So, this is what it's come to...

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So, this is what it's come to...

Post by winterwest » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:24 am

I’m just dumbfounded.

I’ve worked in this business on-air and as a Promotions/Marketing Director for 35 years now. In my semi-retirement from the industry I’ve been producing and hosting my own weekly 1 hour travel/entertainment/culinary show just to keep my fingers in it. I own my show. I choose the sponsors and sell the spots. I barter the show to the station for 20 on-air promos for the show per week. I live 3 hours away from the recreational market in which the show airs but we cover the entire region so that’s not a problem. The show is produced in my home studio and sent to the station. My radio show is not how I pay my bills, but it works great for me and I think everyone out there wanting…no, longing to do real radio again should pursue this avenue. But then, I always think my ideas are the best.

Of course, most Promotions Directors from my era are pretty arrogant fucks. (especially the award winning ones) But we earned it by generating huge piles of NTR for our stations. We made sure that our stations were out in the community doing something other than handing out weenies at a car lot. We didn’t lean everything we did against social media and ignore what radio was meant to be. The goal of a good radio promotion was to generate revenue, build cume, and create/support your positive image in the community. We did it all without pasting our face to a screen. We loaded backpacks full of t-shirts and grabbed our skis and hit the slopes in world class ski resorts and made sure as many listeners and soon to be listeners as possible were wearing our shirts. Especially the ones making a show of them at our competitors on slope event! (our listeners and resort guests got the shirt only if they wore it as their top layer)

Anyway, this is starting to sound like a “when I was a boy” story so I’ll beat all the little punk-asses out there waiting to pounce to the punch…yeah, I’m an old guy. But I’m an old RADIO guy. And now that I’m damn good and ready, I’ll tell you why I’m dumbfounded…

Over the years I started and ran my own promotional/production company as a vehicle through which to run production jobs and produce community serving events. I also use it to further the interests of my sponsors and promotional partners. Let me tell you what I’ve run in to recently that speaks volumes about who is running this business these days.

I have as a sponsor one of the regions Premier kayaking outfitters. These people are go-to when it comes to not only getting to some of the “unknown” places, but getting you in to places requiring some pretty heavy permitting with no hassles, as well. I have now gone to all but one station in the market in which I live and offered them an all inclusive, multi-day kayak adventure for two. No strings attached other than the use of the name of the outfitter and contact information when they promo the give.

Now if it’s me, I’m immediately thinking to myself, “How can I make some money off this? Hey! Let’s tie in one of the local outdoor clothing/equipment stores, and that limo company with the stretch Hummer to get them to the drop off point and that diner downtown to cater early morning javalina sausage breakfast burritos and…” You get the picture. Your job is to always be thinking of ways to make the station money. Always.

Here’s what I’ve been getting: “Well…I don’t know. We’ll have to see if we can do anything with it.”
Translation: “I have absolutely no idea what to do next. But, I think I’ll act like I’m doing this guy a favor so he’ll know who’s in charge then check with my friends on Facebook to see if they can think for me…”
Now, keep in mind, there’s nothing in this for me from the stations end. They pay me nothing. They trade me nothing. In fact, my end in this can be as little as making introductions between my sponsors or partners and a station in a market they want exposure in. I get nothing more from them for my efforts on their behalf in these instances. It’s purely over and above what they get as part of their sponsorship/partner package. I school them as best I can on what their product is worth promotionally and what kind of exposure they should expect (and ask for) from the station, but other than that, everyone makes their own deals unless I’m contracted to do so.

None of this changes my life, of course. Coming up on the 27th I’ll celebrate 8 years now free of stage four throat cancer and I'm exploring with a friend taking El Camino de Santiago some day soon. I still remember all the support I got from all of you as I was going through treatment. Thanks again for that!

I guess I really am an old dinosaur. If my situation wasn’t what I’ve made it I probably wouldn’t want anything to do with this business anymore, either, or at least the people running it. The problem as I see it is, few if any running this business anymore know what it is. Everyone wants to make it something it was never meant to be. It was the campfire we sat around and told stories. It was the simple Sunday road trip with friends down to the lake.

My Dad, who is still alive at 87 will sometimes say “I don’t care. I won’t be around to see it”. I’m not quite there. In fact, I find a great deal of amusement in the image in my mind of all these great and brilliant radio minds, together on a team building exercise, seated around a computer monitor with a campfire image dancing on it, texting each other from 10’ away. It’s the way communication is done today.

I’m not ready to attend radios funeral yet. But I’m picking out a suit.

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Re: So, this is what it's come to...

Post by jjenkins » Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:09 pm

Wow, what a verbose, uninteresting diatribe. Too long; didn't read. Learn to self edit tardo.

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Re: So, this is what it's come to...

Post by onepercenter » Sun Mar 31, 2013 4:48 pm

JJagoff ..(RB),you need something to do ,like maybe a real radio job,

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Re: So, this is what it's come to...

Post by halltalk » Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:45 am

winterwest -

Well written, passionate post. I enjoyed it. Don't mind the nitwits like jj. Just as bugs are attracted to light, guys like jj enjoy flitting around those of us who are bright, burn with passion and still give a damn.

More power to ya ...

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Re: So, this is what it's come to...

Post by femmyv » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:05 am

You need to speak with the station's "Brand Manager."

I think a huge reason so many people in radio don't know how big the kayaking scene is, is because we aren't paid jack.

A barely acceptable beginners' outfit is going to set you back $200 *if you know what you look for* used, a GOOD beginners' outfit is going take $700 - and that's for flat-water.

All that, versus the beer tab at free concerts ... for most people in radio, the beer's going to win.

The #1 reason I was willing to pay all that money for outfitting was because I'm too old and get up too early (morning drive) for many concerts, and club shows aren't even an option.

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Re: So, this is what it's come to...

Post by winterwest » Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:46 pm

Didn't read it huh, JJ. Sorry for the big words...

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Re: So, this is what it's come to...

Post by TheMaxPower » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:05 pm

Once again great post. Thought you want to know in case you already didn't, our old collegue Hitman Hurley passed away at 58 last week. Hope you're well my friend.

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Re: So, this is what it's come to...

Post by ronnie2057 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:18 am

There seems to be a group of people who are scared of "seasoned" radio veterans.

They know that all they have going for them is the ability to use their youth as a weapon because they don't have the chops and skills to go head-to-head with radio PROS who have been doing this longer than some of these YOUTHFUL people have been alive.

Don Imus is 72
Tom Joyner is 63
Howard Stern is 59
Rick Dees is 63

And, those who continue to engage in this discriminatory practices FULLY understand that many large and small radio groups are reaching out to the TALENTED radio pros with EXPERIENCE, skill and ability.

If you haven't seen this feature on the legendary Barry Kaye, you should read this: ... ryKaye.htm

It gives me chuckles when I see the THINLY disguised AGE DISCRIMINATION "concerns".

Some of us take care of ourselves and engage in HEALTHY hobbies. Below is something I ran across recently----------------------------------------------------------------------------- ... er-40.750/

So, which one of you YOUNGER pukers with a cross bite and SHIBILANSHE that even a dee_esser won't remove will strike out at ME now?

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Re: So, this is what it's come to...

Post by danno » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:55 pm

i like the post on Age Discrimination, and it is out there, WHY?
#1 some program directors and gm's may be intimidated by someone with more experience then they have.
#2 experienced older air talent want more money based on that experience, they are established probably have a home, rather than rent and so on. so, why hire an experienced older worker when you can get a green kid who (lives with mom & dad or has everything they own in the trunk of a 89' oldsmobile) & will work for next to nothing, just to BE IN RADIO.
#3 (i think this one is somewhat minor but could be a factor in some places) older workers could drive up the group health care costs.

i hear and see people in their 20's getting jobs at Adult stations like Classic Hits, or Classic Rock and i'm sure experienced older air talent were passed up for those jobs. Age Discrimination, might be.

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Re: So, this is what it's come to...

Post by tstone » Mon May 06, 2013 7:10 am

Well written, WW. Though I like how you allow for optimism and possibility, I find myself somehow even more positive. Call it intuition, call if faith, call it the model the big boys trying to create on borrowed time, continuing to fail...

...real radio will be back. In fact, it is out there, just have to look a bit harder for it.

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