There is no heavier burden than a great potential.
~ Charles Schulz

Friday, September 01, 2006


I've moved my blogging activity on radio to my new book Web site, I'm focusing even more on my novel, a work in progress, and the posts there will be less industry-oriented and more in line with my objective, to create a supporting site for the book. I'll be leaving dehype-radio up for the foreseeable future.

Thanks for dropping by. I hope you like the new site.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Big flap throughout RadioLand. CBS Radio (formerly Infinity, formerly CBS Radio, formerly Infinity, etc., etc.) sacks about 115 people around the country from its 179 stations, including stations it's already trying to sell, in some "smaller" markets.

The way many radio guys were screaming about CBS's dastardly deed last week--out-launching a big One Percent of its workforce, including mid-top executives and historic jocks--you'd think getting fired from radio stations in budget cutbacks was an ominous new development.

Come on. Why, even KPIG is laying people off. In radio, getting canned has always been a qualification for professional standing. We always screamed about the unfairness and coldness of it all. But, deep inside, we were proud. I always thought I didn't get fired enough to be considered successful.

We're ten years (can it be?) into bigtime, Wall Street-based, mega-corporate radio, which differs from small-town, closely-held radio only in scale. Do you remember when radio was warm-hearted community-spirited philanthropy? I don't.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Google's been working on it for a while -- first they revolutionized advertising on the Web, tried to break into print, which didn't go so well -- not that time, anyway. Then they bought dMarc Broadcasting, which was in the process of Webifying radio advertising sales. Others are working on it, like SoftwaveRadio, but not with the Google war chest behind them. Now the blogger jungle telegraph is relaying signals that Google's starting to roll out their radio advertising system, starting with a questionnaire to their Adsense customers. Radio people have bumbled around wondering what to do with the Web. Now the Web is making that decision for them. The result for us listeners: more commercials from smaller advertisers. Now, if the radio guys can just get the message that it's time to run fewer commercials and more local programming.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I watched a replay of Scientific American Frontiers last night on PBS -- its "Future Car" episode. Something a GM engineer said to Alan Alda triggered something in my mind.

The engineer spoke of designing the car around the new technology, rather than taking the familiar car design and trying to fit the technology into it. The result -- the Autonomy "skateboard."

The technology environment of radio has changed. Why are radio people still designing Model T radio programming? What would a local radio station sound like, if it were designed around the new technological reality?

Thursday, June 22, 2006


"This doesn't feel good anymore. Let's buy back our stock!" Cool, say the broker-boys, we'll take our cut on the downside, too!

Well, never mind, you still know how to get that quick spurt in the AQH, dontcha? You know, ARBITRON? Those really, really clever guys who figured out how to slice 'n dice a thousand diaries into at least forty-seven demographic slivers and get you your big 3.0 in M 25-34, 6-10AM. Can't wait for that belt-spybot they're working on--lotta algorithm-tweakin' goin' on in Beltsville, you can bet on that. Think of all the nifty iron-clad averages you can feed the 24-year-old former-mail-clerk buyers next spring!

Juggle the playlist, flip the format, call yourself the hot new Movin', or Martini on the Rockies, The Wolf, hell, call it Melvin. What-EVER! That'll make the needle jump! For a while.

Howard and Mel gone to the bird? Shuffle in some lesser pottymouths until you feel the surge--Opie and A., for instance, those smart-as-a-whip Sex-and-St. Patrick's dudes. Now you're talkin' -- never mind you have to share 'em with the other bird--you'll show them audience. But hey, it's all in the family, guys, what with all those bird shares CC holds.
And never mind the FCC just took smutfines to the capital expenditure level--hell, Republicans gonna rule for a thousand years. Aren't they? Time to clean up the operation anyway. Sell off a few sticks. No big.

Or, let's get loco and tell your listeners to slam-phone the Latino competition and yell your morning team's name in their ears to win a quick buck. Now that's a business plan. So it got you some bad-good press and cost a measly six thou fine. You can still get it on, right? Cost o' doin' bidness.

So...just work out how you're gonna get your sound into those millions of cute little pocket telephones yet? After lunch. Maybe take a meeting.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


The other night I forgot to switch my clock radio to "sleep." I woke up at three or so in the morning just as Peter Newman introduced Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic. I was awake and alert for the next hour.

The piece was the Airborne Symphony, written during World War II by Marc Blitzstein, and first performed in 1946. It's a vocal work that dramatizes the birth and development of flight, complete with narration. On Bernstein's 1966 recording, the great radio artist Orson Welles narrates.

Yes, KING-FM, Seattle's commercial non-profit classical station (listen at, played the Airborne Symphony uninterrupted at three in the morning. How's that for a commercial-free hour?

I was surprised to be so moved by this piece of, yes, radio. Great writing, great music, great orchestra, great conductor, great choral performance, great production, and arguably the greatest radio actor of all time at his peak. It inspires me. I want to write and produce great radio like Marc Blitzstein did.

Go get the album and be inspired by what radio could have been. And could yet be.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Any teen with a Webcam can now do TV. It’s a multimedia world.

How long before some steel-tower radio guy figures out how easily he could turn himself into a TV broadcaster—feeding computers, IPods, cellphones. Some radio stations have been screwing cameras to control room walls and feeding their morning shows to cable for years and years.

Imagine—parity with TV. Hey. It’s no goofier than expecting “HD Radio” to change the world.