Okay, I know its June and maybe this column is a month or two late, but if you’ve been following along for the past couple of weeks, you know it’s been strange in Los Angeles. And that includes the weather. It was Memorial Day Weekend before the thermometer broke 85 Dees-grees and the plain truth is that our environment more closely resembles that of San Francisco than hot, sunny Southern California. So forgive me if summer came a little late to L.A. and I have been a little slow to react to this latest Heat Wave. We are all products of our environment and I’ve been too bundled u against those freezing 60-Dees-grees winds to work on my tan…or on an Editorial about summer programming.
It is a fact that summer changes everything. You can have joy, you can have fun, you can have Seasons In The Sun, but be careful that you don’t turn this summer into a Season Of The Witch. You get Hot Blooded (check it and see) and it will Make You Sweat. No other season is more anticipated than summer. Except for those who are completely whacked out of the brains anticipating the winter so they can snow ski (and I’ve never trusted anyone who looks forward to frostbite and the possibility of broken bones), everyone looks forward to summer.
It is necessary to adjust the programming of your radio station to a sound more compatible with the changes in the lifestyles of your audience. School’s Out For Summer. People are spending more time outside. Swimming, hiking, picnics and such are the norm. So you’ve got to match your radio station to the mood. That’s the reason for this Editorial, to suggest some changes that might be helpful.
So the baseball strike dulled the expectations a little, but who cares? Most of the people I know use the games as an excuse to sit in a seat, drink a lot of beer, yell at the top of their lungs for no good reason and soak up a little sun. When The Heat Is On, standings don’t mean a thing until the World Series. By then, it’s almost winter, so in reality, the strike didn’t have that much effect.
Summertime And The Living Is Easy (fish are jumping and the cotton is high). I love that song, though I never understood how the cotton being high worked for or against who or what I would be doing for the long, hot months ahead. The living is definitely easier. You want to move slower in the summer…have to move slower. If not, you might burn yourself right out…fry yourself to a crisp…spontaneously combust in front of company. I don’t really know if the fish are jumping or not. It seems like those large-mouthed bass would be hugging the bottom, looking for a cool spring to chill their gills. Maybe the lyrics are referring to the late evening hours when those same bass might take a jump or two at low-flying insects. I could buy that in a stretch, but cotton being high?
For those of you who have never had the pleasure of picking cotton, let me assure you that although the actual labor might be a touch easier if the plants are larger, there is nothing pleasant about the actual picking, be it high or low.
It is a lead-pipe cinch that you can extend yourself forever, have an Endless Summer or go full-tilt boogie All Summer Long. Just Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying. Of course, you should have been preparing when it was Almost Summer, but remember, it’s never too late to catch up.
Whether or not you program on the far West Coast and have a Palisades Park or a Sausalito Summer Night, it’s always important to have Hot Fun In The Summertime on those Sunny Afternoons. You can have all the Boys Of Summer making a Bus Top to check out the California Girls in different station promotions. The bikini, Hot Legs and wet T-shirt contest might be old, but they aren’t broke, so there’s no need to fix them.
If your mind is a little hazy, all you have to do is take yourself back to Suddenly Last Summer and you’ll remember the promotions and Things We Did Last Summer to help you out. If there’s nothing else, you can always fall back on a Summer Of Love. Just don’t get too far off in dreamland and let your ego blow the lid off. It’s good to remember When You’re Hot, You’re Hot (and when you’re not, you’re not).
When it gets Too Hot, don’t forget that it’s Summer In The City. A free concert could work to cool things off. If you plan it down to the last detail, you can have everyone Dancing In The Streets. You just never know whether this season will be as famous as the Summer of ’42 or the Summer of ’69 until we’re into it.
Just because it’s cooking in the daylight hours, don’t forget those Summer Nights. There are plenty of Night Moves to be made, especially on those Hot Summer Nights. You could turn those slow, lazy evenings into Endless Summer Nights. When the Summer Wind comes rolling in, it’s amazing what can happen in the House Of The Rising Sun. An after-dark contest Up On The Roof could be very nice, especially if it’s Sealed With A Kiss.
Make sure your programming is upbeat and happy or you could be blamed for a Cruel Summer. And no matter how nice it is, don’t forget that things could get ugly. Every doctor will tell you that there ain’t no cure for the Summertime Blues.
I could spend this entire column commenting (try saying that fast 10 times in a row) on internal changes you should make…like adjusting your clocks. Maybe it’s time to give those worn stopsets a break and schedule them in other parts of the hour. Give the audience a subliminal change as their habits change so they’ll start Groovin’ (on a Sunday afternoon). I urge you to be extremely careful with your air talent. When the Blackhole Sun burns down, everyone gets a little bit crazy and if your staff is good, they’re all teetering on the brink anyhow. When the thermometer hits the high notes, it might be just little thing to make them snap. Now is the time to give your hardest workers n extra day or two off. Buy them some Cheap Sunglasses. It will keep them fresher and might stop them from taking your head off with an AK47. Take the curtains down from the control room windows and Let The Sunshine In.
I was going to suggest some song titles you should program this summer, but I’ve run out of room. I guess I’ll See You In September, just Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.