A funny thing happened last week. They gave a convention in Orlando and nobody came. Oh, there were many people in Orlando. But at the convention? Nah. There were many places to run into a few people…as opposed to a few places to run into many people.
Seems like everyone is saving themselves for next year’s Network 40 Summer Games in Lake Tahoe. (Hey, I bust you people for not promoting and cross-plugging…the least I can do is practice what I preach!)
Spending time with a group of people in the record and radio business can be trying… especially on a rainy weekend in Orlando. The breadth of our conversation seems to be no wider than the moat at Disney World…and the depth about the same. Boys and girls, we need to all understand one thing: The world (nor the topic of conversation) does not…and should not…revolve around you.
Radio programmers are particularly guilty of one-topic conversation. Here’s a news flash: Record promoters pretend to hang onto your every word and proclaim your ideas as fantastic. It doesn’t mean the normal person wants to hear you pontificate about you or your radio station. Remember, those record people are paid to be nice to you. Do you really think you’re that great? (If you answered yes to the previous question, you can stop reading right now…the rest of this Editorial won’t sink in.) When you tell most people you work at a station in a big city, they think you’re pumping gas at the Exxon on the outskirts of Philadelphia.
Here’s another tip worth remembering: When someone asks if you’ve read any good books lately, they aren’t talking about the Summer Arbitron.
Anyhow, for what it’s worth, here are some observations from a Mickey Mouse convention:
Bill Richards can’t sing. Neither can his brother Dan. Fortunately, A&M’s Amy Grant passed the audition.
Sean Ross is the only person who can make Michael Ellis look cool.
Two things our industry needs less of: Cigars and Golf. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. If you don’t play golf, please don’t start. It’s difficult enough for those of us who are avid fans to get tee times. We don’t need a bunch of wanabees clogging up the links. And if you insist on playing, like at the Bill Richards Golf Tournament for the T.J. Martell Foundation, get some dressing tips. But not from the sales people in the pro shops. Those ugly paid outfits are only for idiots. Don’t think that’s how it really works. Shirts with collars. And no jeans. Also, you can’t play well, so play quickly. You can take ten practice swings, study the distance, stall over your stance as long as you want, you’re still going to duff it only ten yards. Hit the fucking ball!
Also, when you hit the perennial bad shot, don’t ask us what you’re doing wrong. We don’t have enough time. And we don’t care. Take lessons.
Can’t we be ahead of the curve on the cigar thing? I swear, there were ten of us who smoked cigars ten years ago…now, everyone is an aficionado. Give it a rest. Most of you don’t know one cigar from another…just because you paid $20 for a stick doesn’t mean a thing. Please stop trying to impress us with your knowledge by showing us your collection. You simply display your ignorance.
One of the hot topics of discussion was the changing ownership of stations. Programmers were moaning and groaning about how they were out of the loop, merely pawns on a chess board. It’s reality. Deal with it. But instead of whining about major companies buying and selling stations without regard to your future, why haven’t you done something about it? If you’re so smart, why didn’t you invest in the companies you accuse of controlling your destiny. For example, had you purchased 500 shares of stock at the first of the year, your return would be as follows: Emmis: $8,000; Chancellor: $11,000; Jacor: $11,500; Evergreens: $18,000; SFX: $25,000. Put your money where your mouth is, or spend it on a good wine.
During the Top 40 panel discussion, PDs talked about “playing the hits” and tried to determine what constituted a hit. Previous performance, sales and research were cited. There was also talk of the need for a super group or two. Although this case could be made for other records, if this is what Top 40 needs, why isn’t everybody playing the Spice Girls? The last three records were hits, the previous album sold nine million and the current single is uptempo. If this doesn’t meet the criteria, could we be setting our standards a little too high? Put it on…then let the audience tell you if it’s a hit. I’m concerned that the biggest stumbling block for the future of Top 40 is PDs who think too much. Take the advice of the panel: Play The Hits.
Jump Ball: Sean Ross and Michael Ellis.
Atlantic’s Danny Buch is one of the world’s best promotion people. But keep him out of A&R. He can’t sign the band he was leading.
Winner of the most talented, Most Beautiful and “the person who you would like to sit next to on an airplane” award: Capitol’s Meredith Brooks. (Check out next week’s issue.)
Best Speaker: Arista’s Clive Davis.
Most boring panel: Take your pick.
Who are the members of the “Cool Women Only Promotion Club?”
Winner of the “Damned if you go, damned if you don’t go” award: Rick Stone.
Greg Thompson, Todd Cavanah and Dave Shakes got on an elevator. Who refused to ride with them?
For everyone who thought the convention was boring. I have two words for you: