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September 3, 2014 4:06 PM  #1

Unfocused Rant

Earlier today a CTV promo began to air on the radio station I was listening to, and  as I hurriedly turned it off so I wouldn't be subjected to that ear-bleedingly irritating imaging voice,  it occured to me I'm doing that more and more lately: turning the radio off.... not changing stations, just turning it off, full stop.    Not that it matters to any of the stations in my market, nor their corprorate masters -- I'm not a 37 year old woman, so I'm not in their demo. But once I turn my radio off I may  not turn it back on a again for a couple of days.( And so help me, if I turn it back on and hear that CTV promo guy again, it's turned off again!  Yeah, I really, REALLY hate him! So let's move on to something less personal.)

On Labour Day Monday I had to work early and as I was driving in I was listening to the CBC.  At 6:28 the host threw to the traffic reporter who took the entire 2 minutes to tell me no one was on the road.   Really?   Stop the presses!  Not so fast private radio guys!  Over at your end you were no doubt saying the same thing, albeit more breifly, because traffic is sponsored. That is the only reason it runs early  on a holiday Monday. I used to get a perverse pleasure when doing traffic on those ocassions.  (Cue going-back-in-time harp music)  "CRUD Traffic, it's fine"   Which was true, need I have said more?  That took half a second. Then I'd read the  15-second sponsor tag. Most announcers will try to flesh out what isn't flesh out-able.  The result is  45 seconds of stating the obvious followed by a tag. FIVE TIMES AN HOUR!  Excuse, six, if we're doing traffic on the 10's.  

Then there's the preaching poached from Kindergarten teaching 101:  "It's raining so make sure you take your rain coat with you."  You know...  your rain coat.   It's hanging up right beside your rotary telephone.  Hello?  No one has a rain coat any more. Very few have umbrellas. Plus I have a high pressure job, so I can pay my $700,000 mortgage, make payments on my 2 cars  and feed my 3 kids.  I know what to do if it rains.  I also know that if there's 15-car pile up some where I "may want to avoid the area".   I am not a moron.

Hmmmm.  "CRUD. Non Moronic. All the Time!"  

I used to bristle when PD's (remember them?) would castigate me for using  what they called "crutches".  Older and wiser now, I know they meant cliches. And they were right. Case in point, PSA's.   Nothing ever starts at 7 any more, it "happens" at 7. Or,  "it all happens" at 7.  Really?  So what "happens" at 7:01?  I know, I know. Nit alert!  But is it nit picking really?  There are many shows whose sole content is liners and  PSA's.   If that's all you're going to do, do it right. 

Basics.  The aforementioned PD's used to obsess about them.  The good ones would never have allowed the Sales Manager to force sponsored traffic tags when there was no farging traffic!     The PD at CFRB could  and did veto commercials if they didn't fit the sound of the station.  Laugh if you will, but he thought they would have been a tune out to his listeners.  (Actually, now that I think of it, that's not true.  His listeners' dials were rusted on 1010. So they wouldn't  tune out, but they resevered the right to be cranky about it though!)

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers".  Shakespeare was wrong.  The first thing we do, let's kill all radio consultants.

I feel better now.  But my radio is still off.

Gee, it looks like it might rain!  What shall I do? What shall I do?


September 4, 2014 8:44 PM  #2

Re: Unfocused Rant

The SCAN button is your friend, Mike



September 5, 2014 11:44 AM  #3

Re: Unfocused Rant

LOL, "scan button is your friend".  Is it?  Exactly what else would he find with that scan button?  Ever go to a suburban area and there is a big long line of fast food places?  Taco Bell is next to Wendys which is next to McDonalds.  That's akin to the scan button.  


You answered your own question when you said "PD's, remember them".  The amateur sound of many stations is probably because they don't have anyone teaching them what is right or wrong.  I'm a little less militant than you on the whole "bring an umbrella" though..  It's just topical conversation Mike, it's not a literal reminder.  

As for blaming the consultants, I have to disagree.  To predicate, I AM a consultant, although not in radio. Consultants are hired by corporations to change/fix/improve a process of some type in a business.  They are usually hired for their skillset which is often something the corporation DOES NOT possess.  So dare I ask why radio stations have to hire consultants?  I mean, if you work in a radio station shouldn't you know how to run a radio station?   

The decline in the quality of radio falls squarely on the shoulders of management. It does in radio just like it did in General Motors (sorry, it wasn't the workers who engineered cars people didn't want).  Unfortunately often times management paints over their failures by pointing the blame at others or using the example of "external factors".  The problem with all media now is that it's in a rapid state of change & the same dingdongs have been running it for 20+ years.  They THINK they're going to conquer the new world order but they won't.  Tesla builds the best electric car in the world, not Ford.  It was Netflix that let us stream video not some big cable corp. 

This is what happened Mike

1.  Radio began dumbing down it's product about the time the internet came along
2.  The early adopters discovered this internet thing made for a great replacement for the crap coming out of their car radio
3.  Big radio shrugged off this internet thing & played quaker with technology.  We don't need no streaming. We don't need text.  I mean, I see guys on SOWNY who say that announcers shouldn't be working social media while on the air.  LOL.  I mean holy fu*K man, do you still use leaded gas in your car too?  

Then suddenly, this entire generation appeared that never knew a world without the internet.  They were used to Youtube. They listened to music by streaming it on a phone or computer not an FM radio. And, en masse, they said I wanna live downtown, so they moved & they sold their cars. Who needs a car in downtown.  This generation has pretty much no connection to FM radio (and toss in a large helping of older people who just have no interest anymore).  

All of sudden radio is like that guy swept away in a raging river, clinging tightly to a floating tree. Only he's not screaming "help me, help me".  He's saying "don't worry, we're doing fine out here, in fact, things are looking better everyday".  


September 5, 2014 6:28 PM  #4

Re: Unfocused Rant

I was so convinced that you would have a thoughtful reply to my screed, I nearly ended by saying, "Over to you  Irvine". I'll have time to reply to your reply in a day or so. But I'm about to have a corn-only supper.  The last time I had 5 cobs.  Three were real good and 2 were pretty awful but my wife made my eat them anyway. The Oldies Radio equivalent would be,  Beatles, Stones and Wlison Picket, Followed by an Edward Bear and a Gary and Dave, ;)


     Thread Starter

September 5, 2014 8:59 PM  #5

Re: Unfocused Rant

Well you know Mike I do agree with you on your points. I guess the reality with me is I'm just done with caring about the state of radio. I'm to the point where when I hear something cool or interesting I expect it won't be around very long.  I guess I'm just resigned to the fact whatever good is left in this industry is bound to disappear..likely sooner than later.  And I feel sorry for all the staff I see who are let go, often for reasons beyond their control.  It's easy to say "that's just how it is" but no, it's more than that.  I see certain managers in the radio industry who make mistakes that boggle the mind yet they keep their jobs.   And while I'd never mention names I can see that some staff keep their jobs for reasons that have nothing to do with their talent, creativity or skillset.  

I expect radio to let me down.  But I expect media to let me down now.  Did you see the other day?  QMI released some report that Sid Crosby was arrested or something like that.  How does a professional media business make a mistake like that?  

I hope the corn was organic and not some Monsanto GMO stuff.  That's worse than bad radio, but people seem to be "cool" with that too.  And as for the CBC, I really like the programming.  I'd be more than happy to see more programming & pay a few more bucks in taxes for it too. And I fall in the category of "old white priviledged male".  Thankfully, I maintain a residence in Calgary so I can write my Conservative MP and complain how unhappy I am and arrogantly remind her that I pay her salary.  



September 9, 2014 10:51 AM  #6

Re: Unfocused Rant

"I expect radio to let me down". Wow... ain't that the truth.

I've always believed that the CBC was something one grew into, or grew up and listened to. I even pictured it as some anthropomorphic (motherly) form waiting for people to finally embrace her.  (Yeah, I need some professional help.) But then they began dumbing it down. (Oh hello there Ralf Benmurgi, or whatever)  On the TV side it got so bad that eventually they thought Strombo was credible.

Thanks, Irvine.  I'll EXPECT to be let down when I tune in and thus be able to say to myself, "meh".

     Thread Starter

September 9, 2014 3:14 PM  #7

Re: Unfocused Rant

Yep, I expect radio & most media to let me down. When I find a radio station I like I figure it will change format in the near future or just fire everyone.

As for CBC, I think Radio 1 has very much improved their programming from 15 years ago.  They put on some great programming & have strong drive programming in many markets. If I was asked to take 1 radio station with me to a deserted island, I'd take Radio 1.  I also like what Radio 2 does but it is inconsistent.  Radio 2 should be focused on being nearly 100% Canadian content versus playing classical music from 200 years ago.  Sorry, but these artists lived before the country of Canada even existed.  Why are we playing them? Cancon rules shld be dumped and CBC Radio should play all Canadian stuff.

And as for CBC TV I think it needs a full makeover. It should have programming that is Canadian centric (news, entertainment, education, etc). It should not air the Simpsons. I would model it after APTN, the Aboriginal People's TV Network.  APTN knows it's audience & while a bit low budget, knows who it's serving.  Few people even know it exists & ironically CBC tried to interfere with it's introduction.  It also airs one of the best drama's in the history of Canadian TV: Blackstone.  It's a drama about the life of the modern day Canadian native on reserve & off (which likely limits interest in it).  It also has some of the best acting on TV, especially Eric Schweig as "Chief Andy Fraser" who pulls off the "best effing douchebag" on TV.  He's the anti hero villian, akin to Jax Teller of Sons or Heisbenberg on Breaking Bad.

I also really like the online presence of CBC. It's well done and seems to understand the modern internet world.  The AM drive on CBC KW is pretty damn good too.  Dude, I miss you on the R3 30.  Bring it back.


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