I was talking the other day with one of my favorite people, Shayna Sharp of Regional Reps. Usually the conversations between us result in someone’s head exploding, either from data overload or some “aha” revelation. For me, the “aha” revelation from our last conversation was that agency time-buyers are “discovering” radio as the Big New Thing—or, should I say, the Big New Old Thing. (After all, to quote the Regional Reps ad currently running in our newsletter, “Old Is the New New.” Shayna also told me that “Flat is the new up.”)
In the fullness of time, younger generations have always “discovered” worthy contributions of their forebears. I don’t know why this came to mind, but you may remember the very first reality show on television, “An American Family” on PBS. It featured the trials and tribulations of the Loud clan, and while those trials and tribulations may seem tame by today’s Big Brother standards, at the time they were pretty scandalous.
Anyway, my point is, in one of the episodes of that series, a bunch of teenagers were having a party and threw on the turntable (remember those?) a song called “The Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B,” a ditty from 1941 by the Andrews Sisters (the turntable, by the way, was a 78—remember those?). Before you know it, teenagers throughout the country were throwing on their turntables the very same song, albeit a cover recording by Bette Midler (in the then-ubiquitous 45 format).
That would also explain why, whenever a sixties Oldies song comes on the radio or PA system, younger people tend to enjoy the experience a lot more than I do. (Me, I’ve programmed so many Oldies stations that listening to a hit from that era is comparable to sticking a needle in my eye.)
Anyway, let’s rejoice in our newfound newness, and take full advantage of the situation. There is so much evidence available today that counters the prevailing fiction that radio is old, dated, unpopular, losing ground, distasteful to Millennials, and so on. Our medium is none of the above, and is as robust, persuasive, creative and resultful as it has ever been. Live it, breathe it, believe it. And help those poor misguided souls who mistakenly believe otherwise by demonstrating the awesome power of our medium.