Is It Summer Yet?
July 26, 2013
Jimmy Carter in his homebase Nashville.
The concert business in Nashville could not get any better. How could you improve on this weekend? Kenny Chesney at Angels Stadium,Anaheim, Taylor two nights in Foxboro at Gillette Stadium, Blake in the Midwest with three amphitheatre sellouts, Cheyenne Frontier Days with a half dozen country names, Paisley inTexas, McGraw in NY and on and on. Great Summer for Country music shows with a lot more to go.
Summer's used to seem like they lasted forever when we were kids. The pool, beach, big Summer events and family vacations in the car to who knows where. Summer's sure don't feel that way anymore. Maybe we all work too much now they we grew up. School break is shorter. Weather is weirder.
Go back and think of your days as a pre-teen. Could life be anymore different now? Staying out until 10, going to that big radio station Summer concert. (We sure did that in Montgomery -- The Big Bam Shows and the Birmingham WVOK Shower of Stars). Summer was an event.
Corporate radio sure doesn't do anything to make Summer special. The computer plays the same rotation. It doesnt know one season from the next. This McDonald's approach to radio is going to blow up. As I travel, teach at college visit small cities you ask about radio and they look at you funny. Smaller markets that are home-owned again are trying to bring back the magic. Hope they can.
Network radio shows aren't going to get my teens listening to the radio again. Better go to plan B. Spend some of that corporate travel money on focus groups, lifestyle looks or just get off your ass and go hang around the kids at the beach or pool. They are not interested in you. They aren't interested in traditional TV either but, that's another war.
The girls you see in mass at the country concerts are not the mainstream. You changed the music to little girl music and that's what you got at the shows. As a father of three girls, that is one fickle bunch. I can't imagine building my business around there ever changing moods and desires.
It is so frustrating to have worked in and around great radio. Exciting radio. KYA to KFRC to KHJ to WABC to WFIL to WQXI to Ron Chapman and Robert W Morgan. Larry Lujack to Dr Don Rose. Even Paul Harvey to Howard Cosell. Give the people a reason to cut your station on. Music can not be the only reason.
It has never been JUST about the rotation of the music. Everyone has access to the same music. It's the presentation that got us all excited in the first place. The guys and the girls. We could not live without it.
Yes new world ... new technology ... who cares? Cell phones, Internet so many other things to do. All the more reason why you must be unique and compelling. Radio in its present jukebox form is not going to go where it wants to go.
Why do you think shows like The Voice and Idol get the biggest ratings of all the various kinds of TV? They are real, they feel immediate, they are unpredictable, they are fun, they create BUZZ. They are everything radio is NOT in 2013. Yes some people get it done right but rarely in the major markets.
These concert shows like Taylor, Brad and Kenny are pure show biz. The presentation is everything. Maybe radio bosses need to cut those events open and try to reflect those ideas.
The concert business knows it must entertain. Has radio figured out a way that the audience will allow you to entertain? It is confusing.
Corporate radio has been shrinking the stations airs taff for 20 years now. They killed the night staff that grew into the morning staff. You choked off the farm teams. Reduced the talk ... became an automated jukebox ... Muzak.
Records labels are adapting to the $1 dollar download. How will radio adapt to the one-person radio station staff. Not nearly as well! Somebody better figure this out soon.