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Vet Jock Expresses Opinion on Radio One Atlanta Changes and the state of Urban Radio.

10734073_10204500856535435_1235714636160981280_oAs previously stated, I am burnt out on warning urban radio people about the future. If anyone reading this has an opinion or advice feel free to hit me up and I will post. The best I can do at this point is be the sole source to provide the platform for the truth for those who want to tell it.  Thanks Val…Kev

Val Jones on Carol Blackmon, Rene Miller and the State of Urban Radio

Perhaps they were too intelligent…reached the “glass ceiling”….station’s can’t afford to give them any more money OR the money they’re worth…so many reasons…all bad for business. But that’s NEVER stopped them before. Although I’m one of the FEW they “attempted” to do right by, I walked away…even with a counter-offer on the table…which I was told (name omitted) NEVER did. Still, it was a “no win” situation. I’m never playing ball “just to play ball.” I play to WIN. I wanted our station to WIN…or do well. However, politics get in the way. Maybe they want ONE station to do better than the other. Maybe the WRONG station is making waves and not the one that should be making the BIGGEST waves. MY “thinking” is that…money is ALL going into the “same pot.” So WHY does it matter? Yet…it does. So, long story short, it’s time. Just another in a long line of professionals who either see the writing on the wall and walk away BEFORE it happens to them….or those who wait til it DOES inevitably happen.

Radio One parts ways with Carol Blackmon and Rene Miller

Terrestrial radio is in the SAME tailspin I talked about and predicted in 1994 with The Edge (Mitch and Arvester Faulkner’s industry trade). And it’s STILL gonna get worse before it gets better. Honestly….they did good to last THAT long. At the end of the day, it’s nothing they could or couldn’t do….other than “dumb down” their skills, their drive, their “notoriety” (mustn’t be bigger than the station) AND their paychecks. And after doing your job to the best of your ability with NO support and NO real promotional budget, what’s one to do?! Walk away…or wait to get fired. BOOM!

Do For Self

The solution? Unfortunately, like any bad movie, it’s just gotta play out…until there is no more room (or money) to run from the errors. Personally, I’d like to see all the REAL professional broadcasters band together and jump on the internet/satellite wagon and let terrestrial radio “fend for itself.” More and more people are turning OFF terrestrial radio (for good reason. Same 15 songs; ebonic jocks. NO balance). The solution? What it’s always been…DO FOR SELF and have our own. Hard to do…maybe impossible. But it’s a better hope than what lies ahead for terrestrial. Even the white boys like Jerry Del Colliano know that. If folks that are in terrestrial radio right now DON’T have a back-up plan RIGHT NOW, they are gonna be “shit out of luck.” Remember….there is NO “retiree program” in this biz. Too many are dying with no insurance, no backup plans…and it’s hard to even HAVE a 2nd gig because they want their workers as “slaves” — working ALL day and ALL night for peanuts and no time or energy to have a back up plan. Folks just gotta get some “balls,” face the truth…and make a move. Easier said than done, I know. And MANY, including Jerry Boulding (loved that man but…) couldn’t understand why, when presented with “radio opps” why I didn’t take ’em.

Because I knew THIS was already here and happening. Just think…if I hadn’t started up MY back-up plan years ago, I could be living in a box under a bridge with everybody talking about “Oh she was so good for radio” at my funeral. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

The Writing’s on the Wall

The solution? Get OUT…and let the “big wigs” who are running the game (MOST of who NEVER really been IN radio other than sales) do all the work themselves. You already see the “big boys” on the verge of bankruptcy. How can you be soooo “smart and in charge” and yet can’t see the writing on the wall AND your numbers and money dwindling?! Announcers are damned if you do…and damned if you don’t. If you do exactly as you’re told, you’re gonna LOSE. If you go “rogue” like I did, you’ll get the numbers, but the politics may not be right…and they’ll NEVER pay you your worth. And eventually, you’ll STILL be replaced with some less experience at a much cheaper cost….because the “big boys” who run the game but (again) have never really been on the “broadcasting” side of it really DO think “any monkey” can do the job.

Keep this in mind in the “damn ed if you do and damned if you don’t:” You DO the job…you bring the station numbers up and get the ball rolling again. Then…you’re replaced with some less experienced and cheaper…because they feel the “car is up and running just fine, so let’s replace the driver ‘cuz we’re all good now.” No…they are NOT. But they will never SEE that until they crash. The wonderful world of radio!! Tiz why I stay on the “fringe”…and watch it crumble from the sidelines. I fought a good fight; but the powers that be DON’T want to listen. So the only left to do is have a backup plan and SAVE SELF…NOW! wink emoticon

Carol and Rene were first-class talents. But it doesn’t matter to the corporate heads who are in charge now. They had reached their “money ceiling”…and left a slot that corporate obviously feels can easily be replaced…or voice-tracked. ALL the big station companies are “interesting.” But Radio One (and again, they did okay…sorta….by me. But STILL) is a VERY VERY interesting company to work for.

Anytime your Christmas bonus is a Jeff Majors CD….. Maaaan, I got $200 at an AM Rock oldies station in Southern Pines, NC. And in the ATL, after a good showing in our FIRST book at Magic, we get a Jeff Majors CD for a Christmas bonus?! SMH (Editor’s Note, Can’t Stop laughing, Not a Jeff Majors CD for a bonus) You can always reach me at [email protected] .

Do you agree with Val or disagree? Contact us (at the top of the site) 0r leave a comment.

CEO of RF Focus, Radio and Music Industry Veteran. Radio DJ, Programmer, Musician and Voice Talent. Graduated from Performing Arts in Buffalo, N.Y. and worked at the legendary KKBT (92.3 The Beat) during its nationwide heyday in the early 90s. Also worked for Stevie Wonder at KJLH.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Great read Val. you are so right about the fact that the Powers that be do not have actual or practical Radio training which makes it difficult to manage talent or even coach talent.

    Sad when you loose Vets like Carol Blackmon and Renee Miller. For the sake of the talent I am hoping the cut was lack of budget.

    You know a wise CPA told me once that you can always cut budgets and or reduce overhead to stop a business from bleeding out! But at some point you need to Look at ways to improve your product to get back to a stable place financially.

    All to often in Corporate Radio when numbers slide or income drops, the knee jerk reaction is to CUT your overhead, but seldom is the reaction, to improve the product the first reaction to faltering results.

    And why is it the Jock who has to go when numbers fall, if you are at a station where as a Jock you do not Pick the music, you do not write or produce the imaging or liners, yo do not select the promotions and events you get involved in, you do not control the content of your Mic Breaks. But when the numbers slide you(jock) are the first to go.

    So lets see, If I worked McDonalds and folk complained that they did not want cheese on their Big Mac, is that my fault? Because the recipe calls for 2 all beef Patties, Cheese, Lettuce Special sauce on Sesame seed bun.

    Just doing what you told me Boss !

  2. WE NEED A WAR ON EBONICS! There is really only one way to end all this…its behavior and functional illiteracy that is the overwhelming problem..not race or politics.

    There was no white flight in schools, parents saw the next generation of kids on a jail track and not a college one, so they moved and guess what? so did blacks. If you apply for public assistance you must sit in class 15-20 hours a week and learn English and Math for your EBT card….your FB page must be in your own name…there was no Trayvon Martin FB page but there was a gangsta one, and you must respond in English not ghetto

    Let the prisoners decide how long they want to stay in jail…..cool idea…its up to you…..all you need to do is read and discuss the New York Times in front of a parole board and ask for a second chance…that could take 5 or 50 years their choice……the problem is NOT racial discrimination, but severe functional illiteracy and we need to break the chains.

  3. I’ve been lucky to have been able to be in one place for a long time and I’ve seen them come and go that is the powers that be (owners, consultants, GM’s etc.) but it always seems to be the one’s that do the best work that suffer the most for doing a good job, sorry to hear that it happened again and I pray that all will be well for the Ladies I’ve admired their work for a long time. I think that it’s time for us to take back urban radio and get down to the basics that made it successful in the first place, super serving our community being informative and playing more then the same 15 songs on all of the same sounding stations and above all training and developing new talent and here’s a closing thought maybe we (radio professionals) should buy some of these radio stations and do it the right way.

  4. I feel your pain! Corporate radio no longer listens to the on air talent or the listeners. A lot of former radio people are happily making a living on the internet now. I hope more will be joining our ranks!! Drop by my station: http://www.1067thebridge.com. We are all former broadcast jocks doing our own thing these days and enjoying being more closely connected to those who really matter, our audience!! ???? #1067thebridge

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