Realities of Radio

Part of the reason that I chose to pursue radio and television was stability.  Hah! 

Back in high school, pressured by my guidance counsellor/school football coach to make a decision on my future, I latched onto a brochure from Niagara College for the R-TV Broadcasting course.  Compared to my real love, live theatre, broadcasting seemed to have the best elements of performing with the added bonus of a steady paycheque for a regular workweek. Hah again!

Over the course of my career I have worked midnights, weekends, Christmases and other major holidays, strings of dozens of days without a day off, double shifts (as a jock, that’s 12 hours straight) when colleagues didn’t show up, last-minute fill-in shifts as PD when staff “didn’t feel like” going on the air (where are you now, K.C. – I’ll never forget you!) and every other possible torturous configuration of a day that you can think of.  I’ve been the guinea pig in managerial experiments that didn’t work, subjected to lengthy meetings seemingly organized for the sole sake of attempting to bore me to death, and paired with inept and sullen colleagues whose weight I carried and made them look good.

And through it all, I stuck with it.  Why? It’s simple. I love radio! LOVE it.  I enjoy TV.  But I love radio. And it’s not for the faint of heart.

The business has evolved tremendously since I entered it and it’s been a fascinating ride. It’s more streamlined and efficient, yes.  It’s less local and personality driven in some respects but that can still be accomplished if that’s what “the powers” want.  Just tune into a MY FM station and you’ll hear how it can be done well.  There have been many changes that impact negatively on those in the industry, to be sure, not the least of which is a great reduction in the number of actual positions to be filled.  But I don’t run the industry and neither do you.  I’m a cog in the wheel and the way the wheel turns isn’t up to me. 

I started writing this blog after getting my back up from reading yet another rant from a radio veteran about how the business of broadcasting has lost its soul, how it’s not what it used to be, that owners no longer love radio, blah blah blah.  Bull.  The reality is, a lot of veteran broadcasters didn’t evolve with the business and they were left at the side of the tracks as the radio train rolled on.  No, it’s not like it used to be.  Now it makes big money and it has more listeners, if you’re doing it right.  And you, Mr. Bitter Veteran, your ego is in the way!  Just because you used to do a show during which you got to pick your own music and ramble on about any thought that entered your head, and now radio’s not about that, doesn’t mean the business is on the wrong track.  It means you’re a dinosaur.  Things change.  Get over it!

The radio managers I’ve worked for have a ton of passion and love for radio. They care deeply about what they do and about making it the best it can be.  So don’t lament the passing of “real radio”.   Let it go because hanging onto the old days is why there’s no place for you in the way things are now.