No Static At All…

Remember radio?

People gripe about terrestrial radio all the time now, but hey….

It’s still free!

And people want to call their local radio station to complain or “program” the station themselves.  Or get upset when they change formats.

But you can’t blame the guy answering the phone.

You can’t blame the program director.

Heck, you can’t even blame the general manager.

You can blame the state of everything.

So I guess that means blaming ourselves.

A handful of companies own all the stations you listen to now.  That’s the bottom line.  And the people who work at the station you are listening to really just want to keep their job, just like you would.  The power has been taken out of their hands.

I guess an example would be an empty strip mall in what seems to be a good location.  You ask why it’s empty.  You are told that the rent is too high.

Well, then…you ask why don’t they come down on the rent?

Then you find out that the people who own the strip mall own 750 strip malls across the country.  Some do great, some don’t.  The ones that do well pay for the others, and they really don’t care or have the time to tend to your strip mall that is empty.  They will probably just sell it off to another company, or mow it down for something else that might make money.

They don’t care.  It’s a widget.  A product.  Just another property.

When radio was owned by individuals, they scraped and clawed to be number one.  They had to.  And they could take chances to do it.  They HAD to take chances to do it.  And they could actually make the decisions to do it.

But radio is coping with satellite now.  And a bigger problem, iPods.

I mean, if you can listen to 1000 songs in your car you know you like, why listen to the same 70 you’re not so sure of?

But the problem is also today’s listener.  People say they love certain stations.  But would they actually go away if they were THAT listened to?


If it’s cheaper.  And they still get the same revenue.

See, radio is a business, like anything else.  They really aren’t there to make you happy.  They are there for a profit.  You can’t blame them for that.

And what costs money?  People.  They can hire one disc jockey to “voice track” a show for multiple markets, and pay one guy.  The stations are all playing the same songs anyway….

But there lies the conundrum of your local radio station.  If they are to survive, the only thing they will have over satellite and iPods is….

Personality.  To be more concise, a personality that you can identify with, that’s talking about the stuff that you want to hear about and you feel comfortable with.

You know, like the old days.

The Black Jacket Symphony is going to launch Black Jacket Radio this Sunday.  You can hear it  online at:  or just tune in to 106.9 The Eagle Sunday morning from 8 until 10 am if you are in Birmingham Alabama.

It’s a specialty show going over the greatest music of our generation.  Remember those kinds of shows?  With history, humor and trivia?

We won’t be breaking any new music.  But we will be breaking out some old classics that you haven’t heard in a while, and give some of the back-stories behind them.

You know….like the old days.

Believe it or not, the staff at 106.9 The Eagle have taken a chance.

I’d like to thank them for it.  Not just for airing Black Jacket Radio, but for taking a chance in general.

Because that is what it’s going to take to save radio.


One response

  1. Bill Ezpeleta

    To further illustrate your point on the personality issue. I remember as if it was yesterday about a radio station in New York City I listened to while learning English back in 1960. The station was 1010 WINS and the disk jockey – non other than Murray the K. with the Swinging Swarae. He was knowledgeable, funny, full of ‘other trivia’ which made listening to him that much more fun. When he was not on the air, the other personality that jumps out was Cousin Brucey on station WNEW.
    So, since I haven’t heard from these two in 52 years, it’s a credit to their personality and their craft that I still remember their names AND their radio station call outs.
    Have fun Sunday – it ought to be a blast.

    March 22, 2012 at 4:50 pm

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