The Next Gerry House
January 15, 2013
It dawned on me only after writing the headline for this piece that it could have two meanings. Such is the state of our industry.
It could mean, "Who's next?"
As in, who's next to be cut, to be sliced the way Gerry and Dick Purtan have been over the past couple of years.
Who's the next victim of PPM and the relentless cost-cutting that now defines our business?
But actually that wasn't what I was thinking.
I've been thinking about the morning shows I hear now and whether any will have the impact on their markets that Gerry did on Nashville, or that Dick Purtan had on Detroit.
What do you think as you listen to the morning shows in your market?
Radio isn't really trying to grow tomorrow's legendary morning show, is it?
Is Elvis Duran this generation's version of Scott Shannon and the Z100 Morning Zoo? Is Ryan Secreast a contemporary version of Robert W. Morgan?
Who do your kids want to hear in the morning as you drive them to school?
Is there even such a thing as a mass-appeal morning show today, one aimed at both parents and kids?
It feels like most of the morning shows that get media attention, or at least attention from our trade sites, tend to be rated R -- unsuitable for young ears.
Many of these morning shows are primarily talk-based, completely unlike the morning shows of the '60s, '70s, even the '80s, that still played a lot of music along with the other content.
And, just about every major market has a morning show ranked in the top 2 or 3 that you've never heard of, that never gets any industry attention -- but gets plenty of listening.
We tend to shine our spotlights on the guy holding the gun to the dog's head, even if we're the only ones watching.
The question is, if adolescents today are not growing up with really entertaining, locally-involved, music-based morning shows, what does that portend for future listening?
Maybe it won't have any effect at all.
Maybe I'm from an older age, an earlier era, and investing the time and money to develop a lasting relationship between radio station and market is as outdated as Johnny Carson hosting the Tonight Show.
Though it sure would be nice to have Johnny Carson back tonight, wouldn't it?
Do you honestly believe he couldn't have monster ratings if he was a contemporary of, and competed with Conan and Leno??
The truth, it seems to me, is that it's still all about talent and entertainment.
So, I'd love to hear your nominations for the Future Legendary Morning Show in your market, someone entertaining and involved enough to be missed when they retire 20 years from now.
Surely, there will be 10 or 20 names discussed.
We can't be banking our future on music alone, can we?