This has been a week of reflection.. again. It always happens this way.. you know, when the W-2’s start to come in and all the tax notices arrive. I take a brief inventory of the year’s bounty.. or not. The loss and gains over the past 12 months and what the next 12 might bring. This year of course, all the changes we’ve been through that will affect out tax return and the complex filing with several little side ventures. The interesting thing is that with severance and unemployment, our return won’t tell the whole story, until we see the moving expenses. Medical is also a big one. I always look forward to seeing the profit/loss side of the year… this year isn’t any different.

I still have a deep, dark part of my soul that sometimes feels like I’m still trying to find the light switch in an unfamiliar completely dark room.. as I feel my way along what appears to be a wall, a wall that just keeps going into more of the same never-ending, frustrating darkness. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not depressed or absent of happiness or hope.. no, this is more of a sad or better yet disappointment type of darkness. I have many moments of joy and utter silly laugher… usually when I’m carving a perfect turn on a snowy slope without a care in the world (except to catch an edge and crash).

I was reviewing some old emails last night. I saw all the conversations I’ve had with potential employers over the past 4 months. Most start out with basic interest or a request of a resume or phone call or “lunch”… All possible directional moves back into or away from radio. Everything from sales/marketing a resort, to a property manager for a transitional housing project, to radio consulting, to GM of a station, to PD and on-air in smaller markets. The interesting thing to me is the complete lack of interest here in the SLC market. Not that I should be getting tons of offers.. just on odd place to be right now. You know what I mean? I’ve been pretty successful over the last 25 years and have had an amazing ride. I was at the top of the ratings and revenue game here in SLC for 11+ years and took that job in Texas to go work in the major leagues.. (SLC is market #32’ish.. Houston #6) That was a big jump and a great experience. The reason I took that the Houston job was simply for the adventure and goal to learn more about the radio industry and move up in an organization with more responsibility. What I learned was that the game is the same, regardless of market population. However, the budgets of course are vastly different. When I was in SLC as a PD and morning show host, my operating budget was right around 1.3 million…. Houston, more like 350K (both of which included personnel and marketing). We learned to do more with much less, AND it worked.

I also got the chance to be one of the first stations in the country to experience PPM. That new magical rating concept that Arbitron came up with. It really made us all re-think our paradigm. Going back to basics wasn’t and isn’t enough. Sure we all did “appointment listening”.. which isn’t as easy as some think, but so simple it was of course over analyzed.

One thing I don’t get however, is this new idea of “tagging” songs.. The Salt lake market seems to be one of the many that heard it on a station and now just about everyone does it. Tagging is the concept that a station/computer voice announces every song after it plays.. weird. If we’re trying to get away from the ipod-shuffle-juke-box-sounding stations, then why continue to do the same thing over and over again?!?! This again reminds me of all those Physics classes.. specifically the definition of insanity.. REALLY GUYS?!?

RADIO PEOPLE.. the only thing that continues to work is being local and content heavy! It’s a simple, and by the way PPM friendly concept… ask the people what they want and then just give it to them.. duh. We all get scared of outside forces like satellite radio, or ipods or internet… but our greatest enemy is ourselves. I’ll say it again.. radio is its own worst enemy. Cut the staff, cut the budget, cut the content.. in turn cut the ratings and the revenue will follow.. there by starting the cycle all over again.. WTF!!!

This of course is an over simplified illustration, but the concept is lived out everyday in many markets.. this is the reason I’m apprehensive to jump back into the deep end of the pool and realize that the radio pool sometimes isn’t very deep… what happened???

Fun, creative radio minds are all hoping for the pendulum to swing the other way soon. How long can we continue to sell the station’s unique attributes as “52 minutes of music..” or simply just announcing every song by a very non-emotional robot sounding station voice?? Where’s the spontaneousnesssss?? The fun?? The local “play” with the audience? Plying the right music is easy with good research, but the rest of the “stuff” or ‘special sauce’ between the songs isn’t quite so easy.

So 4 months have passed, and I’ve had some time to reflect… and ski.. and reflect.. and ski.. (do you see a pattern?)

 

My morning view everyday at Brighton resort...

 

 

I still believe in radio and look forward to being a part of the revolution to do good radio again.. somewhere. So let’s get those phones to ring…  I will do radio again..

I will find that damn light switch! (next to the mic switch..)

 

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