What’s Radio?


To best understand this Editorial, you must imagine the opening done in a Rod Serling voice.

This scene involving a father talking with his daughter looks normal, except when you look at the calendar on the wall.  The conversation is happening in the year 2010.


Yes, my dear.

Last night, Mommy was showing me old pictures of when you were celebrating your Y2K party.  There was funny looking, silver wire sticking out of your car.  What was that?

Sweetheart, that was an audio antenna.

An antenna?  Isn’t that what used to be on top of the Empire State Building?  We studied that in school.

Yes, dear.  Antennas used to be on top of all radio transmitters and receivers.

Daddy, what’s a radio?

Pumpkin, that is where the Morning Zoo used to live.  The Morning Zoo was filled with all sorts of weird and wonderful characters including 18-year-old interns fresh out of school and horny as hell.  That’s how I met your mom.  The 16th caller used to win cool tapes and concert tickets.  Deep voiced dee jays with a set of balls bigger than Nebraska would tell jokes, give the weather and even read horoscopes on the air.  They had it all:  Hollywood gossip reports, movie passes, Lotto numbers, breaking news and sports…you name it,  Sugar, and you could hear all about it.

But Daddy, we get all that on Google.  And if you want balls, I can get them overnighted for you.

It was different time, Honey.

Who needs horoscopes?  Why didn’t everyone just go to Shoutcast.com?  All you need for that is a cheap PC.  With Mommy’s old Liza Minnelli records, anyone can be a digital dee jay and broadcast to thousands without that stupid-looking wire waving in the wind.

You’re telling me?

I’m sorry.  Is this what caused you to go broke in the radio business?

Peaches,  I knew it was coming.  Cheap software, attics full of Barry Manilow and a shit-load of Long Island yentas with way too much cash and entirely too much time on their hands.  That’s why I married your mother.  She jumped on the Net real early, and a few other things we will discuss when you’re much older.  I kept watching the audience of my stations shrink like a porn star in a cold shower, but everyone kept saying not to worry about it.  People had to drive to work.  I thought we would always have a captive audience.

But Daddy, didn’t everyone realize companies like Delphi Automative Systems were already installing satellite TV?  Consoles and wireless Internet music stations were already in cars, weren’t they?  Everyone listens to CNBC in the car.  Why would anybody want to tune to Jammin’ Oldies when you can find out if the Japanese are about to lose everything as the Yen sinks?

Sugar Cakes, I knew commercial radio was going to lose, I just didn’t think it would happen so soon.  Unbelievably, Baby, your mother was right.  When cable TV trounced into small towns, the government set up extremely strict “must carry laws.”  Big market stations had nothing to worry about.  Cable companies had to carry their signals into all customer homes if they wanted to enter a new zip code.  This was a win-win for everyone.  Cable got strong local news and programming while consumers received a crystal clear digital signal without paying extra.

Daddy, why didn’t radio lobby the government for strong “must carry” satellite rules?

Forget about organized lobbying.  Those idiots were giving their signals and programming away to anyone that would take it.  Mark Cuban at Broadcast.com made Donald Trump look like a janitor at the Five and Dime.  Mark kept selling advertising on his radio website, but didn’t own a single damn station.

Daddy, you’re kidding.

Daddy ain’t no kidder, Honey.  I married your mother and she got the last laugh.  While I struggle to pay these bank notes on some 20-year-old stick in the mud that rotted worse than Eyes Wide Shut, your mother hangs out on AOL playing America’s Hit Music on a $300 DC-Rom and watches her bank account grow bigger than Pamela Anderson’s chest.

Daddy, I’m glad everything turned out okay for you.  Things could have been much worse.  You could have been a foreman at Sony’s Beta factory, owned an Atari repair shop, worked for Wang Computers, or you could have been pressing records.

Go back to your mother’s house, right now.  You’re disrupting my eBAY auction.  Some sucker is looking to buy an analog transmitter.

One more question, Daddy?


Who’s Rod Serling?

Leave a Reply

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