Bye Bye

A long, long time ago…
I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And, maybe, they’d be happy for a while.

But february made me shiver
With every paper I’d deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep;
I couldn’t take one more step.

I can’t remember if I cried
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside
The day the music died.

It was a subtle change, begun years ago, probably innocently. Some Sr. VP Promotion hired a local promotion manager who gave a great interview, had the drive and the proper work ethic and looked the part. Only one thing was missing. This LPM wasn’t passionate about music. No big deal though, right? One LPM who wasn’t passionate about music made no difference in the big picture. However, this LPM probably worked his way up to a position of prominence and began hiring other LPMs. The last thing this person looked for in a prospective employee was passion for music. He had none and it hadn’t held him back. Why was it needed in others?

Continue reading “Bye Bye”

‘Twas The Week Before Christmas



Twas the week before Christmas and all through the nation,

Record companies shut down and stopped calling stations.

Stock options were hung on the chimney with care,

In hopes a bull market soon would be there.

I was excited, Gary was calm,

We just had come back from a bite at The Palm.

When out in the atrium there came a loud moan,

Gary said, “What in the hell’s going on?”

We dashed through the doors and what did we see,

But reindeer and Santa crashed into the tree.

We rescued the S-Man and brushed off his face,

“I can’t make it,” he said, “you must go in my place.”

“Line up the elves,” Gary yelled, getting mad.

“Come Dina,” I shouted, “Get Stephanie and Brad.”

Michelle will coordinate, Art, come along,

And Kris will be happy to say we’re all wrong.

Tiff claims a window seat so she can say,

“Bye-bye” when she throws Jeffy out of the sleigh.

EMT Greg-boy will keep us alive,

And we’ll all hear Kristen as she backseat drives.

“Don’t worry,” said Gary, “We’ll let her rip.”

We jumped in the sleigh and he cracked the whip.

“On Lazy, on Stupid…is that how it goes?”

“And Rudolph, you showboat, turn off your nose!”

“What’s in the bag?” Gary asked with a smile.

“Presents,” I answered, “for all those worthwhile.”

For Andrea and Danny, a Siamese Cat.

For Kilgo, a comparison with that of a gnat.

More money and power for cool Phill Costello.

And Father Palmese will be a rich fellow.

Curb’s crossing Country with our dear boy Ric,

A new watch for Blair…will that make him tic?

A lion for Boulos so he will be brave,

Chocolates for Lisa to help with her Crave.

A new staff and new hits for our man, Catania,

For Tipp and Reprise, another Platinum Enya.

One more big box set and a smash for Greg Thompson,

A partner for Darus so he won’t feel lonesome.

A new Island President so Joe has a boss,

More adds for Geslin, no matter the cost.

For Brenda, a baby, oops she’s got that already.

In ’98 Nancy will find her a steady.

Air conditioning for Ellis, the Mercury’s rising.

A way for Steve Leeds to stop the conniving.

For Michael, a virgin, and no, that’s not funny,

Look what’s for Stuey…the head of a bunny!

A turn that is worth it, for Ritchie-boy Bloom,

Get well to Becce, it can’t come too soon.

A computer that’s not Jive for our friend Jack Satter,

For Burt and the WORK Group, the rest of the platter.

For Karmen, our sister, an antique Whurlitzer,

And I’m going to get the coveted Pulitzer!

“That’s all well and good,” Gary laughed with much glee,

“But there’s one big question…what’s in it for me?”

I searched in the bag for any more riches,

But all I came up with was ashes and switches.

“You don’t have to worry,” through the wind Gary called,

“I don’t have a gift? Why I’ll just take them all.”

Gifts or no gifts, may I say on this date…

“Merry Christmas to all…and a great ’98!”

Viva La Revolution!

(1st Editorial To Appear In Network 40)

Long ago and far away, in a land of unlimited Hitbounds and Shotgun Jingles, all record companies were successful, most radio stations were number one and every record was a smash. Each year, massive bonuses were awarded to ever-expanding record companies, programmers garnered huge incentives every six months with the publishing of Arbitron ratings, several friendly trade magazines published weekly, and the hits just kept on coming every day.

Back then, promotion and radio people actually hung out…discussed music…spent time together. Record companies wanted to sell records and build acts. Trade magazines were interested in reporting news rather than making it. Information from any music radio station was openly courted and gladly accepted. Radio stations were concerned with staying one step ahead of their audiences’ tastes. It was the age of Aquarius, when peace ruled the planets and love steered the charts.


After a while, it turned ugly. The entertainment business became more business and less entertainment. Promotion people stopped hanging out and programmers started hanging up. Record companies made cutbacks and radio got monthly Arbitrends. The incentive was just keeping your job. The friendly trades became more cut-throat. Deregulation altered radio ownership from long-term investments to short-term financial windfalls. Budgets were slashed, priorities were switched almost as often as call letters, consultants were the rule and, as research became the buzzword, programmers were reduced to being music mixers.

Then it go mean. One trade magazine garnered power and became a “restraint of trade” publication as it renamed formats, demanded strict adherence to its tyrannical policies and turned into the “Big Brother” of the industry. Suddenly, “Breakers” were more important than sales. Field staffs were cut and independent contractors added. A little radio station in East Jesus, Nebraska…a town with no record stores…became famous overnight because of its reporting status…a status that was not earned, but anointed. And two airline companies added daily flights to East Jesus to answer the increased demand.

Formats have fragmented and Mainstream Top 40 is being squeezed, not just by the music, but by a system that demands playlist additions dictated by rules and regulations that have nothing to do with audience tastes. To make data simpler to process and easier to control, radio has been reduced to the lowest common denominator. Innovation, imagination, creativity and style, once characteristics most sought in our business, have been stifled because there’s no chart for them. We can’t make them a “Breaker.”

We’ve all, in one way or another, become victims of this archaic process.

This must end.

Record companies must discontinue the practice of rewarding chart adds and focus instead on actual airplay and sales. Paying bonuses for paper adds is like an oil company compensating a contractor for drilling a well that hits water. In the long run, they’re all wet. So, too, could be some relationships. Private conversations with individuals close to the Federal Communications Commission told The Network 40 that the promotional arrangements made between radio stations and some independent promoters will come under close scrutiny in the Clinton administration.

Programmers must begin making playlist decisions based on what’s right for their audiences (instead of promotional considerations) or suffer long-term damage. Sales executives have to find innovative ways to sell the younger demos. If radio just continues to follow the boomers up the demographic scale, in another 10 years, we’ll be hearing nothing but ads for Geritol and Depends. Commercials during the Super Bowl, which sold for $28,000 per second, focused almost exclusively on the young and young-at-heart, from Pepsi, Nike and McDonalds to the automobile manufacturers. To super serve the 25-54 demo, radio has lost the automotive, soft drink, beer and fast-food franchises to TV. If radio spent more time creating specialized campaigns for these advertisers to entice them back to radio, medium as a whole, and particularly Mainstream Top 40, would be healthy again. In the advertising world, where youth and sex are used to push almost every product, it’s amazing that Mainstream Top 40, which epitomizes these traits, consistently abandons its strengths in a vain attempt to be older and more mature. Mainstream Top 40 is the perfect vehicle for advertisers. We have to sell this fact.

And industry magazines must begin to report the news, not make it. We need to accept radio’s definitions, not force them to conform to ours. We are the product of the radio and record industries. We must serve their needs, not dictate our desires to them.

For years, the complaints have been mounting. Everyone is griping, but no one has done anything about it. Now, however, the mood is different. The climate is ripe for change. A new administration has taken over based on its promise to alter the status quo. It is time to find innovative and improved ways of accomplishing our goals.

With the mandate for change comes responsibility. It is one thing to sit on the sidelines and complain about the way the game is being played. It is another to become a player and influence the outcome. To affect change, you must participate in the process. You have only two choices: to be a part of the problem or a part of the solution.

We at The Network 40 are dedicated to affecting change. And we seek your help. We want to reposition our magazine within the framework of the radio and record industries according to your definitions. We need your input. Write or call toll free at (800) 443-4001 and tell us what you want and what you don’t want. Tell us what you like and what you don’t like. Our measure of success depends on you. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

In the coming weeks, you will watch the suggestions you make become a reality. We will become the industry magazine you design. Together, we can make a difference. The Network 40 makes this commitment to excellence…to supply, our readers, with accurate data and important information to enable you to do your jobs more effectively. We ask for your help and trust. In return, we promise to reflect your interests…not dictate our desires.

We will join those who want to be a part of the solution. Those who continue to perpetuate the problems need to know they belong to a minority that is quickly shrinking. The tide is turning. The time to act is now.

Viva La Revolution!