Monday, June 29, 2009

The Michael Jackson - Elvis Radio Connection: I remember when Elvis died. If you were there, think about it. Nary a mention on the CBS evening news; Time Magazine buried the story in the back of the issue.

RADIO was there. Radio was where we mourned and shared our thoughts and feelings. Callers could request Elvis songs. Programmers could air specials within minutes. I was a Dee Jay in Chicago then and remember the adrenaline rush of our relevance.

Michael Jackson dies and radio's role, is diminished. TMZ dwarfs CNN and the major networks along with radio in reporting news. How quickly did voice tracked stations respond?

As I noted last week, I have decided to be optimistic. As an industry we can recapture our extreme relevance, but it will take a lot of hard work. Are you prepared for when a major Country star (heaven forbid) dies? Are you using the excuse, "We're understaffed" or do you have a plan? We must lay down the gauntlet.

Economically, radio will get healthy again. In the meantime, we have to work harder and more creatively.

To quote an old Country song, "time's a wastin'" ...

1 comment:

Tony Clark said...

I remember when Elvis died. I had just finished my freshman year in college and was working at the hotel at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. I was playing with my transistor radio (when was the last time any of us did that) and was pulling in CFTR-AM in Toronto, just across Lake Erie, when they broke with the news on Elvis. Everything stopped for that.

Fast forward 32 years. I'm driving on US-131 near Cadillac to a project, had the iPod adapter going. Radio wasn't on. My cell phone rang, and my wife was on the other end telling me that Micheal Jackson had died. Immediately turned on the radio. The FMs had NOTHING. One of the AM talkers had it, but only via CBS radio news, in a special report, then back to their syndicated fare.

I just read this morning that I guy I used to work with in radio was on remote at a beach when the Michael Jackson news came in. Cell phones all across the beach rang, seemingly in unison. MAJOR shift in delivery systems for breaking news.

I love radio, but this is writing on the wall that hopefully someone with resources can tap into.