Radio’s Platinum Age


Those of you who have been following along know that Radio2020 is a whole lot bigger than just this one blog. It comprises efforts both digital and classical and involves a diverse array of people united by their love of the medium.

Today, I would like to share with you a piece written by Doug Zanger who runs our sister site, Radio Creative Land. I am crossposting it in its entirety since it does such a wonderful job of communicating the passion for radio that drives all of us who are involved.

Take it away, Doug:

I’ve been thinking about what’s been said about “Radio Heard Here” and Radio 2020 in general. Like anything, there is some dissent, but the overwhelming feedback I have received is positive. People in and out of the industry like the direction, they like the spirit of the thing and yes, they like the logo. Radio 2020 is not just a one-off campaign or posters. The core idea is that this is about the long-haul and that the effects of this program are felt long after the posters are taken down. What’s vital to its success is what binds all of us together as an industry: everyone’s pure passion and love of radio.

Back in the 1940s and 1950s, it was called the “Golden Age of Radio.” I believe, that with Radio 2020, we can create a “Platinum Age of Radio.” It will look, be delivered and sound different than our predecessor, but it will still be “radio.” I am a glass-is-all-the-way-full guy and I will never apologize for being an optimist. I also have a unique perspective in all of this. For the sake of transparency, I have been commissioned by Radio 2020 to run a radio creative blog called Radiocreativeland. The perspective here is purely mine and I take full responsibility for its content.

This is what Radio 2020 means to me:

To me, Radio 2020 is about Gordie Miller, my first mentor in the business who passed away in 2000. He taught me that I should always “care about what you put on the air.” Words that are just as powerful now as they were back then.

To me, Radio 2020 is Tim McNamara, who let me succeed and fail at the same time. Every time I flopped, he picked me up, dusted me off and encouraged me to try to become the best I could.

To me, Radio 2020 is Ebro, who gave me my first shot producing a morning show. He encouraged me to stretch, push and try anything and everything that would be good for the show and the station.

To me, Radio 2020 is Mark Adams, who made me a better production/creative director than I could ever have imagined.

To me, Radio 2020 is accepting the Radio Mercury Award I won in 2003 and handing one to the student winner in 2007.

To me, Radio 2020 is Lars Larson who, despite our clear differences in political views, became a friend and someone I highly respect for his work ethic, drive and commitment to radio.

To me, Radio 2020 is Erin Hubert, who had the vision and courage to create a new way of approaching creativity.

To me, Radio 2020 is Brandon “Goat” Coates, who was once one of my students and is now considered one of the best at what he does for Cox in Miami.

To me, Radio 2020 is Alexa, who wanted to get back home to the Bay Area and is now doing middays in San Francisco.

To me, Radio 2020 is Janita, the part-time promotions person I used to work with who ended up doing middays at a station in Philadelphia.

To me, Radio 2020 is Emily Gibson, my agency producer. She embodies the old school and the new school and does nothing short of the best work possible.

To me, Radio 2020 is Nelson and Terry from 105.1 The Buzz, who selflessly helped a listener who was paralyzed by galvanizing listeners to completely retrofit his home so that he could live more comfortably.

To me, Radio 2020 is 99.5 The Wolf, a station that, to date, has raised millions of dollars for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.

To me, Radio 2020 is 94.7 Alternative Portland, who took a devastating situation in 2004 and turned it into a station built and loved by listeners that is highly respected by peers in the industry.

To me, Radio 2020 is meeting with a client and finding out that the work we are doing is helping to transform their business.

To me, Radio 2020 is John Mittnacht, Brand VP of Citigroup telling the crowd at the NY Radio Forum that radio has a 50% better return than TV or print.

To me, Radio 2020 is knowing that one of the students I am teaching today will end up being successful and an important part of the industry.

To me, Radio 2020 is meeting the listeners who have won prizes and have been incredibly excited to touch their favorite radio station even more.

The thing about Radio 2020 is that it can mean something different to everyone. That’s the true beauty of this campaign. To a local salesperson in Duluth, it could mean a new client. To the part-timer in Wenatchee, it could mean an opportunity to grow into something full-time. For the listener, it could mean that their favorite radio station, that they love dearly, continues to be an important part of their lives.

I’m certainly not blind to the challenges we as an industry face, but Radio 2020 is so much more than just a “campaign,” its a chance to dig deep into our history, DNA and ecosystem to find out how we can face these challenges, take them on and grow. For the record, I like the logo, I like the campaign and I love being part of something that truly is bigger than just one individual. I’ve never been more proud of the industry than today.

Radio 2020 is about the collective voice and one that includes dissent and challenge. Ultimately, however, the consumer is going to decide, and so far, the response has been overwhelmingly upbeat and positive. The fact is, I love our odds moving forward and the spirit of Radio 2020 is just what we all need to keep the discussion moving so that radio doesn’t just continue to succeed, but thrive well into what I know will be that ‘Platinum Age.”

-Doug Zanger, RadioCreativeLand


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