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December 19, 2013

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Panama Jack

Agree 100% on this one, Eric and good to see you putting this out there. The "Human Capital" of Radio has been decimated by Wall St. thugs that have been turned loose on the industry. Too few hands holding too many signals. Radio is in a crisis and the talent that used to make it a great medium is dying off. There will probably not be any Larry Lujacks or John Records Landeckers in the future. All of these monopolies across a wide band of industries only exist because their money has infected politics. Get the K St lobbyists out of D.C. and don't re-elect anybody. If all the monopoly industries were broken up, unemployment would disappear in this country.

Ronald T. Robinson

For the record, Eric: The great communicator-talents didn't die off - they were systematically hunted down and killed. They were knocked off by the very people who would have prospered had the skilled performers been kept on - and nurtured.

Mike Danvers

Well written Eric, but the people who need to listen aren't listening. The FCC blew it when they allowed the likes of Clear Channel and Cumulus and others to own hundreds and hundreds of radio stations and control entire markets. Radio stations are now owned mostly by guys who have no radio background, who throw their money in a hat with other rich people and wait to count their profits. They don't care who's on the air, just how much the General Manager tells them they're billing. Want exciting radio again? Get rid of the consultants. It worked in Dayton, Ohio and Orlando? Big deal. Here's what I've found in 37 years of radio. Stop listening to what everyone else is doing and playing. Do your own thing. Make it something the others can't copy. That's what made radio great. Name the best radio stations you've ever listened to and it's all about one thing...who is on the air. Good broadcasters get you to listen to the ads, not tolerate them. They don't try to jam them all into one quarter hour for their own ratings benefit. They don't apologize for doing news and sports, rattle off the traffic report like they're auctioneers because they're afraid somebody might tune out because they're not playing music. Once you create "music-based" listeners, when you stop playing music they go searching for it somewhere else. So keep playing those 10-in-a-rows, when you stop they're not listening to your sponsors. Dare to be different. We don't play Taylor Swift. Why? My target audience isn't 8 to 15 year old girls. And they're not the people my sponsors are trying to attract to their businesses. Disagree? Then country stations should be playing Justin Bieber too. How many complaints do I have? Absolutely none. Not one person has asked why. But I don't owe the music industry anything except royalty money. It's my choice who I play, and unlike big major market companies I don't owe the music industry any favors. I play 30 years of country music and listeners like the variety. I told my owner that my station might be the odd duck in the company and he replied, "who says that's wrong, you might be the one that's right." What might be holding others back from doing this is the level of talent. Radio is really hurting at all levels for true talent. Again, consultants don't want someone doing something outside their box and when your personalities include a ton of newspaper people, it shows what's available. I'm 59 years old, and as long as they keep letting me do my own thing, I'll do this until I die.

Rob

Amen. You nailed it on the head. I think that it starts with personality. Jocks need to be personalities, not robots. They need a social media presence as much as the radio station does. They need videos, and Tweets, and audio bytes and they need to interact with their audience in so many different ways. I am the Brand Manager for Hot 92 and Hot 100 in Central Pennsylvania. We have an app through Commotion called "The Hub" that has pretty much rebranded our station for a new age. You can check us out and check out the app at Hot92and100.com. Great article, it really made me feel inspired.

Greg

Anyone know where I might find Lujack's airchecks online?

Melissa Kunde

Greatness comes from a inherent value in the practice of creating greatness. Commercial Radio as an industry doesn't value the development of greatness in storytelling, communication, imagination and people.

Radio can't live in the past and yet if there is any reverence for wisdom. Those who know the magic of radio know creating iconic personalities and shows that reflect a generation is worth its weight in gold. The internet only makes the cultivation of these personalities more valuable.

Commercial Radio should consider a movement for cultivating new iconic personalities from high schools, colleges and even start a conversation with writers for great TV like Josh Whedon or David Greenwalt or Tina Fey. There is a solution for bigger revenues but it requires someone in radio to take a risk and invest in greatness.

Jade Luthi

The news this morning brought tears to my eyes. A one of a kind and very special to me. He will never be forgotten. That is what real talent is all about.

Dick Summer

You've done some great articles Eric. But the one about Lujack was your best. I'm from Brooklyn. William B. Williams on WNEW was my guy. I must have been 8 years old. Willie was MCing a charity event at which Vic Damone was performing. It was for Big Brothers. They were both very personally and very deeply involved. Vic was appearing on Willie's show to promote the event. At the end of the interview, Willie let about 10 seconds of dead air go by. Then he very quietly said, "Vic, I really like you." I had never heard anything like that on the radio. I was stunned. It was real. It was warm. It was human. I tried to remember the feeling of that moment every time I cracked a mic.

A lot of years later, I got to work with Willie. I was the first morning man at WNEW-FM. About 9:30 AM, the studio door opened, The Norman Luboff choir sang a chord, there was a reflection of a great golden light in the control room glass, and the tectonic plate under Fifth Avenue shifted gently. It was Willie B. He walked over to me, held out his hand and said, "Kid you sound great." I didn't know whether I should shake his hand or kiss his ring. Some things you don't forget.

Good night Larry. You did good. If you get a chance, shake Willie's hand for me. He did good too.

You too, Eric.

Dick Summer

Jim Taylor

Man Eric…I just could not agree more and be more right where you are at on Uncle Lar. I was shocked to see the story this morning as he was a HUGE influence in my life!!! No words can say just how much he has influenced my 44 years in radio…he and Lil’ Tommy, Fred Winston, John Records Landecker “records truly is my middle name” etc. Boogie Check…I get very emotional which shows the impact those precious guys had! Not just on me, but I’ve talked to many in the industry who have mentioned the same thing….and what they did with no Google search for sound effects, on cart decks and reel to reel…amazing….driven by passion and the joy of just doing great fun, personality driven music radio. My passion has pretty much gone and I’m sorry tired of the same old thing on every radio station in America while TV knocks it out of the park with production etc. I don’t have the strength or desire to sit and create in the production room anymore. So I’m just as guilty. We do a really similar morning show here and have had record Sharathons the last four years…number one in our market 25-54 as a Contemporary Christian Music station that’s relevant to both real life and the Gospel. I can’t think of it any other way. Thanks for all you do for radio Bro…I just really, really, really share where you are at in your piece on Larry Lujack…still and always the very best there ever was…Superjock! Jim Taylor WGCA-FM

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