Monday, August 17, 2009

Radio Days

Some of my fondest radio memories -- memories of working in radio, that is -- are the lively conversations that pertained to professional and societal standards and how I felt that it was up to us to maintain them and how nobody else really gave a crap.
In general, I admired my bosses because I had to. I did not begrudge them their positions, nor did I demean their Connecticut School of Broadcasting certificates just because my family and I had spent a couple of million for my own education.
That, however, did not keep them from calling me "the smarty-pants college kid."
Although these conversations generally ended with me slamming the production studio door and calling someone an "indolent hapless clod," I still recall those days with fondness. Because whatever rancor there was existed without someone ever saying it into a microphone or for an audience.
I liked working in radio.
Back then.
I feel, however, somewhat culpable for the ensuing chaos and complete destruction of civilization.
As radio disc jockeys keep right on talking in order to fill dead air, Broadcasting itself is usually coming up with new ways to continue without sacrificing meaninglessness.
A station can announce that it is Number One in a market where there is only one aspirant. And if there were other competitors, it announces that it's Number One anyway.
Every radio station is THE FIRST "at the scene" or "with the forecast" or "with the score."
And no one ever questions that logic.
No one ever claims that the arguments have to involve logic, and it seems best for the show if the premise is loud, catchy, and wrong.
A radio "personality" claimed that his talent was "on loan from god." And no one was offended or even taken aback. Because he's "just" an entertainer, and entertainers can say anything.
Because they're "just" kidding. They're "just" on teevee, "just" on radio. Or they're "just" exercising their right to "Free Speech."
Which suddenly becomes a very popular term when ludicrous personalities say ridiculous things. Which is now a model of deportment. Apparently:

Poor Barney. It doesn't matter what the little girl says. The argument is framed so that you cannot answer it. If you don't tell them exactly what they want to hear , you are "evasive." If you point out the absurdity of the question, they will call you "arrogant."
Reason isn't as important as The Last Word.
We knew this back in the "answer-the-question-let-me-finish-why-don't-you-let-me-answer-the-question-you-never-let-me-finish" days of talk radio. I know that we never meant for it to come to this, but we were blind to our impact as we climbed down the ladder into the muck that the media has become.
I hate The Beach.

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