AGE is the new radio reality

Comment by Dave Charles, President of Media RESULTS Inc.

There are many experienced executives and exceptional radio professionals on the sidelines because the young newcomers think old means outdated.

Then why has the “pie” shrunken to the size of a “tart” and why do YOU have a share of it that could be under 2% and, generally, never more than 10.  This sucks!

I talk to many of these professionals and am awe struck at radio’s cavalier attitude toward some of our great radio talents in all areas of the business. These are people who listen and shrug and often have lunch or coffee with their former colleagues and discuss the death of radio when all it needs is credibility and critical thinking.

Many have fallen victim of salary caps and trapped in the labyrinth of multi-skilling, radio’s new “lingo”. Some were so badly treated by their former companies that they may probably never return out of necessity to make ends meet. Used and abused.  Never given the chance to retrain or contribute to a brands success.

Do you know how demoralising that is? What’s so sad is that experience can only be gained by learning and doing.

The young decision makers have too often discounted this sage approach to all businesses. In radio, it’s “well, he sounds like the eighties” OR “what does he know about Rage Against the Machine” or “Lizzo”?

What they don’t understand is that all of these older people have the experience of format change, of staff change, of pop culture change, of new approaches to talk…they have all of it simply because they’ve lived it. They are the ones younger people would take seriously as in “been there, done that”.

If you are reading this and wondering what the next ratings publication is going to say, you lack the vision and calculated risk taking skills they have…and you should be thinking “if only I could tap into that knowledge”.

Part of radio’s problem is one of attracting new and fresh talent into the business.  Most young aspiring media heads are looking at doing Podcasting, gaming and developing APP’s.  Radio broadcasting is not even a blip on their career searches and it’s a main reason for the failure of people to breathe new life into a wonderful medium…notably, a mobile one. If something is dismissed as “over”, then it probably is.

Great radio has and will always be ‘theatre of the mind’.  There are many fine talents who curate their own music and context it with great content and stories that compel you to listen need to be protected and cherished as true ‘originals’.  Make a list of those radio pros now and protect them before they are cut loose for no other reason than their age.

Kyle Sanderlands, Barry Bissell, Ugly Phil O’Neil, Mike Perso , Toni Tenaglia and Jason Stavely are examples of older talents.  Imagine not having them on radio.  Yet some younger manager may consider their age, optics to be too old.  That’s just careless and foolish thinking!

Great talents regardless of age are ratings secure and hard to find. I mentioned music artists but I could as easily have referred to remarkable talk hosts or brilliant programmers and managers.  When you do run into these people (or better still, find them), you should give them support and show them respect as they make radio attractive and are good for business.

Radio is still there and not yet ready for resurrection…but without the exceptional and experienced guides and performers, it soon will be…and what a pity!


Dave Charles, President Media RESULTS Inc.

Mobile: +1 289 242 8313.

Email: [email protected] 



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