A New Revelation – Again


Recently, I read a snide contribution from a radio manager who was determined to school me on the way things really are. His contention was that on-air presentations and the writing and production of spots was a small part of the business – “a very, very small part of the business.”

That’s when I had a moment of pure clarity: My caustic colleague was sincere – and he was correct! His was an accurate representation of his personal radio reality. On-air presentations and the writing and production of ads were, for him (and too many others), “a very, very small part of the business”!

“Holy crapoly,” I muttered to myself. “Radio is and has been stagnant for the last 20 years because those exact elements have been suppressed and/or tossed aside. Yet, they are the only elements that can establish commercial radio as an even more dynamic medium! But none of that is deemed to be important!”

“Sales” constitutes the first, and sometimes the only, priority. Based on the overwhelming evidence of what radio has been producing in the areas of on-air presentations and commercial content, I am satisfied most radio-folk have little perspective on these extraordinary matters of consequence. “More sales” is the salvation. End of chat.

I repeat: It would be easy enough to presume I am urging a trip on a “wayback machine” and encouraging radio to start hiring a rabbit warren of “live & local” presenters, and more folks for the creative departments. I have never suggested that was an immediate option – not nearly as quickly or as easily as a number of concerned radio-people are suggesting that such is necessary.

I have plowed through crates of Tostitos, cranking out articles that suggest nothing of the sort. I agree that, ultimately, the hiring of more talent is part of the solution. But not until the existing staff have been trained and become competent in a completely new and fundamentally different approach to broadcast communications – a great deal of which I have provided in previous articles.

Meanwhile, nobody has ever been able to successfully challenge the following propositions with anything more than bleating and defensive criticisms:

–         On-air talent has been so suppressed and, often, eliminated, to the degree that renders them little more than hard-wire programmed; toy dolls of the kind that come with a pull-string and a ring that gets yanked out. This results in continuous, squawking –  irrelevant noise belched out in almost every station in every market around the country.

–         Creative has been stuffed into a bottom drawer and ignored – the results of which include spots that are banal, annoying, unappealing, insulting, and not nearly as effective as advertisers, particularly the locals, deserve.

Complete solutions – tried, tested and found-to-be-extraordinarily effective – are actually available. But how many astute readers are even willing to consider any of them? None so far! The evidence, or rather the lack of it, suggests any communicative issues were put to bed decades ago. These elements of the radio model, however, are not sleeping. They were enthusiastically smothered with a pillow.

I have been continuously asserting that radio is being squelched by dogma, traditions, and assumptions of its own making. This dogma is being followed, religiously, by stand-alone operators and the largest of the consolidating corporations. It can be argued that, when it comes to the communicative elements of radio, they don’t know that they don’t know while they claim to know. The following quote might shed some light: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain.

I have claimed before that radio, because of its electronic delivery, enjoys an “innate power” that is unique and consistent only with other electronic media. Without it and based on the cheap and shoddy advertising and programming content we (generally) provide, we wouldn’t be discussing the current, menial prosperity of much of the business. Rather than floundering around, a radio organization could still be a “category killer” and rise to the top of desirable and, most importantly, effective media.

My own expectations of personally impacting on radio-in-general are nil. Radio is likely to remain mired in a swamp of stagnation. After decades of discovering, collating, and testing, I am also unwilling to reveal the details of my model because some unknown individuals make discourteous demands. I may, one day, be introduced to a leader who is cautiously interested or inquisitive. With that unique individual, I would have a meaningful and useful conversation – while introducing a new revelation.


  1. Ron, you’re like a one-armed guy rowing a boat who gets mad at the other rowers because you’re rowing in circles. (Oooops — I forgot to ignore you)

  2. Alright, Bob.
    Ignoring me will only advance the state of ignorance about radio amongst, of all people, radio people.
    But, maybe that’s a preferred position. It certainly seems to be the most prevalent and the most comfortable.
    After all of my articles, I am still waiting to be challenged on any of the points I have raised.
    Boos, hisses and cat-calls I can get anywhere…. from the cheap seats and elsewhere.
    One legitimate challenge or counter-argument.
    Just one.
    These are the required elements for other than a lecture to take place.

  3. People — people — for crying out loud — stop responding to Ron’s stuff.

    If we ignore him he might go away.

  4. Note to Canuck without a clue: Perhaps there is something about which you would like to challenge me… specifically?
    That would be a first.

  5. Robinson has a nice voice and does good production. That’s about as far as it goes. His comments speak for themselves.

  6. With reference to anonymous Shelly’s vacuous and juvenile comments:
    I have “played the hits and talked dirty” for decades – applying the very techniques and methodologies that I have either explained in detail or to which I have alluded.
    Nobody gets specifics until or unless they do me the courtesy of contacting me directly while identifying themselves and their organization.
    Even a counter example to the alternatives I have offered in this space would be refreshing. None have been forthcoming.
    The results I have generated, meanwhile – on the air and through creative – have been spectacular and with different stations, different bands and different formats.
    That’s where I stand.

  7. Ronnie,

    I’ve glanced at your blog and your “barging in” on other’s blogs several times and have never seen any specifics on what you would do at a radio station or in charge of commercial writing except to make it “sound better”. You frequently try to hide when specifics are requested by saying “I’ve mentioned those many times here already”, when, in fact, your ramblings have never been any different-subjective rants against all commercial radio with no specific solutions. I said long ago that your appeal is as an academic at an obscure college where I think you would fit in nicely. Those who haunt the academic halls have disdain for the disciplines that they taunt, gaining the attention of young heads of mush, easily malleable and much like the sprinkling of fans whom you have here

  8. Since anonymous Shelley, that scamp, has been unable to articulate any understandings of even the basics, never mind the complexities and nuances of broadcast communications, I must assume she is in “sales”.
    Even so, why she would even attempt to barge in – knocking over the lamps and soiling the rugs – is beyond me.
    A reminder: I have already revealed much of what I have been offering in multiple articles.
    Some folks chose to ignore that.
    However, Shelly’s disdain for incompetent on-air and writing staff is noted.
    “Waiting out the famine” sounds a little too “faith-based, so to speak, for my liking.
    Real work has to be done.

  9. Ronnie is really fun this time. In the last paragraph, he blurts out the reason for all the vagueness in his “remedies” for the “ailing” radio business-He has the solution, but it’s a secret until someone hires him.
    Many DJs were muzzled, Ronnie, because they have little worthwhile to say. They have a habit of offending advertisers, listeners, middle-America, religions, minorities with attempts at humor that aren’t funny. Best to give them liners and wait out the famine of talent. We haven’t forgotten the team who did a simulated copulation in a Catholic Church as an attempt at humor.


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