Lost Confidence

Do you feel it?

I think we’ve lost our confidence, our belief in radio as a source of delight, of unpredictable discovery and entertainment.

How else to explain what we hear on the air?

Even if this generation’s Kidd Kraddick is out there somewhere, how would we know? Because the daypart that allowed Dave to become “Kidd” is voice-tracked by most stations.

No one starts their career doing Morning Drive.

I understand why it’s happened: The people running radio companies are mostly MBA types, immersed in finance and balance sheets and ROI. Their’s is not a right-brain world of imagination and creativity and delight.

It’s not that they don’t value ideas; they don’t value ideas that cost money. Their notion of creativity is about swapping equity for debt relief, not making you laugh on the way home from work, or conceiving The Last Contest.

And we in programming bear some responsibility too because we were lazy and undisciplined for too many years. We found it easier to follow some consultant’s format book than build our own unique product hour after hour, day after day. It took less time to just shut our air talent up than find brilliance and learn how to motivate and manage it.

Still, if someone reading this has the courage to stand alone, your market is there for the taking.

Cumulus and Clear Channel can’t challenge your moves because their local hands are tied by layers of expensive executives who live in New York and like to fly on private jets. CBS and Entercom don’t seem inclined to much more than surrender now either.

Creativity is possible if you value it.

Connection is possible every time you speak if you coach it.

Delight — pure joy — is at your fingertips if you’ll risk it.

Radio’s original purpose was never solely playing music. It was entertainment, personal companionship, information…

It was about dreams and making them come true, and it can be still for those who believe in it.



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