Thursday, October 09, 2014

Radio is a JOKE!

Radio stations in the U.S. are a joke! Following the stale formulas of the 1950's, radio is holding on by a thread in this country. They are competing with iPods, internet radio and a whole host of other means by which fans enjoy their favorite music artists. Radio conglomerates don't seem to care. You'll have to pry those daypart clocks, rotation formulas and also-ran morning shows from their cold, dead fingers!!

I had the radio on in the car this morning for a full TWO minutes before I turned it off in disgust.

The most disturbing part is the clock that they all adhere to, going to a 5-minute commercial break (or longer) at the same exact time, every hour...ALL of them! It's worse than watching late night cable tv, what with their formulaic infomercials playing every 12 minutes at the same time on nearly every station. This morning, I happened to tune in just as they were all going to commercial break. You know, because the radio gods in the 1950's decided that listeners would remain tuned in if you took commercial breaks at A, B, C and D every hour like clockwork. We are all trained monkeys, aren't we? So, I turned from one preset station to the next only to be yelled at by an obnoxious local car dealer, promo'd out the wazoo and generally over-saturated with over-hyped pitchmen on every stop along the dial. Would it kill them to maybe stagger their commercial breaks? Especially when one conglomerate owns 80% of the local market share?!

The second most disturbing part about American radio--and this goes back to the trained monkeys that they believe us all to be--is the "play it over-and-over-and-over" mentality of the 15 program directors that run 100% of stations in this country (and 15 may be an inflated number, but I'm just guessing...there may be as few as 4). The rotation formula has irritated me since I was a kid and my sister's couldn't get enough Madonna or Whitney or Michael, so the stations decided to play the same 5 songs every 20 minutes. It's maddening. And that formula, which has been around since before the Beatles or Rolling Stones, is still being employed today! I cannot tell you how sick I got of hearing Pharell's "Happy" earlier this year, as the teeny-bopper stations played it in heavy rotation. And just like the yelling car salesman, I'd hear his voice on 2 or 3 stations at a time if I scanned my radio dial. If kids want to hear Pharell 15 times in an hour, let them put on some headphones and cue up their iPod or Pandora!!!

And in the morning time, when I'm on my first cup of coffee, fighting traffic to get my kids to school, and totally irritated with idiot drivers, the last thing I want to hear is incessant chatter. How about some damn music? I mean, this whole medium came about to keep folks entertained. It morphed into a 24-hour juke box, but now it's just a joke. Morning shows are the worst!!! Even the guys I grew up on, Bob & Tom out of Indianapolis, are still on the morning radio dial all over the country. And their show has devolved into them laughing at their own stupid jokes, talking over each other and basically following the same rough outline they started with in the early 80's! I don't want to hear old guys snorting, laughing and trying to out-gag each other. I just wanna hear music...and not the same 5 songs every 20 minutes, interrupted only by yelling car salesmen and endless promos. Is that too much to ask?

No wonder people are tuning out in droves. My only option is the CD player in my car so I've reverted to burning CDs from my MP3 archives on my computer. I keep a stash of the homemade compilations (like my old mix-tapes) in the car at ALL times! I hate what radio is today and how little it has changed in my lifetime. I'm shocked that advertisers still throw money at this dying medium. People have tuned out. And even when they are listening, trained monkeys that they are, it has become the background music to their lives. They aren't really paying attention anymore. It's like Muzak on the elevator to them. So do advertisers really think they are getting any bang for their buck? I don't think so. But radio seems to never want to change. They don't want to really compete in the changing landscape of electronic entertainment. Radio in this country is a joke.

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