Monday, May 30, 2011

CBS radio boss states obvious, but still needs saying

Dan Mason heads up CBS' radio division, and as such is king of 130 stations. He's just told his team to do what should be obvious:

It would seem one of the basic tasks of any disk jockey: tell listeners the name of the song they just heard. But last week the head of a major radio company felt compelled to instruct its programmers to start identifying more of the songs played on the air, by title and artist name.
The record labels are delighted, as well they should be. Mason admits that his new policy is effectively putting right a jaunt up a research-led blind alley:
In an interview, Mr. Mason explained that at some indeterminate point in history — he and other radio veterans place it at the mid-1980s — song identification began to vanish from the air as programmers struggled to squeeze out anything considered “clutter.”

“You were always conscious about the amount of talk you would put on,” he said. “But the truth is that people tune in and tune out, and it was probably underestimated at the time how much people really wanted that information.”
It's a first step toward putting right a lot of pisspoor decisions taken by heads of radio companies. Let's hope Mason has some more plans, and for now, embrace the return of the back announcement to American radio.