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for May 3, 2002

To Absent Friends
by Rich Robinson

At least once a week, I hear someone ask the $64,000 question: "Why does radio suck so badly?" There are lots of reasons why ... here's just one.
A couple of months ago, one of the major radio ownership groups issued a press release. The purpose of alerting the media was to announce, with great fanfare, a format change at a local radio station. There was the usual back-slapping by the corporate big shots, all of whom predicted that this new radio station, which was going to play modern rock, would destroy the heritage, seemingly entrenched alternative station that had been on the air in this particular city for the past few years. Here's part of that press release:
The station also announced its on-air lineup:
Mornings: Woody (voicetracked from KIOZ San Diego)
Middays: Ian McCain
Afternoon Drive: Adam 12 (voicetracked from KTEG Albuquerque)
Nights: Sloppy Joe (voicetracked from KSJO San Jose)

Did I mention that the station is in Salt Lake City? Without hearing one minute of this station, you can basically figure out what they're going to sound like. I'd bet a ton of money that they'll follow the same cookie cutter musical programming that the other Modern Rock stations under that corporate umbrella employ. With dj's named Sloppy Joe, and Adam 12, you can hazard a guess as to what their on air banter will be like.
Of course, since none of them are actually in SLC, their "local" flavor should also be insightful. Remember the scene in American Graffiti, when they head out to their favorite radio station to make a special request? When they get there, they meet a heavy-set guy, sucking down popsicles cause the freezer was broke. Remember how disappointed the kids were when they found out their favorite dj was actually on tape, and they couldn't make their request? The kicker was that the heavy-set guy was, in fact, Wolfman Jack, and their request came on later that evening...but there's not a chance of that happening now. You don't have a local station. You don't have a voice in what music they play. You do have Sloppy Joe keeping you company each night though, playing his preselected 35 songs, and he'll play each one at least twice in his shift, because research shows nobody listens to the radio for 5 hours.
"Research". Hold that thought, 'cause it's a perfect segue to another reason why radio sucks...and if you don't know what a segue is, we can blame that on bad radio, too. Stay tuned; we'll tackle that in the near future.

©2002 Rich Robinson

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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