Don Henley on radio

Ira Apple
Fri Feb 20 20:25:36 EST 2004

Don is correct about how music was chosen after the hearings on payola.
Though I don't know how other companies did it, at Group W - KDKA, WBZ - music committees were formed that would review all the records that
came in during the week. Those on the committee were most often the PD, the
Music Director, the Assistant PD, Executive Producer. We would also rotate
DJ's who took part so everyone got involved. Of course the purpose was to be
sure selections were not made by just one person.

Actually, those meetings were a lot of fun and something to look forward to.
Lots of debates, and arguments that were usually good natured but most of
all the meetings were a great learning experience. The PD might exert a
little muscle now and then but for the most part it was like being on a

There was another committee formed that you may never heard of, but I was
also a member of what we called the "Loudness Committee".  That sounds like
a joke now and to some extent it was then. The purpose was to listen to
commercials that came in from agencies to be sure they were not
overmodulated to the point they were they came through much louder than
regular program content. (There was some speculation in those days that
producers deliberately made the commercials louder. It is hard to imagine
they would do such a thing.)

We were fussy in those days.  In retrospect I think we did it the right way.

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Sent: Friday, February 20, 2004 5:33 PM
Subject: Re: Don Henley on radio

> The earlier posts are correct.  DJ's choosing their own music went away
with the payola scandal of 1960.
> Stations doing call-out and auditorium testing became the norm in the
early 80's, and playlists reflected what listeners really wanted to hear.
Almost without exception the stations that executed this best are the ones
that were most successful.
> The DJ...known these days as the Air not hired for his or her
ability to choose songs.  The ability to perform on the air is the criteria.
When a hire is made it's a casting decision.
> It's no different in television or movies.  The actor does not decide who
lives or dies and who gets the girl at the end.  The actor performs the
lines and breathes life into them.  A great radio Air Talent does the same
thing with liners.
> What Henley just doesn't get is that corporations do not dictate
playlists.  Certainly not in major markets.  Stations go to great pains to
put together their own playlists with the aim of playing what their own
listeners want to hear.  True, labels can hype an artist onto the charts
(Clay Aiken being a great example) but the listeners are the ones who
ultimately decide what gets played.
> When an artist isn't getting airplay it's usually due to a lack of
listener votes...either for the artist or for the stations where they do get
> Don Henley's album "Inside Job" got little airplay.  This was not due to
any corporate conspiracy, it was because the album wasn't that good.

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