Wake-Up Call


The evolution of Top 40 radio continues. And as our listeners’ habits and attitudes toward our radio stations change, so must our programming philosophies.

There was a time, in the not-so-distant past, when Top 40 radio stations built their audiences backwards. Since the teen audience is the most active, programmers put their energy and promotional dollars into the 7-12 midnight slot to draw that active audience quickly. Once the teens found the station after dark, the energy and promotional dollars were extended back to the other dayparts. The last day-part considered was the morning show. As a matter of fact, many successful Top 40 radio station did quite well for years without a high-profile morning show.

During the late ’60s and early ’70s, most morning shows on successful Top 40 stations were mainly hybrids of afternoon drive. Music was still the main element. News and weather reports were broadcast and maybe a couple of one-liners were thrown in to fool the audience into thinking that a personality was involved, but the biggest difference between the two drive-times (and often the only difference) was the reading of the school lunch menu of the day.

This all began to change in the late ’70s. As the top 40 format began to draw a larger portion of the older demographics, a higher profile became imperative to attract and maintain that audience in morning drive. This point was driven home by several morning talents who became as big, if not bigger, that the radio stations where they worked.

The success of Rick Dees at WHBQ in Memphis was particularly important in changing the way the format viewed morning personalities. Dees was the most phenomenal deejay in the history of Memphis radio…and the city had many. Rick transcended the format and became the primary reason people listened to WHBQ. It was not something that was ignored by the powerful RKO chain, owners of WHBQ, and stations in every major market. Paul Drew, VP/Programming for RKO, was quick to see the value a high-profile morning show added to a successful radio station. He moved Dees to Los Angeles and set about hiring high-profile morning shows for the other RKO stations. And the trend began.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the trends. It didn’t work everywhere. In many instances, the process backfired.

High profile, marketable, listenable morning talents succeeded on the RKO stations because the programmers still controlled the morning shows. Formats were followed, music was still the main ingredient and the morning deejays were forced to work within the structure of the stations’ overall sound.

It wasn’t that way everywhere.

More than one station found out that although a great morning show can take your ratings through the roof and set you up for the rest of the day, the opposite is just as true.

There isn’t a Scott Shannon, John Lander or Rick Dees hanging out in every station. These guys can do a five-minute bit before the commercial break and the audience will stay with them and enjoy their entertainment. The same can’t be said for bad imitations.

Morning shows are like fine Ferraris. They must be tuned to perfection. If only one element is out of sync, the entire show won’t work.

If you have the budget to hire a proven morning talent, you probably won’t have to dial the show in as much. But it, as is the case in most situations, you work with a limited budget, you can’t afford a true, expensive free agent. You’ll have to make do with what is available.

That is why the support team is so important. In simple terms, if Scott Shannon, Rick Dees and John Lander need a group of professionals around them to make sure the  morning show operates smoothly, isn’t the same doubly true for those with less talent? Too often, stations spend the entire available budget on talent and have little or none left over for a supporting cast. I’m not talking about the news person or a sidekick, I mean the prodders…the person who makes sure the morning show runs smoothly and consistently.

Consistency is the key to a successful morning show. Almost any competent deejay can amuse and entertain the audience when things are going right. But most days, everyone needs help. This is why a producer is so important to the success of a morning show…to make sure the show is consistent day-in and day-out.

It is a given that most of us in radio started at the bottom. We were all “gym rats” to some extent. Not only will a good producer make your morning show sound better and operate smoothly, but it’s alto an excellent proving ground for your next programming assistant…or music director…or program director…or, if you’re really lucky, your next morning talent.

A good producer can surround your morning talent with a support staff that makes everyone sound better. It makes the main deejay’s job easier and keeps him focused on entertainment. It also makes your morning person easier to deal with inside the station. The talent can concentrate on the personality aspects of the show. The producer handles the formatics, guests, hot topics and schedules the rest of the week.

There’s another reason a good producer is priceless. If you have a great morning show that is hosted by a morning talent, you have less risk of losing the audience if the talent decides to leave. Particularly in smaller markets, losing your morning talent, especially if the talent is good, is always a distinct possibility. A good producer can maintain the momentum of a morning show without having it hinge on the personality of the main morning talent.

If the ultimate success of your station depends on the performance of your morning show, I suggest you take all of these suggestions and more into consideration. Maybe you will discover something that will make your radio station better.

Isn’t that what we’re all here for?

By The Time I Got To…


Woodstock ’94 started out a little different from the original. I was booked on that special United flight into New York…the one full of industry people wanting to be hippies just one more time. The flight was delayed, so I sat down in the padded chair in that fancy room they reserve for first class passengers. That’s when it all went to hell.

A buttoned-down steward (certainly not sporting the Woodstock look) approached me with a frown. It seems I was the only passenger in first class who hadn’t ordered the special vegetarian plate and he was worried that others might be offended at the smell of my well-done steak. I flipped him half the peace sign, closed my eyes and thought back 25 years ago.

It started out as just another balmy, breezy morning in Coconut Grove. A bunch of us were living in the park. On the beach. A stone’s throw from downtown Miami. In between my regular job as a deejay on WFUN, I told fortunes in the park. I can steal read a palm with the best of them.

I was also partly responsible for cooking the evening meal we all shared. I say partly responsible because none of us were really responsible.

Anyhow, one of my brothers (we called all of our friends brothers or sisters in those days) named John Joseph Henry Billygoat Night-timer Sweetdaddy Fox approached me grinning like a mule eating  briars.

“Pete,” he says (everyone called me Pete in those days because…aw, hell, just accept it without an explanation) “how would you like to go to Woodstock?”

I had no money. I had to work that evening. I had absolutely no idea where Woodstock was or why we should be going, so I had only one answer: “Of course.”

He waved over a thin, tender looking guy with long, stringy, blonde hair who was wearing bell-bottoms, a tie-dyed shirt, love beads and a headband with a peace sign in the middle. (Weren’t we all?)

“This is Electric Brian,” Sweetdaddy said.

I gave him half-a-dozen of the handshakes that were in vogue at the time, finishing with the two-palmed clasp that showed I really meant it.

“Hey, man,” I asked, “where’s Woodstock?” In those days I wasn’t afraid to make a fool out of myself by not knowing everything.

Electric Brian gave me a thousand-mile stare. “It’s where Bob Dylan lives, man.”

I said, “Far out.” Could I have really had any other response?

I chugged the cup of herbal tea Sweetdaddy offered and asked, “Who’s going?”

“Me, you and Gappy Lucy. Brian’s paying for all of us.”

“Far out.”

Gappy Lucy got her nickname because one of her front teeth was false. When she got stoned, she would take the tooth out and put a cigarette in its place. It was the sexiest thing I had ever seen.

When Sweetdaddy asked me how I liked the tea, I should have known things were about to get really twisted. You see, in those days, I was determined to keep my body and mind pure and clean and refused to do any drugs. My brothers and sisters were constantly trying to get me high and I should have heard a warning signal. But I didn’t. I guess I was too pure.

We jumped into Gappy’s VW van and headed for the airport. About half-way there, we ran out of gas. I’m pretty sure we became the first people attending Woodstock to abandon a vehicle on the side of the road and continue walking.

Inside the terminal, Electric Brian asked us what airline we’d like to fly, but I couldn’t answer. I was too busy dodging the giant winged alligators that materialized out of nowhere and were dive-bombing my head. I started to ask Sweetdaddy if he saw the alligators, but he looked to peaceful. I decided to wait. I knew he would see them soon enough.

When Electric Brian got us four seats on Bahamian Airlines, I should have said something. I had found out that Woodstock was in New York and I was pretty sure that New York wasn’t in the Bahamas, but I was too busy trying not to step on the snakes that were gathering at my feet. At least the alligators had disappeared.

The flight seemed to take only a few minutes, but I really can’t be sure as I was definitely not into space and time. I managed to gulp another cup of herbal tea and stepped down the stairs into a tropical paradise.

“I don’t know Woodstock was this beautiful,” Gappy said.

Sweetdaddy told her Bob Dylan lived there. I didn’t know what that had to do with anything and didn’t care. The alligators were back and they had turned nasty.

Somehow we made it to the hotel, though I never remembered the room. Electric Brian kept pulling out his credit card to pay for everything. I spent two days and nights in a hammock by the pool, drinking rum and pineapple juice…and more herbal tea. I really couldn’t leave the pool area. I was the only one who could see the giant octopus and keep it away from the children, though as time went on, the tourist families began to give us a wide berth.

I met John and Yoko. I asked him how he liked Woodstock. He said he didn’t really know and I thought that was cool. What was cooler was that he also saw the flying alligators.

By midnight of the second day, I began to wonder where all the bands were, but it really didn’t matter by then. Gappy Lucy had scared some children when she accidentally dropped her tooth off the diving board. Sweetdaddy took one of those kerosene tiki torches to try and illuminate the bottom. He lost his footing, fell in and set the pool on fire.

Electric Brian thought it was really cool, but hotel security disagreed. At least we got a police escort to the plane. As we got off in Miami, someone from Elektra Records grabbed Electric Brian and took away his credit card. That’s when I figured out how he got his name.

It wasn’t until a year later when I saw the movie that I realized I never quite made it to Woodstock. Or maybe I did. That special herbal tea was a bitch. And I don’t know anybody who can prove I wasn’t there.

The steward tapped me on the shoulder and brought me back to the present. He said it was time for boarding and offered me some herbal tea. I changed plans and jumped the next flight to Hawaii.

Woodstock ’94? Just like the original, baby. Far out.



I was reminded of one of my favorite Blues tunes yesterday. The lyrics came to mind during a phone call from Danny Buch of Atlantic Records. Danny was sharing his excitement about an idea that had blossomed into a great promotion for his company.

After commuting into New York City for who-knows-how-many years, Danny finally had enough of the silence he endured going through the Holland Tunnel. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the drive from New Jersey into the city, if you don’t go through the Holland Tunnel, you ain’t gonna get there. (Unless you go way north over the George Washington Bridge, but that another story, another promotion and another Editorial.) Anyhow, that trip through the tunnel can take anywhere from two to twenty minutes during a regular commute. More, of course, if there is an accident. And while you’re in the tube, you can’t hear anything. It’s like being underwater. You’re cut off from all communication with the outside world. Forget your radio. Forget your mobile phone. For those few minutes, you’re all alone with your thoughts. And for many people, especially New Yorkers, that can be a very scary feeling.

So Danny started playing, “What if?” and came up with some startling ideas. “What if we could somehow play music (Atlantic product, of course) to the people in the cars?” How could that happen? The tunnel shut out all forms of communication, didn’t it? Maybe…maybe not.

Danny had seen all the signs near airports instructing motorists to tune to a certain AM channel for traffic instructions. He wondered, “What if we could do the same thing in and around the Holland Tunnel? Impossible, right?

Danny checked it out and found that he could operate AM transmitters that broadcast in a very restricted area. If the transmitters operated at less than 1/10th of a watt (about ¼ of a mile in reach), the FCC had no jurisdiction. That meant no license to contend with, no rules and regulations to follow and, most important, no format restrictions.

Atlantic purchased the transmitters and produced tapes of their artists. This week, it’s B Tribe. Next week? Another artist. Sexy-voiced Sr. VP Promotion Andrea Ganis announces the song and the artist on the “station” and advises listeners where they can buy the CD at the lowest possibly price.

Atlantic promotion people swarmed the sidewalks on each side of the tunnel wearing sandwich boards advertising commuters to “Tune Your Radio To AM 1510 For Music And Money.” In the future, Atlantic plans to run contests giving away cash and prizes. Listeners will be told to go to specific retail outlets, buy the CD and possibly win thousands of dollars in cash.

Nearly two million people travel through the Holland Tunnel every day. Out of that two million, I’m sure there are many who work for companies that would benefit by some form of advertising to the rest of the moles. When the sandwich boards went up and the transmitters went on, the majority of those two million commuters said, “Holy Cow, why didn’t I think of that?”

It’s a fantastic promotion aimed at the primary, music-buying demographic sought by most advertisers. A cume-building monster. Forget quarter-hour increases, this locks your audience for tunnel time!

It’s designed for radio. It’s on radio. And a radio programmer didn’t think of it. Why?

That makes me want to puke.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m taking nothing away from Atlantic Records. As connected to radio as they are, Danny and Andrea could probably out program half the PDs out there anyhow.

This just points out how sometimes pointless radio can be to the listening public.

Network Forty, countless conventions, newspapers, newscasts and town criers have warned of the impending communications gridlock on the superhighway. With more and more outlets from which to choose, listeners will be tempted to abandon commercial radio. But that isn’t radio’s biggest problem. Radio’s biggest problem is radio. Why is there no creativity that used to make our medium exciting? Why are there no great promotions designed to stimulate the audience?

They ain’t here no more. Why? Because most programmers aren’t up to the task.

Most programmers spend too much time behind a music computer making sure the flow is right. Here’s a news flash: Why not design the format, define the rules and insist that the air personalities adhere to those rules? Give them the opportunity to create their own music flow within the format. If they can’t do it, find others who can.

Most PDs spend too much time in focus groups. Why? With all due respect, f you don’t inherently know who your audience is and what music they like, find another line of work.

Why can’t you make your station exciting? Stop spending so much time researching your audience. Spend more time on developing a market through exciting promotions.

What happened to innovation? Excitement? The guts to do something so off-the-wall that it attracts listeners to your attitude…not your 10-in-a-row format that anyone and everyone can duplicate? More and more, the audience is identifying with that attitude. Music and formatics are important, but with music crossing formatic barriers with listener impunity, you have to do more to make your station stand out from the rest.

What will make the difference? Your talent.

Basically, every Top 40 plays the same hits; what should set a station apart is an aggressive and entertaining promotional presence…a presence that can only be found in the theatre-of-the-mind. Imagine WNCI packing four listeners in a “B.O. Sphere” car or KQHT’s “Turkey Bungee Jumping.” Why are stations such as KROQ, KRBE and KDWB regularly featured on our Promotions Page? Because too many Top 40s simply give away cash and concert tickets to the umpteenth caller.


Because as a program director, you’re spending too much time on other things that aren’t as important. Or because you just aren’t good enough.

Oh year. The name of the song? Delbert McClinton’s “Why? Why? Why?”

You had to ask?



It seems that last week’s Editorial about charts and trades struck a nerve.

For the better part of a year, Network Forty has been printing facts about the industry in general and R&R in particular. We questioned the R&R reporter base; it changed. We attacked the “Parallel System:” R&R dropped it. We pointed out the irregularities in the R&R charts; R&R debuted a new series of charts.

R&R made all these changes with no mention of Network Forty. It was like R&R was the old AM station with the big cume and Network Forty was the upstart FM with nothing but an attitude. Ignore them and they’ll go away. Right?

Last week, R&R blinked. To put it in radio terms (after all, Network Forty is made up of nothing but radio people), R&R reacted to Network Forty‘s promos.

R&R Publisher/CEO Bob Wilson sent a letter to R&R‘s radio reporters. In the letter, R&R attacks the credibility of Network Forty and BDS.

First, I would like to personally thank Mr. Wilson for the publicity. Since Bob mentions no other chart (except the Billboard chart derived from BDS information), it is obvious that the Publisher and CEO of R&R believes that Network Forty and BDS are the only competition.

Bob, we thank you for your endorsement.

It is true that Bob believes R&R‘s charts are superior to both Network Forty and BDS. Hey, it’s his publication. We won’t fault him for thinking his stuff is the best. He’s wrong, of course.

A number of his observations are wrong as well. Before writing the letter, maybe Bob should have checked with Joel Denver. Joel is familiar with dogs that don’t hunt. It’s evident that Bob has released another group of hounds that can’t find the rabbit.

To wit: The letter accuses Network Forty of being a mystery because we have “…no reporter list, no playlists, no back-up every shown.” Aw, Bob, you should have done your homework. Network Forty produces a laminated page of all reporting stations each quarter. This laminate is sent to all our subscribers. Since Bob doesn’t subscribe, he didn’t get this laminate. Heck, we’ll send him one anyway. Since it provides phone numbers and contacts, R&R might finally be able to talk with people in radio. That would be a switch.

Selected playlists are reprinted in Network Forty each week. To save trees, we don’t print them all. No one has the time to read playlist info from all of our 267 reporters…a universe that is 50% larger that R&R‘s. As far as back-up, Network Forty provides the only regional break-outs of PPWs. Network Forty provides the only in-depth analysis of record activity with our exclusive “Next Forty” information. Since R&R ripped off Network Forty‘s Plays Per Week label, perhaps R&R would like to steal these ideas, too.

Bob defends R&R‘s refusal to accept faxed playlists by saying that faxed lists are easy to fabricate. Like a phone call to R&R isn’t? Hey, Bob, the truth is, many in radio have been phoning those fabricated playlists for years. That’s why BDS became popular in the first place.

In the letter, R&R has the gall to call Billboard’s Hot 100 suspect because of a mysterious formula of plays and sales. The only thing more mysterious than R&R‘s formula for tabulating charts is the origin of the Black Hole.

R&R takes exception to the fact that Network Forty and BDS use no weighting in formulating charts. Bob says, “Do you actually go along with a play in New York or Boston being given equality to a play in Tyler, Texas?”

We realize more people hear a record played in New York than in Tyler. We also know that programmers recognize the difference. A programmer understands that a record added on Z100 means more than an add in East Jesus, Nebraska. They don’t need a chart to tell them that. In fact, programmers don’t need charts for finite reasons. No programmer looks at any chart and copies it as he own. Each market is different. Good programmers look at “real” charts to see how a particular record is doing and/or make sure they aren’t missing anything. Network Forty has never said weighting is bad. Network Forty did say that the obviously bloated weighting of R&R puts far too much emphasis on major markets. Since most majors play fewer songs than smaller markets, weighting majors in a disproportional manner can cause stagnation and make it harder for new records to get an accurate test. Which, in the end, hurts radio. And records.

The real reason for the R&R letter is obvious. R&R is about to change the way their chart is compiled. Again. R&R will, Bob says, “…install the new formula with the next reporter change in a few weeks.” R&R will also begin accepting faxed playlists as soon as they develop a “fax verification system.” Speaking of mysteries, is this like the RQC (Reporter Qualification Committee) R&R debuted a few months ago?

Once again, soon after heralding its innovations as the best in the business, R&R changes them because the R&R system simply won’t hunt (see: “this dog…). Whatever R&R implements, a short time later, R&R will devise yet another silly formula that Joel will say is the best ever, then try to shove it down radio’s throats. When will R&R notice that radio isn’t swallowing anymore?

R&R wasn’t the only publication that got a little bent out of shape because of the Network Forty Editorial last week. One of the honchos at Hits took exception to my comment that nobody reads Hits. He demonstrated his professionalism and maturity be personally calling to tell me he was going to “stick his dick in my ass.”

I love the guys at Hits and I expected a reaction, but hardly these extremes. I’m going to have to pass on your offer, fella, but I’m sure someone of your obvious talent and personality will have no trouble finding a willing partner.

Even Gavin took umbrage with my comments. Bill called several times, but didn’t leave a number where I could reach him.

As radio pays more and more attention to Network Forty and BDS, it is clear that R&R is resorting to desperate measures to try and hold on to the dominant position it held for so long. Like a ballplayer staying past his prime, R&R tries new deliveries, curves, sliders, tricks and gimmicks to hide the fact that it has lost the fastball.

It once was only R&R. It’s quickly becoming just Network Forty and BDS. Maybe it’s time for R&R to crawl up on the porch and let the big dogs run in the streets.

World Famous


Programming a radio station is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. The combined talents necessary to be successful stretch from psychological counseling to technical engineering and everything in between. In an industry that increasingly demands more “hand-on” managing, it is sometimes impossible to take the time to have fun. And to create a radio station that draws a young audience, a feeling of fun must be prevalent or the audience will take a hike.

It’s hard to sound like you’re having fun when you’re not.

Face it, most of us got into radio to listen to music and meet members of the opposite sex. If those two items weren’t high on your list in the beginning, you’re lying…or should be in another line of work.

Many got the first chance at programming because the former PD was blown out quickly and the GM didn’t haven an immediate replacement. Or because the GM was convinced that someone else could do a better job. (In other words, the PD got stabbed in the back.) Some were promoted from the MD or APD position.

The point I’m trying to make is that most of us ascended to the job because of the right ambitions, but we were ill prepared for the reality.

Format clocks? Stop sets? Music rotations? How do I find out if I’m doing it right?

Jock meetings? Aircheck critiques? Promoitons? You mean I have to come up with promotional ideas? Liners? Production? Jingles?

Daily meetings with the sales department? You mean I have to have an ongoing dialogue with the sales manager? I hate sales. Public affairs? What is that all about?

Record promoters? I have to see all these guys every week? They’re calling every hour! I can’t play all their records.

The GM is thinking about hiring a consultant? I don’t want a consultant. I don’t have time to talk with him.

All I wanted to do was drink beer, play music and have a little fun. Now, I’m to busy to have fun. Hell, I don’t even have time to listen to my radio station.


How does a baby programmer learn to do it right? In the days of AM, you could just DX a major market and copy. No longer. Even if you visit a large city, there’s no guarantee you’ll learn anything. Many of those programming in major markets are clueless when it comes to creating great radio stations. Oh, a lot of them can pick the right music. (In today’s information-heavy environment, who can’t?) Some believe they can create a good vibe. (Until someone invents a “vibe meter,” it doesn’t matter.) But very few know how to program a great radio station. Why? Nobody ‘splained it to them.

Enter The World Famous KROQ.

KROQ is the best sounding radio station in the United States…bar none.

Now, I know some of my good friends and fellow programmers might take exception to this statement. I make it with no particular ax to grind or apples to polish. I know KROQ’s GM Trip Reeb and PD Kevin Weatherly, but we’ve spent no real time discussing programming in-depth. I spoke with neither regarding this Editorial. I write it as a listener.

KROQ is my station of choice. I like a lot of the music they play, but the same could be said of every other station in Los Angeles. It’s not the music that makes them my favorite. In the dynasouric demonology of Arbitron recall, it takes a lot more than music to make your station someone’s favorite. It ain’t KROQ’s music. It’s their presentation.

Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, every break KROQ rocks. And rocks hard.

Why? It’s hard to cite one specific element that makes KROQ stand out above the rest.

I’ve heard better air personalities. As a matter of fact, in the strictest sense of the term, KROQ’s air talent doesn’t fit the normal expectations of the breed. And maybe that’s what makes them, as a whole, great. There are no “big” voices, no rhyming wizards, just competent people who share the personalities. And their expertise. KROQ jocks offer current, hip information about artists and appearances. They don’t just read liners.

Kevin Weatherly manages to make this menagerie work for the benefit of the station. Many programmers hire off-the-wall jocks and let them fly on their own with decidedly different results. KROQ allows the jocks to express their individual personalities, but within the structure of the format. Kevin came from Top 40 and he’s brought to KROQ a structured format that makes the flow smooth, but allows the differing elements to keep the station fresh.

The positioners and sweepers are the best in the business. You don’t hear any staged hype. Many programmers are quick to “borrow” from other stations. KROQ’s are unique and absolutely off the wall. Like their slogan, “World Famous,” the stagers often have little to do with a specific event, but paint a picture of controlled mayhem.

The time spent producing each of these little “Oh Wows” must be monumental, but will worth the effort. Every element sounds as if it was written and produced to be the best. And each comes off that way.

And every weekend, KROQ does something special. The weekends are different for the listeners and KROQ program to the difference. No promotion or contest is every thrown away.

How do they do it? Time and attention to detail is, I’m sure, the first element. But more important is the commitment from each person involved. The staff at KROQ really loves what they’re doing. They sound like they’re all having fun, because, I suspect, they are.

Kevin has evidently found a way to do all of the time-consuming “no fun” things about his job description without letting it affect the sound of KROQ. He takes the time and makes time to listen. And it sounds like he’s having fun doing it.

If you want to know how to do it right, listen to KROQ.

There are a lot of reasons a programmer can give to excuse a poor on-air presentation. But in the end, that’s all they are…excuses.

Never forget the reasons for the beginning of your quest. Hey, through all of the tedious, emotionally draining, time-consuming elements that you hate, remember that programming a radio station beats working.

And ask yourself (and your staff) this question at least three times every day: “Are we having fun yet?”

The audience is listening.




Radio stations across the country received letters from R&R this week describing the new Plays Per Week reporting system set to go into effect with the next issue. Just what Top 40 needs. Another “Dear Joel” letter.


R&R has made many blunders in the past year as it has gamely tried to dictate to radio, but these latest edicts may very well be the worst ever. This editorial space always tries to reflect the opinions prevalent in our industry. Sometimes the opinions are offered by a few. This week, the industry as a whole seems to have reached a breaking point with R&R.

Joel Denver’s letter to all reporters opens with the following statement: “After years of planning and months of exhaustive testing, R&R’s dynamic new music information gathering system is ready to go! We’re convinced that it will provide the industry with the most comprehensive and accurate national airplay information.”


I guess what Joel is trying to say is that he’s been reading The Network Forty for the past two years. That’s how long we’ve been producing and printing Plays Per Week. We gave the term “Plays Per Week” to the industry to use. And now R&R wants the industry to believe that R&R has spent years developing a “dynamic new system.”

All together now…Bullshit.

R&R’s latest system has a lot of problems, not the least of which is their decision to break Top 40 into two subformats: 12-24 CHR/Top 40 and 18-34 CHR/Top 40. Radio stations are once again being categorized by R&R based on what R&R decides. Top 40 radio faces enough problems trying to sell their audience to advertisers without R&R diminishing its importance by placing “stigmas” that have nothing to do with the individual station’s own positioning. Why is R&R doing this?

Checking through the breakouts, R&R seems to have decided that all radio stations playing a heavy mixture of Urban or Dance music automatically qualify for inclusion in the 12-24 category…regardless of demographic dominance. This means that a station like WPGC in Washington D.C. will be listed in R&R’s 12-24 category even though WPGC is #1 25-54! And a station like KSFM in Sacramento, ranked #1 18-34, will be listed by R&R in the 12-24 category!

What is wrong with this picture? The fish are definitely in the trees!

Who in our industry wants two separate charts, broken into these demographics? There isn’t a radio station in the world that wants its advertisers to believe they appeal only to the 12-24 year-old audience. There certainly isn’t a Top 40 station anywhere that wants its competition to have a national magazine identifying it as a 12-24 station. The format is hard enough to sell as it is. Do we need R&R further diluting Top 40’s sales picture by incorrectly defining a station’s format and downgrading its influence in the upper demos?

Say it again…Bullshit.

How can R&R misread the concerns of radio so badly? How could R&R announce these changes without first researching radios’ reaction?

To quote a programmer, “R&R is like AM radio and the latest attempts at change are like AM stereo. Nobody’s listening anymore.”

Radio’s response to R&R’s latest dictates have been immediate and harsh. Many radio stations that have been classified as 12-24 area seriously reconsidering the value of reporting PPWs to R&R. All radio stations should do the same.

The Network Forty believes that all trade magazines owe a debt of gratitude to radio stations because radio provides the information. All trade magazines should reflect the needs and wants of the radio and record industries. If any trade magazine does not reflect a constructive position for your radio station, why give it information?

The Network Forty is dedicated to helping both the radio and record industries discover new and innovative ways that will ensure a successful future. The Network Forty has championed Top 40 radio since our inception and will continue to do that.

The fact that R&R continues to apply restrictions and arbitrary judgments that are detrimental to Top 40 specifically, and radio in general, is appalling. R&R does not ask the industry what the industry needs, it tells the industry what R&R needs.

What’s that smell? Bullshit.

There are other problems with R&R’s “new” and “innovative” system. R&R will only take PPW information over the phone. This allows too much room for manipulation, something that R&R seems reluctant to discourage. The Network Forty accepts only computer-generated PPW information via fax. This makes The Network Forty PPW information harder to manipulate; and our additional checks against computer-generated daily music logs makes manipulation impossible. Simply put, despite R&R’s hollow claims, The Network Forty’s PPW information is the most comprehensive and accurate barometer of actual airplay available.

No bullshit.

Joel’s letter also states that “Maintaining R&R status is more important than ever, since only our reporters have access to R&R ONLINE.” Access? Didn’t R&R promise five computers and software to all reporters a while back? Is R&R now only offering access?

How long will radio continue to pander to a trade magazine like R&R? R&R continues to make promises it doesn’t keep.

Radio deserves better.

At one time, R&R status was meaningful to radio. It isn’t any longer. It’s time for radio to decide whether or not to continue to provide information to a trade magazine that doesn’t serve radio’s best interests.

If you, like many other programmers, believe that R&R’s latest demands aren’t in your best interest, the answer is simple.

Don’t report.

It’s my guess that R&R will change its terminology when radio refuses to participate in the latest “innovation.” This won’t be the first time R&R has proposed a “new” system, only to have it show down by radio. Remember the initial R&R PPW pitch? Top 40 was to supply predicted plays for the upcoming week. That dog didn’t hunt, either.

The bigger question is: When will R&R consult with the industry it claims to serve before instituting new procedures? How many mistakes will R&R make before the industry turns its back on them completely? And how long in the future will it be until radio flatly rejects R&R as a positive influence on its livelihood?

The future is now.

Capitol Improvements


To quote Bob Dylan, “…the times they are a-changing.” Over a year ago, The Network Forty predicted the changes that are now affecting the radio and recording industries. Gone are the Parallel Systems, the dependency on station playlists and the dictatorial rules of R&R. Going soon are paper adds, chart manipulation and the way record companies have been doing business with radio.

Record companies are struggling to determine definitive compensation due radio (i.e. promotions) and independent promoters for their work with specific stations. As actual airplay and retail sales have become the true bottom line, record companies search for a benchmark that can be used by everyone. Though all agree that some new method must take the place of the old 7-4-3 Parallel System, defining the compensation package has been difficult.

What radio station are important? How is that importance determined? What factors should be weighed in making final decisions?

Those are some of the questions. The answers vary. But one answer is definitive: record companies will determine the importance of specific radio stations. No longer will R&R dictate the status of stations simply by making them part of its reporting base.

Acknowledging the change is easy Acting on an alternative has taken longer. Although the old Parallel System was unfair and inaccurate, it was an easy way out for record companies. Coming up with an innovative system to reflect the new order is a lot tougher.

Late last year, Arista Sr. VP Promotion Rick Bisceglia quietly moved away from the Parallel System and began categorizing radio stations based on airplay and record sales. Columbia Sr. VP Promotion Burt Baumgartner fired the first broad salvo last month when he innovated a new system of compensation for independent promoters based solely on airplay. Using BDS as a monitor, Columbia began compensating for actual spins, not listings. This system drastically improves on the old, but could leave many non-BDS-monitored stations in limbo. Last week, Atlantic Sr. VP Promotion Andrea Ganis went one step further. Compensation is provided using BDS and The Network Forty’s Plays Per Week for those stations not monitored by BDS. Although each plan varies according to specific records, one thing is common: airplay, not listiings, is the criterion.

All of these systems are innovative, but left unanswered are the questions of how to place importance on particular radio stations and what measures should be used to determine their importance?

Enter Capitol Sr. VP Promotions John Fagot. John commissioned a research report to determine the answers. Capitol researched markets nationwide to find out: (a) The top 100 stations ranked by 12-34 cume. The 12-34 demographic is used because previous research indicates this group is the primary source of record purchases…particularly with new releases. (b) The Current/Recurrent/Gold ratio of these radio stations Radio stations that are Current-based are more important to record companies…particularly in showcasing new releases. (c) The top markets nationwide ranked by actual record sales.

Using this research, John is able to more accurately define the ratio stations that can play an important role in the success of Capitol Records. The same is true for the record industry as a whole.

John is willing to share a good bit of this research Some of the highlights are interesting.

Many in radio believe that success is dependent upon a tight playlist. Recurrents and Golds are often thought to be the key to higher ratings. Although The Network Forty has provided research and insight that shows the raido audience is changing and wants to hear more new music, a lot of programmers cling to the belief that being late on new music is the safest way to go. This may have been an accurate assumption in the past, but current trends indicate that stations on the cutting edge of music programming are achieving greater success than those that are slower to react. Some of the most successful ratio stations in the country are also some of the most Current-based: WBBM Chicago, WPGC Washington, D.C., Power Pig Tampa and WLUM Milwaukee, just to name a few.

Jumping off the pages are the sales stats. One-half of all records sold last year were sold in the top 20 markets. One-half. And it gets more interesting. 81% of all records sold were sold in the top 75 markets. At first glance, it would seem to indicate that if you aren’t programming in one of the top markets, your station’s influence on record sales (and the correlation of your importance to the record industry) is negligible. However, a closer study reveals that, taken as a whole, markets ranked less than 100 comprise 12.38% of total record sales, higher than any other individual market.

Record companies that concentrate exclusively on large markets miss the biggest market of them all. If you are programming in a small market, your influence on record companies depends on your ability to influence record sales. Radio programmers in smaller markets who depend on record companies for promotions (and who doesn’t?) should be developing relationships with retail outlets in their home town right now. Prepare research that documents your station’s ability to influence record sales. In the past, your status with R&R determined your importance to record companes. Now, it’s up to you.

Another interesting facet of the report is found in the sales figures. Many markets outperform their population in record sales. And some do much worse. In almost all cases, markets that are ranked higher in sales than population have two things in common: They are dominated by aggressive Current-based radio stations and/or have colleges located within the ADL. Some of the best? Sacramento ranks 21st in population, but 13th in sales; Las Vegas ranks 91st in population and 42nd in sales; Springfield-Decatur-Champaign ranks 75th and 46th respectively; Austin is 71st and 56th. Others that perform signigicntly better than their population figures are San Diego, Portland, Salt Lake City, Providence and Madison. Conversely, some of the markets who perform poorly with record sales in contrast to population are those with radio stations that aren’t as aggressive or Current-based. The “leaders” in this category are Dallas, ranked 7th in population and only 14th in record sales and Buffalo, ranked 38th in population and only 61st in sales. Other markets that perform under their population figures: Cleveland, Jacksonville, Birmingham, Tulsa, Syracuse and Shreveport.

The most interesting thing about this report is the person who commissioned it. John Fagot is one of hte most respected Sr. VPs of Promotion in the industry. He has also been in the business of promoting records for nearly three decades. It would be easy for him to cling to the way he’s done his job in the past. For John to recognize the changes taking place in our industries and enlist innovative research to define his record company’s goals better is positive proof that Bob Dylan is right.

And am I the only one who recognizes the true, poetic justice in this report? For years, radio has concucted iternal research to determine the fate of records. Now, record companies are using research to determine the importance of radio.

The times are changing. We have a choice to stand pat and continue to be a part of the past. Or we can be bold and become a part of the future. Individuals like John Fagot, Rick Bisceglia, Burt Baumgartner and Andrea Ganis and record companies as a whole are taking charege of their destinies. They are defining the future.

It’s time for radio to do the same.



Who in the hell do we think we are?

Most of us know the answer to this question, but to often, particularly on the radio side of our business, some get confused.

Let’s face it. With the constant hype we get, it’s sometimes easy to think that we are the be-all and end-all of our industry. With record promoters telling us how great we are on a daily basis, it’s not hard to believe what they are saying is true. Trust me. None of us are that good.

It’s a sad fact in our business that many confuse what they do with who they are.

If it hasn’t happened to you, don’t let it. If it has, try and stop it. Although if it has happened to you, even as you read this Editorial, you won’t believe I’m writing about you. It’s the other guys with the problems.

As a program director or music director, your importance has the lifespan of a butterfly. And your professional life is similar. Just as a butterfly begins as a glorified worm, so did most of us who are now in this business. We found radio as an easy place to hide away from the personality traits that made us less accepted in the real world. Behind a microphone, it was easy to be something we really weren’t. We could please the people; be hip and cute; be wanted by members of the opposite sex. In short, we could be everything we couldn’t be.

In most cases, this business brought us out of our shells and allowed us to grow through and rise above the traits that hindered us before. In other cases, monsters were created.

Are we really that important? The answer is easy. Reprise VP Promotion Mark Ratner has an interesting way of summing this up. He says, “Most of us, when we decided to go into radio or records, didn’t have a hard choice to make. It wasn’t like, do I do radio or take that full scholarship to Harvard Medical School?” WE got into the business because we love it…or because we didn’t have another choice. Now, because we program an important station, does that mean we’re better than everyone else?

Sadly, many do believe that. Egos unchecked grow quickly out of control. However, when they burst, the flame-out is total.

Don’t buy the hype or you are destined to fail. Arrogance is fine. You must believe that you are good. But when you think that nobody can do it better, that you are the difference, then you’re in trouble.

I see it all too often in our business. Radio programmers and music directors who have a good book or tow or win a car suddenly become geniuses. They stop doing the things that made them good in the first place and become content with the strokes they’re getting from those who are paid to stroke. They become cocky because they are successful.

Successful at what? Programming a radio station? Please. It ain’t that big a deal. But we begin to think it is.

I got lucky. It happened to me early in my career. I was the youngest program director in KHJ Los Angeles history; the youngest programmer in the famed RKO chain. I was the best. I know, because every record promoter told me. On a daily basis. And they wouldn’t lie. Not to me. They told me constantly, depending on how many records I added the last week.

One company even put my name on a billboard on Sunset Strip. Promoting a record that was rising up the charts, the printed, “Thanks To Gerry Cagle” where everyone could see. I got fired from KHJ on a Monday. Tuesday morning, my name was off the billboard.

Welcome to the world of entertainment. The butterfly was dead, pinned to the pages of a book entitled, “I Am A Genius. I Can Never Fail.”

It could…it will happen to you. Hopefully, in a less humiliating scenario.

Nowhere else is the saying, “The King is dead…long live the King,” more prevalent than in our business. Someone can always do it better.

I took WRKO Boston to its highest ratings. No one could do it better. I left and Harry Nelson took them even higher.

Scott Shannon was the best program director in history. He took Z100 to the top of the market. No one could do it better. He left and Steve Kingston took the ratings even higher.

Jerry DeFrancesco was the best programmer in history. He took KIIS Los Angeles to the top. No one could do it better. He left and Steve Rivers took them even higher.

The list is never ending.

Don’t get confused. It’s who you are, not what you do. Your position can and will be replaced. And in most cases, the results will be the same.

But many in our business see themselves as the important element in the mix. They act too proud, talk too loud and become ugly…with no reason. They are too important to listen. Why should they? They have all the answers. And they buy into the hype.

Who are these people? These people who get front row concert tickets and get to meet superstars backstage? These people who eat at the finest restaurants and never pick up the tab? These people who have dinners thrown in the honor? These people who are flown across the country, kept in luxurious hotels, get free tickets to the Grammys and other award shows?

It’s not who they are…it’s what position they hold…for the moment.

No programmer is as good as the music industry tells them they are. Lose your job and you’ll find out…the hard way.

Drop the cockiness. It’s unbecoming. Do a good job. Be proud of your accomplishments. Enjoy the spoils of the business. But don’t for a minute believe it’s because you’re the greatest. Humble pie tastes like shit. Don’t be forced to eat it.

Michael Spears was the greatest program director in KFRC history. No one could do it better. He left and Les Garland came in and took the cume even higher. He was the best. No one could do it better. I followed Garland. And the cume went even higher. And I was the best there ever was. I left and Walt Sabo took over. Okay, bad example. KFRC went into the toilet.

But you get the drift, don’t you? Or are you the best there ever was?

Book Report


Howard Stern.

Two words that assault the senses like no others…with the possible exception of: gang rape, escaped pedophile, serial killer and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Say what you will about Howard (and most people will say a bunch), he does attract a lot of attention. Syndicated nationwide, his radio show is heard by millions. His syndicated TV show and a later stint on E! cable was watched by a rabid audience. And now, he’s written a book.

“Howard Stern, Private Parts” (Simon & Schuster) is available at your local bookstore…if they carry it…and if it isn’t sold out. Go buy a copy. It’s a must-read for everyone in radio.

It’s the fastest seller in Simon & Schuster history, something I’m sure the venerable publishing company is very proud of. And why should the book be a best seller? Howard has said the secret to a successful radio show is “lesbians.” No less than three chapters pertain to the subject, but there are other, just as titillating chapters, including: My Sex Life; Pig Virus; If you’re Not Like Me, I Hate You; Yes, I Am Fartman; You’ve Been A Bad Girl, Haven’t You and Out Of The Closet, just to mention a few.

With poetic prose like the aforementioned, who can argue? Faulkner, Hemmingway, Stern. It just rolls off your tongue.

Howard is critiqued and criticized by just about everybody, but whether you like what he does or not (I personally think he’s great), he can’t be ignored. What makes Howard different is his honesty. With Stern, what you hear is what you get. There isn’t any hype or hyperbole. It’s just Howard. That honesty comes across in his book. He is quick to point out that the fame he achieves from what he does for a living never ceases to amaze him. As he describes it, “So here I am at the top of the heap…a heap of shit! When you’re in an industry with Cousin Brucie, Zookeepers and Rush Limbaugh, what would you call your heap?”

Howard Stern is living testimonial to the truth that “it’s not brain surgery, it’s only radio.” (I wonder if brain surgeons, before performing an operation, say to each other, “Relax, it’s not radio…it’s only brain surgery.”) We all have the tendency to take everything too seriously. Take Howard’s listeners…please. Howard’s just having fun…saying things that most of the audience thinks, but won’t voice. Those who get angry are probably taking life too seriously. I mean, it’s only radio.

And just because Howard says it, does that make it mean something?


Unlike most of his listeners, I had the distinct pleasure/pain of being the object of one of Howard’s nuclear assaults. When I was programming WAPP in New York in 1985, Howard was doing afternoons on WNBC. His contract was coming to an end and WAPP’s General Manager Pat “The Rock And Roll Duck” McNally and I thought hiring him to do mornings might be a good idea. At this time, WAPP was behind both Z100 and WPLJ in the Top 40 race, so almost any change would have been an improvement.

This was shortly after I…and just about every other programmer of note…had been approached about the programming job at WNBC. I, with all the others, turned it down without a thought, even thought they offered twice the amount of money I was making. Who in his right mind wanted to be the program director of a station that featured Don Imus doing mornings and Howard Stern in the afternoons? Only someone with limited experience or a career death with! (My worst fears were quickly born out when WNBC finally did hire a PD from somewhere in Virginia. Imus called in sick and the guy had to do the morning show on his first day at work. Stern taped the show and played bits of it back in the afternoon, critiquing each break by the new “hillbilly.” It was brilliant.

Anyhow, back to the story: I had one meeting with Howard. I must tell you, he’s a great guy. The brief time I spent with him was pleasant and hysterically funny. McNally continued meeting with Stern and his agent and eventually offered him a contract. After some contemplation, our offer was turned down. Interestingly enough, the reason Howard gave was that he didn’t want to do mornings.

Gary Stevens, President of Doubleday Broadcasting at the time, wasn’t disappointed. He had been lukewarm to the idea from the beginning. When we were rejected, he declared “…the kid (Howard) would never make it.”

The day after the negotiations ended, I was on my way into the city to meet Stevens. I got caught in a massive traffic jam leading into the Midtown tunnel. Naturally, I was listening to Howard Stern. He began his program by saying he wanted to talk about “…that WOP radio station…WAPP and the punk program director who ran it…Gerry Cagle. There I was, stuck in traffic, being ripped by the master. I hunched down behind the wheel, afraid to look left or right at the other drivers. I knew they were listening to Stern and I felt they knew he was taking about me. It was a humiliating, yet somehow exciting experience.

I was relieved, if only for a moment, because Howard only tore into me for a minute. Then he switched to Stevens…berating him for being everything from a closet Jew who changed his name because he was ashamed of his heritage to being a cheap miser who wouldn’t come up with enough money to pay him. I’m leaving out some of the juicier comments, but suffice it to say that Howard carved out a new orifice or two for good measure. Howard went on to say how he could have saved WAPP from our miserable ratings, but we were too cheap to hire him.

But he didn’t stop Stevens. Next victim: Nelson Doubleday, the chairman of the company. Howard ripped the book company, the broadcasting company and the Mets. And he ended his brilliant tirade by launching into the “real” reason behind his not being hired: Nelson Doubleday’s daughter wanted to have sex with him…or something of that ilk.

It was outstanding…if a little too close to home.

When I got into Stevens’ office (hoping he hadn’t heard Stern’s program), it was evident that he had been listening. He was seated behind his desk, his shoulders slumped, a pale drawn look on his face. “I’m ruined in this town,” he moaned. I wasn’t with Stevens in his meeting with Doubleday. I can only imagine what was said.

Shortly thereafter, Doubleday sold all their stations and closed the broadcasting division. The company line was that it had nothing to do with Stern. I don’t necessarily share that opinion.

The bottom line? Doubleday made millions on the sale of their stations. Gary Stevens made a fortune by brokering the deal. He’s not the most successful radio station broker in the business today, so he wasn’t “…finished in this town.” Pat McNally is the GM of Live 105 in San Francisco. Howard (the kid) did make it.

And me? I never did manage to make WAPP a winner. New York’s largest audience had finally heard about WAPP, if not exactly how I had planned it. But Howard Stern ripped me for a minute or two on WNBC, somehow validating my career and giving me a brief moment of fame in the Big Apple.

Howard, I love you. You make me turn on my radio. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

And the book ain’t bad either.

P.S. Could we have a picture of Robin’s breasts for Page 6?

A Long Strange Trip


The Conclave in Minneapolis: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

The initial concept was mind-boggling by itself. There I was, on my way to the Midwest, a section of the country designated as a disaster area because of the worst flooding in history. I’m not particularly enamored with Minnesota under the best circumstances and the weather forecast was calling for more rain. And the only non-stop flight from Los Angeles was on Northworst Airlines.

I was doomed from the start.

But tickets had been purchased, meetings planned, rooms guaranteed and fights picked, so I had no choice.

When I arrived, the hotel was filled with nervous energy. Everyone was expecting fireworks at the first meeting Thursday night when representatives from all the trades debated their validity on the Charts Panel. Unfortunately, there were no knockouts. Billboard’s Michael Ellis chickened out and sent Kevin McCabe in his place. Kevin blamed any Billboard problems on BDS and any BDS problems on Billboard and was the unanimous winner of the “We’re Perfect Because We Say So” award. His attitude and demeanor exemplified Billboard’s recent adaptation of a “Holier Than Thou” posture. And the gum chewing was a nice touch.

Joel Denver wouldn’t fight…and who could blame him? He did bring another excuse to the table. Joel first stated that he granted reporting status solely on ratings. Since everyone knew that was bullshit, Joel quickly switched tactics and stated that reporting status was determined by a committee. A committee? What committee? Does R&R bus in a group of radio professionals every month to cast secret ballots on which radio stations will make it? Give me a break. The “old boys” just go to the back room, crack open a bottle and decide who they’ll beat on next.

Joel did an admirable job selling the company line on their vaporware. With a straight face, he predicted R&R’s monitor system would be up and running this fall in three markets. Joel was the only contestant in the “Beat A Dead Horse” category, but he would have won going away, even with the competition.

Hitmakers’ Barry Fiedel was eloquent as usual. Barry has such a command of the English language that it takes you a while to realize he isn’t really saying anything. Barry exemplifies his “Conference Calls.” The idea sounds good at first, but the end result produces nothing but hype.

The “Will Rogers Award” went to Dave Sholin for the 10th straight year. As soon as he leaves Gavin and joins The Network Forty, he’ll go smiling into the Hall of Fame.

I was confused. In this group, that was to be expected. Neither Billboard nor R&R could explain how they decide who reports in what formats and why. After their feeble attempts, I was still confused. So was the room. Evidently Billboard is still confused as well. They added 10 stations into their Mainstream Format right after Kevin defended their exclusion in Minneapolis. Is it just me or does this sound suspiciously like R&R’s many flip-flops? Could Joel Denver and Michael Ellis be the same person in different disguises? Think about it. Has anyone ever seen Joel and Michael in the same room at the same time?

After the meeting, all of the participants sponged free drinks at The Network Forty suite and vocalized what they wished they had said. No one was listening.

Friday brought on more meetings, more discussions and gambling at the nearby Indian reservation. Sholin lost $40 and cried all the way back to the hotel. Wayne Coy’s favorite number is 14. Tom Barsanti kept searching for the guy wearing feathers from the Village People and Joe Ianello still doesn’t understand why he couldn’t hit on 20.

A luncheon concert by Lisa Keith was well received as were the opening remarks by Rick Stone and the newly appointed Perspective VP Promotions Randy Spendlove. Nighttime found half the attendees avoiding the bowling tournament (the other half brought their own balls). The best-attended dinner was Steve Leavitt’s reserved table at one of Minneapolis’ finest restaurants, T.G.I. Fridays.

KWIN’s Bob Lewis hosted a simulated music meeting featuring input from both radio and record people. Although many points were made, the most notable was Bob’s remark that “this is why we don’t take record calls.” The reason? The session lasted over two-and-a-half hours.

Saturday morning’s Top 40 Format Breakfast was packed with people and questions. A funny thing happened at this meeting. We actually heard some answers. WKSE Program Director Brian Burns gave an effective explanation of how to conduct aircheck sessions; KDWB PD Marke Bolke told us how to successfully plan and execute promotions and WNVZ’s Wayne Coy went through the audience, giving jocks the opportunity to impress the programmers with their ability to do a break using what they had in their pockets. I think two of the guys were hired.

The least-attended meeting was “Time Management.” Most people couldn’t find the time to go.

Saturday afternoon, Dave Sholin and Joel Denver did a radio show on KDWB-FM. Dave did it for kicks. Joel did it because it was the largest market he ever worked in.

Most gratifying was an independent survey commissioned by The Network Forty. Mainstream radio people attending the Conclave were asked by an independent contractor, “What is your favorite trade magazine?” Respondents were allowed to choose more than one, which explains the percentages, but we sure liked who finished first:

The Network Forty                  74%

Gavin                                      51%

R&R                                        37%

Hitmakers                                13%

Billboard/Monitor                   08%

Hits                                         03%

Absent from the Conclave was the usual hype present at most other conventions. The good part was that most of the panels were well attended and well presented. The down side? A lot of heavy radio programmers didn’t show. But is that really bad? Most people at the Conclave are on their way up. They’re anxious to learn…willing to be trained. They aren’t afraid to ask questions. Quality time is actually possible. Friendships made in the congenial atmosphere will last. And many of those at tiny stations today will be in the majors tomorrow.

The bottom line? This was my first Conclave. It won’t be my last.