Monday, September 1, 2008

Air Checking - Sept. 1 update

It seems like radio is becoming much more of a content provider for other media than the innovative originator of programming it once was. New technology isn't stealing the content. Radio is providing it, yet is going to continue to lose out on ad revenue because of it.

Mike & Mike and Imus are among the actual radio shows televised live in part or in full on a daily basis. Other shows such as ESPN's panel talk shows (such as PTI) are nothing more than radio concepts where you can see the people instead of just hear them. WGN-TV America will soon begin showing daily highlights from the syndicated Bob & Tom Morning Show during late night programming.

I commented about mobile service coming into play, such as Sprint bringing live NFL play-by-play to certain subscribers which will come from a team's radio broadcast at a few weeks back.

To me, this is radio giving away its product. The same advertisers stations and network hope to attract by offering these programs in the first place now have choices for where they want to reach their target audience. If I want the Bob & Tom audience, now I will be able to compare buying their radio show on a local or regional basis with buying their TV show the same day. And if they go onto satellite, I would have that as an option, based on the number of subscribers. I would like to think radio would do more to protect its programming, and not let it get away.

Meanwhile, this came up in a conversation with a local radio announcer the other day, and it got me thinking. He asked me "What is or would be your favorite air check of all time?".

There is a question I hadn't thought about in all these years. Even with the thousands and thousands of hours of listening to stations locally and in my travels around the country. Yet, even though I had never taken the time to think about it, I had an answer for him within 30 seconds. And it so happens I have the actual aircheck to go along with my answer.

Personally, my "all-time" pick is WCFL Chicago from the afternoon of March 15, 1976. The day the face of rock radio changed forever, and not necesarily for the better. That was the last day of the great Chicago radio wars between WCFL and WLS for top 40 supremacy. Bob Dearborn's final sign-off leading into the song "You're The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me" followed by Larry Lujack doing the final 3 hours of "Super CFL". Including commercials by the other rock stations in town, such as WLS and WBBM-FM. I haven't listened to it in a few years, I'll admit. Probably because even at my age, I might once again tear up when I hear it. The end of an era when I couldn't wait to get my radio on at every opportunity.

Granted, not everyone actually has the air check of that one show or one moment in time when that personal most memorable moment was on the air. But I find this a fascinating topic.

If you could, or do, have that one aircheck from AM or FM Radio in your lifetime, what would it be? And why?

I'd like to publish the responses and see where it goes. Maybe we could come up with a "top 10 airchecks" list, but if not we'll still have some fun with this.

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