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Monday, March 1, 2010

Radio Needs a Re-mix

I was recently listening to the soundtrack to the Beatles' Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show called "Love". In-person, it's a fantastic buffet of lights, sound and images in the typical Cirque way coupled with an amazing soundtrack of Beatles tracks remixed by the genious of George Martin and his son Giles.

The soundtrack to this show is available on CD and when turned up, the music reminds you of how great this band was/is, but the remixes which took pieces of other Beatles songs in the same keys added to basic tracks we've heard hundreds of times, leaves the listener with a revitalized listening experience.

This leads me to why I named this blog "Radio Needs a Re-mix".

Traditional radio, like the Beatles, has been around for a great many years. And like the Beatles radio is a comfortable place for its millions of listeners to visit. According to many research studies, 93% of Americans still visit, but they just aren't spending as much time as they used to.

So, why not a Radio re-mix?

Like the Beatles "Love" soundtrack, radio's inspiration needs to be a few sessions of revitalization. I'm not suggesting, like the Martins did, to bring back some of the great old radio wisdoms of the past and insert them into today's programming.

What I am suggesting is that radio owners, operators, managers - all of its employees, should shake themselves out of the creative quicksand of the last ten years.

It's about time that radio leadership discontinue its sense of dread and investigate the creative juices that each company most surely has locked up in each of their employees. I believe that for most of them, the creative outlet may have been a part of the reason they are in the business.

Creative brainstorming sessions used to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the radio industry.

Egos were left at the door, people got into a room with other people they liked, and they started talking...about anything. Then someone in the room known for their 'crazy' view of things, allowed their stream of consciousness take over from the conversation and suddenly there was an idea on the table for a new promotion. People would start laughing at some of the more extreme ideas, but that laughter spawned further discussion until an hour or two later, the group emerged from the meeting with several new ideas and a sense of team effort which only created a more enjoyable working environment. And they'd do it again the next day, next week or next month.

There's no reason this cannot happen today. In fact, it does happen today just not nearly in enough cities. Some of the greatest call letters in the land go through exactly this process weekly and their success and low personnel turnover reflect this culture.

So, a remix is in order.

The radio industry's potential is tied to its past in many ways.

By overdubbing the technology and what we know about today's consumers on top of radio's foundation just might produce a renewed compelling listening experience listeners would never have expected until they listened to it again in a slightly new light.