Tuesday, September 18, 2007



I am not sure of the exact date, but it is official - Rock & Roll Radio is dead. The cause of death was murder in the 1st degree and the responsible parties are still out there free as a bird. The days of innovative, stimulating, educational and reverent programing are over - gone and doomed to walk the earth as a tortured ghost. The shameless and selfless act that took our tried and trusted friend from us was unnecessary and premeditated!

Why this type of reaction now(?) - you may ask. I received a very nice note yesterday from a fan of the Radio Free Wohlman podcasts. In it, he bemoaned, "If only 'real' radio was so interesting and thoughtful". A compliment that I very much appreciated, but one that set off an inner rage. A realization that the thing that I loved the most was history, vanished, a thing of the past. Something to be spoken of with fond memories and stories from days gone by. Why - how did this happen?

Every city had them - radio stations that turned us on to great music every day. Personalities that were more best friends than faceless strangers. Programmers that understood the art of weaving a set of tunes that were diverse, yet interconnected by some thread of continuity. Stations whose logos we were proud to wear on our chest or on the bumper of our car. They provided the soundtrack to our lives and they were there for us in times of joy and sadness.

As a broadcaster that worked for terrestrial radio for over 30 years as a host and programmer, I was fortunate enough to have lived this on both sides (of the record). I also saw the killers face. I know the guilty party. It was a slow death - a gradual poisoning of sorts. But you do not need a CSI team to unravel the mystery. Consultants and corporations whose need and greed for ever-growing profits and self-preservation are the culprits at fault!

Collections of thousands of albums and songs (and the ability to play them) were slowly whittled away over the years as the plan to serve the lowest common denominator was put into effect. The end result is terrestrial radio as you know it today. What is usually referred to as "the same old shit". Playlists of a few hundred songs played ad infinutum until the joy of hearing them and their very life has been snuffed out. What was once a source of enlightenment and joy is now a graveyard of artists and DJs never to been heard from again.

I give credit to the satellite companies and their very noble attempt to resurrect this ghost from the past. I also self-servingly, yet genuinely look at my fellow podcasters and bloggers of the world and see a glimpse of what could be the prophetic return of the musical messiah.

But the evidence is in and the verdict of guilty has been reached by a jury of us that grieve over our loss of both rock & roll and the radio stations that were once our companions.

Radio is dead - long live rock and roll!



Kevin said...

Right on Dave!

I say, build it and they will come. Once upon a time, kids of all ages wanted to hear new sounds, and they got it from radio. Back in the day, terrestrial radio was a novelty, and the biggest names were pioneers in something that was exciting and groundbreaking.

These days terrestrial radio is a corporate faceless entity, and where are the 'kids' getting their jollies? If terrestrial radio isn't cutting the mustard, then something else has to do the job.
Keep at the blog, keep at what you believe in, and more of those new kids looking for something innovative will lead to a true reinvention of the DJ.

Pleasanton, CA


Amen Kevin,

Well said!

Thanks for your ears.


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