Most people in radio and television didn’t get into the business to get rich. Once exposed, we discovered broadcasting gave us a sense of belonging and that was reward enough. Sure there were those that made a few dollars. The majority, however, stayed to be with “family” and to have fun.
Radio, especially, was made up of eclectic sorts. That’s why the late 70’s TV series “WKRP in Cincinnati” was such a big hit with radio people. The characters were true of most mom and pop stations in America. Back then most radio stations were owned by small companies or families. There was the clueless general manager, the slimy sales guy, the burnt-out, stoned disc jockey and the receptionist who was the highest paid employee. It really was an interesting business and one to admire. I used to joke that radio people were just above purse snatchers on a societal scale. Of course I really didn’t mean it. The people that worked in the radio industry then were generally caring, honest, but drifting lost souls. Carnies traveling from city to city. Your radio brothers and sisters were more your “family” than your actual family. It was a group held together with the strongest of bonds. It was a great business. One desirable to the introverts (yes introverts) and high school outcasts that were drawn to it. In radio we discovered others who needed that same sense of belonging and “family.” This was the so-called “secret sauce” that made radio the powerful medium it was.
Careercast.com recently listed the Best and Worst Jobs of 2014. The profession that came in dead last was lumberjack at #200. If you’ve ever watched Ax Men you know why. Broadcaster came in between taxi driver at #197 and line cook at Waffle House at #195. Broadcaster was #196 and had a projected negative job growth rate of -13% by 2022. Garbageman came in at #193. I’m not joking
How did this happen to radio and broadcasting? I’ll expand on this in the coming months.
Today, as I write this, more RIF’s (reductions in force) are hitting the radio industry, forever destroying what made being a broadcaster so appealing and special.