QUESTION FOR DAN O’DAY:
My son is really interested in writing and producing radio commercials
ala the Stan Freberg vein. He is 22 and I saw your site selling tapes
on radio advertising and thought this might be a good gift. His mother thinks he would be better suited going into cable tv commercial writing and producing so this is a sore spot in our family since I am in the middle. Is radio dead as far as opportunities like my wife says? I want my son to be successful as any father would, but I don't want to endorse something that has no future. I used to love to listen to Freberg stuff and every now and then I hear good ones on the radio. I think my son can write and
produce that kind of magic and want your opinion on radio as a career
choice in today's world.
Actually, future radio opportunities definitely exist for people who excel at writing and producing commercials. Someone who writes but cannot produce will be more limited, but there still will be jobs.
On the other hand, I don't think radio particularly needs someone whose goal is to write Stan Freberg-style commercials; the need is for someone who wants and is able to write commercials that get results for clients - be they humorous, dramatic, or strictly informational.
As far as radio as a career choice in today's world: A talented writer/producer should be able to make a decent living, but it probably will be more of a job than a career. If you're a copywriter or Creative Director or Production Director at a radio station, there's little room for further advancement at that station. (Typically the way to move up the radio career ladder is to move to a larger station, doing more or less the same job.)