[Dixielandjazz] LITTLE STEVEN'S KEYNOTE ADDRESS RADIO & RECORDS
CONVENTION 2005 - JACOBS MEDIA SUMMIT
tcashwigg at aol.com
tcashwigg at aol.com
Wed Sep 28 13:40:21 PDT 2005
This folks is no all OKOM but just substitute OKOM for Rock & Roll
and see that it is suffering the same thing as OKOM,
Warning there is some explicit language in here but nothing most of us
have not heard before, if you don't understand what it means ask your
grandkids to explain it, :))
This is exactly what happened to OKOM & JAZZ . Long but worth the
LITTLE STEVEN'S KEYNOTE ADDRESS RADIO & RECORDS CONVENTION 2005 -
JACOBS MEDIA SUMMIT
Date: Thursday, July 23, 2005
Place: Renaissance Hotel, Cleveland, Ohio
Audience: 250 Program Directors
Little Steven is E Street Band guy Steven Van Zandt, aka "Silvio" on
Little Steven's two-hour Underground Garage is heard Sunday nights at
Fred Jacobs introduces 4-minute video bio. At its conclusion the
Dovells' "You Can't Sit Down" explodes from the speakers as 5 Go-Go
girls come out of the wings surrounding Fred, much to his discomfort.
Little Steven enters to thunderous applause. He cuts off the music
with a wave of his hand, leans into the microphone and says "Ladies and
Gentlemen, Fred Jacobs."
The music returns as the girls exit. A stunned audience applauds wildly
as Fred, very uncharacteristically, dances off with them.
Little Steven: Well that was worth the price of admission alone. (more
applause and laughter) (paces with the hand held mic for a minute, and
then . . . )
I Love Radio! (applause once again erupts) And I feel nothing but
love in this room because as I look around, I see only two kinds of
people. Our beloved affiliates . . . and future affiliates. (laughter)
So now matter what happens in this next half hour, remember what I just
said. It's just family talking. And without any further disclaimers
let me ask the only important question that is on my mind, and I'm sure
you've been thinking about it also, especially lately.
WHEN DID THE FUCKING (BLEEP) TAKE OVER?
(applause and laughter)
When? Don't you look forward to the day when your grandson is on your
knee and he looks up and says, "Grampa weren't you in radio once?"
"Yes, Grandson," you'll reply.
"Could I ask you something," he'll say.
"Of course, my love, anything," you'll say.
"Grampa where were you WHEN THE FUCKING (BLEEP) TOOK OVER?" (more
Where were we? What happened? Things are out of line and we're not
leaving here today until we straighten it out.
(applause and laughter)
Now I was going to wait for this but we might as well get right to it
since it is all everybody's talking about. I have come to praise JACK
not to bury him. (laughter - uncertain applause) The guys at Infinity
are friends of ours, as is everybody else, we got nothing but friends
you all know that. And I've gotta say I'm proud of these guys for
having the balls to shake things up. Things needed shaking up. And
history will remember them in a very positive way when looking back at
this world changing moment. Having said that . . .
Replacing 33 year old New York oldies institution CBS-FM with JACK is
like replacing the Statue of Liberty with a blow-up doll.
(eruptions of laughter and applause)
But again, change is good. And necessary. With a little bit of luck
JACK will last 10 or 12 months because it is obvious people want
something different, they are hungry for something, anything. So it
could be 6 months before anybody actually listens to JACK. Once they do
it is doomed for 3 obvious reasons. At the moment it is replacing
oldies formats but it is not an oldies format in the true sense of the
word. It's mostly 80's, some 70's, some 90's. Now it must be said that
the oldies format is vulnerable because over the last 5-10 years it
has, in a word, sucked. It has sucked for a very simple reason,
somebody had the brilliant idea to eliminate the 50's and replace it
with the 70's. This was done by somebody uniquely stupid and deaf and
ignorant and a bad businessman on top of it all. So naturally,
everybody copied it and the 50's disappeared virtually overnight.
Now let's digress and examine this oldies thing for a minute. Assuming
you accept the fact that those overseeing the oldies format these last
5 years - 10 years - are, in fact, stupid, deaf, ignorant, and bad
businessmen, let's deal with it. As far as stupid, deaf, and ignorant,
when it comes to decades that matter, that matter historically, in
terms of influence, importance, and never-to-be-heard-again-quality -
that is the 50's and 60's. Everything we do, everything we are comes
from those two decades.
You're gonna throw one away? You're gonna replace Elvis, Little
Richard, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Johnny Burnette, Chuck Berry, Bo
Diddley, Buddy Holly, Lloyd Price, and Fats Domino with, all due
respect, Donna Summer and the Bee Gees? You're gonna replace primal,
vital, timeless, forever cool rock and roll pioneers with disco? Disco?
You wanna know what disco is good for? Disco is for when you're drunk
at a wedding with your old lady and you want to act like an idiot and
be John Travolta for an hour or two. That's where it belongs. Not on
And to the issue of oldies being bad business - all you hear - I'm
assuming from sales people - is we must lower our demo's.The oldies
demographic are getting too old - that's the rationale for replacing
the 50's with the 70's.
Now if all there was to sell in the world were Fruit Loops, Play
Stations,and sneakers - they might have a point. But I got a little
secret to share. You know that age group - 35 to 65 - that nobody in
sales seems to care about?
THAT'S WHERE ALL THE FUCKING MONEY IS!
I mean ALL the fucking money.
35 to 65.
Memo to sales team - SELL THEM SOMETHING!
And, by the way, if you want younger people listening, you can get that
done. And I mean kids, if you want them.
Who is cooler? Early Elvis or Elton John?
What appeals more to kids, Gene Vincent's black leather attitude, Eddie
Cochran's teenage frustration, Little Richard's cry of liberation, and
Dion's total Soprano's coolness - or the Eagles?
You want wild? Put together the Sex Pistols, Audioslave, and the
Wu-Tang Clan - they aren't as wild as Jerry Lee Lewis in his prime.
But you have to explain that. Show it, illustrate, educate, sell it.
Alright - digression over - so JACK isn't oldies so it must be some
kind of classic rock/pop hybrid. But JACK doesn't address the two
biggest problems of classic rock. 15 years ago I said we're chasing all
the personality out of rock radio and into talk and sports. And the
ratings went with it.
We need more personality, not less, and JACK has none. No DJ's means no
personal relationship with the audience. Eventual apathy is inevitable.
The other big issue classic rock must consider is it must start playing
new music again.
I've suggested it to my own affiliates and I'll keep saying it every
change I get. We've got a big problem.
Look around. Pearl Jam does some business. Dave Matthews - if he's rock
at all - does well. Maybe Oasis breaks this year in the U.S. Maybe
Coldplay - if they're considered rock.
But in a real sense, the last big band through the door was U2. That's
25 years ago.
Has anybody stopped to consider that? Basically when our generation
stops touring, it's over. That's one reason why we started the
Underground Garage format. New Hard Rock, Hip Hop, and Pop can be heard
in various places, new Rock and Roll had nowhere to go. We have played
more new bands in 3 years than anybody since the 60's. We average 30
new bands a year. That's how many are out there. And we are very picky
out of respect to our classic rock affiliates, we know we need to keep
the quality level high and we do.
But we can't sell records with 2 hours a week.
Someday somebody will have the balls to put the Underground Garage
format on 24-7 on broadcast radio but until then, we only have 2 hours
We need your help.
Rock and Roll is not just that museum down the street. It's a living,
breathing animal that needs to be fed.
With new blood. And I'm not saying you need to do as much as we do,
we're about 40% new and the rest from the entire 50 years of history.
And by the way everybody told us you can't combine old with new but of
course you can. As long as you're making your decisions based on
musical experience, good taste, and an effective, coherent emotional
communication. As opposed to your Ipod on shuffle.
When you properly combine old and new the old records give the new ones
a sense of depth, of belonging to an eternal continuum, carrying the
flag forward. The new records give the old ones relevance, keeps them
vital, connected to the next generation.
And all testing and computer analysis and surveys don't tell you that.
It's all bullshit. When are we going to learn that? (applause)
All that (BLEEP) tells you is what people think they want right now.
Well that's not the way great radio happens, or great anything. You
don't do a survey before you write a song, or make a record. We are
drowning in an ocean of mediocrity because sometimes you gotta have
enough historical perspective, and vision, and balls to say we have to
combine short term want with long term need.
And yeah you gotta sell it.
If you're playing cool stuff make sure the audience hears it right - in
the right context. That is everything.
If to a punky consciousness the Ramones are sugar and the Ronettes are
broccoli you play the Ramones into the Ronettes and, because Joey
learned to sing from Ronnie and you can hear it, the Ramones become
hollandaise and it works.
There is an art to this (BLEEP). You know that. It's the corporate
bosses that forget that fact. But it's not just music - we have this
problem plaguing every aspect of our culture.
Yes content needs work, yes marketing needs work, but it is the sales
teams that need to be re-educated and motivated and inspired and
creative. And it's not happening because they are being led by business
oversight guys. Content guys should be running companies, marketing
guys should be running companies, who put business oversight guys in
Wall Street that's who.
Wall Street continues to love and reward and worship short term success
for some reason. As the culture and the economy and all our fathers'
and grandfathers' and hundreds of years of hard work get trashed in a
generation or two. The tail is wagging the dog.
Wall Street should not be calling the shots.
When did Wall Street ever write a song? Paint a picture? Make a movie?
Play a song on the radio that changed somebody's life?
Where are the music people?
I see lawyers, accountants, test marketers running the world. Where is
the emotional connection?
Where is the passion? This ain't about JACK or BOB or Moe or Larry or
Curly. It's about you. Everybody in this room. You are here because you
are connected emotionally.
This ain't Harvard Business School. It's fucking Rock and Roll!
These Wall Street cats couldn't have gotten us here. They react - they
They didn't build this industry.
We did it.
And you're not here because it was a smart business decision.
I know what you make.
(pauses - slows down)
You're here because you loved it once. And we've got to find a way to
love it again. And communicate that love to our audience. I am
determined - together we will find a way. The Revolution is on.
(standing ovation - thunderous applause)
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