I grew up on radio. I worked radio. I listened to radio. I was radio. Our broadcasting Bible was a weekly newspaper called Radio and Records. Each week, it would arrive at the station and every staff member would take turns reading. You’d get national news on announcers changing stations. You read about job opportunities. You learned which records were getting airplay and why. I was dismayed to discover all these years later that Radio and Records became an online only publication and, soon after that happened, Radio and Records shuttered itself as it was blended into Billboard.com to disappear — which meant losing all of its identity and uniqueness in the field.
When you now go to the Radio and Records website, you’re met with this temporary monstrosity of an announcement before the website forwards you to an generic Billboard.com page:
Here’s the text of the first part of that landing page:
Given the consolidation of the radio and music industries, Nielsen Business Media has determined that the best way to leverage its assets and resources in support of these industries is to consolidate its music brands.
Consequently, we have decided to consolidate R&R magazine and RadioandRecords.com into Billboard magazine and Billboard.biz and to expand their coverage of the radio industry. In particular, the R&R airplay charts, which are powered by Nielsen BDS and which have become a key tracker of industry performance, will now appear in the pages of Billboard magazine and on Billboard.biz.
“Leverage its assets and resources” is becoming the new American mantra as goodness of purpose and divinity of being are conflated into already existing ordinariness all in the name of the almighty dollar.
All things change — but sometimes you wish the good things would last longer than the rotting, lingering, lot — just because you miss quality and the specificity of living in a narrow niche. All this mainstream pablum has made us soft and inefficient as a nation and more general and much more fuzzy as a people than we were a couple of decades ago, and that is not a good thing.