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Ron Robinson

The Codependent Listener

Preaching to those who have joined the choir might, one day, be a uniquely satisfying experience. Still, with many empty, hard, cushion-less pews to fill, I remind myself how this is only the beginning of the sermon and how there are many more songs to be sung. Plus, I am expecting to arrive at a point where I might be so bold as to pass the plate. In the meantime, I feel obliged to my Radio brothers and sisterns (sic) and am delighted to continue presenting the message, and to do so while offering as much rationale and explanation as I can provide. That, and with a bow to Otis, I got-ta, got-ta testify!

Broadcast writers and presenters are being invited here to give it up - let it all go. This is an urging to take the figurative baby-soothers, nom-noms, gooblers, blankies and yes, even the Mr. Floppy Bunnies of our childhoods (offered here as representations of The Personal Listener), and gently set them aside for the more satisfying and useful benefits that experience, observation and reason might provide.

The acceptance and supremacy of The Personal Listener and its value as, possibly, the most important of broadcast presuppositions has not, to my knowledge, ever been officially presented as a faith-based initiative. Given that, a reasonable and curious broadcaster might wonder what other explanation could justify the digging-in and insistence on maintaining such an evidence-barren position. Thats the way it is and always has been! hardly works anymore as anything other than a strident, perhaps even desperate assertion based onuhhhhCause my radio-daddy tol me so! That dog not only doesnt hunt it died! Hence, the dull, glassy-eyed stare, the lack of even a twitch and the significantly lower Kibbles & Bits expense.

As a newly-minted Vice President In Charge of Everything, I would require of any hunkered-down on-air personality or flogged and scarred, hype-typist who insists on continuing to broadcast exclusively to this alleged Uber One to also provide verifiable evidence of this Personal Listeners existence. Along with this, the Talent will supply, to me, a complete, personal dossier on this individuals gender, race, religion (if any), creed, tribe, personal tastes, political positions, sexual orientation, marriage status, musical preferences, education, favorite TV shows, education, any sports-betting habits they may have, what they drink and whether they ever pick up a check.

It will be important and necessary to have information on any hatreds, positions of bigotry or any racism they may hold, their fears and phobias, any medications they may be ingesting, whether they are smokers or tokers and where they keep their firearms. Further, documents will have to be provided that verify their income, assets and financial liabilities as there would be little point in having a Personal Listener who cannot respond by supporting the stations advertisers. Plus, documentation on next-of-kin may be helpful in case The Personal Listener is ever kidnapped and held for a cash ransom on which the Radio Presenter cant make good. An insurance policy on The Personal Listener might be in order as, for the period that the Personal Listener is missing, the Talent will be rendered: impotent. (Vice Presidents In Charge of Everything do not pay for that stuff. Talent does!)

All of the (above) information is absolutely necessary for a broadcaster who has only that one person as their audience. Plus, if these files have not already been developed and studied, then shame on and penalties for the Talent who has been missing opportunities to be even more specific when reaching out to this listener. This listener, it is understood, is also so psychologically addicted to the Talent that they are listening to everything, every break and for every shift. Such tolerant, submissive and accommodating a listener is this - one who never even requires an opportunity for access to or influence over the Personality. Some of my colleagues who also do counseling-work have even come up with a highly technical, but still gentle and supportive term that describes such a compliant Personal Listener: Stone Cold Wack Job!

The Talent that completes this mission of having developed such a compliant, sycophantic listener, however, is still deserving of major accolades - something to which even the leadership of totalitarian regimes would give the smiling rat, nod of approval and a tip-o-the-hat.

There is, however, another, even more sinister but still plausible explanation that suggests this as not the description of an esteemed Personal Listener at all but rather, a description of a caged, bound, disgusting and utterly contemptible Personal Prisoner! This could be evidence of a massive epidemic of abject

slavery since every Radio Personality has a completely different prisoner than all the other Performers! Thats tens of thousands of Personal Prisoners just in the U. S. of A.! So, no surprise that, as well say in Canada when things are getting completely out of hand: Im considering callin The Mounties if there are no other objections.

Meanwhile, theres more. After having supplied this information, a Radio performer will also be required to present verification that while these wonderful, intimate, so-called one-to-one communications are taking place, there are no other listeners participating or that they have no qualms about being the unintended, untargeted, unconsidered, unworthy, inconsequential and unidentified individuals who have been eavesdropping on the periphery, nevertheless.

Indeed, it really may be time that a critical-thinking, rational-type-thingie was allowed to kick in - that we might acknowledge and declare: We are alone with only our sweat and halitosis as our companions in the radio booth - the location of which very few even know - and speaking on the Radio to an unknown number of separate and separated individuals who dont know us, who we do not know and who do not know each other.

Meanwhile and maybe this could go unsaid, but just in case: The Y-Bomb is completely defused when more than one person is in the booth and presenters are talking back & forth to each other, or speaking directly to a caller who has been identified. In other words: Wherever there is a feedback-loop, applying the (Second Person) You is not only an appropriate strategy, but useful and often necessary. The scenery collapses and the fantasy immediately falls apart, however, when the Performer (figuratively) turns to The Personal Listener and attempts to communicate by using the exact, same strategy.

What I have been criticizing here is a tradition that actually makes the Talent the one who is dependant. Dependant on either a Personal Listener or a Personal Prisoner all coming with a stern and cruel price - the alienation of those who do not or could not identify with or relate to that which is being said.  even though and supposedly it is being said directly to him/her in a kinda-sorta way.

Now for some Good News: There really is no, nor has there ever been a Personal Listener into whose mind it is possible to project in order to verify and analyze their experience. By releasing this no-existent spectre, the one who actually gains their freedom is the Talent.  The Talent, who can then begin a process of adding multiple choices to their own deliveries - of learning to affect, guide, massage and influence - while frolicking with (I wont say gay) abandon amongst the lilies of the fields that are the imaginations of our Listeners.

 Ronald T. Robinson has been involved in Canadian Radio since the '60s as a performer, writer and coach and has trained and certified as a personal counsellor. Ron makes the assertion that the most important communicative aspects of broadcasting, as they relate to Talent and Creative, have yet to be addressed. Check out his website

(10/25/2013 3:18:09 PM)
z9dXL1 Im thankful for the post.Really looking forward to read more. Awesome.

- NY
(6/10/2012 12:32:34 AM)
You are either using such dated references or jargon specific to your region that no one can understand more than 35% of this article.

- Ted

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