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RADIO: WHAT IS "LOCAL"?

I can’t wait to see what Randy Michaels does with the Tribune Company’s broadcast properties.

Randy spoke twice at my PD Grad School. The second time was in 2003.

As the architect behind Clear Channel’s path to world dominance (only to be kicked out, leaving the company in the hands of people who, uh, had a different vision of what radio can do), Randy was challenged by an attendee:

“You’ve ruined local radio!”

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING AUDIO CONTAINS BAD LANGUAGE. (Really.)

Randy enlisted me to help with his response. I never even suspected he had lain a trap for me.

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  • Stinger June 25, 2008, 10:54 am

    WHOA! You got suckered, Dan. Gotta admit, I would have said the same thing about everything being local “back in the day.”

  • Dan O’Day June 25, 2008, 12:12 pm

    Had to delete a post here that included a link to another blog. Sorry, but we can’t have postings that serve to promote other sites; our “Comments” feature is intended to encourage active discussion and exchange of ideas.

    Also, the linked-to site promoted a political agenda, thereby making it a double no-no.

    No offense intended to the poster.

  • Dan O’Day June 25, 2008, 12:15 pm

    @ Stinger:

    Yeah, almost as soon as I opened my mouth I realized I’d walked right into it. But it did help Randy (dramatically) make his point.

  • Kevin Zimmermann June 25, 2008, 3:04 pm

    Dan: While Randy may have a point, (and I come from the same “old school” perspective as you, dating back to ’76) there seems to be a tendency today to use voicetracking as a crutch. I’m sure G-M’s love it for economics, and P-D’s love it for dependability and consistency, but at what price? It isn’t spontaneous, usually lacks personality, and excludes the listener from participation. Such participation was certainly a big part of my attraction to radio before I got into the biz…I felt “ownership” of the stations I listened to. I’d never be able to say the same about a satellite-delivered station, and the same holds true in an ever-diminishing way with our own “live, local” stations. Maybe that’s the result of poor talent passing for a real announcer, but still ya gotta wonder.

    Con-sarn modern whatchits…gimme three cart machines, two turntables, a telephone and a mic any day!!!
    (now, let me get back to digital production on my nice computer.)

  • Dan O’Day June 25, 2008, 3:15 pm

    Oh, trust me: I’m no fan of voice tracking. It’s a way of commoditizing our business.

    I just found Randy’s take on it to be challenging, and not unfair.

    When I imagine having to go to work each day and record canned shows for X number of stations, I shudder.

    But…

    If I were 19 years old and someone said to me, “Here’s the deal. Every day you show up — no dress code — and use this cool equipment to record your voice, magically your voice is blended with other prerecorded elements, and you’ll be a radio star in six different cities…

    If someone said that to me when I was 19?

    I’d probably respond, “And you’re going to PAY me??”

  • BB Hainsworth June 25, 2008, 3:51 pm

    Isn’t all this voice tracking a matter of economics? Back in the old days there were a lot more mom and pop operations, lesser stations in the market and personalities on the air who were somewhat engaging. (At least in our Canadian markets) Now the dials are jammed packed, stations are owned by big publicly traded companies who want profit. I once had a GM who told me he didn’t want certain shlocky advertisers on the air because it didn’t fit with our sound and they stuck out like a sore thumb. How shlocky is it when a voice track jock sticks out like a sore thumb when he says the mayor’s name or major streets wrong!

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