White Wires & High Def — Talkin' 'Bout An Evolution

Each Sunday morning over Wheaties, I enjoy Art Vuolo and Mike Austerman’s weekly “On the Radio” column in the Oakland Press and at michiguide.com. This week, Vuolo recounts his attending The Conclave, the Midwest regional radio conference, and how it once again underscored his concern over the future of traditional radio. It is one I share.

Vuolo laments the continued prevalence of the “white wires” of personal IPods over radio and how the conference focused on typical discussions of formatics and programming rather than new creative ideas—including utilizing HD—to bring music lovers back to the medium. Vuolo also recently discussed his concerns over the continued trend in music radio away from live, local personalities.

He is right on the mark on all levels and radio programmers and music directors should take note.  The keys to returning radio to greatness are what originally elevated it to prominence in the 60s and early 70s: Local flavor and live, local personalities. Today, one must also add musical variety into the mix.  Card readers, voice-tracking, generic call letters and tired music rotations no longer work. It’s time to bring back the fun, originality and excitement.

Further, radio needs to fight technology with technology through High Definition (HD), which offers programmers a new platform from which to experiment and create.  Unfortunately, to date, the makers of HD have not done a very good job of marketing their product nor making it available to the masses. I have tried in vain to find a local retailer that even carries HD receivers.

So, radio powers that be, DO touch that dial and initiative an evolution of the medium, pronto!  Radio lovers like me and Mr. Vuolo are rooting for you!