July 28, 2016

A Radio Requiem: Dead Air, Everywhere

Wow ... I hadn't realized that my old blog was still floating around in the Internet's ether. Reading it, I remember how much fun it was writing it, and how much fun it was to hang with great folks like John Mack Flanagan, Dave Sholin, Bobby Ocean, Paul Shinn, Ben Fong-Torres and so many others who are simply great human beings — and would be, regardless of whether or not they worked in radio.

It's been five years since I last posted a bit on this blog, and it's probably been just as long since I really cared anything about radio. It was a hobby I enjoyed since I was a kid of maybe five or six years old. It is a hobby that I care very little about any longer; a bunch of companies that start with C (Clear Channel, Citadel, Cumulus, CBS) and a few that don't pretty much killed it for me, and for many others as well.

When these companies decided that a radio station (or four) (or eight) in San Francisco could be run by one person, using bargain-basement talent voice-tracked from Indianapolis (or Tampa) (or Topeka), then radio was dead. No new talent being developed in Class A minor-league towns like Salinas, Modesto or Stockton, or in Class AA cities like Reno or Tucson, and you've effectively dried up your future Big League stars.

Why develop talent in Salinas or Reno when you can run one-size-fits-all canned crap like Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or Alex Jones on every AM station in every location, town to town, up and down the dial?

So nobody listens to AM or FM radio any more. Why? Because there are MP3 players and satellite radios, and Pandora, and ... whatever. Why do they exist? They replaced radio because radio could be replaced.

The need to blog or write or report on the doings of local radio people became obsolete. Why do we need talented, well-paid radio personalities when we've killed the business? Why report on some talentless hack programming the Lite Rock, Country and Classic Rock station cluster in San Francisco when he'll be asking "Want fries with that?" in a few months back home in Minot?

I still love radio. I still pop in an aircheck of Doctor Don Rose, or Don Sherwood, or The Real Don Steele, or Charlie Tuna or someone/anyone who made radio worth listening to, who knew how to entertain.

But those days have gone. Radio's greatest generation has passed us by. Nobody will replace them, because nobody is out there to replace them. There's no need.

Long live radio. Rest in peace, and silence.