Thursday, July 08, 2010

I Wanted To Be The Wizard Of Oz

I was a shy kid, inspired by the greats of Top 40 radio in the late-1950's and 1960's from Youngstown, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Chicago and Philadelphia.

My goal, (perhaps yours too?) if you worked in broadcasting in the 60's, 70's and 80's, was to get to the city of Oz (the largest metro station that would hire you) and find that little room with the huge transmitter and a booming "voice."

Many of those stations were high on the AM dial and it was exciting to exude the power of mass appeal which seemed to magnetically draw huge audiences.

Thankfully, radio remains an immensely powerful tool, made even more so when it works in tandem with phones, both land line and mobile, texting, the internet, and all sorts of emerging smart devices and apps.

The listener now knows that the power has long-since shifted away from the megaphone. It started with car radio presets, accelerated when "seek" and "scan" appeared and now the dial has become "infinite" in the number of instant choices on offer.

Tribes, communities, groups now know they are in charge. The learning curve is steep and old habits remain.

And, about the time you figure out YouTube, comes MYTube!

A quick bit of advice from a reformed wannabe wizard: social media is like a very crowded, loud party. You may be talking, but no one can hear you above the din.

Instead: listen. Weave a listener-generated tapestry.

Create, find meaning, context and entertainment from the chaos.

As Dorothy discovered, Oz is actually populated by people from her small home town and they're all yearning to get back to a more simple life. The wizard's magic comes from just being himself.
"Oh no, my dear, I'm a very good man; I'm just a very bad Wizard."

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