by Bumper Morgan
Ahhhh, welcome to radio in the Electronic Age, an industry filled with many facets and layers, management that knows what it wants and how to get it at lightning speed, thanks to fax, E-mail, ISDN lines, satellites, and voice-mail. We can turn concepts over on a single dime and get 'em on the air quicker than you can say "Where's my money? Thank goodness for digital." Radio is a rough and tumble profession filled with long hours and many unsung heroes. It takes a truly dedicated person to cope with the daily rigors of this challenging industry, stay mentally and spiritually intact, and perform to thousands with warmth, sincerity, and a smile.
How do you accomplish such a feat when your tank is on the big "E" and your future looks dimmer than a light bulb that's been run over by an LMA'd freight train? Oh, enlightened one, that's up to you. I can only tell you how I'm learning to be a father of two, taxi the kids around for karate lessons and soccer games, run an innovative production company, meet deadlines, chase down overdue bills, empty the garbage, and try to negotiate with screaming ankle biters who want juice and cookies now.
As a youth I was obsessed and amazed with radio, listening to it the way today's kids play video games. But when my parents took my radio away, I always had an extra one stashed in my bedroom. The bug bit me when I was eleven. While other kids wanted to be veterinarians and work at McDonalds, I new radio held the true meaning to life. KRIZ and KRUX in Phoenix, and KAKC and KELI in Tulsa were four of my local favorites. But at night a whole new world presented itself: KHJ and KFI in Los Angeles; KCBQ, San Diego; KOMA, Oklahoma City; WLS, Chicago; X-Rock 80, Juarez, Mexico. It was pure magic. But time marches on. WLS is now for infomaniacs, and KHJ is an air check collecting dust on the shelf.
Several years ago I quit smoking and stopped drinking coffee by the gallons. I've learned to play keyboards, travel to Toronto twice a year for pleasure, lift weights, and have become a health and nature nut. I'm learning to deal with stress in an industry that can be unkind and uncommunicative. I want to have a healthy perspective of what radio in the '90s is all about. After all, we are part of the product, a breathing commodity that has to be maintained. The moods of our country and communities are constantly changing, and what was tolerable ten years ago is unacceptable today. Society is living by a whole new set of standards, and radio must reflect that. As this new year begins, I hope you too can find time to reflect on what has made you successful and never forget where you came from. Cheers!!!