I recently sighed and lamented the lack of ‘inclusive’ music radio (here). That’ll be music radio I can listen to and feel a part of, instead of today’s lonely cold formats of a long block of songs back-to-back followed by a long block of ‘non-songs’.
One aspect of the original and inclusive music radio was the birth and development of the unique personalities playing the music on the radio. In contrast, today’s radio ‘presenters’ are interchangeable. In many cases their actual names are unknown to the listeners. They are not allowed to dare to be different or to provide any ‘hook’ that might accidentally build an audience that ‘listens’ rather than just has the radio station ‘on’ in the background.
Compare and contrast to the ‘creative radio’ days when the likes of Kenny Everett were in charge of playing the songs for us. Stuff would go on inbetween the songs. The ‘stuff’ would make us giggle and smile and nod. Most importantly, it was a ‘hook’ that would keep us listening. Everett wasn’t there to just make generic announcements during the ‘non-song’ blocks (there were no long ‘non-song’ blocks!), he had a creative mind and did what he could to add value to the playing of songs.
Adding value doesn’t happen any more.
The older radio anoraks lament the passing of this creative era of music radio broadcasting and can quite often be read or heard asking, “Where’s the next generation of creative radio presenters coming from?”
The answer of course is that there won’t be any. Sadly, creative radio presentation is confined to history. Today’s kids with their ‘meeja’ degrees know only of ‘non-song’ blocks and making announcements far away from the actual songs. They are taught how to speak in ‘radio voice’ and how exciting it is to then press the ‘Next button’ and toddle off to do something else for the 20 minutes or so the computer won’t allow them to speak.
Everett and his fellow pioneer broadcasters had no ‘meeja’ degrees, no ‘training’, no back-up ‘Auditorium research’ and expensive mumbo jumbo saying what should or shouldn’t be done ‘on air’ down to the precise construction of sentences. Everett just worked it out and did it. True, now and again he misfired, all the pioneers misfired, but for every ‘fail’ there were tens of thousands of ‘hits’ and successes.
‘Creative radio’, in the hands of the pioneers, engaged and entertained the eager audiences. Today, ‘creative radio’ has no place in sound broadcasting. Hence why there will be no new Kenny Everetts for future generations to enjoy. Instead, ‘radio’ has become a cold and desolate place.
That’s such a terrible shame.