When I was 12, I went to visit my sister Jan in Seattle. She was a teacher who had graduated from Washington State University in Pullman and her husband was in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, United States Army. She took me on a drive around the University of Washington intended to encourage me to go to college. That evening, sitting in her car, she said, “so this radio thing… you’re just using that as a stepping stone to TV, right?” I knew what she meant. Radio wasn’t a real job. Just another thing a kid would dream of but never actually pursue.
I’ll never forget how much that pissed me off. “NO,” I said, “RADIO is what I want to do. I know it sounds silly but I feel I was born to be on the radio. Radio will always be around.”
Look, I am an unabashed fan and absolute lover of radio. It’s all I’ve ever done. It’s all I ever believed in. I still believe. But things have changed since then. A lot.
It may have begun when President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The act was “essentially bought and paid for by corporate media lobbies,” as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) described it, and radically “opened the floodgates on mergers.” I was in the room when Bill Clinton, addressing a convention of Radio executives, admitted that “may have been the the biggest mistake” of his administration. The biz is almost unrecognizable compared to then. But it IS still viable and it is still important. It’s just changed.
People like me who got started at a very young age–but kept up with the times and ‘rolled with the changes’ (thank you REO Speedwagon) understood that we could continue to do what we love. But only IF we were reasonable and willing to give up some of the elements that we liked most. It’s NOT as “fun” as it used to be, but it IS still the best outlet for the few who have a certain God given talent and desire to entertain through what is being cast as a seemingly dying medium.
And staying with it to fight for what was always “right” about Radio was my new goal.
Radio is NOT dying. And it most certainly is NOT dead. Only the critics and futurists who bow only to new ideas and buzz (and paid public relations agencies who have spent bazillions to convince you) continue to bring down this reliable, entertainment & information and FREE medium. It’s changing just like everything else. Technology has blossomed in unreal volume.
But you can still hear radio.
On your computer. On your phone or tablet. On cable or satellite services. Or even ON A RADIO. In your vehicle, in your workplace, at home. It’s everywhere, it’s everywhere.
Bobby “Dr. Boogie” Rich continues in his 24th year as morning host at KMXZ/94.9MIXfm Tucson, AZ. His ‘labor of love’ is the internet radio station B100.FM