Tag Archive: terrestrial radio


We hope you like it “inside” the Pajama Bar…THEE “theater of the mind” radio show left on Earth.  This show is from this time two years ago.  Who knows if we will ever open the “doors” again atop the broadcast tower, DJ booth suspended over the multi-colored dance floor and lowering the “tip bucket” from time to time to take care of the staff and the DJ… but the book will be released very soon.

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So it is another sleepless Tuesday overnight after the holidays in the U.S.A., and I am tossing and turning in bed, wondering how I am going to pay the bills this month, get to see my girlfriend overseas, and what is in store for me. This year is already beginning like last year – waiting for paltry checks in the mail.  I finally fall asleep around seven-thirty AM only to drag myself up at the crack of Noon, knowing I have things to do that I am behind schedule on.  I call in “sick” on my home business to answer some emails only to find that four people I know have sent me this story about this homeless dude getting a voice-over job.

“Why are you tormenting me like this?” I ask one sender.  “Because he talks about ‘Theater of the Mind’ radio like you always do, and did on your show”, he answers. Even my eighty-six year old Mum calls asking, “Do you know Ted Williams?” “You mean the baseball player?” I feign.  My forehead is now in my hands…”OMG” I am thinking.  I was just tired before an a little grumpy; now I am in full D.J. Grumpy mode.  No coffee in the decanter to help either.  If this be the future, then why does it play like Alice In Wonderland where down is up and up is down?  Why are people being rewarded for behavior they used to be ashamed of?  I reach for my albuterol sulfate inhaler – getting upset used to bring on Asthma attacks when I was a child, now I just get “shortness of breath” and it is too cold to go for a bicycle ride, although I briefly consider doing so, or at least taking a brisk walk.

Here is the point I made to my friends who said, “He even sounds like you do!”  Their hearts are in the right place (I am sounding like my Mum now); I even heard one young lady say how “cool” a story it is that this dude got a job with the Cleveland Cavaliers, on her college radio station.  HOWEVER: there are lines of us qualified announcers  out here with “pipes” who have been marginalized by terrestrial radio, et al for the past decade.  G_D bless the BUM, but I have been doin “theatre of the mind” radio since the ’80s (“The Pajama Bar”) having grown up listening to it done on NYC radio by great D.J.s like Murray the “K”, “Cousin” Brucie (Morrow) and Frankie Crocker.

 Ted-Williams

I recently began to send out my demo mp3s again to studios and agencies and have done so in the interim – without a nibble, hoping against hope that things turn around for me, and some homeless cat with a cardboard sign standing at the offramp of a highway gets a gig bcs a driver pulled-up and taped him to put it up on You Tube?? I’m sorry, but that is the wrong message!  So what, I should become HOMELESS, lose all I have,  get a piece of cardboard and a Sharpie, stand outside by [the nearest interstate exit] in my army fatigues and hope for the best as my TEETH rot??  Something is very WRONG with the hiring system/pecking order in this land and the UNIVERSE at-large if this be the future of my”specialty”. That shit pisses me off everytime I think of it – and I didn’t get much sleep last night either, trying to figure-out what is next for me and those I hold dear.  What do you think?  What if that happened in your industry?  How long do you think he will last?

Look, I’m not hatin’, I’m just sayin’., seems the wrong prople are getting the “bum’s rush”. Let me see…maybe I can think up something stupid to do to get “headlines” and hired for big reality TV money! I hear my late father saying, “You’ll probably get yourself arrested.”

**PickHiTT: Recently I was almost homeless. And, as I predicted when I first penned this blog, what happened to him was predictable: his habits, which got him to that street sign in the first place, were too much for him to overcome. Not being mean, but he needed more help than glam could get him. Often in life, it is good for writers (and really ALL of us humans) to revisit past opinions, especially when educational footnotes can be added.
As my MARVEL Comics Editorial staff (Stan Lee, et al) always concluded, “Nuff said”.

That is the question kids will be asking their elders soon if they aren’t already.  Terrestrial commercial radio as we once knew it IS dead. The mean-spirited “no fun bunch” has taken over. Corporations are to blame, and the Congress that deregulated radio about twenty years ago a la what Reagan did to the Air Traffic Controllers union in 1980 is also. I used to dream of being a successful music radio Program Director in a big city when I landed my first on-air gig back in 1978.  Now I know that dream will never be realized after almost forty years in the business – now mostly relegated to “part-time” status, I’m sad to say.

Recently, one of my favorite FCC Commissioners Michael Copps commented, “a tsunami of media consolidation fueled by the same hyper-speculation that was fueling so many bubbles in so many other industries [where] Stations were gobbled up en masse and totally unrealistic expectations were visited upon both them and even upon the ones who managed to stay unconsolidated.” And furthermore he said at the workshop, “the FCC had fallen “fell under the spell of an ideological deregulatory mind-set that fueled the evisceration or outright elimination of just about every public interest obligation or public interest guideline we had.” Not to mention planned careers like mine.  You can read the Commissioner’s complete remarks at  FCC.gov.

I had a job interview with a Program Director a few weeks ago.  I guess he is close to my age but younger because we both reminisced about the days of editing audio using celluloid tape and a razor blade on those big ten-inch reel-to-reel tape recorders.  When I left I wondered how he got his job? Not that he isn’t qualified or anything like that, but I’ve almost forty years in “da bizness”, and can’t even get a sniff to fulfill my career dream?  I must have missed something along the way.  All of this began to change around seventeen years ago – about the time the computer became commonplace.  The bean counters came  in over we who had gone to school for/trained in broadcasting. Suddenly we had too many desk jockeys and not enough true disc jockeys.  I remember when I always had an eye to the “trades” Help Wanted sections for that next desired location, air shift or a music director gig.  I could send a tape, CD  and resume and get hired – seeing America the raido way; stations would even help you move !  Not no more – I’m stuck at the scene of my last relocation eight years ago.  No more “Radio Ga Ga” ( a song long before Lady Ga Ga burst onto the scene, by the way).

The result is the current vast, cold and cookie-cutter non-creative radio wasteland that discourages a disc jockey’s individualism, and where every genre’s playlist is a replica of the “competing” station over at the next corporation.

Of course another big competitor for radio ears are the I-Pods, Podcasts and other virtual media which I can only wish were never invented pertaining to the number of traditional radio employment opportunities; a no-win situation.  Here is a link to a friend and former co-worker speaking upon her being let go fromWBLS FM where she helped me get my audition tape to then Program Director, Frankie Crocker:

2008-12-01_on_the_radio_it_wasnt_the_best_year_for_.html

Upon my recent prevailing against another unjust firing (when will I ever learn to get out of “radio”) a mentor wrote to me, “”Congrats!  I’m glad you won and yours is a victory for everyone who has been made a victim by companies such as Citadel.  I hope you get a generous settlement and I’m glad you didn’t let them get away with it.”

“The radio jobs that [we] yearned for thirty years ago aren’t coming back,” a Program Director friend of mine commented to me last week.  He has been one of the fortunate few to have been in his chair for about twenty years!  My suggestion has long been to bring back the requirement that broadcasters (yes,even DJs) have to pass the minimum Third Class FCC license test.  There are three classes of FCC licenses.  You would have a better quality of true communicators, and it would weed-out much of the “junk” we currently have over the terrestrial airwaves.  I bet people like Rush Limbaugh couldn’t pass the test for one on the first try! LOL

Two of  of these major “evil empires” of radio are Clear Channel (the former AM/FM radio and the greediest) and  Citadel Broadcasting.  Everytime I read a headline like this week’s “Clear Channel Revenue Slips 6% In Q4 ’09” I am happy. I hope one day they disintergrate.  Citadel has recently filed bankruptcy, so logically they should not be appealing any worker’s mysterious, curious and cost-cutting dismissals these days – except that they too live in the illogical world of the bottom financial line which dictates that they shouldn’t pay a worker who is partially unemployed and pay into his/her unemployment benefits; yet they would rather dismiss that type of employee rather than create a position where he or she could earn more and get out from under the Unemployment safety net. I was a victim of such a bean counter lady recently.  There is no respect for longevity anymore and no willingness to “work with” employees for mutual benefits.  My uncle, who just passed away at ninety-two years old was a Jazz fan – he loved WBGO and NPR’s programs – always said, “The larger the company, the more stupid rules.”  ‘Nuff said.

We used to lightheartedly say about our being in radio that we were “bitten by the bug” because we had the fever to play music, cut-up, entertain, inform and communicate the truths about our times.  That bug led to a fever that is hard to cure, and if you can break it, the residue tastes like that of losing a long-time lover or breaking a drug habit.

pickhitt: an optimistic perspective on the future of traditional radio DJs (at least in the UK) is here:

traditional-djs-survive-internet-radio-revolution?CMP=twt_gu

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