Merlin Magic?

Not so much…


Well, it was exciting for a couple of weeks, wasn’t it?

Randy Michaels back in the game. Walt Sabo as COO. Both ‘legends’ promising something bold and new that would entice younger listeners to a different type of news coverage on FM in New York and Chicago.

I don’t know if you took the time to listen online, but I did.

That very first week, I couldn’t wait to hear what these two guys had created.

But after about a half hour with each station, I decided I wasn’t being fair, because they had only debuted a week or so ago.

I waited a month, and listened again. And again, last month.

Look, WEMP supposedly has a 0.6 in the latest PPM, so I don’t need to pile on.

And I don’t think I am by saying something I’m sure Randy hears every day (which is why Walt’s no long working for Merlin): Every part of this product is weak and not ready for prime time.

Every part.

Here’s an idea: Why not spend more time on the substance of the product listeners hear than on trying to play head games with CBS?

Your liners are unimaginative and poorly written.

It’s only New York City…why would I expect an actual voice actor, someone with experience and talent, to read them? Why would I expect a voice, a read, that would command my attention and notice?

NYC Times Square

And why does anyone think that just because you’re 30, rather than 60, and a female, that you want to hear news about shoes and parties?

News. Defined as “Newly received or noteworthy information, esp. about recent or important events.”

Look, there are plenty of devices that can give me gossip and fluff that are a lot more entertaining than what I heard on these two stations — and with fewer commercial interruptions.

The challenge is to find ways to tell stories 30 year-olds care about hearing, and then find fresh, unique, talented voices to tell them in ways those 30 year-old ears aren’t used to hearing them.

That starts with writing. Great writing.

And great writing starts with real talent.

And real talent is expensive, because it’s rare and in demand, but if you can’t find it in, or lure it to, New York and Chicago, then it’s time to turn off the lights.

“Noteworthy” and “important” stories haven’t changed, so the only way to be distinct is to tell them differently.

Get it?

Don’t waste my time with fluff and Cease & Desist Orders.

Dazzle me with new ways of hearing the stories WINS covers. The real stories real listeners care about.

Think Jon Stewart. He’s covering the same big stories NBC, CNN and FOX are, but in a totally unique voice.

It may already be too late, because as we all know from our own lives, so chant along with me…”You only get one chance to make a first impression!

But, Mr. Michaels, if you’re still up for trying to create for Radio News what Jon Stewart did for TV News, call me. I’d love to help, and I know some really, really talented people who would be more interested in creating something remarkable and amazing every day than generating a headline in AllAccess for themselves tomorrow.