Thursday, July 18, 2019

Radio Side Eye

I have worked in, out, and around radio for most of my adult life. But did you realize that I really don’t listen to the radio?

As a child in single digits, I started with a small transistor radio that I kept with me constantly. I listened to the top 40 AM stations. Then I listened to the AOR format back in the 70s and early 80s. And when that format went away, I lost just about all interest in radio. But a high school buddy got me hooked on listening to some morning guys on WKEW when he drove us to school in the mornings. The only thing we had on the Greensboro dial in the way of funny morning shows was on the country station. And most of the music they played drove me up the wall. Back then, Alabama would have me shooting the radio like Elvis shot TVs, but now I’m rather accepting of them. Who knew that would eventually change for me?

Anyways, I still listen to a local morning show. And I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with them as a producer. I started listening to them on “Day One” as most of their listeners say on the air. These days I only listen when I’m on the way to pick up a truck for a transfer to Wake Forest. After that or during a “best of”, I’m listening to one of my carefully cultivated playlists on Spotify. That is, if I have an auxiliary input available in the truck or van. If I don’t, I’m tuning in That Station 95.7 out of Raleigh as soon as I get to the 40/85 split in Hillsborough.

That Station is something I could actually find myself listening to. Give it a shot by listening online to see what I’m talking about.

One of the biggest reasons that I can’t stand listening to the radio is the lack of creativity. No one seems to put any work into it anymore. The jocks just tell us for the 5,316th time that we’re about to hear or have heard Aerosmith as if we have never heard the song for the same amount of times in our lives. For sake of all that’s holy about Gibson guitars, give us a nugget of information about the band or the song that we may not know. Just don’t go “Here’s Aerosmith on Tired Radio” or “Tired Radio with Aerosmith”. Jeez!

“That was the Supremes…” no effin’ kidding? I’ve only known that for my whole life since the song is as old as I am. Give me something like when it reached number one or when it first entered the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. Ya know, that information can be found with a quick little search on something most of us are familiar with. It’s called the Internet, gramps.

Another thing that bugs me is the tidbits of pop culture information that has nothing to do with the song that played or is about to play. I don’t mind information that could be useful, but I don’t care about what some reality buffoon or athlete has done UNLESS they’re making a joke. Groan or guffaw, just go for it!

Radio is boring and predictable and downright annoying. I honestly don’t understand how people can listen to the same old stuff over and over.

I worked for a guy that liked to say things like “When I turn the faucet, I expect water. When I turn on classic rock, I expect classic rock.” I suppose that I can see that with a certain demographic out there, possibly the brain dead that enjoys hearing the same 400 songs over and over and over again. But toss in some unexpected tunes from time to time. I just can’t get excited about hearing “Black Water”, “Communication Breakdown”, or “Freebird” ever again. Drop in Saga’s “On The Loose” and boom! You’ve got my attention and it makes me want to listen for other forgotten ditties you might bounce off my eardrums.

I’ve embraced streaming. I’m sticking with it. And if radio, as a whole, doesn’t start swimming in the sea of creativity, it will perish. Advertising revenue sure isn’t what it used to be. Of course, that’s just my opinion. If you disagree, leave a comment. I’m open to differing opinions when it comes to just about anything.

I’ll leave you with the highest praise that I’ve ever gotten in the radio business…


  1. I have found that even on Sirius XM radio they play the same lineup on a loop. It's sad. I switch from old rock stuff to country and new stuff can't really call it rock anymore it's just stuff now.

    1. Yeah, I'm not a fan of anything that's programmed. That's why I LOVE my Spotify playlists!