This is from Eric Rhoads at Radio Ink, writing about the death of legendary Chicago DJ, Larry Lujack. It’s entitled “The Death of Radio’s Great Communicators.”
The radio industry I fell in love with was about great content. No matter how far we’ve come, no matter how much has changed or how tight the budgets are, it’s still about great content, content that binds us to our audiences and creates deep loyalty. Yet how many times have we heard about air personalities who have been terminated after decades on the air because they “just cost too much”? Billing on a station might drop by half when a beloved talent leaves, even as management pretends one has nothing to do with the other. Larry Lujack made headlines back in 1984 with a then-unprecedented multimillion-dollar contract. If WLS was willing to spend that much to keep Lujack on its airwaves, imagine how much he was bringing in.
Friendships run deep, and radio’s strength has always been the friendships between great communicators and their audiences. At a time when everyone wants a piece of radio and is trying desperately to draw listeners away, that sense of friendship could be the biggest advantage radio has. When we drive out high-profile, highly paid talent in the name of cutting costs, we may well be driving away the very thing that is responsible for our success. It’s something few CFOs or people outside the radio business can grasp. Someone you’ve just met, however charming they might be, can never match a friend you’ve had for 10 or 20 or 30 years.