Reditorial: Lights Out At CFUN

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I couldn’t let it go by. The evaporation of CFUN has to be among the greatest destructions of a radio station ever.  Every single employee is out the door (with the exception of Joe Leary) from the top Manager down through the ranks.

Why should I care? Two reasons: first, I spent the best 8 years of my radio career at that iconic radio outlet and second, I am a radio performer and someone has  destroyed one of my theatres.  I am not naive, and I do understand business — but this particular act seems totally heartless. Believe it or not, I am not surprised. This is going on all over the map.

The once mighty CHUM Toronto is gone too. These once benchmark radio outlets have been turned off, their history destroyed and any sign of their contributions are in the ashcan of history. It is a sad ending to a once proud industry.

What concerns me the most is there is more destruction to come. I repeat what I have been saying for years: young people, look elsewhere for a career. Most jobs in the industry are dead-end. If you love the world of communications look at the Internet, the movies, animation studios and other compatible creative outlets.

How long does it take a broadcast graduate, who finds himself on a treadmill, making little money, to discover that some of his friends are plumbers or are involved with animation and are making five to ten times the salary?

Passion is a strong motivator, but you still have to eat. Most veteran broadcasters I talk to feel the same way, and like me wouldn’t go into the industry today because of the nature of the beast. It all began when consolidation became the order of the day. Now four or five companies control all the media in this country. If you are fired from one outlet within a corporation you can pretty well count on not being hired anywhere in the structure. They  have taken the “show” out of our business.

To succeed today you have to  be a “yes” man who obeys all the rules and never questions any orders from headquarters. This is the only way some survive. Friends and colleagues reading this will agree wholeheartedly or point a finger at me for being hysterical.

There are some good radio companies out there but the crummy ones are giving  the rest a bad name. We could, of course, be witnessing the end of radio as we knew it. With iPods, satellite radio and the Internet it is only a matter of time before a combination of all of these electronic breakthroughs form a new medium. When I can get Internet radio in my car for a reasonable price it will be the new world.

I would like to see if you share this opinion. Like my grandfather, a steam locomotive engineer, told me when diesel engines were introduced: “Son, It is the end of my era”. How right he was.

I dedicate this to the uncaring owners and managers of radio stations who look upon their  staff as a group of numbers and act accordingly with no hint of conscience relative to them, their families, their careers or their futures. I forget who told me that broadcasting was just another business. I think it was a manager from a meat packing plant who ended up managing a radio station, thinking all business is the same.

Wrong!

What are your thoughts? Email me and let me know.

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