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...And here's why radio sucks: Check out these internal memos


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Maby if we came up with a different way to finance radio stations we could have it all.

 

There are stations you can subscribe to.

 

I think alot of people who listen to radio do so while they work or do the dishes etc.

The idea of the ALL MUSIC station is nice for some people but i think the DJ and his/her personality can cement the feeling of companionship for some people.

I'm pretty sure people who do rely on the radio for company while they wok etc would be willing to pay a yearly subsciption fee for a station in a style they like with an entertaining DJ and NO commercials.

Till someone sets that up, the only time i ever turn that shit on is if i need to find out the time in a bad way, or if something i recorded might come on. (we have a local station here that is pretty good about playing local music, otherwise, it's your typical nightmare.)

 

These market studies etc are so sad, they are killing us really. If you think about it, radio should be our friend ultimately, and a fortunate comrade, because it is a seperate business that employs our talents, incorporates our art into it's business process.

It's all gone to shit now because of these market studies etc.

So if we want anything different to happen with music we need to find different business partners.

For example, i would like to write music for animation amoung other things.

There has always been other options;

music for plays, dance groups etc.

 

I'm thinking the best approach is to experiment with music till we come up with new sounds that we like and once solidified into a style somewhat, then we look around to see where we can place it.

The niche market is right there, because how many people are doing that well. And i just know there are one whole hell of a lot of people out there looking for something new that is at least as powerful as the radio garbage.(shouldn't be too hard to come up with right?)

 

So many people trying to be stars, well thank god they are out of the way, let them live out the rest of their miserable days in that smelly sewer while we all get on making some refreshing sounds....CAN I GET A WITNESS?????

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Originally posted by Tedster:

Nothing in those memos I haven't known for years.

Right. It's just funny that it's so blatant and spelled out.
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Originally posted by Alndln:

... The next step is they are now courting Sports,which will raise rates significantly just like cable,even if you don't choose a sports station.

Yep, they already have Major League Baseball, taking up some of the bandwidth responsible for the stations that Rabid misses.

 

I don't envy their position, being unprofitable (or, as with so many startups, the profits going straight to the C-Level executives) and facing the critical programming choice of balancing service tiers with ala-carte.

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I don't think radio sucks..or doesn't suck. I think too many musicians get too many signals crossed over this issue.

 

Those memos don't look like any big deal thing to me ...just as if I were to say, "we're putting on a hiring freeze until we get some new profitability issues tested and worked out."

 

Does a hiring freeze indicate my products suck?

 

Is radio supposed to add twenty new songs a week to "not suck"...Or is it because the memo says the stations are pulling back on additional new titles...well, now they suck? But what if you don't like any of the twenty adds they would routinely put in on a regular basis? You'll still say radio sucks.

 

You can sit on the outside and speculate all day long, but if the company insiders know that they are billing $250,000 per month in advertising and want to increase that..not decrease...and they're privy to profit information outsiders aren't...hey, what's wrong with trying a DIFFERENT approach to whatever they were doing? It ain't gonna put them out of business either way. They'll try it...only add what they see added by the Arbitron leaders (a safe bet when you're business is attracting advertisers and advertising revenue).

 

There is no "suck" factor. More likely, the music that particular station plays is very appealing to the targeted age group...you know...that age group that loves that station right now just the way it is..that will get older, and eventually visit forums like this talking about how radio now "sucks" in the year 2020 and it didn't in 2005.

 

As far as radio...what's coming over the free airwaves is free stuff..if you have a standard old non-satellite based radio, you're not paying for the signal. You're not paying for the product. Just like free tv. "You" are not the customer..the advertiser is the customer. And if you think the free radio industry is "dead" due to crummy music and satellite competition, hah!

 

Tell that to the advertisers. I've SEEN free radio billings and it's massive. Massive. All the time. For all stations, no matter where they are in the Arbitrons (to a degree).

 

Those memos..if they're real..are just stating that that particular station is guarding it's profit base (which ain't the listener, it's the billable advertising hours). The memo indicates it's taking a DIFFERENT approach to utilizing a more open playlist...which cuts expenses in several key areas, and gives the owners a chance to see how this translates into future ratings periods ..compared to the three weak ones it just experienced. Whatever these stations do..you can be sure that Ford or Chevrolet walks in and says, "yeah well let's talk about the songs you play on this here radio station". Doesn't happen. Never has in the history of the planet. Gotta keep your wires straight on how this all works.

 

So you say radio sucked before those memos...or it now sucks "after" those memos. Or of course..you're of the opinion that radio sucks all the time. But see..if it were true..it would reflect in the advertising billings...which it doesn't. Even with reduced billings due to competition, we're still talking millions and milllions and millions of dollars.

 

Which I would think satellite radio would be drooling to get a piece of right now.

 

Back in the early 70's there were two local radio stations...huge radio stations, who activated spin-of Fm "underground" album oriented, play local bands music, play anything..beyond the Jack-format sub-stations etc etc. I had friends who were dj's there and I had friends who were ruthless station managers (which is the only kind there is..and has to be). The "non-hit" based stations "sucked" in profitability. They were a constant source of grief to the stations...I was there. I saw it and heard the bitching on both sides.

 

Bottom line, the "cool" stations couldn't get advertising dollars in quantity. They were given five and six years to do it. Didn't happen. They were money losers. The formulaic hit version stations.... located in the same buildings..were massive profit centers for the chains of stations. Playing music that the older "30-somethings" of those days said "sucked".

 

Finally, the free-for-all concept was dumped, djs replaced by formulas that worked from a profit angle...and last time I checked..those stations are still there, cranking out millions in profit...playing songs that many of you say "suck". And probably routinely generating memos like the ones referenced in this thread.

 

Same arguments, different decade.

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Originally posted by d gauss:

<>

 

what do you want for free? broadcast tv sucks too. but hey, it's free.

 

-d. gauss

TV and Radio are in no way free to us.

 

As consumers, we pay for commercial broadcast in the form of higher consumer prices for products and services. We pay higher prices whether we listen/watch or not. That's why it is tough sometimes to justify sending money to public radio/TV or to subscribe to cable or satellite radio, or to pay to watch movies where the theater earns money by selling commercial time and the producer earns money from product placement - in these cases we are paying for the privilege of watching commercials.

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Originally posted by doug osborne:

Originally posted by d gauss:

<>

 

what do you want for free? broadcast tv sucks too. but hey, it's free.

 

-d. gauss

 

TV and Radio are in no way free to us.

sure they are. what most folks forget is that the programming on commercial radio and tv is merely there to fill the space between commercials and hopefully bring in audience share. it's always been that way. hell, b.b. king, sonny boy williamson and many others all got their starts by pushing/selling crap over the radio in between songs. ever hear b.b. king's "peticon" jingle?

and really old johnny carson's had him pushing products on air, something howard stern still does to this day. somewhere along the line, stupid artists got the idea that it was "uncool" to "sell out." i don't think anybody has ever called sonny boy williamson a "sell out," but's he blatantly hawked crap on the radio to get his music heard. something today's folks ought to think about.

 

as for higher consumer prices as a result, i don't buy that. more advertising dollars are spent here than anywhere else in the world, yet our consumer prices are for the most part much lower than elsewhere. (ever buy a gallon of gas in europe for $5 dollars?) big advertisers only spend money if there is an audience to be reached (i.e. super bowl). hence the lack of "real" commercials in the middle of the night and the proliferation of "infomercials." i spent 20 years working in TV programming for various networks and all in all, it's same as it ever was....

 

-d. gauss

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Ditto and the AD's or ADV.

 

And what makes this guy feel he will be around in two or three months as things shake out.

 

He will be speaking in Mezzo-Tonganese and broadcasting to the heart of Stocken by then...

 

R

Label on the reverb, inside 1973 Ampeg G-212: "Folded Line Reverberation Unit" Manufactured by beautiful girls in Milton WIS. under controlled atmosphere conditions.
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Radio sux because there's no excitement.

 

Alan Freed was exciting.

 

KMET was exciting underground FM. They're now "The Wave".

 

KROQ was exciting (20 years ago) Now they're a pretend punk station.

 

Tom Leykis and Howard Stern were exciting. Howard's now just punching a clock and Tom's a lecherous goofball.

 

About the only exciting radio station I've encountered out here in LA in years is Indie 103.1

 

Sooner or later someone's gonna figure out that people want diversity. Jack format's a retread format. The labels won't support it. They have no incentive. Maybe the web's the answer.

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Originally stated by the Evil Program Director

The bottom line is, we simply need to be more familiar, and offer a wider variety of familiar music.

Familiarity breeds contempt.

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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I don't listen to much commercial radio at all anymore, nor do I care much for commercial television, it all sucks. If they were in the least bit entertaining with the commercials, maybe I'd be interested, but those are all crap Plus they go-on forever then repeat on and on. Then they put crap content on in-between the commercials and I just can't torture myself anymore, these people have very small, stupid, non-creative brains.

 

It's amazing they think they're so bright and great and all that shit, it's absolutely pathetic, I'm even thinking of cutting-off the satellite dish, it's getting really crappy also. Where do these freaks of nature come from and who told them they were geniuses anyway? Even the educational and informative and historic shows are ladel with so many damn commercials, it just spoils everything, what a farce!

 

Hey, FCC, I want a change you bunch of freakish corporate goons!!!!!!!!

WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
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Originally posted by d gauss:

...

sure they are. what most folks forget is that the programming on commercial radio and tv is merely there to fill the space between commercials and hopefully bring in audience share. it's always been that way. ...

 

We're in agreement here.

 

My point is that we consumers pay broadcasters indirectly for these commercials - this is the way of the (capitalist) world. Throw public broadcasting (funded in part by tax dollars and voluntary contributions) and subscription services like cable and XM/Sirius (merger will never happen, BTW...IMO) in the mix, and we as consumers pay for our entertainment three ways from Sunday.

 

more advertising dollars are spent here than anywhere else in the world, yet our consumer prices are for the most part much lower than elsewhere.
I can't agree here on the accuracy of this analogy. Completely different economies of scale (unless and until EU proponents succeed).

 

big advertisers only spend money if there is an audience to be reached (i.e. super bowl). hence the lack of "real" commercials in the middle of the night
And guess what? Some companies pay more for a full page ad in EQ than others. Blasphemy!

 

EQ/UEM and NBC/Universal both take the mix (no magazine pun intended) to obtain revenue from a wide variety of sources.

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Originally posted by doug osborne:

My point is that we consumers pay broadcasters indirectly for these commercials - this is the way of the (capitalist) world. Throw public broadcasting (funded in part by tax dollars and voluntary contributions) and subscription services like cable and XM/Sirius (merger will never happen, BTW...IMO) in the mix, and we as consumers pay for our entertainment three ways from Sunday.

Ummm...yeah. So? Radio & TV cost a ton of money to produce. How else are you going to get entertainment?
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One thing I would say working in radio has taught me is the vast majority of people have little musical taste and little appetite for anything they're not already familiar with.

 

On a personal level, I agree with all the points made in this thread but I'm a producer and I love all kinds of music. Your average 25 year old non-musical female (not stereotyping here - it's just who CHR stations usually target), doesn't want to hear stuff that's too challenging or inaccessible on the radio.

 

And don't forget the radio station is a business like any other. Crap analogy, but if 80% of the population were vegetarian, you wouldn't expect McDonalds to concentrate on selling burgers. They'd go for the majority just like commercial radio stations do.

In his blue velour and silk you liberated, a boy I never rated, and now he's throwing discus, for Liverpool and Widnes
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Originally posted by Christopher Robin:

Originally posted by doug osborne:

My point is that we consumers pay broadcasters indirectly for these commercials - this is the way of the (capitalist) world. Throw public broadcasting (funded in part by tax dollars and voluntary contributions) and subscription services like cable and XM/Sirius (merger will never happen, BTW...IMO) in the mix, and we as consumers pay for our entertainment three ways from Sunday.

Ummm...yeah. So? Radio & TV cost a ton of money to produce. How else are you going to get entertainment?
No magic answers, but for example I pay XM to hear music in my car. Some of the channels have commercials (not music channels, yet), so I am paying for the privilege of listening to commercials, for which I have already paid a small part by the means of a higher price for the product in the commercial. Marketing costs are by nature a part of the retail cost of a product.

 

Sometimes, I give a buck to someone on the street playing music - 100% goes to the musician, a nearly one-on-one relationship if it is original music.

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JoTown sez:

same as it ever was

 

And you may ask yourself.... er... Lemme ask y'all... what was radio like 20, 30 or 40 years ago? HONESTLY... I wasn't around, so i don't know, but I have a feeling it was very undifferent to now. For all the nostalgia and "good ole days" talks, i'm sure that it was a business then and they still chased trends, profiled listeners and selected things to play based on their projected popularity.

 

Sure, there were always the fringe stations that would play Atom Heart Mother or Thick As A Brick all the way through, or hold some Captain Beyond marathon. Maybe these are the stations you guys listened to then, and they all probably sprang up with the best intentions, struggled and died like they do now.

 

One of my roommates listens to 1970s Top-40 type stuff that she duped from her mother's record collection. To my ears, this is the same over-the-top sappy, contrived, over-engineered dreck that we're hearing today. Stuff where the band name is something toadilly 'hip with the times' or the names of the 5 members. Everyone in the band sings, nobody plays an instrument, nobody writes the songs. NONE OF THIS SHIT GETS PLAYED TODAY. It has not weathered time, and has been 'conveniently' forgotten by everyone.

 

Manufactured acts are nothing new. Say what you want, but Motown was all manufactured. The Monkees? The Eagles? Even going back to DooWop iirc there is contrived stuff.

 

Plus... How often have you gone to see bands play locally, that just suck? I've seen some. They don't suck because I'm not familiar with thier originals, they suck because they suck. Radio format engineers are probably buried chin deep in all this stuff. Mountains and Mountains of junk to wade through. Tedious, boring and it all probably sounds the same after awhile.

 

Saw a band playing on Saturday Night Live about 3 months ago. Don't remember the name of the band (sorry) or the titles of any of their songs. But i heard them play about 4 or 5 songs. Not one had a discernable "riff" or "groove" to it. In fact, they were all roughly the same key and time signature. Everyone was be-bopping and thrashing around like they were toadilly into some music, but it must have been different music, because their actions didn't really line up with what they were playing. The lyrics were the best though. This isn't an absolute quote, but this is what they were like. You could drop these right into the song and nothing would change:

 

griddle nose and butter toes

lifting knees to look at me

pictures in the photograph

waiting

 

listening and glistening

plastic bags and monkey rags

gourmet toast and metal post

receiving

 

missle rats and doggie bats

cd sleeves to go ask jeeves

curtain rods that give me hope

believing

 

Maybe it's too "deep" or over my head, i dunno. Neither myself nor my gf could extract any meaning or cohesive message out of any of it. All their songs were like that. Every single one, and the more i think about it the pitch of them was different from song to song but the rhythm was the same in every case.

 

"Yeah, if what you're saying is true, that's pretty bad" you say. And it is. But these folks beat out countless others and got as far as SNL with this stuff. Unbelievable.

 

Thanks for letting me play Devil's Advocate. I've been kinda doing it a lot lately. But being in a service type industry myself, i find it perplexing to see how everyone on the outside can criticize the way we do things based on misinformation, perceived reality or very imaginative expectations when they've never taken a walk in our shoes.

 

I just have a feeling it's like that in all the other service industries.

Dr. Seuss: The Original White Rapper

.

WWND?

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Sometimes, I give a buck to someone on the street playing music - 100% goes to the musician, a nearly one-on-one relationship if it is original music.
I've always loved street musicians. There is something very chic, very starving artist about it (when, in fact, that's exactly what it is). What can be more true to the blues than a guy with tattered chothes and a beaten sax beating his soul out through his horn? A buddy of mine took a semester in Europe and spoke of string quartets on street corners in vienna.

 

Of course here, at least in my and neighboring towns, the cops are quick to shoo such "troublemakers."

 

I'll walk around campus (in downtown Detroit) and, nowhere near the music department, I'll hear players practicing, performing, even a group of guys freestyling over a beat-boxing playa. 'Tis very cool, until, that is, they open their instrument cases to accept (not ask for) tips.

Of course, I can't walk around the student center without being hit up for a "couple o'bucks," often repeatedly and by the same person. Some of them can really get into your face and make things uncomfortable. I've never seen a street musician do that...

...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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I was in radio from 1977 to 2000. I actually got to pick my own music at a couple of them! :eek: Some things have stayed the same, but other stuff is quite different. Here's one area where it's the same: The music back then is a lot like today...5% silk purse, 95% sow's ear. Let's face it: when it comes to musical taste, most people ain't got none, and radio's right there to give ya what ya want! DJ's had more latitude in Olden Times, and some songs would have never become hits without a DJ who knew more than the label rep's did.

 

Some changes would have happened even if the Telecom Act had never happened. For example, over the last 15 years, between 15-and-20 thousand radio people have lost their jobs. Consolidation accounts for only some of that number. Automation is the biggest culprit, and whether it's the behemoth corporation or the mom'n'pop local owner, they're all looking to cut costs... I had to face the fact that, much like their audiences, most owners were also clueless rubes, be they Arthur Carlson or Sumner Redstone. Who cares about content, who cares about you, just show me the money!

 

Which leads to one big difference: The money, and how much is enough? In the "good ole days," your local owner would be happy to be making $20-30 thousand a month, plus the "unmentionables:" traded-out cars, clothes, trips, meals, home remodeling, etc, in exchange for free ads...the kind of stuff that never seemed to make it onto their tax returns. Plus there was the Vanity Factor: The mayor would stop you, smile, call you out by name, and shake your hand! Just like the "Old Money Crowd!" That was good enough for most of them.

 

Today, 30-thousand a month ain't shit to a major corporation. How major? Two coprporations in particular, Clear Channel and Viacom, control 42 percent of listeners and 45 percent of industry revenues in the country. And then there are those darned shareholders. They want results now. And everybody paid too much for their propoerties when they were in consolidation mode, just like the rest of American business did in the 1990's.

 

The economic pressures are enormous. To the point that Clear Channel and Viacom are now both talking about spinning off some of their properties.

 

Sorry, gotta go: gotta get some work done today!

"If more of us valued food, cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - J. R. R. Tolkien
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Originally posted by BOOKUMDANO:

I don't think radio sucks..or doesn't suck. I think too many musicians get too many signals crossed over this issue.

 

...............

 

There is no "suck" factor. More likely, the music that particular station plays is very appealing to the targeted age group...you know...that age group that loves that station right now just the way it is..that will get older, and eventually visit forums like this talking about how radio now "sucks" in the year 2020 and it didn't in 2005.

Dano,

 

It's this particular line that begs the suck factor:

 

Please continue to give us info on your songs, as it's more important than ever that we identify and play HITS.....and nothing but hits!
The DJs are being instructed to only follow a formula...and not consider anything that hasn't been identified as a "hit".

 

I remember when DJs would play entire album sides...and there may only have been one "hit" on the entire album.

Or stations that would play a good mix of music, much of which was really good, but not necessarily a "hit".

 

No...sorry...radio these days, for the most part...sucks. :(

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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I had five or six different kids in here for projects this week. All are musicians/singers. Most are pretty good. Late teens/early 20's. I was asking if they think radio sucks...using Los Angeles KIIS as an example station. All 5-6 of them say they listen constantly and ..in their opinions, no, radio music doesn't suck. Except oldies stations that play music from the 60s-70's..which the kids here this week don't relate to or like at all.

 

They also mentioned their favorite songs that are out right now and constantly played on KIIS. I really like about half of those and I'm in that camp that thinks there is a ton of incredible new stuff coming out all the time....that gets played to death once at hit status (example..."Since U Been Gone"..a great salvage job by max Martin). But that's cool that some radio stations operate as mavericks and some "play the hits". Radio's operating just the way I've experienced it for the past three or four decades.

 

I run into lots of younger musician folks here and I think I'll continue this poll over the next couple of weeks just out of my own curiosity.

 

Shall I tell these kids they suck for liking radio stations/playlists that suck?

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Originally posted by BOOKUMDANO:

I was asking if they think radio sucks...using Los Angeles KIIS as an example station. All 5-6 of them say they listen constantly and ..in their opinions, no, radio music doesn't suck. Except oldies stations that play music from the 60s-70's..which the kids here this week don't relate to or like at all.

Don't know what kind of music KISS plays. Alsomany of those kids have been programmed by the same radio stations in questionand Im sure we can all find some music on just about any station that we like.

But the overall programming is pretty lame and appears to be done by people that dont even listen to the music they are playing/programming.

 

As far as stations that play 60s-70s hits....well, they kinda' suck too, 'cuz they all play the same song lists as you go from station to station.

I guess they all get the same memos.

 

I have nothing against "hits"...but when you dial through several stations and they all sound the same...and they all follow the same format...playing the same songs...sometimes in almost the SAME SEQUENCE!!!...well, that's pretty suck...IMO.

 

I'm sure that my tastes in music are different from the teen/20-something crowd...but I'm not in any way stuck in some time warp and just listening to music from my generation. I like a LOT of different music...and I agree that there is a LOT of good music being made today. That is not the argument.

 

IMOradio stations today are a lot more programmed then they were during the 60s-70s...though even then, there were some of those "hit only" stations.

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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BOOKUMDANO, I am a 23yo musician- I've got to say that, IMHO, the music from that maligned era is far more in touch with reality than most of the music played today. Maybe its the analog tape the era was recorded to or the fact that there was real grit and emotion behind the music, not just record sales. Then again, perhaps I'm just out of touch...
...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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I've met a ton of young folks that think Radio sucks. I have to agree with Miro on this one, particularly on playing the same songs in the same sequence. It's just too many songs out there for me to hear a song on one station and as soon as I flip to another they're starting the same song. I agree there is a bunch of great music out there, but I never hear them on the radio.

"All conditioned things are impermanent. Work out your own salvation with diligence."

 

The Buddha's Last Words

 

R.I.P. RobT

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