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October 1, 2014

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06/04/07 Radioís Missing Cry


Iíve been unusually quiet. When the Imus controversy was raging I wanted to scream from the rooftops. The same goes for (now former) CBS Radio jocks JV & Elvis, and also for the recent suspension of Opie and Anthony. Iíve been quiet long enough.

Why is it that people donít care about racial slurs or inappropriate comments on television, yet when they're heard on radio there is public outcry, threat of advertiser boycotts and Congressional hearings?

Itís because radio is PERSONAL and because radio is EFFECTIVE. Television is powerful but I donít think people look at television as a personal medium. No one seems to object when comedians like Dave Chappell makes racial slurs on cable TV, but when its done by Opie and Anthony on radio - in this case PAY radio - people seem to hold it to a different standard.

The media frenzy has brought national attention to radio. Opinions have been bantered around about freedom of speech or the return of the Fairness Doctrine. Al Sharpton wants the FCC to make it illegal to use the ďNĒ word on the air. Though I would like to see every broadcaster take personal responsibility to avoid offensive behavior, we as broadcasters should vehemently object to a return of the Fairness Doctrine and restrictions on speech. But what I am really bothered by is that amid all of this media frenzy, the radio industry is missing a wonderful opportunity to discuss radio!

Why aren't industry leaders telling the story that needs to be told; that there exists a double standard between radio and television? That no one seems to care when things are uttered on television, but when itís on radio the outrage begins? Why aren't we taking this opportunity to talk about the power of radio? Why are we not hearing the statistics on radioís daily reach? Why are we not showing America that all of this attention is being paid to radio because it's a personal medium with such a close, one-on-one relationship with its listeners that people notice and react to inappropriate behavior on the air?

I can see why radio group heads might want to lie low on this and avoid becoming a lightening rod, but I would like to see other industry leaders step up to the plate whenever radio is in the national spotlight. Iíd like to see RAB Chief Jeff Haley or Peter Smyth in his role as RAB Board Chairman out in front on this, representing radio. NAB President David Rehr too.

And why isn't radioís PR machine capturing this opportunity? Maybe because we donít have a PR machine?

Right now, albeit for the wrong reasons, we have the attention of consumers and advertisers. So let's take this opportunity to show the world the power of radio, and help them understand why people care when radio slips up.


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