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June 18, 2009


Tom Darrah (aka "Daren")

Bring back Gary Fries. When Gary (a real "radio person.") took over the RAB many years ago the body was not only dead, it was badly decomposed. Membership was almost non-existant and the organization was a joke, sending out lousy copy four times a year and producing bad (hokey) jingles. Gary re-vitalized the outfit, increased membership ten-fold and made it relevant. Maybe if you talked nice to him, he'd come back and fix it again. Maybe.


Hello George:

You Post:
I bet the five best station produced ads that didn't make the Mercury Awards creative hurdle, beat the crap in terms of ROI out of the winners in other categories that made the cut.

My Response:
You poor pathetic looser. Your don’t want to become the non-create radio guy making un-listenable old school radio commercials. It’s time to admit that there’s a change going on and you have to be a part of it. If you don’t embrace the change it just makes advertisers believed radio is a poor medium to get results.

The Facts:
Radio does not get results because listeners will not listen to your screemer spots. These spots are just your local disk jockey yelling the benefits of your sponsor with no real SIZZLE.

We can no longer hide behind the myth of we get results. Locally produced spots DON’T GEORGE!

RADIO IS FAILING because people like you don’t want to compete for the audience when you try to sell them your sponsors product.

I pray George; you will not be an ignorant local boob and help destroy the industry I have grown to love. However, I fear the worst from people like you.

After all you don’t want to admit there is a problem.


Oh Eric:


Motel 6 and Bud are still the best creative on radio. There the best because the others suck!

As one creative type said to me the other day, “A great piece of creative on radio is like the only decent house on the block.” If the “stop-set” has six spots five or more suck.

Radio Sucks because 18 minutes of it are just bad creative aired over and over.

Eric, it’s time you dusted off that web site idea about “Inside the Internet.”

You and the other radio has-been’s, are leading us into oblivion.


Former Radio Group Head

Regarding the Mercury Awards. We need to define "excellence." The most important element of any advertising campaign is "how much did it sell" and what was the "ROI." I know we hate those words because we view ourselves as a creative medium, but its the filter in which any and all entries ought to go through. What did the client expect? What did they get? What was the ROI? The problem when you have agency types judging these things is that its all about the creativity. The most creative commercials, the ones that win award after award, are often the ones that are abject failures in terms of creating business.

I bet the five best station produced ads that didn't make the Mercury Awards creative hurdle, beat the crap in terms of ROI out of the winners in other categories that made the cut.

Look, I'm OK with cutting the student award, as nice as it is, this isn't a Bayliss Foundation awards night, the RAB isn't giving out a scholarship or anything. But when it comes to the rubber hitting the road, submissions that actually sold goods and services successfully, that should be featured....not fired!

Radio survives only if it provides an ROI to advertisers. This isn't car sales or compter sales. We have to go out and sell the same client next month and the month after that and so on. That only happens if we can produce creative that sells goods and services.....period. The RAB of all people should recognize that. They should have taken the five best they had and investigated further on the success of the campaign and made the award. If the creative types in attendance at the Awards were not that impressed, that's tough. The negative publicity from not presenting will do far more damage to the industry.

Like you Eric, my background is programming. How often have we reminded ourselves that we can't pander to the 2% calling the request lines at the expense of the other 98% of the audience. The RAB, by cutting the core station side awards, pandered to the agency judges and the 200 people who came to the awards. Meantime, in the other 99 and 44/100ths percent of the world, the industry takes another perceptual hit it can't afford.

In a nutshell, this is a core symptom of why the RAB is going downhll, and stations all over the country (and I see it first hand near weekly working with clients) are questioning the value of the money they pay for the membership.

George Feola


Dead on! Unfortunately and maybe unwittingly, the best intentions of the RAB have been driven by the state of radio, which (good or bad depending on who you are) has become about the bottom line.

Many of us were born into a career where were made a little money, and we made alot of great radio.

I fear that the RAB has been swung into the same conundrum that the rest of us are in. We are all being asked to make a lot of money, before the end of the month. There seems to be very little room for getting creative, when the equity call comes.

Sandy Orkin said it best, "who or what is going to make the radio industry take “creative” seriously?"

Greg Pendergrass

Jeff Haley was at the recent national convention of the American Advertising Federation in DC, on behalf of radio. He was the only panelist from radio.

He didn't say "we're awful, we're sorry". He said that radio is gaining listeners, changing to meet the marketplace with PPM metrics, providing the #1 media reach from 6A until 6P every Monday through Friday, embracing digital technology because streaming radio provides the same media experience as does broadcast radio (and no other media can claim that), plus innovating via HD technology and internet.

He wasn't on the bench...he was in the game...telling our story.

We should too. You. Me. Us. Pick up the ball. Get in the game!! Every local radio station, personality, sales rep, manager, etc. has to tell the story with passion, at every opportunity: that radio is growing, vibrant, changing, effective and affordable; that radio engages our fans, our consumers, our listeners in a way that does not occur during any other media contact experience; that our ability to deliver client messages to high potential customers on air, on line and on site is unmatched by any other local media choice; and, that radio should be the primary branding vehicle, not a tactic.

Yes, we have some challenges, every industry does and we will continue to adapt to meet them.

Change is inevitable. You either overcome it or you are over run by it. Game on!


Chuck Kay

I got into radio ad sales in 1981. I thought the RAB was great at the time. The problem is, I look at it today and can barely tell the difference between today and the 1981 version. It's a dinosaur.

Sandy Orkin- Famous Radio Ranch


If “The Radio-Mercury Awards were designed to make creative people take radio seriously” then who or what is going to make the radio industry take “creative” seriously?
The RAB? The NAB? the BBC? The AAA? etc.etc.

Those who can afford the entry fees expect good press if they win. Isn’t that the bottom line? Isn’t that how agencies justify large budgets for entering such competitions? Competition is good so I’m not slighting the Mercury Awards or the RAB. And it’s okay for organizations to make mistakes providing they are not repeating them. But you and I both know that a single Awards Competition cannot possibly motivate or even begin to set a “creative” standard by judging such a miniscule number of the thousands of radio station commercials and the hundreds of ad agencies commercials generated weekly.

The shame of it all is that both the radio station community and the Agency community could learn from one another. Radio stations need to learn about ADVERTISING and Ad Agencies need to learn about RADIO. Neither have exactly cornered the market when it comes to Creative Radio.

I think we both believe in RADIO as an effective Advertising Medium…arguably the best! Perhaps it’s the system that’s broken! I’m not sure one single organization has the kind of clout it takes to fix it! But the industry as a whole does. First, they must answer the question: Which comes first…..”sales quotas” or “creative?

David Aamodt

Is RAB Huring Our Image?

The train long ago left the station! The horses long ago left the barn!

You've got the tense all wrong.

You need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and say "Why did we allow Corporate America to destroy the Radio industry?" Why have we allowed Radio to become so predictably boring?

Why is Radio listening off so significantly? It's because the Mays family and the Dickey family are nothing more than greedy bastards. They lack scruples, they lack business ethics, they lack integrity.

It's amazing how dumb some of us career broadcasters became in such a short period of time after being purchased by clear channel, or after going to work for cum-u-lus.

The last so-called general manager I worked for did NOT even have a radio in his office. But boy, could he go through a supply of number two lead pencils and legal pads looking for ways to strip one more dollar of cash flow from the market.

I damn glad to be five-years removed from the Radio industry. I'm also glad that my integrity and ethics were never for sale.

It's too bad Radio Ink is nothing more than a cheerleader for the radio industry. It's too bad that they don't and won't point out how bad Deregulation and Corporate America has been for the "Public Airwaves."

To quote Dave Gifford, "For a deal to be good for either party, it has to be good for both parties." Deregulation was not good for the communities Radio stations are licensed to serve, listeners or advertisers, nor the employees of the Radio stations.

Radio's problems are far greater than some production award.

Radio should clean house starting at the top, and return the broadcast licenses to the communities they were intended to serve.

David Bannerman

Radio is the true Visual medium...
TV is just nice furniture.

Too many suits are in charge while the real creators and innovators are workin overtime in their cubicles and in PROD.

Great Comments Eric !


Local is better, and the stations that are surviving are "Local Yokels". That being said, until Broadcast Radio becomes non-linear (for now heavily embracing the internet), we are getting our nose punched while sitting on a pay toilet with our pants down.

Devan Mitchell

Thanks Eric. (Love the "smallest thing you do" quote from Roy Williams!)

Question for you, though: Why, when it has never been more important that our product not suck, is it so unusual to find a radio group that has even ONE full-time person devoted to "creative?" (Copy-writing, production). Why? Used to be that one radio station would have one copy writer, and that was well before the competition for a listener's attention was as fierce as it is today.

Dave Combes

I am truly biased about radio and the value of the RAB. Wayne Cornils was my mentor. I learned real radio from him. It has seemd that after his passing the RAB began a downhill slide to what we have now.
How can the RAB believe and promote that not one commercial presented to them could stand the test of "effective" advertising. Not every client wants to be remembered by a cute ad that promotes very little of the clients product.
In defense of the "Awards", the 1994 awards listed only two radio station produced "winners" so it isn't like radio stations have the best track record either.
Radio needs to remember it's roots. To be the voice of the community and do the best job it can do and to present the clients message in a form that the public will reward by patronizing the clients business.
And to those who may wonder, No, I have not submitted any product for an award.

Bob Wood

There's no excuse for the technical foulups. Period.

If the event isn't staged as well as American Idol, it's not in the league it needs to be.

I've been away from it for a while but I wonder: if a writer/producer/talent WINS, who gets to keep the money? Does the station owner or manager scarf it up? THERE'S real motivation for an overworked cluster-producer to fight for the entry fee.

BTW: Even though I'd take it, $10,000 seems cheap to me.

Someone else wrote that at the Olympics you win if you are the best at that event, not only if a world record is broken.


Please educate me. Who runs the RAB? I really don't know. Is it programmers, true radio people, or those that are from the business end. It's important. I always hear about the NAB conventions and how important they are...but real radio people aren't involved...the people that keep radio alive are the music directors, the true PD's that aren't corporate lackeys, the idea types; creative directors, jocks and morning shows...rarely, it seems, are they the ones making decisions at the RAB or NAB level. It's always some old GSM or some out of date GM that speak of what they do not know. CREATIVE, INNOVATIVE, ENTERTAINING LOCAL RADIO...it's what they've spent their careers slowly destroying.

Jim Ryan

Your "Hi-Way Hotel" photograph is a great metaphor for the tired radio industry's current and deserved image. It's simply not a platform that facilitates consistent, high level creative advertising. Why would it, it's own content, with the exception of syndicated talk, is underwhelming, repetitious and boring at best. Motel 6! Very sad indeed yet not surprising.


The RAB isn't altogether at fault. It's simply a mirror of the condition of our industry. It begins and ends with an industry controlled by Wall Street. Often times these days, one production director handles production duties for several stations. There haven't been copy writers for years. There is no time to be creative. And for those, at the local level who take the time to deliver exciting, copy and production, are rarely rewarded. In many cases, they can't even get a simple $100 fee if the spot is used on other stations outside of the company. Bad production yields bad results which yields less local advertising which then creates a situation ripe for extinction. Whose fault...THE CORPORATE MONKEYS!

Ric Gonzalez - Creative Services Director Cox Radio

Thank you Eric. Well said.

Sue  Archambault - Guymon, OK

Local radio. Yes, Virginia, there still IS local radio. It lives in the kitchens, livingrooms, pick up trucks and tractors of every farmer and rancher in America! Local radio serves it's community - with LOCAL weather, LOCAL news, and LOCAL events. With LOCAL air personalities that understand their listeners wishes and needs. With LOCAL sales people who work tirelessly to bring fresh new ideas to LOCAL advertisers and are dedicated to helping their advertisers grow their business.

Maybe this is why so many LOCAL radio stations are doing so well in this "down" economy - serving the public and the advertisers - putting their needs and desires first - selling the VALUE of radio - not the ratings. Out station is hiring - NOT firing.

There's a lot of talent in small to medium sized radio station markets - we don't survive because of ad agencies looking at our CPM. We survive and flourish because we do what radio was designed to do - entertain, inform and become involved with our communities and listeners - each and every day. If you want to hear "small market radio" creativity -I'd be happy and proud to send you some examples - worthy to be played in ANY sized market. Creativity isn't exclusive to ad agencies. Take a listen.

RC Williams

Amen Eric! Until we decide to do what we need to do, the price of our life support system will continue to increase...until we die from being broke!


Yes, you are correct in describing what the Mercury Awards should be about. The problem is that those bald old men in suits who ran radio into the ground, abused workers and either fired or forced many talented people to leave to go to companies that treated them well are still running radio. These are the same buffoons who are charged with "fixing" the radio they broke (or were not smart enough to keep competitive with newer delivery systems).
So, before we can get advertising creative types to even care about radio, we must put the old bald guys out to pasture and make radio fun again. It IS show business and it starts with being a place young kids growing up would kill to be able to get in. Right now, radio is just not hip to them as a place to make a career.
I miss radio!


You make a good point about Radio image and our need to get creatives excited.WE NEED TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT THAT but pointing fingersalways makes me duck. The RAB is only as good as it's membership. The RAB doesn't lead radio. Radio leads radio and the RAB supports that leadership.

Lou Kasman

The RAB is another piece of the industry that hasn't matched today's marketplace, its needs, strategic management, including new business models, etc.. O.K., I'm from Michigan. It does sound a lot like the auto industry.

Kyle Bauer

If we don't value and celebrate our product, why would anyone else.

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