Tag Archives: Radio’s Best Friend

Exploring America

USA mapI’m at that point in life when one starts taking a serious look at their “Bucket List” and all of those things they’ve yet to have done. (Bucket Lists are those things you want to do in your life before you die. This idea was memorialized in the 2007 movie “The Bucket List” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.)

Cross-Country Road Trip

A couple of weeks back, I mentioned in a blog article that it had always been my dream to get into my car and drive our country from the East Coast to the West Coast and back.

For too long, I’ve flown across this great land and seen it from 30,000-feet, gazing out of the airline window saying to myself, “One day, I’m going to drive from sea to shining sea.”

When I shared this Bucket List item with my fiancé, Sue, she said it was something she always wanted to do as well.

Let the Planning Begin

Planning a trip that will span about eight weeks and 8,000-miles is quite an ordeal.

Originally, I thought we could just wing-it by getting in the car and driving wherever the winds took us. But that turns out to be a little unrealistic, especially if, like the two of us, you have kids and grandkids along the route you wish to spend time with.

Once you start talking with them – after all they have lives they’re living and plans they’re making – you have to map out a specific route and timetable. Plus, when I started looking at hotels to stay at along the way, I realized that if you want to have a place “leaving the light on for you” when you pull into town, you’d better make reservations. Triple A says that they expect this summer to be a banner year for people going on vacation via their vehicles.

The Map Takes Shape

Once we firmed up our stays with our kids and grandkids, we began to map out our route and timetable for traveling coast-to-coast.

Starting this week, we will leave Virginia and head through Ohio.Cross Country Road Trip Map

I’ve never been to Dayton and I’m excited to meet a radio friend and blog reader, Kevin Cox Media Group DaytonFodor who is a radio programmer and news anchor at Cox Radio. The Cox Media Group in Dayton is print, TV, radio, digital and so much more in one location.

It should be an exciting start to our cross-country adventure.

Some of the High Points

Without getting too deep in the weeds, here are some of the high points of our cross-country trip.

Hitsville USAWe plan to cruise on the mighty Mississippi River, hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir & organ, tour the Hoover Dam, stay in a haunted hotel, ride the Hooterville Cannonball to Petticoat Junction, wine in Napa Valley, walk through a giant redwood forest, see Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose,” watch Old Faithful, view Mount Rushmore, visit The House on the Rock, traverse a great lake on a ferry, experience Hitsville U.S.A. where the Motown sound was born, visit Radio’s Best Friend, Art Vuolo, art vuoloand tour the Henry Ford & Greenfield Village before heading back home to the Shenandoah Valley.Petticoat Junction

Oh, Sue just reminded me that we will be shopping the incredible thrift stores in Minneapolis too.

But the part that we are most looking forward to is spending time with our children and grandchildren. We have them in Nevada, Washington State and Montana.

What About the Blog?

Since I anticipate very little online time during this trip, I have been writing blog articles that will automatically post to this blog site while I’m on the road. I know some folks have become “addicted” to this weekly muse and so I don’t want anyone to suffer withdrawal. However, if something catches my ear that I think you should hear about, I will be sure to write about it and post it while we are on the road.

Now would be a good time to go to the blog website: https://DickTaylorBlog.com and sign-up to have each week’s new article delivered to you via email on Sunday mornings.

Thank You for reading and sharing your thoughts in the comments section.

It’s by sharing our wisdom, experiences and perspectives that we all learn and grow together.road trip

 

 

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Filed under Education, Mentor, Radio

More is Less

In 1994, Dan O’Day was holding one of his famous “PD Grad Schools” in Dallas, Texas. One of the speakers he invited that day – and whose presentation was recorded by “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo – was a young Randy Michaels. Dan O’Day still sells this video, now on DVD, and labels it “The best radio video ever.” I would agree.

The video is titled “Positioning Your Radio Station by Randy Michaels.”  It addresses the explosion of new FM radio stations after the first round of radio deregulation brought us Docket 80-90. Then the LMA (Local Marketing Agreement) was born. Randy tells the audience:

“This was a fundamental change for the radio business. Just as TV was a fundamental change, duopoly fundamentally changed the radio business. This moved the radio business from being a franchise to being a commodity. McDonalds was once a franchise. Today burger fast-food restaurants are a commodity and we all know how that’s working for the ‘Golden Arches.’”

On May 24, 2004 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held a “Broadcast Localism Hearing” in Rapid City, South Dakota. The president, general manager and co-owner of KLQP-FM licensed to Madison, Minnesota (population 1, 767) Maynard Meyer addressed the commission. He told them (I’ve edited his comments. The full text can be found here.):

“Localism in radio is not dead, but it is in dire need of resuscitation in many areas. I have been involved in the radio business in announcing, sales, engineering and management for about 36 years, all of my experience is in communities of 5,000 people or less. We personally live in the communities we serve so we know the ‘issues,’ we work to address them in our programming and have been doing so for the past 21 years. “

“A few years ago, many stations operated this way, but much of that has changed for a variety of reasons. I think the beginning of the end of local broadcast service started in the 1980s when the Federal Communications Commission approved Docket 80-90.”

Mr. Meyer went on to explain to the FCC how many communities that “on paper” had a local radio station actually found that the transmitter was being fed from another location tens of miles away. Mr. Meyer went on to say:

“I don’t think this is the best way to promote local radio service. From what I have seen through my personal experience, as soon as a hometown studio is closed and relocated, the local service is relocated as well.”

Now put another decade plus on the calendar and we find that the FCC has decided that adding even more FM radio stations would fix this problem of local radio service that operates in the public “interest, convenience and/or necessity” by issuing FM licenses for FM translators and Low Power FM radio stations.

The most recent BROADCAST STATION TOTALS AS OF MARCH 31, 2015 issued by the FCC shows that there are 4,702 AM commercial radio stations, 6,659 FM commercial radio stations and 4,081 FM educational radio stations on the air. But wait; there are also 6,312 FM translators & boosters on the air; plus, another 1,029 Low Power FM radio stations. That’s 22,873 radio stations! And they now compete with SiriusXM satellite radio and streaming audio from Pandora, Spotify, Radio Tunes etc.

If Randy was thinking back in 1994 “being a media company today is a really tough business” he was seeing just the tip of the broadcast iceberg.

Randy’s prescription that day in Dallas was as prescient then as it is today; maybe even more so. He told the audience of program directors:

“In a crowded media environment radio needs to super-serve its local community. Be everywhere, all the time. Miss a day, miss a lot. Radio’s BEST when it’s personal.”

“What’s your station’s impact rating? Great radio stations are listener-focused.”

“If you’re smart enough to win in today’s radio, you’re smart enough to have done something legitimate with your life. This is work. This is a real job. It’s the merger of art and science and you’ve got to have both.”

I’m encouraged by my students who have big ideas about the future of radio and a desire to serve the communities they will be moving to and living in. I’m encouraged by some great radio broadcasters getting back into the business who are bringing back the fundamentals of great radio while extending that sense of purpose to the digital component that must be a part of today’s media company.

The pendulum is swinging back and it can’t get back here soon enough.

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Filed under Education, Mentor, Radio, Sales