As They Say In the Falklands, Falkem!

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gbarn
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:04 am

As They Say In the Falklands, Falkem!

Post by gbarn » Wed Nov 02, 2011 9:06 am

I split my time these days between California and Florida. In Florida, I love the feel of the rise and fall of energy levels dictated by the performance of our Florida Gators. Without question both economies and industries are driven by the performance of the local team.

I was sitting on the balcony the other night with Downtown Gainesville's Restaurant and Theater District below and Florida Field visible on the horizon while reading articles about yet another round of "strategic" cutbacks in the radio industry.

My first thought was, what in God's name can possibly be left in radio stations to cut back? This thought sent my mind wandering.

What if.....consolidation similar to radio's reared its ugly self into college sports! With restructuring already underway....college teams abandoning their long-held allegiance to a local region for greener pastures beyond their historical geographical fan base, restructuring of conferences driven, as some feel, by the immense pressure to maximize revenues, the increasing support to compensate college athletes beyond the traditional scholarship package, and the necessity to reduce expenses since the current dismal economic climate doesn't support higher ticket prices or expanded seating capacity of stadiums....I start to think.. could college sports end up driven down the same path as radio, the airline industry and the health industry?

What if....the size of our local team was reduced to 10 players instead of 11, who would miss that extra tight end, or maybe even reduce the size of the team to 9, 8, or to a lucky 7. As long as the playing field is level, what difference would it make how many players we have. Think of the scholarships we'd save, the meal and boarding expenses, travel, equipment, legal fees, and so on. And we could focus strictly on key business elements of sales and marketing.

No, you say. This could never happen. The fans would revolt. Would they though?

What if the fans could be sold on the benefits of having regional Athletic Directors and coaches, prime talent from larger universities that would play for all teams. Imagine, a Tim Tebow on the circuit. Who would care. He could hand-pick his offensive line and play in a different city every night wearing the local colors. The overall talent of the local team would improve and the fans would love it!
Imagine if my only choice for quarterback was Tim Tebow, or Ryan Seacrest! They could even be delivered "virtually," on the Jumbotron since we know digital is where it's all headed. Maybe the whole game experience could be delivered via computer, tear down those stadiums... "they paved paradise to put up a parking lot!"

Surely the public would never allow any such thing. College sports as we know and love it would soon be no more. But, just as surely, I never felt that my lifelong reason for tuning in to my favorite radio station would ever change. I listened to hear my local DJ. Wall Street Radio tells me I'm wrong. Wall Street Radio says reduction of local air talent is efficiency, then chides me 'it' knows best and assures me I'll love the inclusion of their outside talent. In short Wall Street radio works hard to assure me I love the remote disc-jockeys, programmers and so on. This is what priceless research told Wall Street Radio and this is what they've told me and millions of other underwhelmed ex- listeners around the US. And my local station (team) will not suffer?

To my friends in the radio industry, those recently thrown out, and those previously released for the same "strategic" reasons as recently announced, I have empathy and compassion. I cannot promote false hope of any return to our collective nostalgia echoing in the deep caverns of our minds.
The new reality is what you see. Talk to a former airline attendant whose service today is reduced to tossing peanuts, a pilot whose job can now be likened to that of a bus driver or cattle herder, or a doctor who spends more time on insurance issues than the practice of his/her once noble calling. Consider the dilemma of today's teachers whose tenure is necessarily centered around understanding political correctness and not the traditional motivation to teaching and improving society through helping to shape the character of our next generation of leaders, or a fireman who needs approval (legal opinion) from headquarters before saving someone's burning home, or even a policeman forced to perform his job as a defensive player rather than offense, ever cognizant that any error will cost him his career.

The grandeur of America has been soiled, stunted by petty politics and by the insatiable lust for never ending political tenure. This Washington problem, compounded by the popular purveyors of greed and avarice, is exacerbated by the consequence of the catastrophic loss of individual responsibility. The destruction of the family unit has resulted in society's abandoning all hope of reliance on family members to care for them in times of need. Our civilization is truly at a cross-roads. We're herded like sheep by universal messages seeking to drown our pride, dignity and belief in ourselves, our country, our family and our very way of life. We're told our greatest days are behind us. A look in the mirror is a welcome to the new reality. It's us.

I'm very sorry to know that many thousands of broadcasters gave a lifetime to the industry only to find themselves marked 'redundant' and left in professional ruin. I empathize and encourage you to peel back the layers, find yourself again, the real you, the you who was so creative, and talented, the real you who excelled and accomplished great things in radio and loved every minute that you did so. I know there is talent there, more mature to be sure but perhaps poised to make a difference in the new, yet to be travelled road stretching out before you. I Believe it is not too late.

I decided in 2007 to separate permanently from a business that controlled my passion for most of my life. I was barely in my teens when I began... I left with two thoughts: thank you radio for keeping my heart pumping, for giving me something to wake up to with pride every morning, and for the way you consumed and kept me tuned in 24 hours a day. I was one of those guys who was awaken by the sound of silence in the middle of the night when one of my stations went off the air. The other thought that occupied my mind on the long drive home at the end of my last day in radio , "As they say in the Falklands, falkem!" The season is at its natural sunset, they're losing but in essence forcing us to lose something priceless too.

My wandering fades. My mind finally brings into focus the only possible outcome in this 'next wave of radio cutbacks' frenzy I regularly read with growing alarm. Any further cost cutting experiment can only mean the Wall Street geniuses who brought the radio Goliath to its knees. Perhaps not, perhaps the next headline screams 'Radio CEO's consumed by their machine' which thrives not on human capital but by decimating the human element into extinction. I see the 'efficiency creature' Wall Street and Corporate Radio created enjoying its last supper upon the flesh of its very creators. We see there's little life left in the carcass of Broadcast Radio, save the fattest of the fat who watch over the monster they created and they're in their efficiency creations sight for dinner tonight. As it devours its creator the organism intuitively understands this is its Last Supper.

GBarn (Channeling The Oracle Cassandra)
Last edited by gbarn on Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:50 pm, edited 4 times in total.

steelstringslider
Posts: 77
Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2009 6:56 am

Re: From The Balcony

Post by steelstringslider » Thu Nov 03, 2011 6:19 am

Gary,

This is the best "editorial" I've read on the current state (or lack thereof) of radio. So many of us share your views and passion. Thank you for stating it so eloquently. This piece should be a major headline on this site. It is a shame that someone with your expertise and clarity is no longer in the industry. Again, great writing and insight.

Steve Bryant
Talk Host, WGMD

countrymornings
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:57 am

Re: From The Balcony

Post by countrymornings » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:48 am

This is why places like Saga Asheville can't find a Webmaster or a Rock PD and have to keep reposting these jobs for more than a month now. There are too many good applicants and no one at the station who has a Radio mind to pick the right one.

So few Radio people left in Radio!

Sad tragic truth!

Good Luck Saga Asheville, I'm sure you'll find someone.......eventually!

Enjoy your dinner!

blitzmcd
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2011 2:25 pm

Re: From The Balcony

Post by blitzmcd » Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:10 am

For those of us whose standards were set very high by the likes of WKNR Keener 13 (where, for the uninitiated, Gary held court in the 7-10PM slot in the late 1960s), subsequent developments in the industry have at best produced only occasional moments of optimism. Invariably, those post AM/FM war moments were tempered with the reality of the lack of passion and spontaneity that came to define the genre in the wake of the Drake debacle.

But be of good cheer! There is hope.

About a decade ago, I had a lengthy and enjoyable conversation with long time friend and musical visionary, Ron Dante. Best known as the lead voice on classic singles by the Detergents, Archies and Cuff Links, Ron is one of a tiny handful of musicians who have enjoyed a number one single in all of the major disciplines - singer, songwriter, producer and musician. In other words, Ron knows of which he speaks.

During that conversation, the dialogue turned to the subject of radio. I of course defaulted to my usual lament about the ongoing decline of the industry. Ron concurred, but with a slightly different twist. He saw a ray of hope.

At that time, internet radio was in its infancy. Still, Ron saw something there that hadn't quite availed itself to the majority of us at the time. He believed that in the coming years, anyone with a computer and a record collection could pursue broadcasting. Ultimately, he was right, of course.

However, internet broadcasting does come with a double-edged sword - creative autonomy! It is at once the ultimate blessing and the ultimate albatross. You are accountable to no one but yourself for content and delivery. On the other hand, there are those who prefer to stick to the pie chart and take direction. Fine and dandy. Apply what you might have learned from your AM/FM experiences and proceed accordingly.

As Gary noted, he has persevered in that respect since 2007. Likewise, the online approach has served my own endeavors as a publisher quite well since 1996 (after 21 years of doing it the other way). The opportunities are only as limited as your own imagination! You might not be the next Alan Freed (or the next Gary Granger, for that matter). But, as a very wise musician observed in 1972, "You can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself".

Thanks again, Gary! As always, you are the voice of reason.

Michael McDowell
Editor/Publisher
Blitz Magazine
Since 1975 - The Rock And Roll Magazine For Thinking People
http://blitzmag.blogspot.com

pbergin
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:44 am
Location: DC

Re: From The Balcony

Post by pbergin » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:54 am

Well, a couple of points. First of all, I remember Keener well, but I don't buy into the "Drake debacle" comment at all. I worked at CKLW, and found the atmosphere not at all stifling. Keener was a great radio station, but it was their signal not the Drake format that did them in. CKLW is a 50,000 watt, clear channel giant at 800. Keener sounded great, and had fantastic talent, but so did CKLW. With the better signal CKLW possessed, there was no contest.

Here's a little more:

http://patbergin.blogspot.com/2011/09/a ... big-8.html

As far as the future of the industry is concerned, I'm not convinced there is one. I speak from 40 years experience on air, and the vantage point of having been out of the business for 12. You must have read the interview with John Symons, he's the current "On The Beach" guy. He sounds like a first rate performer, and he's been out of work THREE YEARS! No insult intended, but if you're out of work 3 years, isn't it time to consider a career change? I've seen others who've been out for two years or more... "Hello... it's over!" I had good times and bad times in radio, but I knew the industry was going south back in '99, so I went north. I've never looked back.

Sometimes you just have to kiss it goodbye and move on.

gbarn
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:04 am

As they say in the Falklands, Falkem!

Post by gbarn » Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:07 am

I've enjoyed reading the personal emails I've received following this post last week. Thank you.

Remember, you're never too young to find a way, never too old to find a new way. Don't give up, don't give in!

Gary Granger
garymgranger@sbcglobal.net

rodthereb67
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:36 pm

Re: As They Say In the Falklands, Falkem!

Post by rodthereb67 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:44 pm

Gary, Your article is "spot on."The best people in Radio...aren't in Radio anymore"
and you have very eloquently explained why

gbarn
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:04 am

Re: As They Say In the Falklands, Falkem!

Post by gbarn » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:43 pm

Not to beat a dead horse, however, when I received an email from a publication with an invitation to the 40 MOST Powerful People in Radio to pick up their plaques following this year's conference my jaw dropped.

Following the recent "strategic" bloodbath in radio, does that mean that everyone, the remaining 40, will all get plaques? Or should the 40 plaques be replaced with 40 lashes consistent with one of the punishments meted out by the Sanhedrin in the Jewish religion. But, I understand that there were really only 39 lashes, which means one deserving honoree would receive mercy.

.

gbarn
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:04 am

Re: As They Say In the Falklands, Falkem!

Post by gbarn » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:39 am

As we enter the last pay period of the year, here's to hope that you come out on the other side whole with a commitment to re-birth of ideas, a clear focus on your career ambitions, and a belief in self and self reliance that will help provide direction guiding you down the right personal and professional paths in 2012.

gbarn
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:04 am

Re: As They Say In the Falklands, Falkem!

Post by gbarn » Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:23 pm

In the spirit of all that is good, Happy Easter.

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