BROADCASTING ON A WING AND A PRAYER
Over the last few years, I’ve done a lot of radio. I don’t mean my own shows, I mean as a guest. When my book “Stuff Happens” came out in 2003 I did the usual book tour and was asked to appear on many radio shows. Because I am somewhat of an “oldie” myself, I can safely say that most of my appearances (Can it be called “appearances” on radio?) were on Oldies stations. It was a lot of fun to get back on the airwaves.
It was also kind of a revelation of sorts. In the process I discovered a brand new genre of radio broadcasting: “Internet Radio.” Anyone with a computer can now enjoy a whole new world of radio listening. I wonder if it is even correct to call it radio listening. There is no radio involved. You just click your mouse onto an Internet site and the programs come streaming right at you. Kind of reminds you of that other kind of radio, right? Turn the dial, hear the “click” and the programs come streaming right at you.
So what ‘s the difference?
I’ve recently given three interviews on Internet radio
(1) Rockit Radio’s The Memory Lane Show with Lane Quigley
(3) Dave the Rave.
Over the years I’ve been the subject of hundreds of other radio interviews, but nothing I've done previously compares to the fun I’ve had doing these Internet radio shows. As the late Steve Allen might have said, “This could be the start of something big.”
So far all the Internet DJs I’ve met can be compared to those sports show experts that keep amazing you with their knowledge of the game, i.e., give a sports maven the name of a baseball player and like a savant, he/she will give you the player's batting averages and other statistics down to the amount of spikes on their shoes.
The Internet DJs are equally as uncanny in their knowledge of recorded music minutia. They are avid record collectors and can actually tell you the exact amount of grooves on any 45 rpm that has ever been recorded. Most important; they truly LOVE the MUSIC. They have to love it. They get paid zilch for equipment, studios, record collections and their time.
So what’s the difference?
It is the hours of great ENTERTAINMENT sans weather reports, newsbreaks, traffic warnings, or COMMERCIALS. It doesn’t sound like some producer in the back is pushing to keep the show on time in order to get all the ads in. And what is more important to me, the chatter is always all about THE MUSIC! Their selection of records is not chosen from corporate lists and allows the listener to hear tunes they had forgotten how much they liked.
In one of my past critiques on today’s Oldies Radio, I had suggested that a station try a Music/Talk format with call-ins from listeners to discuss the music being played and the artist being interviewed. The show I did with Dave the Rave was just that. We did four and a half hours of Music/Talk Radio LIVE!
Callers-in included Howard Kaylan of The Turtles, Mary Weiss of The Shangri-Las, Diane Renay (Navy Blue), Johnny Mirada of the Spokesmen, Tommy James of the Shondells, and Bob Miranda of The Happenings, plus fans from all over the United States. Dave the Rave was the perfect show host with a very loyal fan and record artist base. This is Oldies Radio at its most entertaining best.
Do you think there might possibly be something here that today’s tabletop stations (as apposed to desktop) can learn from all this? I hope so.
By the way; the answer to the “How many grooves are there on a 45 record” question is always the same, “1.” Just ONE groove that keeps going round and round until it reaches the end of the record (RIM SHOT - CYMBAL CRASH).