How talk radio can save music radio

On The Kowch Blog looks at How talk radio can save music radioFrom where I sit On The Kowch, Talk Radio appears to be the topic of conversation these days at media conferences and U.S. blogs. But what really caught my attention was an article by the editor of the American music radio trade publication RadioInfo. The headline reads: Taking a Page from the book of Talk Radio. It’s about how to save music radio.

Duane Doobie writes: “As many RadioInfo readers know, this publication’s sister trade is TALKERS magazine – journal that covers the talk radio and spoken word side of the media. Even though my role at this operation is on the music end of things, I can’t help but notice (across the hall) the sheer vibrancy of broadcast talent in the news/talk and sports talk radio arena … especially when compared to the voice tracked/liner card-reading facelessness and plasticity of so many of the voices barely holding together the elements on the air in the world of today’s music radio.”

Future of music radio may be in taking a page from the book of talk radio to teach deejays a new delivery and presentation style between songs

Doobie, like me, is a passionate advocate of bringing the disc jockey back as a major component of music radio to compete against emerging digital competition, satellite radio and online music channels. I have been on the record for a long time saying the more music less talk formats are not the way to go to compete against the iPod, Pandora in the States, satellite radio and internet music stations.

More Music Less Talk formats created a generation of DJs who rarely standout between songs

Doobie says it has become obvious that “music radio – through the use of confident, knowledgeable and aggressive personalities – must reclaim the ownership of the music scene it had back in the days when the synergy between music and radio broadcasting was so powerful.”

The question Doobie is asking in the article is how?

“What should the deejay of this new era sound like? Obviously we cannot go back to the days of screamers, pukers, cartoon characters and stoners that constituted the stereotypical model of the disc jockey of old (it worked very well then, but probably not today). The answer is obvious: we should look at successful examples of talk radio for the delivery and presentation style of the deejay for the potentially emerging modern era.”

“Talk radio with music – disciplined and carefully executed – might just be what the doctor ordered.” – Duane Doobie, editor of RadioInfo

At kowchmedia, we have been advocating a return to allowing on air hosts to have more time to speak between the songs. Not just in the morning show or afternoon drive. But every time the music stops, the DJ needs to be a star. They need to have a voice. It’s time to put personality back into music radio.

But from where I sit On The Kowch, before that can be done, music radio has to make sure they have the right people in studio who can do the talking.The problem is music radio management has beaten the talk out of music radio hosts. Telling them to shut up and just play the music. Just read the liners, back sell the songs and promote the latest station giveaway by reading a written promo.

The emerging music radio talent doesn’t have the experience to be compelling on air between songs. When I taught talk radio at Seneca College in Toronto, 90 per cent of the students didn’t want to do talk radio. They wanted to be music deejays. But they quickly realized that learning how to do talk radio would help them in their music radio career. They learned that it’s not how long you have to speak on the radio. It’s what you do with the time you have on air.

We do the same thing at kowchmedia by helping deejays find their voice and have something to say of interest to the listeners while at the same time, not get in the way of the music.  We help people chase their dream to making it BIG in radio. The only problem is that most music PDs and radio owners are not yet on the same page as me and Duane Doobie at RadioInfo.