Monday, February 19, 2007

It's Just Business!

It's amazing how so many good and talented people pour their hearts and souls into the radio business and get so little in return. It is an unrequited love. They're attracted to something that no longer exists. The 'stardom' and 'celebrity' that was once commonplace is a rare commodity these days.

When I made my broadcasting debut, radio talent were respected and rewarded. I venture to say that they were even admired. Management seemed to have a greater concern for the people on the air. But over the years things have changed. Deregulation and advancements in technology have played a big part in the diminution of the talent's position. Granted, they were always considered to be replaceable but the loss of a productive and popular jock was more pronounced back then. In recent times it causes less concern than the automation crashing. I know people, with years of experience, at legendary radio stations who are as insecure as those in the smaller markets; maybe even more so because they have more to lose. They've watched friends and coworkers as they were abruptly and unceremoniously removed from the ranks of the employed; many times for no good reason. It seems to be accepted practice these days; it's just business.

In my opinion it's bad business. When you fire someone, on a whim, it usually effects more than that one person. It touches their family, friends and business associates. And it hurts radio too. There was a time when you'd meet someone and tell them that you were on the air and they'd tell you how lucky you were and how much they wanted to do what you do. Today, word has gotten out. Now, when you tell them that you're on the air they look at you like you have three heads. They know about the mergers, the firings, the turmoil and the insecurity of the business. They know how it has treated some good people and, more often than not, they want nothing to do with it.

This industry that I love, once had character. It's lost a lot of that and the sad part is, it may be gone forever. Hopefully the people in our industry will prove me wrong.

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