities,” you’ve identified the real problem that needs to be addressed.

      Why was this allowed to happen?

      Thank YOU for NOT being one of them.
      -DT

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  7. Rick M Singel

    Dick, one of your best columns ever. Really hit home. Thanks for these perfect insights. Since you mentioned WLW in Cincinnati, have a funny story. Now, EVERY newscast is preceded by “Breaking News” or “Breaking Now”. EVERY single newscast, even if the news is already 2 days old. These newsreaders have to be humiliated by this, I’m sure, consultant induced act of nonsense.
    By the way, your car trip is also my dream!! Someday…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Rick, Thank You for your positive feedback.

      The constant “Breaking News” drumbeat started I believe with the Fox News Channel. Everything was labeled breaking news and it watered down the whole urgency of what that meant.

      I remember growing up, when if “breaking news” came on my radio or TV, my heart would skip a beat. And it ALWAYS was something important we needed to know.

      Walter Cronkite telling us President Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas for example. Breaking News had to be something really big and important for that phrase to be used.

      Now, it could be two-day old news as you point out. And because everyone does it, no one pays attention to it anymore and I don’t know what one would have to say to get people’s attention.

      I encourage you to take a cross country car trip, as Sue & I did. It’s been a life-long dream to do it and we had to keep pinching ourselves to realize we were really doing it.

      There’s so many great people, places and things to experience in this country.

      Just Do It!
      -DT

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  8. ds52

    Loved it … while we are on the road, I often listen to WAMC public radio just to hear about the northeast – love their book shows, medical shows, nature and gardening ….don’t always agree with the politics but it IS real and local and unsyndicated. Hope your journey leaves you two wanting more …

    Liked by 1 person

    • We both enjoy public radio a lot. I became hooked on it over my 7-years as a broadcast professor at a university. The university’s FM station was 100,000-watts and could be easily heard.

      We tried to disconnect from the day’s news on our trip and so we basically avoided that type of programming.

      Our adventure DID leave us wanting more!
      -DT

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  9. Brad Lovett

    One of my favorite airchecks on the now-deceased reelradio.com site was “California Radio Summer”, where someone recorded everything he heard on a trip there in the 70s, including the greats like KHJ but many others. He also had airchecks from other cross-country trips.

    Not as extensive as yours, but my wife and I took 2 trips from Tennessee to Texas, and the dial was much as you described. There were some interesting stations, but a lot of automation. On the positive side, some Louisiana stations had on-air personalities giving updates about the hurricane that was due on-shore in a couple of days.,

    I’m going to go against the grain though. Yes, I believe in local programming but I’m not against national programming (as you listened to with the great Pat St. John). I think if I was iHeart I’d look into stopping “national masquerading as local” and do national networks with bigger than life personalities (individual station elements could still be added). After all, social media means we no longer are confined to our local enclaves. The Kiss Network. The Big Classic Hits Network. You don’t have to all live in the same zip code to have a shared experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank You Brad for your comments about “national masquerading as local.” I harbor similar thoughts and have for years along the lines you suggest.

      There’s nothing wrong with national radio or syndication. But the current way it’s being done needs to be reviewed.

      Thanks for adding to the discussion.
      -DT

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  10. Bob Nester

    Hope you enjoy your new Sirrius/XM subscription. I’m sure they have your plug for them posted all over the office. Go back to college with your stewardess.

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  11. “You know it when you hear it.” I actually haven’t heard it since around 1999, when now- (and probably then-) bankrupt ClearChannel began imposing the cookie-cutter sameness across its limited formats. Voice-tracking, elimination/reduction of News, Traffic, and other local information, massive increases in commercial minutes, massive cuts in personnel… All leading to a bland and homogenized “product” that includes none if the ingredients that made Radio a compelling and useful medium. All radio conglomerates followed suit. XM/Sirius is a viable alternative, if you want NO localization, and don’t mind paying $360+ a year.
    I loved Radio as a child; in 1962, I used to fall asleep to a local MOR station. Ten years later, I called and spoke to my idol/DJ at a local rock station (I actually “borrowed” his air-name and used it on-air myself for 13 years). Now, I consider the medium to be dead, killed by the de-regulation of the Reagan revolution, and the greed of the banker-broadcasters. What do I listen to in my car/home? CDs, then thumb drives, and now: streaming music from the Cloud.

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    • Many broadcasters share your pain Eugene.

      Nothing stays the same. It either gets better or gets worse. The choices broadcasters make are reflected in the choices listeners make.

      Thank You for sharing your thoughts on the subject.
      -DT

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  12. Michael

    Great article. “virtually unlistenable.” That’s exactly how to put it. In fact, I’ve commented a few times in the recent past with the same argument. I do lots of traveling between work and family. In addition, my wife and I take short road trips. We have encountered the same thing.

    I remember way back when, before LPFM and the abundance of translators, I could pick up stations outside the predicted coverage area. I kind of made it a hobby–whether in the car or at home. It was fun! I could hear formats they were not in my area any longer and they go to radio-locator and look at the maps. Now, forget it. If your on the fringe or in many cases not; it’s all static–two stations overlapping.

    Where we live now, there are two stations on the same freq. I am well within the coverage area for the station I want to hear, however the station that is further away cuts in.

    Another example, there is a LPFM station on the same freq as another station. The LPFM is only 51 watts. It’s barely listenable as the bigger station, despite being further away, walks all over it. In short, in that entire area, you can’t listen to either station.

    I could go on and on about translators. In Chicago, as quick as a translator is fired up, comments and complaints start rolling into the FCC. One, that was on the air for less than 6 months (due to interference), had been bought for a million dollars!

    My thought is that this increase in interference will ultimately force people to other means of listening to music–whether SiriusXM or streaming. I still plan to listen to radio but as much as I’ve wanted to become an owner it may have to be put on hold for now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are many broadcasters that feel what happened to the AM radio band is now happening on the FM radio band.

      Putting 5-quarts into a 4-quart jar will always get messy. The proliferation of translators and LPFMs is causing a similar situation. Add in atmospherics, things become even worse when it comes to signal interference.

      Michael, I’m hearing from many others reporting similar listening experiences.

      In a world with unlimited choices to receive audio programs, people will make other choices. If they’re happy with their new choices, what will it take to get them to return to their former ones? This should be a real concern for the radio industry.
      -DT

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  13. Well I am so complimented by your kind words Dick. Really spoke to what I try to do. As a broadcaster yourself it means a great deal to me. I talk to some people who say they won’t get Satellite Radio (like the one in a post up above, but every one I talk to who finally gets it are so pleasantly surprised how much they lo9ve it. Thank you so much for your wonderful blog and keep ’em coming. You’re a very talented writer. Warmest regards, Pat St,John

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Pat,

      Thank you for YOUR kind words. Sue & I really LOVED listening to your show.

      Not to make you feel old, but I first heard you when I was beginning in radio at WBEC in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Between ABC News feeds on the network, they would feed WPLJ down the line to keep it “hot.” We’d keep the line open in cue to listen to you. So ironically, I always thought of you as an AOR personality.

      Your show on SiriusXM is perfect for the daypart you are on. The live calls, the interesting things you share, the plethora of jingles, are what make it so much fun to listen to your show. Even your grandson’s contributions are a delight (we’re grandparents to 13-kids).

      It’s not just about the music, heck, we can hear those songs anywhere these days and my own personal CD collection contains just about all of them as well. It’s about the wonderful companionship you provide to your listeners. It’s like being part of one big American family.

      Thank You for your Radio Service,

      Dick

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  14. Dick, I loved everything about this entry in your wonderful blog. I would appreciate hearing more about your route and highlights and discoveries along the way.

    You experienced and described what so many of us have noticed for years.
    I fought the good fight until becoming convinced to go along with the changes and avoid playing the home-version-of-the-game (which is exactly what I do now with my digital station B100.fm.) As my peers dropped out of the biz, I became a lonely voice defending live & local radio (the what comes between the songs stuff.) I was told, “your problem is that you care too much.”

    There are a million stories (OK, a few hundred) in the “how we used to do it… and win” in the pre-consolidation airchecks. Many philosophies we lived by would not work today, others would require severe updating and streamlining, but the basics that built broadcast radio are mostly valid. I continue to be a cheerleader for radio, but it’s difficult to listen to it.

    Radio was my first love, it will be my last.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. John Shomby

    Being one who grew up listening to some great radio in my hometown of Philadelphia and having the great opportunity to do lots of local radio over the years and now being a part of one of those “conglomerates”, I definitely have seen and heard how we’ve “homogenized” ourselves over the past two decades, It’s a big business now……it wasn’t then. Technology changes almost by the minute now…it didn’t then. Companionship now is defined by “likes” and “followers”. Radio has always been a key fabric of our society – then and ……..unfortunately, now. It’s those who can create the PERSONAL connection with that one individual who will continue to succeed…..no matter what the playlist looks like. That’s where we are hurting ourselves. Thank God for Dan Vallie and the Radio Talent Institute. The closest thing to developing new radio stars that we have. You experienced that personally, Dick. Let’s take a page out of the Major League Baseball team handbook and create a farm system where we can develop that raw talent who can take it from here. That’s our future!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank You John for stopping by the blog and adding to the discussion.

      Yes, Dan Vallie’s Radio Talent Institute is wonderful. I believe we need to start cultivating the talent farm system when students are in junior high/high school and have a way of allowing them to enter the industry without having a college degree. Most of our great radio talents, sales people and managers did not possess a college degree.

      So many told me they would love to follow in my footsteps by teaching at a college or university. When I told them of my educational degrees and asked if they had them, the response is usually “no.”

      Today, colleges want PhD’s, so they are making it even worse for new talent to be mentored by industry pros.

      This needs to change for the health of the radio industry and quickly.
      -DT

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  16. Bob Nester

    Hey Pat-

    Hate to tell you but it was Dick Taylor who said he would never subscribe to Sirius/XM. Changes his tune when you fawn over him. Typical formerly- employed- in- radio snake.

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    • Actually, that’s putting words into my mouth Bob.

      I think SiriusXM is a wonderful service for anyone who spends a lot of time in the car or truck for a living. The 60s on 6 channel provides a lot of companionship plus for folks our age, music we will always love.

      In my hometown, I can go most everywhere on foot. Car drives to the market etc are less than 5-miles. So having the service in my car’s builtin XM radio isn’t very valuable. There’s no ROI for me.

      From what I’ve seen, a streaming only service is not yet available for the home via Alexa. It’s offered as an add-on to a car’s subscription. Maybe that will change.

      However, we had such a wonderful time on our cross country adventure, we are already talking about more travel adventures. If that comes to fruition, a SiriusXM subscription would be part of the plan.

      I’m sorry you appear to be so bitter.

      All I’ve shared is what I experienced. Shooting the messenger does not change the problem.
      -DT

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  17. Peter McLane

    I knew we were in trouble when we started “branding” and not using our call letters.
    We sold ‘em and left.
    Peter McLane

    Liked by 1 person

    • Call Letter were unique identifiers. For Alexa and other voice activated devices, they just became more valuable again.

      Branding as “Hot Hits” or “KISS” gets confusing for VA devices and the public.

      Good observation Peter.
      -DT

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  18. Walter Luffman

    “Local” radio isn’t just for the people who live there. As your Maine example pointed out, a local station has a local sound that reflects the community it serves. Travelers usually want/need to get an idea of the places they visit before they get out of the car. I used to love listening to local stations as I drove through the U.S.; now, like you, I listen to Pat St. John and other SiriusXM personalities who provide that sense of community, even if the “community” is nationwide.

    Used to be, the people who owned and managed radio stations were local businessmen (and women), but they were also _broadcasters_ and often put their stations’ quality and reputation ahead of the bottom line. Entirely too many “broadcat” owners/managers today are actually _former_ broadcasters — if that — who struggle to just make a living in a business they no longer enjoy, much less love. It isn’t entirely their fault, of course; they have to compete with the conglomerates as well as their local peers who have gone the satellite/automation route just to stay afloat.

    It’s said that “a rising tide lifts all boats”, but to me it seems the bay is overcrowded and only a very few can make their way out of the harbor. Worse, most of the “able-bodied seamen” of the industry have been beached by the equivalent of container ships on autopilot.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. RE your comment: “it wouldn’t be more than 5-minutes before we found it being interfered with by another FM radio station making our original station virtually unlistenable.”

    Here in Denver the FM band was already overcrowded. Now, translators have filled it up even more. I’ve listened to iHeart (CHR) 96.1 KISS-FM (KSME in Ft. Collins) for years. Now, due to an FM translator on 96.1 FM licensed to Englewood, CO (a Denver suburb); I now hear KSME and Spanish News KNRV-AM’s FM translator fight for the 96.1 FM frequency. This is ridiculous! How does this even happen?

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  20. Bob Nester

    Dick,

    Whenever it is said that someone “has issues”, it means you can’t think of a proper retort. If you prefer 50 year old songs and NPR, as you clearly stated here, not much available for you in 2018 commercial terrestrial radio. Do you really expect a for-profit advertising company to cater to those tastes?
    The McDonald’s and Burger Kings at which you and your friend turned your nose up are doing quite well without your discerning tastes. (Deplorable places, they). You also said you sought an idyllic journey, free from news or discussion on the radio. Add that to the other format restrictions, plus I’m sure you didn’t wish to hear many ads as often as you rail against them, and we’re down to a station format the likes of which can be found only on Sirius/XM. I’m sure there are many commercial broadcasters like me who would be glad to buy your subscription if you would agree to drop your embarrassing blog which seems to bring out all the “formerly-in radio” mynah birds who comment here. It’s best that you went to hide from your former career in the hallowed halls of theory.

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    • Rick M Singel

      Wow. Just wow. Dick’s blog this week really brought out the jerks from their caves. Dick, KEEP writing. You are on target and many of us, in and out of the radio industry, appreciate your insights. The things you write about apply to any of us who serve people for profit.
      And this last blog entry was right on target. But what do I know, I am just a lifelong fan of radio.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Re: Bob Nester’s “…many commercial broadcasters like me…”

      Some people keep painting a picture of them being a loser by not knowing when to shut up. You have no idea about being a “commercial broadcaster,” because there’s nothing close to how radio served its community existing today.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bob Nester

        I’ve seen your posts elsewhere, Ken. You continuously fit the mold of the perennial critic who has no idea how commercial radio today works. You’re a mynah bird, Ken.

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      • Your reputation for “posts elsewhere” precedes you, Bob.

        Bob….
        Your post proves you know very little.
        … Keep your head in the sand Bob.

        Ed Ryan
        Editor
        Radio Ink

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ken, you’ve been writing about what radio needs to have been doing to embrace the future that is today over 10-years ago.

        Thank You for your cogent insights.
        -DT

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  21. Bob Nester

    Keep preaching to the mynah birds, Dick. The “formerly-in-radio” creatures luv ya’

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    • …and you’ll never to see how the “formerly in radio creatures” our out because the industry kept only people who would work for less money, because they were producing lower quality. As stated: “Some people keep painting a picture of them being a loser by not knowing when to shut up.”

      Like

  22. Steve Fosbinder

    Ed Ryan chimes in here? No one is more negative on radio than Ed and his rag magazine. They have a vested interest in radio’s demise. They’ve been writing about it for 20 years. Yet today, total audience is steady to up slightly, revenues are level or slightly lower than 10 years ago (much better than many other media) and new FMs continue to be purchased with good prices and put on air. Many, many good operators continue to earn excellent profits from their stations. Most of these Gloomy Guses don’t actually work for a station

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    • Steve:

      Ed did not “chime in here.” I pulled that quote from a Radio Ink article where Bob Nester commented, and Ed responded.

      Your comment of “revenues are level or slightly lower than 10 years ago” is off the mark. Unless you have a revenue source that does not exist anymore, the RAB quit reporting revenues for radio years ago due to declines. “According to SNL Kagan’s latest annual outlook, radio revenue will decline 0.3% in 2017 to $17.65 billion, down from $17.7 billion in 2016.” “BIA/Kelsey is out with some new data that says radio’s over-the-air revenue declined 2% in 2017.”

      Everyone knows that iHeartMedia and Cumulus are losing boatloads of money. The third largest group isn’t doing any better: “Emmis ProForma Radio Revenues Down 4% For Q3.” (https://www.allaccess.com/net-news/archive/story/173039/emmis-proforma-radio-revenues-down-4-for-q3)

      “But traditional media like TV, print and radio are, unsurprisingly, continuing to erode.” “…linear [spot] radio will fall 4 percent, according to Magna.”

      Get your data straight before trashing reports on just how much relevancy the radio industry has lost over the past decade.

      Radio is not dead, but its limp is noticeable.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. john

    ok.
    i’ll play.
    1. how it used to be in radio, is like reading about WWII to me.
    boring and too far gone. as long as there’s no test, i’m out.
    2. i agree that local wins. the LPFMs have filled that hole.
    3. your road trip must have been awesome. i want.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi John,

      1. Interesting perspective from what I assume is a younger generation individual. Curious if others from my generation will weigh in on that thought.
      2. Local has been radio’s strong suit since the advent of television. LPFMs have filled the vacuum in local service that original AM/FM licensees were allowed to vacate since the era of consolidation began.
      3. Our road trip WAS awesome and I recommend it for everyone to pursue. Don’t put it off. Just Do It.
      -DT

      Like

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