Friday, March 23, 2007

"Take me wandering through these streets where bright lights and angels meet" Paolo Nutini

We're in luck.

Bob Shannon (left) the brilliant creative and affable author has decided to grace us with a book. The estimable and inimitable Mr Shannon is working on a writing about radio in the second half of the 20th century. He's inked a deal with Southern Sky Publishing.

For those who know his writing, either his current work residing on Joel Denver's AllAccess or his earlier Radio & Records "Legends" column, no encomium is needed here. Expect nothing less than a panegyric on the best, the brightest, the greatest. Bob will take us wandering through streets of the past where bright lights and angels we'll meet, and we will all learn, each of us better for the reading. Congrats and cheers to my long-time friend, the uber-mensch Bob Shannon.

The freak show: Thanks to them internets we are able to enjoy a wide variety of povs. In the past week several folks have shared items posted on blogs and message boards. The items have one thing in common - they lack perspective. "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change" so said Darwin. Some folks are mad about change, angry at the march of technology, bitter that the rules have changed and they never got their at bat. Others are members of the old guard, the party of the past, those with an irradicable reverence for industry dogma. My thought is the writers of these items are not looking at the forest nor the trees instead they are seeing nothing but the bark. To see reality as it is, not as it was or as one wishes it to be is important but it's difficult, hard work. Having a sense of history is critical, it provides one with context. I love Robert Kaplan's writing for that reason. He walks into another country knowing that to understand what's happening now one must be aware, informed of what happened before. A grasp of how we got here provides richer meaning.

The Monday morning quarterbacks abound. Someone who has never owned or even managed a single station certainly has every right to their opinion. But what is that opinion worth? As Buzz Bennett famously said "Everyone has the right to program" but does everyone have the right to head a major market group (in the least suggesting or pretending they're up to the challenge)? Of course, but keep in mind it is what it is and nothing more. How does one value the gravity, the intellectual honesty of a pov? It would seem fair to ask - is the writer qualified and how? Are they smart enough to actually lead a major group? Have they done it? Are they now or have they ever been on a short list to head a major group? Forget heading the group, are they even qualified to serve on the board? Let the reader beware. Disc jockeys, present and former, second guessing the suits at the top, trash talking the captains of industry and the owners is nothing new. Those wacky jocks, they've got all the answers - just ask them. Delusional hacks? Perhaps not. The truth may be they don't know what they don't know. They do know how to run their mouth. Consider the source and remember the adage that begins: Those who can, do.

P.S. Bob's current AllAccess writing is a multi-part piece on the great radio star Dick Biondi. Highly recommended.

P.S.2 Please check out the Paolo Nutini "New Shoes" vid via YouTube: US version here UK version (better) here Live version (best) here. He did a great job on Leno last night. "Short on money but long on time." A fresh, tight track from last summer. This kid is a star. Suddenly - what a killer word to use in a lyric. That word always reminds me of the Mankiewicz tour de force Suddenly, Last Summer. If you have not seen it - please do rent it this weekend, if you have seen it this mention might just make you want to see it again - go ahead, you know how good it is.

Next time: Thanks to a writing provided me by that clever programming ace Tom Teuber I'm inspired and a rant is the result.