Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123
Results 21 to 25 of 25

Thread: Radio Catch22s

  1. #21
    JohnVero's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    The Treasure Coast, Florida
    Posts
    1,015
    As I thought about the last post, I couldn’t help but think of reputation and how it plays into this subject. No doubt, Rick Stacy has earned a great reputation. In my own career, I saw legitimate and well-earned stellar reputation. But I also saw rising stars who developed solid reputations based more on gift of gab and self-promotion. I saw this in radio too. Luckily, they can't fool everybody, especially in the long run.

    Then there are those who may not have had the best reputation. Where it gets a little tricky is with individuals who have identified shortcomings and have made strides to improve. Unfortunately, reputations that are about deficiencies of one way or another are hard to shed. It’s unfortunate and it’s a Catch 22. Those who work at unsuccessful stations including older-skewing ones, find getting that new gig especially hard. The truth is those who are working at a successful station have a better chance at moving on to a new job than someone who was laid off over an extended period of time. Downsizing hurts. To those it effects, there's usually a feeling of inadequacy.

    While reputations apply to people, image applies to radio stations.

    For a good number of years, and before I subscribed to SiriusXM, I drove between Jacksonville and Broward County/S. Florida 6-8 times a year or 12-16 times back and forth. There was a lot of radio listening. I noticed WOCL rarely sounded as I remembered it. It was always in a state of evolving and never sounding stale.

    I was a big fan of the former WMXJ Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (Magic 102.7) when it was classic hits and even oldies.Music changes occurred slowly over the years. A number of their air team would remain at the station for well over 20 years. I met many of the jocks. One of them, Joe Johnson, was someone whom I talked to probably close to 100 times via on site events/promotions and all the station sponsored concerts. Obviously, he was very approachable and friendly.

    In case you don’t know, Joe is host of a syndicated program called “Beatle Brunch” and it was a program Magic carried until it rebranded as 102.7 The Beach and virtually everyone on the station was let go.

    In Magic's last year, they advanced the music on the weekends to all 80s. But these efforts seemed negated with the continued airing of Beatle Brunch and featuring a lot of older music during the week. This did little to change the image or perception of the station. While we can all play Monday morning quarterback, sometimes Catch 22 situations require making tough decisions.

    With even a greater Hispanic presence in Miami than Orlando, Magic never added a Hispanic surname talent to their roster. That should have been done while advancing and tweaking the music. A percentage of every classic hits station playlist plays rock. But in Magic’s case, those songs needed to be balanced with rhythmic/soul hits. In WOCL’s 12 songs I posted before, 5 of them were performed my artists of color. That one hour of the playlist is about as perfect as it gets in my view.

    It’s not easy making tough decisions. Before Entercom came along, Magic’s predecessor owning companies were Jefferson Pilot and Lincoln Financial. They treated the on-air team like family. In fact, I applauded their commitment many times on the boards for their caring, compassion and vow to have live and local talent on the air 7 days a week.

    But, in the end, they did a disservice not only to themselves but to everyone involved with the station and the listeners. A number of times, the companies buckled up under listener protests when taglines were changed dropping the 60s. There’s lots of lessons learned there and something I’m big on. I wish they were still around but their image was too far gone. It's all Catch 22.

    More to come (I think)
    Last edited by JohnVero; 05-08-2019 at 03:09 PM.
    Radio is full of surprises. Stay tuned! ~ For inspirational content, follow me at https://twitter.com/LifeWithJohn. Contact me at [email protected]

  2. #22
    JohnVero's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    The Treasure Coast, Florida
    Posts
    1,015
    There were a number of subjects I wanted to talk about and I got to most of them. This was an interesting topic, at least to me. I’m never quite sure what the readers think lately. Lack of response probably reflects lack of interest in the subject. It's discouraging. And so I close with a mix of Catch 22 topics to nail this down.

    ************************************************** ************************************************** ********
    In the previous segment, station-sponsored concerts can be put under the umbrella of big promotions. Many promotions of the past were not only bigger than life but they were quite creative. There was interaction between the radio host and the listener.

    Today, many promotional contests go something like this: Text “fun” to XXXXX and good luck! With many national contests around and low chance at winning, listeners are not told who won and they don’t get to hear a playback of the lucky listener. It’s all so cold and one has to question the positive impacts of such contests. Is radio even a personal medium anymore?

    But the reality is we live in a texting world. I’ve had no choice but to join the bandwagon. I’ve dealt with a number of contractors over the past year. They don’t respond to phone calls and voicemail but texts are a different matter. When I got a storm door last year, all the “conversation” was done by texts, email and attachments. We are a very impersonal society to say the least.

    While I find most of today’s radio contests boring and unimaginative, it’s apparently what the public wants and finds convenient. Plus, it can accommodate voicetracked and/or automated presentations. Catch 22 situations are probably a stretch here. But I do wonder if there are significant listener impacts when traditional approaches vs. new methods are used. Traditional approaches and capturing listener reactions and excitment seemed priceless.

    ************************************************** ***********************************
    As I looked at the 18 Florida Nielsen markets, I saw there were only 4 that offered Variety Hits. I realize this doesn’t account for companies that don’t subscribe to Nielsen but for the 4 markets represented, none were even in the Top 50. As I said earlier, I don’t quite understand the need for Adult Hits but the format must fit into a strategy for some companies.

    The “Jack FM” brand of Adult Hits has an “indifferent attitude” voice imaging that’s been their trademark and they’ve been doing this for years. ‘We don’t take requests.’ ‘We play what we want.’ ‘No annoying DJ’s here.’ ‘We play anything.’ And on and on it goes. Sorry, it’s boring radio when you compare it to a WOCL we discussed earlier.

    My theory is the Jack FM approach must fit into a profile of listeners who want to hear music and not anyone talking over it. Radio has pounded into the heads of listeners with countless reminders that more music, less talk is utopia and that's what you should want. It’s all Millennials know. Anyone who wants to take a different approach with Adult Hits utilizing an air-team with personality would probably have to proceed with caution. They must have the skill sets to pull it off. Probably more Catch 22.

    ************************************************** ***********************************
    I listen to a lot of music from a lot of different sources and platforms from hearing it on the various TV cable channels to my own music and to SiriusXM. There’s a lot of the same formats in virtually any market you visit or live in. There are some differences. For example, in Florida, the Country format is more prevalent the further north you go. In the Miami area, it’s more rhythmic and even Tropical.

    I do wonder what can and will come next on the subject of formats. A SiriusXM station I listen to the most is their “Love” channel. Virtually every genre of music is presented, except harder rock, which is absolutely fine by me. It’s amazing how many love songs exist. Much of the playlist feature songs from the 70s, 80’s and 90’s. But they offer songs from this century too and every once in a while they wow the listener with a song from the 60s such as a Beatles album cut and even the 50’s such as The Everly Brothers “Dream.” It all flows rather nicely despite the differences in decades. Love after all is love and it's timeless.

    My feeling is with some modifications, a “Love” format can be an interesting and unique format for terrestrial radio. A question I constantly wrestle with is this: Does softer music equate to attracting a disproportionate older audience? It’s another Catch 22 situation.

    There was skepticism with the “Easy” brand and it’s proving to be a formidable and viable format. Every format experiences trial and error. With the right company and people, who really knows?

    Many formats today feature lots of upbeat, party tunes. Is there room for something different? Earlier one of the posters said something I found very interesting and it had to do with older music. If you make a substitution it would read like this: a format based on SOFTER music that does not sound "WIMPY" to the listener... it just sounds "nice."

    Can we use a little more “nice” on the radio?
    Radio is full of surprises. Stay tuned! ~ For inspirational content, follow me at https://twitter.com/LifeWithJohn. Contact me at [email protected]

  3. #23
    JohnVero's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    The Treasure Coast, Florida
    Posts
    1,015
    While the readers continue to ponder my previous question, I thought of adding a bonus post.

    There was a time, replacing a long tenured jock was a big deal. The advertising community would hold its breath in anticipation of what would follow and if the station would remain dominant with changes. It wasn’t just morning drive, but talent often became synonymous with their daypart. Their personality left impressions on listeners. I would wager that those of you reading this who are 50+ could probably recall the jock schedule of your favorite station from many decades ago.

    Mike Perry was hired at WOLL in the late 90s along with current afternoon PM drive host, Skip Kelly. As far as Catch 22's go, there's probably all kinds of reasons why one goes and one stays. I also add, today’s music radio listeners, perhaps outside of morning drive, rarely respond or are even aware of talent changes.

    I think we would all agree that the odds of keeping one's job increase substantially when senior management likes and appreciates you. The other major consideration is the skill sets of the people on the team. Skip Kelly is a programmer. I believe he still programs CHR WFKS (97.9 KISS FM) in Jacksonville. He was also PD of their Adults Hits format for a number of years before it (finally) bit the dust. Mike Perry was the live and local host at WOLL in middays. Perhaps, for a Top 50 market, it was an expense that could no longer be justified.

    On the surface, it can be demoralizing if the feeling is few people really care what happens to you. But, I think you need to look at these kinds of situations at another level. Catch 22s or call them business decisions are a constant. The thing that’s important is to not box yourself in a corner but to enhance your voice and persona skills or skills even outside of broadcasting. Self improvement is ongoing or should be.

    I've thought about voices on the radio. As much as typical listeners may complain about "DJ patter," there's far more sounds from human voices than average listeners think. Even automated stations are loaded with voices. There’s usually two five minute stopsets on average per hour. These are loaded with the sounds of human voices. There's the voice imaging of the station. There's promotional announcements. There's station IDs, even if they are sung, it's still the sounds of a human voice(s). There's weather, news and traffic feeds and on and on.

    When you think about it, voice over work has a lot of opportunity. It's in demand and it's been that way for a long time. It's certainly competitive. When I check on a talent's website, it's amazing what you can find. There are also some who showcase their skills better than others in audio self-promotion. Here, Catch 22 doesn't really weigh as heavily in the equation. It's all about the skills and influencing the potential client to give you a shot.

    In all my years in the banking world, I attended many forums. When I saw video presentations they were all voiced by someone obviously. Sometimes I would recognize that voice as being from someone I heard on the radio. I've listened to so many airchecks over the years so I often would know the voice but not always the name.

    I've seen the term "voice over actor" in many talent bios and their websites. To be honest, at first, I had no idea what that really meant. But then I came to realize that those with gifted voice inflections and range can take on the persona of virtually anyone, including a goofy cartoon character. They can be serious, funny, empathetic, younger, older, persuasive, and everything in between. What an incredible skill! Voice acting is not for everybody. Some may be better doing mobile DJ work. Everyone is unique and some abilities just come easier for certain things.

    No matter one’s profession, careers can be loaded with Catch 22 situations. The trick is to not be great at just one thing.
    Last edited by JohnVero; 05-27-2019 at 08:32 AM.
    Radio is full of surprises. Stay tuned! ~ For inspirational content, follow me at https://twitter.com/LifeWithJohn. Contact me at [email protected]

  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnVero View Post
    No matter one’s profession, careers can be loaded with Catch 22 situations. The trick is to not be great at just one thing.
    I agree, and one of the things that has contributed to some on-air people losing their jobs was their perceived or real inability to adapt to the changing world of radio. Some of these DJs didn't see social media as part of their job. Or making sales calls. Or doing VT for stations in other markets. There are lots of opportunities within radio companies, without seeking voiceover work on the outside. Some companies have rules about outside work and conflicts of interest. They might object if their morning guy became the voice of a sponsor whose spots air on competing stations. I know one radio guy who also is the staff announcer at the local arena. His contract allows him to do that. But other companies might prevent him from seeking such a job. That's another Catch 22.

    There is a discussion going on in the Boston group about a former anchor at an all-news AM station who is now voicing radio spots for a cannabis related drug. Medical marijuana is legal in Massachusetts. This particular anchor was let go last year. Now he's the voice of a commercial airing on his former station. Listeners recognize the voice, but he's taken on a new role. Is that also a Catch 22? Maybe.

  5. #25
    JohnVero's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    The Treasure Coast, Florida
    Posts
    1,015
    In the previous post, TheBigA said "perceived or real inability to adapt to the changing world of radio." While that was in reference to talent and their ability to be hired, stay employed, or even to lose their gig, that line got me thinking a lot.

    In another board, I initiated a conversation about the frequent preemption of SiriusXM's "Love" channel. For those of you not familiar with it, it's as the name applies. The playlist is built around love songs that are in the soft, mellow category. There's a relatively few channels given the vast number of options that can be defined as soft and mellow. So, when one of the few channels is periodically preempted, my take is lack of popularity may be the issue. How SiriusXM determines this may not matter as much as the reality of what actually occurs. Perhaps they are just making a big mistake.

    As I think about commercial radio, a great deal has changed over the last few years especially. We've seen AC formats shed their image of light and soft for edgier and even rock oriented fare. Many classic hits stations have a very pronounced rock lean. Initially, classic hits formats could be considered "Retro Top" in that rock oriented tunes represented only a small percentage of the playlist. There was Motown/Soul, pop, oldies, disco, ballads, and even novelty tunes in the mix.

    On the subject of "Catch 22, I found the following synonyms to describe the term:
    Difficulty · issue · trouble · worry · complication · difficult situation · mess · muddle · mix-up · snag · hitch · drawback · stumbling block · obstacle · hurdle · hiccup

    And so to the statement of "perceived or real inability to adapt to the changing world of radio," I have to wonder if mellow, softer pop, music formats are limited in number because of perceived, real or imaginary, performance issues.

    While I’m not familiar with all Florida markets, I’m aware of a relatively few that offer what can be classified as relaxing music. Here on The Treasure Coast, there’s WOSN, a soft AC that still plays tons of 70s tunes. They can afford to advance their sound. There’s WDUV in Tampa that is lighter than a traditional AC but I believe they more closely resemble an earlier version of Classic Hits with some softer rock. And of course, there’s WFEZ in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale which in many ways defines the “Easy” format.

    I spent the last few days both listening and reviewing WFEZ’s playlist. It’s quite contemporary. I heard a Pink song from 2017 (What About Us) as well as many other this century and 90s songs. So I can now understand why the station pulls in, not only great 35+ numbers but 18-34 as well. The music “sweet spot” has certainly advanced. But what has been done exceedingly well is there is a consistency in sound.

    WFEZ is expertly programmed. I wonder why we don’t see clones of that format in many other markets. I also wonder why pop-oriented classic hits formats are diminishing in numbers as well. I believe stations that can differentiate themselves can be at an advantage. Of course, it has to be done well.

    Maybe that’s the Catch 22. I believe there is a perception, real or not, that softer songs attract mainly older listeners. And so, there is a reluctance or even bias that keeps softer AC, mellow rock, or even retro pop formats in limited numbers.

    I’ll throw one more thing in and that’s budgets. That's a Catch 22 too. Not to take anything away from WFEZ, but they practically have 24/7 live and local highly talented folks. Not every station and market is in that situation. But, nonetheless in my view, I believe with so much music overlap among various formats, a relaxing and refreshing music alternative has possibilities.
    Radio is full of surprises. Stay tuned! ~ For inspirational content, follow me at https://twitter.com/LifeWithJohn. Contact me at [email protected]

Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

     
Useful Contacts
Community


123