Hold On or Let It Go

Life gives us many challenges.

Sometimes, the hardest thing to decide is when to stick to something and when to let it go.

Traditional media – print, radio and television – are at that moment now. Do they stay the course and hope the “good old days” will come back, or do they let it go and begin inventing and innovating for the future?

Indiana Jones

In 1989, the third Indiana Jones movie was released. The film was a wonderful parable about what’s really important in life. Parables, as you may know, are simple stories used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson.

In this film, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” the parable told is about what happens when greed overpowers the soul.

Indy and his dad are searching for the Cup of Christ, the Holy Grail. When Indiana finally holds the treasured bounty in his hands, he is faced with a life or death choice. Does he hold on to the cup or use both hands to save his life, for you see Indiana is in a rather precarious position on the edge of a cliff and can’t do both.

Indy’s father whispers, “Let It Go.”


2020 for the commercial radio industry is a milestone year. It marks the 100th birthday of an innovation that forever changed the world.

Like Indiana Jones, radio needs to decide, should it hold on to the past or let it go.

Back to Our Movie

After the senior Jones asks his son to “Let It Go,” you can see the terrible anguish on Indy’s face. Both father and son have spent a lifetime searching for the Holy Grail and now Indiana has it firmly in his grasp. To let go of the cup would seem to have made their life’s quest meaningless.

Indiana’s father now says more firmly, “Indiana, Let It Go!” And this time he does.

Movie audiences gasped.

The Lesson

In the end, the father and son journey was never about possessing the Holy Grail. It was about the importance of spending time together, of taking on a challenge that one of them could not do alone, and by building a stronger relationship. The true meaning of life is never about the things we can possess, but about the relationships we can build.  

Radio strength was always about the people creating the magic and not about the delivery system. Unfortunately, the radio industry’s leaders held on to the “cup” instead of its people.

For radio, the really valuable prize is the relationship it can have with a radio listener, and its ability to bring together businesses and services for the betterment of a community.

Is there still time for radio to make this change?

Empty radio studios all across America, as stations run on full automation


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15 responses to “Hold On or Let It Go

  1. Gregg Cassidy

    Every business in America has gone through downsizing. What was offered to the public over the past 100 years is now being offered on the internet. Local radio is even on the internet. As I have said before personalities are found on Youtube and Podcast; Iheart.com


  2. Communication is the Constant. Broadcast/Radio Content feeds Universal Delivery.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dan Lynch

    Radio is communal while Social Media is isolating, nasty and brings out the worst in people. The reason a human chooses to go to the pub and consume a pint (that is exponentially more expensive than buying a pint at the liquor store and drinking it at home) is because they want companionship. The internet is alive 24/7. Today’s radio station? Not so much. I think you can monetize a station if it is live 24/7 but you have to accentuate that point to the world https://danlynchmedia.wordpress.com/2020/02/10/sell-your-automation-system/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan, thank you for weighing in with your perspective.

      I read your article on your blog and loved this section especially: “The benefit to having live announcers versus canned voice tracks is that your station is “in the moment” all the time. If a news story breaks, the weather suddenly turns severe, the local candidate finally concedes the election at 2:00 AM, the police want to get the word out now (about a certain chemical spill)….you’d be on it immediately. If your station were knocked off the air, your staff would know it without delay. The board op would read many commercials LIVE! The on-air studio would once again become the hub, ground zero, the bosom of synergy of your operation, which is what it should be.”

      I would encourage others to take the time to read your entire article and then consider the possibilities.

      Thank You for stopping by the blog today and making a wonderful contribution.


      • Dan Lynch

        Thank you for the kind words Dick. It means a lot coming from you. Here’s hoping there is a revival.

        Liked by 1 person

      • David Kaye

        Lots of non-comm stations have realized this all along. Live’n’local. KQED-FM in SF runs a lot of public radio network programming, but always has live board ops, as well as live traffic reports from 4:19am until around 8 or 9pm. They’re #1 with an 8 share in SF

        Liked by 1 person

      • The university I worked at ran the public radio and television service for the south western and central part of Kentucky. It too, ran with LIVE board operators during PBS programs. David, I’ve often used public radio and Christian radio as good examples of doing radio right, whether it’s done all local or in combination with a network.

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


    • Dan, you’re correct on several levels, especially your characterization of social media or streaming media and broadcast media. They’re different animals, and you’ve captured the difference nicely. The most compelling tune-in on broadcast is plugging people into the larger local community. Letting listeners tell their own stories via phone calls is the way we do it. It’s communal, as opposed to the isolating world of the Internet. I think that’s why we’re doing so well right now on KEARTH: we’re in the studio, live, and living life every morning with our audience. It works.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ian Chambers

    It is so sad that, rather than embrace change and development around them, radio appears to have generally dug its heels in and tried to continue doing what its always done. Technology has been used as a way to cut costs, assuming no-one would notice if a lot of radio is pre-recorded days or weeks in advance and thereby lost much of its benefit or relevance. Much of it has been resolutely one way communication – talk at the people, don’t engage or listen to what they say. I stress this is not all radio, but seems to be the majority of it. A whole generation, if not two, have grown up without feeling the need to own a thing called a “radio”. My two children, now in their late 20s/early 30s, despite Dad working in radio, have never ever owned anything called a “radio” in any of its forms. Or felt a desire to listen to my radio box when its on. They each own more than two online devices, but even then don’t use them to listen to traditional “radio”. But the internet gives them whatever entertainment they need, they have wider choice than any generation before. Radio isn’t there to attract them. But they, and their lower branches of our family tree, are the future of radio..
    Having said all this, there is a wonderful future for online entertainment, the last 10 years have been revolutionary in this way, the growth of social media, the growth of podcasts, streaming and more. This is the future. We just don’t call it “radio” any more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ian, I agree with everything you wrote. However, what I learned in my years of being a broadcast professor at a university was, my students called everything they listened to as “radio.” Podcasts, streaming, YouTube audio etc to them was “radio.”

      Even Apple’s Beats, used the term “radio” to describe itself.

      SKY.FM changed its name to RadioTunes.com, Pandora Radio and Satellite Radio — “radio” was the term used to describe all of these various audio services.

      Only AM/FM broadcasters so narrowly define the word, has been my experience.

      Thank You for all you wrote and stopping by the blog.


  5. Dan Lynch

    Thank you Gary for your affirmation. We in radio have to dare to be ridiculous.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. David Kaye

    Not the 100th anniversary but the 109th. You don’t want to acknowledge San José Calling, aka KQW, aka KCBS. They had the first broadcast in 1909, the first DJ, Sybil True, and the first sponsor, a music store. Please let go of your East Coast bias!


    • David, no “East Coast bias.” KDKA was the first commercially licensed radio station by the United States government. That’s a fact that is not in dispute. However, it was not the first radio station.

      That honor rightfully belongs to Reginald Aubrey Fessenden, the Canadian radio pioneer who on Christmas Eve in 1906 broadcast the first program of music and voice ever transmitted over long distances from a station located in Brant Rock, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

      But, I wasn’t surprised that everyone has their favorite for being the first and loves to make their claim for it. I think it’s in radio people’s blood to want to be #1.

      Having been raised outside of Schenectady, NY, people in my neck of the woods like to think it was General Electric’s WGY that beat everyone else. Fessenden contracted with GE to build radio equipment for his broadcasts around 1903. In early 1915, GE was granted a Class 3-Experimental license with the call sign 2XI.

      WGY wasn’t licensed by the government as a commercial broadcaster until 1922.

      I think we can all agree that broadcast radio, as a one to many form of communication, is now a century old.


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