Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Not Rocket Surgery Yet

I was reminiscing on the phone yesterday with my friend and mentor, Dave Martin, about the old and new days of Radio.
I was telling him of a little vignette that I would lay on the staff of each station that I programmed starting with WORJ back in 1972 and every station thereafter.
Dave suggested that I pass this one on. So it’s Dave’s fault if you think I’ve wasted your time. :-)

This is the exercise I used to illustrate the way that I wanted our Jock presentation to sound.
This was especially important in the earlier days of “Progressive Rock”, when we were still inventing the format.

You’re sitting in your living room with your girlfriend, when there’s a knock on the door. KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK (I would knock on the nearest hard object)

You answer the door and standing there is the quintessential over-the-top, puking voiced, bad, over-hyped Top 40 DJ style guy. He says,” HEY THERE, CAN I COME IN....”You slammed the door shut about 5 words into his rap.

The next knock on the door when answered reveals a Dude who goes in to this “too hip for the room” act. A slow, overly mellow, stoned rap about coming inside to play some music...(SLAM) The door is shut in his face before he can finish a sentence.

The third knock on the door occurs and you’re met by someone who, without any pretense or affectation, says, “Hi, my name is Lee Arnold. I have the BRAND NEW Eric Clapton and the New LED ZEPPELIN albums with me. Can I come in and play them for you?” You open the door wide and invite him in to your living room.

A totally relatable person, who warmly and professionally introduces himself to you and offers to make your evening more enjoyable, this is the guy that you will invite into your home or let sit next to you in your car for the long commute home. To me, programming concepts were best communicated by a series of real life illustrations. (The rocket science and brain surgery came later).

Our stars always understood what I wanted from them because I told them what it was that I wanted. They always delivered. Here’s the important lesson, the million dollar takeaway…They can’t give you what you want, if you don’t tell them what it is.


Anonymous Don Beno said...

I never did understand the concept of the "Progressive Rock" jocks in the 70's.

Here I am with my friends.....teens/twenty-somethings. We're having a blast jamming to Led Zep, Van Halen, Foreigner, Geils, Trower, Clapton, etc. We'd physically be jumping around, playing air guitar and lip syncing, etc. After the music set the AOR jock would come on like he just woke from a nap!

Why did those jocks sound like they weren't even paying attention to the music?

8:09 PM  
Blogger charlestace said...

Most progressive rock stations -- though not the GOOD ones -- took it as an article of faith that they should be the opposite of Top 40 radio. I worked one place where we played lots of cuts from each album, but if one of those cuts became a HIT, God forbid, then we were supposed to stay away from it. However, at the same station, the jocks were relatable, for the most part. Some of the inexperienced ones sounded stoned, but the more experienced jocks just spoke with the listeners in the manner of one friend to another.

I do remember someone at a station in the Cocoa, Florida area, circa 1970-71, who was relatable but a little stoned-sounding at the same time: "Take your bug over to Beach BP. They don't just fix your Volkswagen, they make it FLY!"

Know of anyone who was like that, Lee?

1:11 PM  

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