Radio has been in a state of change for some time now, probably most actively since the 1996 Telecommunications Act changed ownership rules and regulations. With those changes though the radio landscape has shifted dramatically, to the point where radio outlets are virtually machines just playing ‘random’ music files. However, random is quite the opposite as music so carefully scheduled, tested, and sampled that outlets are homogenized. Today, the previous generations of personality, creativity, and a sense of connection to the community have literally gone out the window.
In a commentary today, Allan Sniffen, moderator and owner of the New York Radio Message Board, has an interesting essay on "The Dumbing Down of Radio." Sniffen’s comments focus on the lack of personality driven radio today and the dynamics of how today’s radio conglomerates have an impact on what hits the airwaves. Most interestingly, may be Sniffen’s astute observation that the pendulum swings in both directions and at some point a radio executive will have the ‘bright’ idea to add personality as a competitive advantage. For some, like Sniffen, that day probably can’t come soon enough.
(Photo Courtesy of Allan Sniffen’s Musicradio77.com, Shown are Legendary Scott Muni and his engineer in their WABC Studios in 1964. Pictures taken by Jay Sclar.)