Monday, April 18, 2011

849 Sure It's A Coincidence!

849 Sure, It’s a Coincidence!

A long time ago in a far-off place called America, radio stations were pretty much locally owned and operated. There were a zillion broadcasting companies with a zillion owners.

Today, things have changed. There remain a zillion radio stations, but only a handful of owners.

In olden times, radio tried to be “most things to most people.” Today, it formats are niche-a-fied so thinly that you almost have your own station, no matter what your interest.

But long ago in that far off place called America, when radio was most things to most people, there was an interesting phenomenon that took place.

When “top 40” stations competed, you’d likely hear a song on one of them and then five minutes later, you’d hear the same song on their competition. Coincidence? Maybe. Everyone based their music rotations on the same charts. But maybe not. Were they listening to one another? Everyone denied that. But who knows?

This doesn’t happen on today’s radio. But it does happen on the TV shopping channels.

Say it’s “Diamond Day” on the Liquidation Channel. Somehow it’s also “Diamond Day” on the Jewelry Channel and on Shop NBC.

If QVC is running a celebrity chef special on a food processor or a set of kitchen knives, chances are there will be something similar on Shop NBC or Home Shopping Network.

One of the channels has Emeril. At the same time, another has Wolfgang Puck. Bedroom stuff on HSN? Flip over to QVC and get... bedroom stuff. Watches on Shop NBC? Watches on JTV. Computers on HSN? Computers on QVC.

Yanking a record from the rack and playing it on air is pretty easy. But having a full blown “show” on one channel and another on another? Not nearly as easy to do.

So, how do they do that?


--We are fast approaching the 23rd anniversary of the death of Sandy Denny, Irish songster and writer of “Who Knows Where the Time Goes.” Sandy was the Woody Guthrie of Ireland, but had problems with alcohol and drugs, and pregnancy, and wanted to be remembered as someone who died in the explosion of a car bomb in Belfast. But it wasn’t that simple. She killed herself in a dozen different ways, none of them having to do with Irish patriotism and none with intent.

--And we are slowly approaching the fourth anniversary of the death of Tommy Makem of lung cancer. Tommy was an Irish songwriter performer and story teller, and an innkeeper of fine repute with a joint on 57th Street that was second to none for corned beef and cabbage and music of the Emerald Isle.

--Congratulations to Connell McShane, soon to replace the venerable Charles McCord as Don Imus’ news guy and probable foil. Watching McShane grow from smart kid to top shelf journalist has been one of life’s great pleasures. Guys like this promote hope that journalism and commentary will survive the current wasteland which it has become.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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