Well not all, but the ones on terrestrial radio sure as hell are. This morning my boss decided to listen to WPGC on a radio loud enough that even with my headphones the craptasticalness of it still bled through. This lead to a small twitter exchange-
No response back on the last reply as you can see. Not really shocked. Radio used to be fueled by controversy. Howard Stern (who I’m not a fan of) was the biggest guy in radio in the modern era because of the terrible things that would come out of his mouth on the air. He was kicked off the airways here in DC because of how much of nightmare he was to management. His antics brought in equal amounts of fan and hate mail. At the time of his departure though, he had tripled the ratings at WWDC. The more outlandish he was, the higher the ratings. His suspensions only furthered people’s interests as he went to new markets. Same could be said for Opie and Anthony. Every time they pushed the envelope their ratings went up with it. It wasn’t until the Sex for Sam incident where Infinity broadcasting pretty much suspended them for 2 1/2 years that the show stopped gaining popularity. Ratings were what brought in ADs…
The game changed though when Don Imus said three little words “Nappy Headed Ho’s”. Almost every radio DJ jumped up called for his firing. I still remember my co-worker at the time listening to Russ Parr on WKYS the next morning and hearing the entire cast of the show screaming about the need to fire him. A show that would constantly make Asian jokes and do the hacky accent (only acceptable in this day and age if you have a puppet named Chinky- RIP you loveable piece of felt).
This is what changed radio. Hosts no longer stood up for another’s right to Free Speech. They told the advertisers it was OK to pull out on a show despite it’s ratings. They brought their own house down when they set Imus’s on fire. It has only gotten worse every year since. Sirius is almost as bad, and I give them 4 years before they’re exactly the same. Why I was happy “Race Wars” is still on iTunes and SoundCloud because I know at some point they’re going to have an issue with something Kurt or Sherrod sirs says. Podcasts are the last vestige of free speech and creative content out there, only problem is making a living from them is much harder as of this moment. Why so many people give up on doing them after a while. I digress though.
There’s many to blame for what radio has become. The FCC, Bill Clinton, and the heads of the broadcasting corporations all have a share in it. What has been overlooked is a majority of radio hosts are just as guilty as the rest. They opened the door for ratings to no longer matter, what was important is that no one sends in any complaints regarding content.