My dear friend Pat O’Day, one of the great radio program directors of all time, wrote the following observations recently…Pat, being as long winded as I, atually wrote about three times this much, but I chopped it down.
Without great performers, without solid, gripping,
personalities with the ability to reach through the speaker and
grab you by
the ears, talk radio is just another boring diversion in a world
[Most markets suffer] from a
shortage of local talk greatness
due to a lack of coaching and development on
the part of the program
directors. The tendency prevails to hire them, put
them on the air, tell
them what topics to avoid, which topics to emphasize,
the let them succeed
or hang themselves.
The days of disciplined,
patient, talent development seem to have vanished.
Aircheck meetings, goal
setting, performance accountability, and a
requirement of constant
improvement are rare to non-existent.
Sometimes, the talent is so great,
the talent overcomes this lack of
direction. Blame should be placed on
stations that rely only on research for direction.
Blame should be placed
on GMs and PDs who haven’t the ability to listen and
truly understand the
difference between sensational communication and
mundane jabber. If a GM or
PD has to wait for the book to come out to know
how their station is doing,
they were miscast in their positions.
Magic is unmistakable if one is
listening for it. But compelling,
programming can only be heard if pre-
conceived notions are put
Among Pat’s honors is being inducted into the Rock n Roll Radio Hall of Fame. I was inducted the same year, but didn’t find out about it until almost a decade later. I guess I missed the celebratory luncheon and charming parting gifts.