What's It Going To Take...?

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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:20 am

I Don’t Much Care For Radio
This may not come as a bolt from the blue to regular readers. For years, my position has been that radio has consistently and with suspicious vigour, been throwing itself into the bramble bushes. Actually, that’s not completely accurate. What is closer to the truth is that radio heaves its on-air and creative department staffs into the briar patch.

At some point in the distant past, an executive who used to run a fleet of dry cleaning outfits, while nursing a severe hangover, wandered into the head office of a well-known radio conglomerate, foisted himself off as an “efficiency expert, got hired and commenced to ruining an industry. Other snoozing CEO’s noticed how costs were being substantially chopped down the street, made their own talent say, “Baaa” and moved them into the fleecing shed.

I’m not bitter. My distress about radio has no psychological causes. Besides, my angst can be treated with pharmaceuticals, cigarettes, scotch and deep massages. This is exceptionally good news as, because of Canada’s health care system, they’re all free!

I listen to radio with the same concern with which cattle ranchers monitor their herds – just to make sure some of those cows aren’t forming groups and concocting sinister plots. But, it’s safe to say radio staffs, long ago, have been “cowed”, so to speak, and are now rendered as completely passive and obedient.

As has been mentioned often, my threshold for what constitutes effective and listenable radio has never been met. There were times, to be sure, when radio was much more creative and interesting, but I wouldn’t expect the majority of contemporary radio’s participants to have any experience or recall of those references.

Radio’s ownership and management are suffering from ideological delusions. Most don’t know what radio has been; they don’t know what radio could be and the status quo, although not particularly satisfying, is acceptable – the default position of an entire industry. Most importantly, when it comes to discussing strategies to make massive improvements – they come out empty - and in ill humour.

Whenever I go up and down the dial, I am almost always met with banality. Whether someone is “live & local”, voice-tracked or delivering a milquetoast syndication, the chances of being intrigued, entertained or intellectually or emotionally challenged are extremely low. Asking any listener to tolerate such a vacuous environment is beyond goofy. Radio’s continued reach would be startling if it weren’t for the fact of the default, unconscious, neurological processes that listens experience.

Special prosecutors may have to be summoned in order to investigate the state of radio commercial presentations and the abuse of the people who are forced to write and produce them. Having to listen through multiple clusters of these nasty, speedily produced and insulting productions counts as audience torturing, as well.

Actually, it is not a mystery – not to me and not to people who have done their homework. The neurological processes that are automatically and unconsciously engaged by an audience, bypasses much of the intellectual and rational components of their experience. If those elements were really being engaged, audiences would be showing up at the station’s doors with rotten vegetables.

In the meantime, let’s be clear of commercial radio’s mandate: To attract and maintain as many listeners as we can for as long as we can for the purpose of exposing them to commercials that are designed to influence and yes, manipulate those listeners to make purchases they would not ordinarily make without being exposed to those commercials.

Radio not only fails miserably at carrying out those mandates, it doesn’t seem to care all that much and, in fact, goes out of its way to reject any such responsibility. I am also willing to opine that radio has yet to go so far as to accept any of those mandates as being important, useful or worthy of much serious consideration.

Meanwhile, my wife is lighting a floating candle in a carved-out piece of rock from a shoreline close by. The candle, she tells me, is releasing the spirits of Lake Superior. I should be feeling much better in a short while.

And so, I regret I am compelled to retain the position. Given the exceptions of a number of spectacular talents, I don’t much care for radio – as it is today.

Ronald T. Robinson has been involved in Canadian radio since the '60s as a performer, writer and coach, and has trained and certified as a personal counsellor. Ron makes the assertion, based on years of testing in the on-air and commercial production environments, that the most important communicative aspects of broadcasting have still not been addressed or applied. info@voicetalentguy.com
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:15 am

Before And Beyond Creative
With the passing of the extraordinary, but still suspiciously suspicious “Chickenman”, aka Dick Orkin, Miss Helfinger can now lead a life of her own. Meanwhile, many generations of radio executives who have been exposed to the productions from the Radio Ranch have said, "That's the kind of stuff we should be doing - someday." We abuse and waste our own medium, systematically and with spectacularly self-defeating efficiencies.

Further, radio dogma persists, and there are extreme, painful penalties meted out to those poor devils that suggest otherwise or challenges them. Dogma #1: Actual Radio Creative is time consuming, expensive, difficult to write and produce, and, oh yeah – it doesn’t work!

For those stations that are incapable of producing anything more than noxious, cookie cutter “direct response” ads, clinging to those edicts would be the necessary, go-to position. The only portion that does reside in the category of “myth” is the “it doesn’t work” part. That part is pure myth. The rest of them, while true, are still a cover for incompetence and a spectacular lack of motivation. Please appreciate: I am not suggesting replacing direct response ads with pure creative. That is an impossibility. But those DR ads can certainly be spruced up to be more effective - and listenable.

Throwing “creative” into this discussion is like spreading a pail of red herrings all over the deck and declaring, “Here! Argue about these, instead!” Many would jump at the invitation, and days of fruitless blithering would ensue. But, be assured: Very few in radio’s leadership are paying much attention, anyway.

Let’s be clear: Radio Creative is occasionally applied to generate the retention of interest in listening to the ads, and to generate emotions in an audience. This is in order to influence them for the benefit of the station and its advertisers. This approach, this process, is far more powerful than simply delivering content information.

Reasonable, educated and experienced radio personnel would immediately agree, and suggest it would be a good time to break for lunch - moving on to other, more pressing matters on the agenda later.

Copy writers, from their station gulags, are constantly having messages smuggled out that decry their plight of having to scribble toxic, noxious drivel that is delivered to sales reps and, in turn, foisted off to advertisers as “actual advertising”. What, to my mind, is even more spectacular is how the advertisers themselves have not only come to expect this (alleged) bilge, they insist on it! To the degree that these lowest common denominator messages still work has always been the fallback justification – and amazement to many.

Copy writers jumped into the business because of a desire to create advertising art that would be appealing and motivating. Instead, they have been given blunt tools and told to produce smaller rocks from bigger rocks - all the while being chafed by their manacles.

Meanwhile, I am obliged to confess my own failure at getting through to those who could take the necessary steps to make massive improvements to their own organizations.

All the (above), however, has certainly not been the only or the main crux of my position or my messaging. Otherwise erstwhile, smart, intelligent, well-meaning and professional broadcasters, I submit, have yet to key in on the more important elements of radio communications. “Creative” works better. Yes, we all get that. At least, I would hope so. It is more expensive and more difficult to produce. We all get that, too.

The most important aspects of communicating to a radio audience have yet to be addressed. Fortunately, there are a few extremely credible and professional radio practitioners who are beginning to lean in another, worthwhile direction, mostly based on the following, new appreciations of how, specifically, this medium works.

- Radio, despite the acceptance of all traditions, is not as effective as a direct, authoritarian, conscious-accessing or organic medium.
- Radio, instead, is more effective when it is understood as an INdirect, non-authoritarian, UNconscious accessing, and electronic medium.

What all this means is: A completely new (to radio) system of language communications must be added to the linguistic mix in order to take advantage of and exploit the new paradigm.

By “proven” I mean: proven in countless neurological studies at the cost of thousands of cruelly martyred lab-rats, and supported by numerous anecdotal demonstrations. It would take the hubris of a science-denier to mount any counter arguments. These would become examples of delusional meanderings.

We really can/could move past any philosophical arguments here as the strategies, techniques and methodologies to exploit the new paradigm already exist and are ready for implementation. They apply equally to on-air talent presentations, as well.

Ronald T. Robinson has been involved in Canadian radio since the '60s as a performer, writer and coach, and has trained and certified as a personal counselor. Ron makes the assertion, based on years of testing in the on-air and commercial production environments, that the most important communicative aspects of broadcasting have still not been addressed or applied. info@voicetalentguy.com
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:15 am

Playing A Request
Because of a single, but still urgent request for more than I provided in my last piece, I feel obliged to continue.
The main premises of the previous article were:
- Radio, despite the acceptance of all traditions, is not as effective when delivered as a direct, authoritarian, conscious-accessing medium.
- Radio, instead, is more effective when it is presented as an INdirect, non-authoritarian, UNconscious-accessing, electronic medium.

People in general, and radio’s leadership in particular, have no idea whatsoever of how audiences are accessing every electronic medium. A simplified explanation of this circumstance would be: While content is a factor, the power lies in the process!
Electronic media scrambles audience brains extraordinarily well – turns our cranial innards into mushy, pliable putty.

I emphasize pliable because listeners to, and viewers of, electronic media become much more easily influenced and, indeed, more easily manipulated without their knowledge! There are truckloads of verifying neurological research and as many anecdotal examples available to anyone who might be paying attention. (Note: This is not a conspiracy theory – not yet. But, it does have a vast range of sinister potentials – for those who might find this kind of thing intriguing.)

Over these last decades, when presenting portions of the communicative alternatives, I have been unceremoniously thrown out of more radio GMs’ offices than I care to recount. I would leave the building muttering to myself, “This is like trying to explain to a vegetable it really is a functional eagle.” And even when I was partially, semi-convincing, I reminded myself I was still talking to an individual presenting as a vegetable.

Exploiting the reality of the unique and powerful influence of radio comes with some responsibilities for action - before anyone is going to cash in at any substantially more rewarding and satisfying levels.

Radio, or rather, definitely/maybe, some portion of the industry, will be required to learn and apply a separate, unique and stand-alone set of fundamental communicative strategies and methodologies that are consistent with the always-presenting but not yet acknowledged “scrambled brain” scenario.

A terrifying example of how electronic media turns the minds of semi-regular people into soiled curb-slush is the rate at which drivers are killing themselves and others while they are using their cell phones. The rate of carnage has overcome that of drunk driving. And, in this culture, that’s saying a lot.

Besides the distraction of looking at a keypad surface, talking to someone on the cell phone use sucks the mind capacities of both the dominant and sub-dominant brain hemispheres – leaving very little left over to watch the road for squirrels – or to change stations. This is a behavior that requires a driver to be, at least in those minutes, temporarily engaged elsewhere and rendered stupid and/or insane. The last report I read demonstrates that, at some time, 88% of all drivers fall in to this category.

We are the same folks who have, for decades, been overwhelmed by mass, electronic media; we own car keys, weapons and – we have the vote. And still, we become temporarily stupid and insane. Can’t get around it. The situation still makes for happy days for sophisticated advertisers and for astute, political campaign managers.

Just in case readers haven’t considered it: This information has tentacles; it reaches out with serious social ramifications. The neurological impact - the influence of electronic media is so incredibly pervasive, it really is unfortunate that radio refuses to learn enough to exploit that which is already available. The buffet is still open - it never closes.

Many radio managers already understand their businesses are stagnant – mired in the goo. To be sure, some efforts are being made in attempts to make the sales process more effective – a good thing. But Sales is only half of the package. The other half consists of everything that goes out on the air. That part of the package is severely broken.

So long as radio continues to believe and behave as if it is a direct, authoritarian, conscious-accessing medium, it will be unable to compete with other electronic media - squabbling over the entrails left over, essentially, for print. The change-making distinctions are many, as are the communicative interventions to reinvigorate radio’s appeal and its effectiveness. Arguing for the status quo is a futile exercise. Better information has been provided. Radio remains deaf, dumb and blind.

Ronald T. Robinson has been involved in Canadian radio since the '60s as a performer, writer and coach, and has trained and certified as a personal counsellor. Ron makes the assertion, based on years of testing in the on-air and commercial production environments, that the most important communicative aspects of broadcasting have still not been addressed or applied. info@voicetalentguy.com
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:05 am

The Gathering Of The Clan
The group was summoned – made up of an astute, experienced and credible number of radio professionals. A dozen of these folks were invited to a virtual meeting to discuss a number of challenges that radio has been experiencing for some time. (I would say “plight” but then, that’s me.)

I have to say these folks seemed candid in their comments, demonstrated sincerity and were well aware of radio’s stultifying realities. None of them were happy with, or accepting of, the status quo. Some were outright critical. From what I was reading, however, all of the participants were overwhelmed. I speculate they were overwhelmed less by the issues they were addressing, but more by the lack of useful alternate fixes available that would dynamically turn the industry around.

The last 25 years, in my view and to use an analogy, have seen radio taken from being similar to a competitive form of professional motor racing and diminished it to a series of country bumpkin, demolition derbies. Snort. Crunch. Whatever.

Yes, there remains that (relatively) impressive radio “reach” thingie. Attentive broadcasters will, however, still be required to admit that this lucky happenstance is more about the innate nature of the medium and less about any programming or marketing magic delivered by insider management or staffers.

Allow me, meanwhile, to address some of the material coming out of the meeting.
On finding new, on-air talent:
- Have somebody (who lost the bet) jump into the car and cruise smaller and medium, out-of-market stations to look for talented diamonds in the rough.
- Ascertain how much extra training and coaching these individuals will require before they can crack a microphone at “The Mighty Spaniel, 96.5 – Dog Butt’s Best Music”.
- Determine who, specifically, will be doing the coaching, directing and grooming, and with what specific materials will the new hire be indoctrinated.
- Be sure the candidate is experiencing a combination of gullibility, credulity and/or enough star-struck passion to accept paltry wages and the responsibility to become immediately competent at a bevy of other platforms. The newbie will also have to tolerate more unspecified, but to-be-determined, extra station responsibilities.
- Interview and hire people working in other sectors. Anybody who can demonstrate an outgoing personality, tell a joke and have a pulse would qualify. They would also have to be willing to play a game of “Trust or Risk” with the station management. They also will have to prepare themselves to hear, “We have decided to take another direction.”

Other comments coming out of the meeting included:

- The requirement to get away from voice-tracking as far as possible and as soon as possible.
- “Talent needs to be curious, good with people, visible in the community and connected to the business from a sales perspective, as well.” What the individual didn’t say was, “…and have access to mild amphetamines, ‘cause they won’t be getting much sleep.”
- Talent will have to be skilled enough to go on the air and deliver that lauded “one-to-one” experience. That is an example of “parrot-talk”. This is one of the most toxic, delusional premise that continues to rip out much of the credible potential of radio to which it still does have access.
- Even at stations that are running more “live & local” programming, the talent is so suppressed and gets so little airtime, they are still relegated to the ranks of the “robo-jock”.
- Edgy and dangerous stations, while impressive, will still not be tolerated, much less encouraged.
- More air checking of talent is required. Nobody was able to explain how that exercise alone would develop better performances – if they can be called that.
- Audiences have come to accept really rotten radio as “normal”.
- Stations need to better know their audiences – whatever the hell that means. Ever tried it?
- Too many commercial phusterclucks. Ya think?
- “Talent” can’t be taught. (Yes, it can.)

The majority of the comments could have been offered 10 years ago and more. There were no references to improving the effectiveness of locally produced spots. There were no recommendations to address the fundamental, language distinctions that are required to generate more effective on-air deliveries. But, thanks anyway for comin’ out.


Ronald T. Robinson has been involved in Canadian radio since the '60s as a performer, writer and coach, and has trained and certified as a personal counselor. Ron makes the assertion, based on years of testing in the on-air and commercial production environments, that the most important communicative aspects of broadcasting have still not been addressed or applied. info@voicetalentguy.com
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:24 pm

Gathering Of The Clan-Part II
As the virtual meeting of “the twelve” continued, and the participants got on a roll, more pronouncements and/or recommendations were provided. Among those were the following:

“Find creative people and turn them loose.”
As a concept, that actually sounds exciting and even slightly encouraging. So far as the odds of taking those kinds of risks, this one is right up there with chugging a cup of gasoline and then deciding to light up a smoke. The resulting event could be described as: “Guts everywhere – no glory”. And “creativity”, gets moved to the janitorial staff. But, coffee breaks become far more entertaining.

As to “live and local”: When owners find talent that recognizes and calls bull s*** when it is offered, find somebody else – anybody else. The girl at the dry cleaners down the street seems pretty snappy. Maybe she can be tricked. What the proponents of irresponsible gang-hiring for this ill-fated “live & local” exercise fail to appreciate are the components required from an effective on-air communicator.

These include a measure of creativity, to be sure. Radio already has more than enough cloth-headed parrot-people on the air to wreck an entire industry. They may be bright, but their on-air presentations do not support the proposition. A semblance of social awareness and secure appreciation of social norms would be useful.

Exceptional imagination and self-discipline are required of every competent presenter – a powerful element that comes only from on-air experience. To be more effective, management will also have to increase the airtime of the presenters. Promo-spewing robo-jocks who, like prairie dogs, stick their heads out of their holes 3 or 4 times an hour for a very brief lookee-see do nothing to increase that individual’s or the station’s appeal.

One of the participating members of the group said, “We encourage creativity from the individual. I don’t expect any talent to sound like the others. Anyone who has ever cracked a mic didn’t get into the business to read liner cards. Let the thoroughbreds run!” While a commendable position, most of the talent is pulled out of $3000.00 claiming races. The rest are brought to the track in an ambulance. The betters put their money down on the horses that have a needle sticking out of them.

Another astute participant reinforced what is obvious only to the few. He said, “Just taking away things you believe the audience will push back from will make you bland and boring.” Indeed, the multi-decade long practice of eliminating perceived “tune out factors” has resulted in audiences being offered no more than forms of lukewarm radio gruel.

While most of the people in this gathering seemed to be recognizing the value of, even the necessity for, competent talent, I pick up a sense they would rather handle a basket full of Diamondback rattlesnakes than engage with talent in any intimate or meaningful ways. Most would rather take a blowtorch to them all, and to hell with the ecology of the environment.

As far back as the mid-‘60’s and continuing on through the ‘70’s and beyond, “Top-40” stations were breaking bones to out-slam and out-slick each other. Younger demographics were enjoying it – right up until “Underground FM” radio slithered in and started eating all those unsuspecting, snarling, rock-jock bunnies.

It should be noted that during those frantic days of Top-40 mayhem, the Adult (MOR) and Adult Contemporary (A/C) stations were the ones raking in the large coin. MOR stations, while having strong audiences, struck me as a maudlin bunch. So, I only worked for A/C outfits. This was great for me because I could switch from “talkin’ dirty and rammin’ the hits” to stopping down and weaving a little more complex radio magic. Still, the priority of strong talent has disappeared.

Meanwhile, the group’s individuals are now of the Hopa-Hopa clan. Their rituals include dancing around the fire pit and stomping on cold coals. What they do not realize is the intensity of training required in the available body of broadcast communications knowledge to which both new and veteran presenters must be heavily engaged and with which they must become competent. While the group’s (expressed) fixes are unlikely to be applied with necessary skills or enthusiasm, they would still be extremely ineffective.

Ronald T. Robinson has been involved in Canadian radio since the '60s as a performer, writer and coach, and has trained and certified as a personal counsellor. Ron makes the assertion, based on years of testing in the on-air and commercial production environments, that the most important communicative aspects of broadcasting have still not been addressed or applied. info@voicetalentguy.com
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:59 am

Radio’s Radioactive “I” Word
Too many of radio’s ownership and management have accepted a certain concept as one which glows in the dark, emits poisonous gasses and melts minds and eyeballs. Many fear that close proximity has already generated huge, mutated and out-of-control, carnivorous beasts bent on devouring an entire broadcast industry.

Some management individuals have returned from a startling brush with this element in a state of abject terror, heaping stories of accidental, close encounter brushes where they were hearing electronic bleeps and extremely high frequency hums – the kind that emanates from any device just before a massive, crackling explosion rips the territory to shreds, and renders it an uninhabitable, radioactive no-man’s-land.

Some still-delirious victims have even reported hearing gurgling, satanic growls and soul-piercing howls, as well. These poor devils are suffering, and are of no further use to themselves or their organizations. However, their edicts are still reluctantly followed because they do maintain their authority.

This to-be-avoided-at-all-costs element is generally understood as “Innovation”. By other names, this exceptionally foul concept is also known as: revolution, transformation, breakthrough, alteration and upheaval. Over the last decades, radio has applied none of these – not in any positive or worthy sense. Indeed, radio’s behaviours have represented the very antithesis of anything that could be remotely awarded an innovation medal.

So radioactive and toxic has Innovation been perceived that radio has taken the exact opposite tack by crippling the human, on-air participation of talent and commercial writers to the degree where they are positioned to be, essentially, useless and annoying. The numbing banalities of the greatest majority of on-air presenters, both “live” and voice tracked, contributes to the humiliation and embarrassment of the talent, and the well-earned shame of the managers.

My last two articles dealt with the sub par and benign admonitions from a dozen, otherwise, experienced and well-intentioned radio professionals. To their credit, however, they agreed on the need for more – lots more – skilled talent to be brought back to the airwaves, or generated from scratch. Unfortunately, they were unable to articulate what, specifically, constituted examples of how, specifically, veteran and/or new talents were to be educated.

Also included were the poorly thought-out recommendations for many more “live & local” talents. That tactic is no innovation – it is, rather, a strategy that guarantees expensive, industry-wide disasters. The flaunting of even more babbling from untrained, unskilled presenters is unlikely to generate more attentive listening.

The innovation the (aforementioned) members of “The Gathering of the Twelve” have missed can be described as follows:

Radio’s presenters, including those who are on-the-air and those who write for the medium, must be re-educated in the new FUNDAMENTALS and the many more nuances and subtleties of communicating to a broadcast audience.

Anything else would only constitute a shambled, disjointed return to some of the approaches of decades ago. While mine is a huge claim, it is, nevertheless, my claim. I can support it at all times and in any environment. Radio does not now have, nor is it attracting enough of those wonderful Personalities who are so talented and entertaining they could make a show out of chewing broken glass or farting through a soft, Turkish cotton towel.

It is the rank & file staffs who would be much more valuable to themselves and their stations if only they could become more efficient, influential and appealing communicators - every time they hit the air. Accomplishing this state requires intense training, practice and the ongoing application of the new principles.

Who, then, is likely to take any of this seriously? It is highly unlikely that someone who is suppressing their talent to only pop up like prairie dogs a few times an hour to prattle out station promo and pap will be stepping up anytime soon. Nor will those who cheat their advertisers and audiences by foisting the worst examples of commercial advertising messaging in unending phusterclucks be making inquiries about any forms of “innovation”.

So-called “radio people” are the ones wrecking radio. Some sophisticated sales executives, meanwhile, are becoming more keenly aware of how to make more appealing approaches to potential advertisers. Even with those improvements, AE’s are still going to the street crippled by horribly flawed advertising.


Ronald T. Robinson has been involved in Canadian radio since the '60s as a performer, writer and coach, and has trained and certified as a personal counsellor. Ron makes the assertion, based on years of testing in the on-air and commercial production environments, that the most important communicative aspects of broadcasting have still not been addressed or applied. info@voicetalentguy.com
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Re: What's It Going To Take...?

Postby pave » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:06 am

Where Is Radio’s Age Of Enlightenment?
It can’t be denied: Radio surely had one hell of a run. Even in the days when radio was third in the Print/TV/Radio hierarchy, there was money to be made – lots of money. I was working for a TV/AM/FM combo that sported the finest of facilities and where my AM’er alone was raking in 5 million dollars a year - in late-‘70’s dollars!

Of course, Talent remained underpaid while management made out like barter bandits. Vehicles were handed over with multiple, gift wrapped quarts of high-quality booze, and swimming pools were installed. Only occasionally were charges brought.

A dozen AE’s remained in the office to answer their phones and only went out for copy-sparkle meetings, to sign contracts or to attend lavish dinners. Advertisers had to book 6 months to a year out.

We were still understaffed even though we had 12 on-air personalities, 5 copywriters and 3 producers. We all lined up for remotes because we needed the dough. I will admit, however, that in lieu of boosted paycheques, we enjoyed some fabulous perks – including free skiing in the Rockies – about 45 minutes from Calgary.

We were all encouraged to reach for our potentials as “personalities”. Ours was the top-rated station even though we ran an A/C format, so we could avoid the Top-40 “robo-jock” syndrome. We had far more flexibility to attempt longer bits and even chance some editorial comment. Because we were running single cuts of music and 90-second to two-minute stop-sets, we were on-the-air – a lot. This was the circumstance for years. Glory!

A new license was granted to the market and I was recruited to come over to participate in an exciting new venture as the afternoon drive guy. My instructions were to just keep doing what I had always been doing. The format was also very appealing – a 60/40 split between oldies and contemporary, adult hits. The audience ate us up – followed by the ratings, and followed by the advertisers. The only wrinkle was that we would often play 2 cuts back-to-back. We could still talk over the extro’s and intro’s. It made for another fabulous 5 year run. More Glory.

A distinction I want to make concerns the communicative principles, strategies and methodologies I have been promulgating in this space for years. I began implementing them in the early '80's. My numbers were greater than the morning show that was still the top-rated show in the market anyway. I never revealed I was breaking so many of the traditional assumptions while applying new linguistic strategies that had to do, exclusively, with relating to a broadcast audience. I was always surprised that nobody else noticed, or called me on it.

Meanwhile, a few years later, the ownership started to meddle. Previously, they had been out of town building stations across the country while our fabulous GM carried the standard. When they got back to the city, they started making arbitrary programming changes, including the latest and greatest strategy of playing long music sweeps in all day parts except mornings. This, naturally, cut into the time the talent was spending on the air. Considerations were made about paying me way too much to sit on my thumbs while the tunes played out.

To my mind, this one implementation was the beginning of the end of radio’s renaissance. Since then, other factors including the scorched earth policies of the consolidators and the onslaught of other media guaranteed that radio would not be entering any new “Age of Enlightenment”.

This situation has been the accepted status quo for so long that finding transitional fossils is proving to be more difficult every day. It can also be argued where, once, radio flourished in a lush garden of talent growing tall and where clear rivers of cash dollars flowed freely, what remains is a dry scrubland that produces extremely slim pickings.

I might also throw in the understanding that Charlie Darwin never spoke of the “survival of the strongest or the fittest”. Instead, he pointed out that the species that was the most adaptive was more likely to win the struggle. “Adaptive” along with “innovation” are not to be found in modern radio’s lexicon.

Radio, rather, is experiencing its “Age of Duh”. Communicative “Enlightenment” and “innovation” are not in the headlights or on the radar. Further, as other media are producing magnificent examples of advertising art and content, radio is providing banal babble while its so-called and occasionally alleged “theatre-of-the-mind” concept consists of foisting no more than stick figures on an underserving and sometimes gullible group of advertisers.


Ronald T. Robinson has been involved in Canadian radio since the '60s as a performer, writer and coach, and has trained and certified as a personal counsellor. Ron makes the assertion, based on years of testing in the on-air and commercial production environments, that the most important communicative aspects of broadcasting have still not been addressed or applied. info@voicetalentguy.com
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