Podthinker Colin Marshall just posted this from Adam Carolla's first podcast. He was recently let go from his commercial radio gig, and he describes the radio industry *perfectly* in this rant from the first episode of his new podcast. Perfectly. Rare that I'd repost a block of text this long, but Carolla gets it. (And by the way - rent his movie The Hammer, because it's great).
I got into radio many years ago to speak my mind, to do what I wanted to do and to connect with people, and I'd rather have ten smart people than a billion retards listening to me and I've always felt that way and that's what I've always loved about my fans. [KLSX program director] Jack Silver did not feel the same way as I did when it came to that, and I guess that's a good place to start. Jack's basically a good guy, but he knows not what he does. He's a radio guy, and radio guys do radio, and it doesn't really matter whether they have me or the Greaseman or Tom Leykis or Howard Stern; they pretty much have just one mode, and that's radio mode. And I've always said this about radio guys: they're like beavers, and if you took a whole flock, brood, murder -- I don't know what a bunch of beavers are called -- if you took a whole family of beavers and you put them on the roof of the Sears Tower, they would start looking for wood to build a fuckin' dam. Why? Because that's what beavers do; they just build dams. And it doesn't matter whether they're in a stream or 75 stories above Chicago; they're just gonna build a fuckin' dam.
And that's what Jack Silver does. That's his approach to radio. My approach is different. It's long form, and maybe it's not good for morning. I don't know. I did it at night for eleven years. I was told once a month to move it along and take more phone calls and stop telling personal stories and quit complaining about flying first class and I did it anyway and it seemed to work out. So I brought that same mindset into doing morning radio, except for now, I wasn't in an empty building in my mukluks with my sweatpants talking to Dr. Drew, I was in an open office building and I could see Jack through the window and all the other suits. They wanted to build some dams. My feeling is, if you left me alone eventually we could get to where we wanted to get, but that wasn't going to do it. They were very impatient beavers. Again, Jack's not a bad guy, he's just a beaver who wants to build a dam and he's not used to dealing with guys like me. So he had a lot of ideas. A lot of ideas like the "Wing Bowl": we get a bunch of fat guys in there and we see how many hot wings they can eat in twenty minutes. And I would always say, "I don't have anything to say about that," and he would say, "But it's huge in Philly." I realize that was part of the problem.
Another thing is, his comedic sensibility — and I'm going way out on a limb and saying he has a sensibility — was much different than mine. He hated Dana Gould, he hated the Deaf Frat Guy... basically, here's how you knew Jack hated something: if I loved a guy on the show, he hated the guy on the show and vice versa. More "cooch talk", more "Cocktober", more "Manuary", more of that stuff. His suggestions, other than the Wing Bowl, were like, "How about you give out the time?" And I was always like, "Jack, don't you listen to the fucking show? All I do is make fun of the other idiots who give out the time." It's, ironically, a waste of time. See, radio's about spinning wheels and wasting time. It's about guys with subpar intellects killing four goddamn hours a morning. How do you kill four hours? I don't want to kill four hours! I'd like to connect for four hours. And yeah, you're gonna do your bits and some stuff's going to work and some stuff will be better than others and yeah, I can't do four hours of making fun of the mayor, making fun of the department of building or transportation. I understand that. There has to be some laughs. There has to be some smiles. There has to be some jokes in there somewhere, and I understand there's a balance to strike, and maybe I never found that balance.
But what I'd like to do now is a little experiment, because I think this is a really good time for us. And when I say us, I mean guys like me who don't want to sit around and bullshit and make up stories. And by the way, that's the other thing about radio: half the shit you hear is a fuckin' lie. Truth be told, the reason I had to get away from [former co-host] Danny [Bonaduce] is because he stretched the truth so thin I could see through it and I felt like I was an accomplice in a crime when we were talking to our listeners. Danny is another guy who's a good guy, just a bad fit; he does a pro wrestling version of radio. He does the kind of radio that Jack Silver would like, which is... theater of the mind. Pick up a persona and run with it. Whatever you see in pro wrestling, that's about it: take on a persona, drive it into the ground, all attitude, not much content, wash, rinse, repeat. That's essentially what radio does, and I wanted to talk to people.
I always just thought, you're talking to hundreds of thousands of people and what the fuck are you saying? It's a fat guy eating wings? That's what it is? If I had a microphone and it was hooked up to ten Rose Bowls that were filled to capacity and I had it for four hours a day, I would spend half the time watching morbidly obese guys eat hot wings? It seems ridiculous to me, yet that's the direction. That's where we're heading. And then it becomes one of these negative spirals, because it's like, are we just keeping up with the dumbasses, or we causing the demise of the intelligent people? Are we causing them to be dumb? Think about it. That's the logic in radio: "Look, you're smart, fine, but everyone who's listening to you is dumb, so dumb it up for them," as opposed to try to raise their awareness a little and have them come up and meet you.
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Maybe we can assemble a team of interesting, smart people, not only here in California, not only here in the United States, but around the world, anywhere they speak English, anywhere someone has an idea, anywhere they think they're not being serviced by the current 'tards that are being put on the radio, maybe we can make a community. And maybe we can fight back, and maybe we can unite and maybe we can create a place for interesting voices and then this show can become a place for interesting voices. And we can talk without the limits, and without the constraints that you have when you do terrestrial radio.