Stupidity Is Timeless


I got a note from Mark McKay last week. We worked together at KFRC San Francisco, B95 Kansas City and Y106 Orlando. Mark is on the air in Kansas City and told me he was listening to old airchecks of KFRC to find bits and breaks he could use because, as he said, “…stupidity is timeless.”


It’s the best phrase I’ve heard yet to describe the radio and record business. Nowhere is stupidity more relevant than when analyzing conventions. 

Forever, all of us in our industry have been making the tiresome trek to one convention or another that promises to deliver speakers, workshops and hardware that will make our industrial lives easier. In the entertainment business, where hyperbole is next to Godliness, no statement falls as far from its promise.


Stupidity is timeless. Witness last week’s Gavin convention. Now don’t get me wrong, my good friend Dave Sholin does a great job. The convention is well-attended. It certainly is the only large convention you should attend. R&R’s convention (speaking of stupidity being timeless) will be worthless. But large conventions are becoming more of a pain in the ass instead of brain food that is promised. 

Gavin does a good job. But its success is the very thing that serves to its detriment. It’s just too big.


And can we please have a moratorium on panels? When is the last time anyone said anything worthwhile during a panel discussion? If one of the panelists happened to drop a pearl of wisdom, would anyone in the audience be awake to hear it? 

The Top 40 panel was by far the most interesting, but my legs still went to sleep. And it wasn’t because of the speakers involved. All are knowledgeable programmers who have wisdom to share. But when five people are vying for air time, you wind up with a lot of dead air. Besides, stations and markets are so different now, what is perfect for one successful station in a major market won’t work for another station in a different place. Instead of listening to Tom Poleman and Dan Kieley on the same panel talking about apples and oranges, wouldn’t it be better to listen to Tom Poleman speak for 30 minutes about what makes Z100 successful, then have the opportunity to listen to Dan Kieley take us through the same routine with KIIS? Having both on the same panel (with two or three other successful programmers) doesn’t serve the audience…or the PDs who are involved.


Panel discussions are kind of like programming by committee: There are a lot of good ideas, but by the time the ideas get out, they don’t matter any more. 

The chief complaint about conventions is that panels are boring. Yet most conventionas schedule more panels. That’s like doing call-out research and upping the rotation on songs that are showing the most burn.


Gavin manages the best large convention in our industry. But is it too large to serve the needs of those who attend? Do you not wind up seeing everyone, but spend quality time with no one? 

Can you tell I’m leading up to a point? Ah, yes: The 1998 Network 40 Summer Games in Lake Tahoe June 25-27.


There are no panels. No boring speakers. No meetings you have to doze through. And even more exciting…no awards ceremony that lasts longer than it takes to download The Beatles library on the Internet. 

There are only 200 people…100 from record companies…100 from radio. It’s a ration you can’t find in most radio station lobbies…much less the conventions.


Does that mean you learn less? Hardly. What other setting provides you the opportunity to forge relationships with your peers on a one-to-one basis? Where else can you compete in games of skill and fun with and against others in our industry? 

Would you rather listen to a boring panel discussion or ask specific, face-to-face questions to the PDs and radio executives you only glimpse from a crowd at a convention?


It’s a slam dunk. (We’ve added that to the competition this year!) 

Stupidity is timeless. For two years, we did our research to find out what the industry wanted. Last year, Network 40 took the positives, ditched the negatives and dared to do something never before attempted.


Guess what? It worked. The inaugural Network 40 Summer Games were the most successful and talked-about event of 1997. And we’re “stupid” enough to do it again this year. 

The Network 40 Summer Games is the most exclusive gathering of radio and record people in the history of our business. It’s exclusive for a reason. You can’t be all things to all people. We don’t try. By offering one-on-one opportunities with those in our industry, you have the opportunity to forge new, personal relationships that will last long after the Summer Games become history.


Those who believe relationships are made through casual dinners with 50 or more people are deluding themselves. And if there’s someone more important than you at the table, you’re totally out of luck. 

The Network 40 Summer Games provides the intimate setting that will make it easier to expand your relationships. Plus, we’ve all heard the stories about your athletic prowess. You can talk the talk…but can you walk the walk?


Stupidity is timeless. 

So is brilliance!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *