Date   

Re: Quality and Profit are not mutually exclusive.

Mark Johnson
 

--- In WJMA@yahoogroups.com, Seth Williamson <seth@s...> wrote:
I didn't say a station had to air crap to make money. I merely
observed that airing community theater productions was not a project
that would appeal to many (if any at all) programmers in today's
market. That this is true seems beyond question.
Seth, I was referring to the general feeling from several posts which
seemed to accept the idea that quality was absent due to lack of
money.

I am taking the position that while money is commonly used as an
excuse, it is an invalid one.

I was not speaking to the viability of community theater on the air.
I agree that that would likely be a non-starter with most PDs in 2003.

Your comment regarding "demand for quality" is dead-on-target. At
this point people arn't demanding quality because frankly they no
longer need radio. It is my theory that radio is slowly being ran in
the ground and eventually it will start to dry up and, THEN quality
will come back.

Who would have thought 30 years ago that McDonalds would have to
start closing stores due to poor sales?

I will add that I come to this debate only as, 1) A guy who worked in
radio for 5.5 years almost 20 years ago, 2) A small business owner
for 15 years in a field that is totally unrelated to radio, 3) A
person who rarely turns on the radio now days due to the lack of
compelling reasons to do so. In short, I am not an idustry expert.

Mark "Big Feet" Johnson
81-84


Re: The State of Radio - II

Seth Williamson <seth@...>
 

Hey Bill:

Good to hear from you again. Man, it's been a long time.

Thanks for the refresher course on agency buys at WJMA. Those are some great stories about your first sales at the station.

When I remember national stuff at WJMA, I think maybe I am remembering some of those Washington Senators spots that ran on the network. It may be we did make-goods on some of those other times during the week, I can't remember. I DO remember at WYVE that the agency buys were all over the place. Summer beer and soft-drink money was incredible.

Well, with 45 cents commission on that first big sale, you could have celebrated with a Coke or two. Good story!


Seth

On Mon, 21 Jul 2003 10:19:48 -0400, bill wrote:
áSeth:

áI can tell you that agency buys were virtually nil during the 60's
áand the entire time that Arch owned the station. áMost months we
áhad between nothing and perhaps $1000. áWe got a LITTLE beer money
áSOMETIMES and rarely Safeway or maybe IGA..But if we had had to
ádepend on agency buys we would have been BROKE! áThat's why we had
áthings such as the Sports Broadcaster's Club where the small
ábusinesses that couldn't afford REAL advertising could spend a few
ádollars a month keeping their names in public and helping us get
áenough money to pay ourselves and our creditors. áBelieve me, when
áArch bought the station he didn't even pay himself for many months,
áand even in the best of times later, he didn't take enough salary
áto make a modern radio executive blink. áI remember that it took us
áseveral months (after he bought the station) to get up to a gross
áof $5000 a month. áI did most of the selling and my first sale was
áthe Ray Faulconer at the old Faulconer hardware on Main street.
áWhen I went in to see him. he turned off the light bulb in the area
áhe was in and turned on the light over where the Maytag washing
ámachines were. áI was trying to sell him Maytag ads that offered
á100% co-op up to a dollar figure based on how many machines he
ásold. I finally made the sale. áHe bought two (2) one-minute ads
áfor $1.50 each; total $3.00. áMy commission was 15% so I pulled in
á45 cents.

áI could tell you what my highest yearly income was at WJMA but I'm
átoo ashamed to admit it. áHowever, it was more than I was making at
áthe station where I worked in Maine to pay my way through college.
áThere I worked 48 hous, seven days a week for $1 an hour an no
áovertime of course. áAfter two years with no raise I went up to see
áthe owner and told him I thought I deserved a raise. áHe very
ánicely told me there were lots of other students who would like my
ájob, and that if I was displeased with my current situation he
áwould understand and wish me luck in any new venture. áNow there
áwas a station that made money!

áSorry to be so long winded but once I get started its hard to quit!


áJust like talking on the radio!


áCheers! áBill Little


áSeth Williamson wrote:


áOn Sat, 2003-07-19 at 22:00, jfk@jaykiernan.com wrote:


áRadio is a business. áDuh. áBut it is unique among most
ábusinesses because it has a responsibility to the public--which
áit serves via the public airwaves--that most businesses don't
áhave...

áAs it seems to me--from observing the reality versus the ideal
áfor the past several decades--this is a dictum that is honored in
áthe breech if at all. áI'm not even positive you can say that
áradio is unique in this regard. áOne might with some justice say
áthat any business that satisfies a felt need "serves the public."
á The fact is that "the public" has umpteen different desires,
ásome mundane, some closer to what we think of when we say "public
áservice."

áWhat REALLY differentiates radio from other businesses is the
áfinite character of the spectrum. áThis is a scarce economic
áresource that is responsible for the fact that "deregulation"
ádoes not and can never produce the desired result.


áEven during Arch's day, there were always some radio execs who
áunderstood the importance of the balancing act, and the art &
ámoney conflict was in force even then. Most radio execs didn't
áhandle the balancing act very well back then. áMost don't now.

áI was mulling over this matter this morning when I was out
ábirding. Actually, I have worked at three stations, not two, that
áwere "Arch-like" in the way we mean.

áOne of them, WYVI in Wytheville, was an interesting case in
áadvertising. áFor many years they were just outside the prime
ácoverage area of any regional TV market--a little too far from
áRoanoke and Bristol both to get really good signals via rooftop
áantennae.

áConsequently, ad agencies bought a phenomenal amount of time for
ásuch a small station. áArch used to say that it was Christmas
áthat would make or break a small station. áIn WYVE's case, summer
áagency beer money was enough to run the station all year long.
á"Everything else is gravy," as the sales manager at the time told
áme when I came to work there. áIt occurred to me years later that
áthis was one big reason why the place was such a pleasant place
áto work and why it had had room to do some things that would have
ábeen impractical elsewhere.

áI have been trying to remember if WJMA was in a similar spot when
áI was there, in the mid-to-late 60s. áAt the time, I was too
ágreen to have appreciated such things. áFurthermore, it was
áduring this period that I quit watching TV (that's right, I
áhaven't watched television in 35 years), so I don't even have a
ástrong memory of what the TV situation was like in Orange. áI do
áseem to remember a fair amount of agency beer and soft-drink ads
áin the summer, but maybe I'm hallucinating those, I can't
áremember for sure.

áDoes anybody remember for sure what the agency ad buys were like
áat WJMA in this period? áLarger than average? áI'd like to know
áthe answer to that.


áThings may be a bit tougher and more complicated today á(the
ápresent was more complicated than the past back then, too).
áBut I do believe that even if Arch was just starting out right
ánow, that he would keep his sense of that balance, just as he
ádid back then. áIf Arch were just starting out now, his station
áwould not sound exactly as it did during "The Golden Era." But
áit would still stand out from the others today, just as it did
áback then. Principles are principles no matter what decade you
áhappen to inhabit. áThe quality product that Arch produced has
ánothing to do with the era in which it was produced. áIt has to
ádo with the guy who produced it.

áPersonally, I'd like to see Russ own a radio station. áThere's
áa bit of that Arch quality in him, too.

áThere are the few like Arch. áThen there's everybody else.

áThere were lots of "everybody elses" even during Arch's era.
áThere are always "everybody elses." áThere always have been/
áThere always will be.

áThe perspective of time just makes me appreciate Arch all the
ámore.


ájay kiernan
á76-79


áOn Sat, 2003-07-19 at 18:35, R Roberts wrote:


áIn a one station, one newspaper town, creating a sense of
ácommunity is The Prime Programming Directive. áAn enormous
ápotential exists for a small market radio station to be the
áhub of a community, and not just foster a sense of
ácommunity, but actually be a town's living room and
árefrigerator door.

áI am sympathetic to the general concept, but after all these
ádecades in radio, as many in commercial radio as public
áradio, I have a hard time seeing the typical GM agreeing with
áyou. áThe "prime directive," at least as I have personally
áwitnessed it over the years, is to make as much money as
ápossible for the owner/s. áIf public service or the creation
áof community can be accomplished at the same time, fine. áBut
áif not, too bad.


áIn radio, as in a family, a balance must be achieved
ábetween art and the "dismal science." áWhen the equation
ábecomes lopsided the family suffers.

áSure. áIt's just that, as I sit here and recall sales
ámanagers and GM's I have known, and attempt to visualize the
áscene where the PD tells them in a meeting that "a balance
ámust be achieved between art and making money," somehow all I
ácan see is stunned silence followed by laughter. I know of a
áfew places where this might not have been the case. áWJMA was
áone; there was one other. áIt's fruitless to berate the green-
áeyeshade types; it's just human nature and economic reality.
áBut it's for reasons like this that in several stations where
áI've worked, the guys selling time were known by the jocks as
á"sales pigs." áIt's the old conflict between art and money.


áWhat happens in a home where the only concentration is upon
áfinancial concerns? áWhat happens when the arts, sports and
ájust talking to each other are ignored? áWhat would happen
áif, because most of our time was taken with fiscal concerns
ábut we still wanted to be a well-rounded and efficient
áfamily, we subscribed to a Family Programming Service from
ásome outfit in California?

áYou don't have to convince me of the value of such things. áI
áwould love to see them incarnated at some small-town station.
á It's just that long experience suggests that it's unlikely
áto happen in most places.


á"Little boxes on the hillside,
áLittle boxes made of ticky tacky
áLittle boxes on the hillside,
áLittle boxes all the same,
áThere's a green one and a pink one
áAnd a blue one and a yellow one
áAnd they're all made out of ticky tacky And they all look
ájust the same." á-Malvina Reynolds

áI humbly offer the above thoughts for your consideration as
áI keep in mind Tolstoy's words, "It is easier to produce
áten volumes of philosophical writings than to put one
áprinciple into practice."

áOne thing I have to say about Arch is that he seems to have
áhired a way higher-than-average percentage of people who have
áactually read books. Radio is filled with people who think of
áwatching Katie Couric as the intellectual high point of the
áday. áWhen I think back on the WJMA staff I knew, there are a
ábunch of exceptions to this rule.


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Re: The State of Radio - II

bill <bill@...>
 

Seth:

I can tell you that agency buys were virtually nil during the 60's and
the entire time that Arch owned the station. Most months we had between
nothing and perhaps $1000. We got a LITTLE beer money SOMETIMES and
rarely Safeway or maybe IGA..But if we had had to depend on agency buys
we would have been BROKE! That's why we had things such as the Sports
Broadcaster's Club where the small businesses that couldn't afford REAL
advertising could spend a few dollars a month keeping their names in
public and helping us get enough money to pay ourselves and our
creditors. Believe me, when Arch bought the station he didn't even pay
himself for many months, and even in the best of times later, he didn't
take enough salary to make a modern radio executive blink. I remember
that it took us several months (after he bought the station) to get up
to a gross of $5000 a month. I did most of the selling and my first
sale was the Ray Faulconer at the old Faulconer hardware on Main street.
When I went in to see him. he turned off the light bulb in the area he
was in and turned on the light over where the Maytag washing machines
were. I was trying to sell him Maytag ads that offered 100% co-op up to
a dollar figure based on how many machines he sold. I finally made the
sale. He bought two (2) one-minute ads for $1.50 each; total $3.00. My
commission was 15% so I pulled in 45 cents.

I could tell you what my highest yearly income was at WJMA but I'm too
ashamed to admit it. However, it was more than I was making at the
station where I worked in Maine to pay my way through college. There I
worked 48 hous, seven days a week for $1 an hour an no overtime of
course. After two years with no raise I went up to see the owner and
told him I thought I deserved a raise. He very nicely told me there
were lots of other students who would like my job, and that if I was
displeased with my current situation he would understand and wish me
luck in any new venture. Now there was a station that made money!

Sorry to be so long winded but once I get started its hard to quit!

Just like talking on the radio!

Cheers! Bill Little


Seth Williamson wrote:

On Sat, 2003-07-19 at 22:00, jfk@jaykiernan.com wrote:

Radio is a business. Duh. But it is unique among most businesses because
it has a responsibility to the public--which it serves via the public
airwaves--that most businesses don't have...
As it seems to me--from observing the reality versus the ideal for the
past several decades--this is a dictum that is honored in the breech if
at all. I'm not even positive you can say that radio is unique in this
regard. One might with some justice say that any business that
satisfies a felt need "serves the public." The fact is that "the
public" has umpteen different desires, some mundane, some closer to what
we think of when we say "public service."

What REALLY differentiates radio from other businesses is the finite
character of the spectrum. This is a scarce economic resource that is
responsible for the fact that "deregulation" does not and can never
produce the desired result.

Even during Arch's day, there were always some radio execs who understood
the importance of the balancing act, and the art & money conflict was in
force even then. Most radio execs didn't handle the balancing act very well
back then. Most don't now.
I was mulling over this matter this morning when I was out birding.
Actually, I have worked at three stations, not two, that were
"Arch-like" in the way we mean.

One of them, WYVI in Wytheville, was an interesting case in
advertising. For many years they were just outside the prime coverage
area of any regional TV market--a little too far from Roanoke and
Bristol both to get really good signals via rooftop antennae.

Consequently, ad agencies bought a phenomenal amount of time for such a
small station. Arch used to say that it was Christmas that would make
or break a small station. In WYVE's case, summer agency beer money was
enough to run the station all year long. "Everything else is gravy," as
the sales manager at the time told me when I came to work there. It
occurred to me years later that this was one big reason why the place
was such a pleasant place to work and why it had had room to do some
things that would have been impractical elsewhere.

I have been trying to remember if WJMA was in a similar spot when I was
there, in the mid-to-late 60s. At the time, I was too green to have
appreciated such things. Furthermore, it was during this period that I
quit watching TV (that's right, I haven't watched television in 35
years), so I don't even have a strong memory of what the TV situation
was like in Orange. I do seem to remember a fair amount of agency beer
and soft-drink ads in the summer, but maybe I'm hallucinating those, I
can't remember for sure.

Does anybody remember for sure what the agency ad buys were like at WJMA
in this period? Larger than average? I'd like to know the answer to
that.




Things may be a bit tougher and more complicated today (the present was
more complicated than the past back then, too). But I do believe that even
if Arch was just starting out right now, that he would keep his sense of
that balance, just as he did back then. If Arch were just starting out
now, his station would not sound exactly as it did during "The Golden Era."
But it would still stand out from the others today, just as it did back
then. Principles are principles no matter what decade you happen to
inhabit. The quality product that Arch produced has nothing to do with the
era in which it was produced. It has to do with the guy who produced it.

Personally, I'd like to see Russ own a radio station. There's a bit of
that Arch quality in him, too.

There are the few like Arch. Then there's everybody else.

There were lots of "everybody elses" even during Arch's era. There are
always "everybody elses." There always have been/ There always will be.

The perspective of time just makes me appreciate Arch all the more.

jay kiernan
76-79







On Sat, 2003-07-19 at 18:35, R Roberts wrote:

In a one station, one newspaper town, creating a sense of community is
The Prime Programming Directive. An enormous potential exists for a
small market radio station to be the hub of a community, and not just
foster a sense of community, but actually be a town's living room and
refrigerator door.
I am sympathetic to the general concept, but after all these decades in
radio, as many in commercial radio as public radio, I have a hard time
seeing the typical GM agreeing with you. The "prime directive," at
least as I have personally witnessed it over the years, is to make as
much money as possible for the owner/s. If public service or the
creation of community can be accomplished at the same time, fine. But
if not, too bad.

In radio, as in a family, a balance must be achieved between art and the
"dismal science." When the equation becomes lopsided the family
suffers.
Sure. It's just that, as I sit here and recall sales managers and GM's
I have known, and attempt to visualize the scene where the PD tells them
in a meeting that "a balance must be achieved between art and making
money," somehow all I can see is stunned silence followed by laughter.
I know of a few places where this might not have been the case. WJMA
was one; there was one other. It's fruitless to berate the
green-eyeshade types; it's just human nature and economic reality. But
it's for reasons like this that in several stations where I've worked,
the guys selling time were known by the jocks as "sales pigs." It's the
old conflict between art and money.

What happens in a home where the only concentration is upon financial
concerns? What happens when the arts, sports and just talking to each
other are ignored? What would happen if, because most of our time was
taken with fiscal concerns but we still wanted to be a well-rounded and
efficient family, we subscribed to a Family Programming Service from
some outfit in California?
You don't have to convince me of the value of such things. I would love
to see them incarnated at some small-town station. It's just that long
experience suggests that it's unlikely to happen in most places.

"Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same,
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same." -Malvina Reynolds
I humbly offer the above thoughts for your consideration as I keep in
mind Tolstoy's words, "It is easier to produce ten volumes of
philosophical writings than to put one principle into practice."
One thing I have to say about Arch is that he seems to have hired a way
higher-than-average percentage of people who have actually read books.
Radio is filled with people who think of watching Katie Couric as the
intellectual high point of the day. When I think back on the WJMA staff
I knew, there are a bunch of exceptions to this rule.



........................................................................
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Re: Quality and Profit are not mutually exclusive.

Seth Williamson <seth@...>
 

This is an interesting post and deserves a longer answer, but just to
clarify, I didn't say a station had to air crap to make money. I merely
observed that airing community theater productions was not a project
that would appeal to many (if any at all) programmers in today's
market. That this is true seems beyond question.

Also, now that I've got a few decades in the business under my belt, I'm
a little leery of "the good old days." Quality happens, if there's a
demand for it. If there isn't, it doesn't. "You'd better make sure you
get what you like, otherwise you'll end up liking what you get," said (I
think) George Bernard Shaw.

On Sun, 2003-07-20 at 20:01, rmj142 wrote:
I am puzzled by the suggestion that in order to air quality
programming a station must go broke. Or to put it another way, the
only way it can make money is to air crap.

Stations get away with airing crap when CRAP is what everyone else
is airing.

Years ago there were thousands of radio stations across America
owned by individuals who CARED about QUALITY. Now a few mega-corps
own those stations and thus they can butcher the quality.

Think about it: If ALL restaurant food tasted like a Big Mac then it
would not matter WHERE you ate and no matter where you went you
would have to pay $15.95 for a Happy Meal.

Does anyone remember the cars Detroit turned out from about 1972
until about 1985? J U N K .

Why? Because they could get away with it. Then the overseas
competition got strong enough, and Detroit almost went bankrupt.
Starting in the Mid-80's (think Ford Taurus) Detroit started VASTLY
improving their product.

I am an old car nut. Put me in a pasture surrounded by '57 Chevys
and '55 T-Birds and I'm a happy camper. Convential wisdom has long
held that it was not economically feasable for Detroit to build
specialty cars that hark back to that era. Can you say "P T Cruiser"?

The day GM gets smart enough to re-release the 1957 Bel Air, they
will have a waiting list from here to Dearborn and back.

I run a tire store. I hand torque EVERY lug nut on every car I work
on. Not because it "makes money" but because it is the right way to
do it. (In fact I think it DOES make money over the long haul)

Many huge companies care only about RIGHT NOW, they don't think long
term and they don't care about their customers. Why else do they
constantly pull stunts like making the BAG bigger while cutting the
weight that is INSIDE the bag?

I think it was Jay who said something to the effect that "principles
are principles no matter what decade you live in", exactly.

And then it was Ross who observed that "There are lots of industrial
age businesses that go through a process as they mature: railroads,
telegraph, telephone, computers, the internet to name a few."

Outstanding comment. Let's go back to "fast food". Remember when
McDonalds and Hardees and Burger King were the primary food chains
you saw? Then slowly "better" eating options arrived such as Roy
Rogers, Shonies or Denny's. Now we have come to a time where there
are Appleby's, Chilli's, Ruby Tuesday, the Outback etc. "Corporate
America" slowly caught on to the fact that Americans WOULD pay a few
bucks more to eat food that didn't taste like sawdust.

Radio is in a phase where quickbuck shysters are in control. By this
I mean Clear Channel and the 3 or 4 others who own hundreds of
stations. This too shall pass, because eventually the listening
public will catch on and turn off.

Mark Johnson
81-84




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Quality and Profit are not mutually exclusive.

Mark Johnson
 

I am puzzled by the suggestion that in order to air quality
programming a station must go broke. Or to put it another way, the
only way it can make money is to air crap.

Stations get away with airing crap when CRAP is what everyone else
is airing.

Years ago there were thousands of radio stations across America
owned by individuals who CARED about QUALITY. Now a few mega-corps
own those stations and thus they can butcher the quality.

Think about it: If ALL restaurant food tasted like a Big Mac then it
would not matter WHERE you ate and no matter where you went you
would have to pay $15.95 for a Happy Meal.

Does anyone remember the cars Detroit turned out from about 1972
until about 1985? J U N K .

Why? Because they could get away with it. Then the overseas
competition got strong enough, and Detroit almost went bankrupt.
Starting in the Mid-80's (think Ford Taurus) Detroit started VASTLY
improving their product.

I am an old car nut. Put me in a pasture surrounded by '57 Chevys
and '55 T-Birds and I'm a happy camper. Convential wisdom has long
held that it was not economically feasable for Detroit to build
specialty cars that hark back to that era. Can you say "P T Cruiser"?

The day GM gets smart enough to re-release the 1957 Bel Air, they
will have a waiting list from here to Dearborn and back.

I run a tire store. I hand torque EVERY lug nut on every car I work
on. Not because it "makes money" but because it is the right way to
do it. (In fact I think it DOES make money over the long haul)

Many huge companies care only about RIGHT NOW, they don't think long
term and they don't care about their customers. Why else do they
constantly pull stunts like making the BAG bigger while cutting the
weight that is INSIDE the bag?

I think it was Jay who said something to the effect that "principles
are principles no matter what decade you live in", exactly.

And then it was Ross who observed that "There are lots of industrial
age businesses that go through a process as they mature: railroads,
telegraph, telephone, computers, the internet to name a few."

Outstanding comment. Let's go back to "fast food". Remember when
McDonalds and Hardees and Burger King were the primary food chains
you saw? Then slowly "better" eating options arrived such as Roy
Rogers, Shonies or Denny's. Now we have come to a time where there
are Appleby's, Chilli's, Ruby Tuesday, the Outback etc. "Corporate
America" slowly caught on to the fact that Americans WOULD pay a few
bucks more to eat food that didn't taste like sawdust.

Radio is in a phase where quickbuck shysters are in control. By this
I mean Clear Channel and the 3 or 4 others who own hundreds of
stations. This too shall pass, because eventually the listening
public will catch on and turn off.

Mark Johnson
81-84


Re: The State of Radio - II

Seth Williamson <seth@...>
 

On Sat, 2003-07-19 at 22:00, jfk@jaykiernan.com wrote:

Radio is a business. Duh. But it is unique among most businesses because
it has a responsibility to the public--which it serves via the public
airwaves--that most businesses don't have...
As it seems to me--from observing the reality versus the ideal for the
past several decades--this is a dictum that is honored in the breech if
at all. I'm not even positive you can say that radio is unique in this
regard. One might with some justice say that any business that
satisfies a felt need "serves the public." The fact is that "the
public" has umpteen different desires, some mundane, some closer to what
we think of when we say "public service."

What REALLY differentiates radio from other businesses is the finite
character of the spectrum. This is a scarce economic resource that is
responsible for the fact that "deregulation" does not and can never
produce the desired result.

Even during Arch's day, there were always some radio execs who understood
the importance of the balancing act, and the art & money conflict was in
force even then. Most radio execs didn't handle the balancing act very well
back then. Most don't now.
I was mulling over this matter this morning when I was out birding.
Actually, I have worked at three stations, not two, that were
"Arch-like" in the way we mean.

One of them, WYVI in Wytheville, was an interesting case in
advertising. For many years they were just outside the prime coverage
area of any regional TV market--a little too far from Roanoke and
Bristol both to get really good signals via rooftop antennae.

Consequently, ad agencies bought a phenomenal amount of time for such a
small station. Arch used to say that it was Christmas that would make
or break a small station. In WYVE's case, summer agency beer money was
enough to run the station all year long. "Everything else is gravy," as
the sales manager at the time told me when I came to work there. It
occurred to me years later that this was one big reason why the place
was such a pleasant place to work and why it had had room to do some
things that would have been impractical elsewhere.

I have been trying to remember if WJMA was in a similar spot when I was
there, in the mid-to-late 60s. At the time, I was too green to have
appreciated such things. Furthermore, it was during this period that I
quit watching TV (that's right, I haven't watched television in 35
years), so I don't even have a strong memory of what the TV situation
was like in Orange. I do seem to remember a fair amount of agency beer
and soft-drink ads in the summer, but maybe I'm hallucinating those, I
can't remember for sure.

Does anybody remember for sure what the agency ad buys were like at WJMA
in this period? Larger than average? I'd like to know the answer to
that.





Things may be a bit tougher and more complicated today (the present was
more complicated than the past back then, too). But I do believe that even
if Arch was just starting out right now, that he would keep his sense of
that balance, just as he did back then. If Arch were just starting out
now, his station would not sound exactly as it did during "The Golden Era."
But it would still stand out from the others today, just as it did back
then. Principles are principles no matter what decade you happen to
inhabit. The quality product that Arch produced has nothing to do with the
era in which it was produced. It has to do with the guy who produced it.

Personally, I'd like to see Russ own a radio station. There's a bit of
that Arch quality in him, too.

There are the few like Arch. Then there's everybody else.

There were lots of "everybody elses" even during Arch's era. There are
always "everybody elses." There always have been/ There always will be.

The perspective of time just makes me appreciate Arch all the more.

jay kiernan
76-79







On Sat, 2003-07-19 at 18:35, R Roberts wrote:

In a one station, one newspaper town, creating a sense of community is
The Prime Programming Directive. An enormous potential exists for a
small market radio station to be the hub of a community, and not just
foster a sense of community, but actually be a town's living room and
refrigerator door.
I am sympathetic to the general concept, but after all these decades in
radio, as many in commercial radio as public radio, I have a hard time
seeing the typical GM agreeing with you. The "prime directive," at
least as I have personally witnessed it over the years, is to make as
much money as possible for the owner/s. If public service or the
creation of community can be accomplished at the same time, fine. But
if not, too bad.

In radio, as in a family, a balance must be achieved between art and the
"dismal science." When the equation becomes lopsided the family
suffers.
Sure. It's just that, as I sit here and recall sales managers and GM's
I have known, and attempt to visualize the scene where the PD tells them
in a meeting that "a balance must be achieved between art and making
money," somehow all I can see is stunned silence followed by laughter.
I know of a few places where this might not have been the case. WJMA
was one; there was one other. It's fruitless to berate the
green-eyeshade types; it's just human nature and economic reality. But
it's for reasons like this that in several stations where I've worked,
the guys selling time were known by the jocks as "sales pigs." It's the
old conflict between art and money.

What happens in a home where the only concentration is upon financial
concerns? What happens when the arts, sports and just talking to each
other are ignored? What would happen if, because most of our time was
taken with fiscal concerns but we still wanted to be a well-rounded and
efficient family, we subscribed to a Family Programming Service from
some outfit in California?
You don't have to convince me of the value of such things. I would love
to see them incarnated at some small-town station. It's just that long
experience suggests that it's unlikely to happen in most places.

"Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same,
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same." -Malvina Reynolds

I humbly offer the above thoughts for your consideration as I keep in
mind Tolstoy's words, "It is easier to produce ten volumes of
philosophical writings than to put one principle into practice."
One thing I have to say about Arch is that he seems to have hired a way
higher-than-average percentage of people who have actually read books.
Radio is filled with people who think of watching Katie Couric as the
intellectual high point of the day. When I think back on the WJMA staff
I knew, there are a bunch of exceptions to this rule.



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Re: The State of Radio - II

Jay Kiernan
 

It is my belief that Arch Harrison was able to retain quality people, in
part, because he was always very good at balancing that age old conflict
between art and money. He had a quality product, and he never wanted to
kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Arch had a quality product. He
cared very much, and everyone who worked for him knew and appreciated that
fact.

Radio is a business. Duh. But it is unique among most businesses because
it has a responsibility to the public--which it serves via the public
airwaves--that most businesses don't have. Local ownership is a definite
plus in that regard (though the FCC has trouble with that simple concept).

Even during Arch's day, there were always some radio execs who understood
the importance of the balancing act, and the art & money conflict was in
force even then. Most radio execs didn't handle the balancing act very well
back then. Most don't now.

Things may be a bit tougher and more complicated today (the present was
more complicated than the past back then, too). But I do believe that even
if Arch was just starting out right now, that he would keep his sense of
that balance, just as he did back then. If Arch were just starting out
now, his station would not sound exactly as it did during "The Golden Era."
But it would still stand out from the others today, just as it did back
then. Principles are principles no matter what decade you happen to
inhabit. The quality product that Arch produced has nothing to do with the
era in which it was produced. It has to do with the guy who produced it.

Personally, I'd like to see Russ own a radio station. There's a bit of
that Arch quality in him, too.

There are the few like Arch. Then there's everybody else.

There were lots of "everybody elses" even during Arch's era. There are
always "everybody elses." There always have been/ There always will be.

The perspective of time just makes me appreciate Arch all the more.

jay kiernan
76-79

On Sat, 2003-07-19 at 18:35, R Roberts wrote:

In a one station, one newspaper town, creating a sense of community is
The Prime Programming Directive. An enormous potential exists for a
small market radio station to be the hub of a community, and not just
foster a sense of community, but actually be a town's living room and
refrigerator door.
I am sympathetic to the general concept, but after all these decades in
radio, as many in commercial radio as public radio, I have a hard time
seeing the typical GM agreeing with you. The "prime directive," at
least as I have personally witnessed it over the years, is to make as
much money as possible for the owner/s. If public service or the
creation of community can be accomplished at the same time, fine. But
if not, too bad.

In radio, as in a family, a balance must be achieved between art and the
"dismal science." When the equation becomes lopsided the family
suffers.
Sure. It's just that, as I sit here and recall sales managers and GM's
I have known, and attempt to visualize the scene where the PD tells them
in a meeting that "a balance must be achieved between art and making
money," somehow all I can see is stunned silence followed by laughter.
I know of a few places where this might not have been the case. WJMA
was one; there was one other. It's fruitless to berate the
green-eyeshade types; it's just human nature and economic reality. But
it's for reasons like this that in several stations where I've worked,
the guys selling time were known by the jocks as "sales pigs." It's the
old conflict between art and money.

What happens in a home where the only concentration is upon financial
concerns? What happens when the arts, sports and just talking to each
other are ignored? What would happen if, because most of our time was
taken with fiscal concerns but we still wanted to be a well-rounded and
efficient family, we subscribed to a Family Programming Service from
some outfit in California?
You don't have to convince me of the value of such things. I would love
to see them incarnated at some small-town station. It's just that long
experience suggests that it's unlikely to happen in most places.

"Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same,
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same." -Malvina Reynolds

I humbly offer the above thoughts for your consideration as I keep in
mind Tolstoy's words, "It is easier to produce ten volumes of
philosophical writings than to put one principle into practice."
One thing I have to say about Arch is that he seems to have hired a way
higher-than-average percentage of people who have actually read books.
Radio is filled with people who think of watching Katie Couric as the
intellectual high point of the day. When I think back on the WJMA staff
I knew, there are a bunch of exceptions to this rule.



........................................................................
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Re: The State of Radio - II- art vs science

Seth Williamson <seth@...>
 

Interesting that you mentioned a Google search, because that's what I
did immediately. The only thing I've ever turned up this way was a
brief mention of vote counts in Illinois or wherever it was that he ran
for governor on the Libertarian ticket. Got almost no votes, but I
think he was the candidate referenced. If you ever find anything, let
me know...

Seth

On Sat, 2003-07-19 at 20:11, Ross Hunter wrote:
On Sat, 2003-07-19 at 19:44, Ross Hunter wrote:

...Joe McCaffrey once wrote in the
"Culpeper News" that he thought Arch moved to Charlottesville to get
away from all the complaints he got after selling the stations...
This is Joe McCaffrey who briefly worked there mid-days, was a
vociferous libertarian, had a wife who was a stewardess, moved to the
midwest and ran for governor somewhere? Do you know what happened to
him and where he is now?
Seth,

Not the same one. I first encountered him when we was a political
commentator for WMAL. When he retired he moved to Culpeper and
started a newspaper with his son. He wrote a much read "locals"
column in the paper. I suppose you could call it a gossip column.

Joe died perhaps 10 years ago. The paper was eventually sold to the
Star Exponent...a part of the Media General empire.

I don't know what happened to the other Joe McCaffrey. Perhaps a
Google search is in order.

Ross


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Re: The State of Radio - II- art vs science

Ross Hunter <xhunter@...>
 

On Sat, 2003-07-19 at 19:44, Ross Hunter wrote:

...Joe McCaffrey once wrote in the
"Culpeper News" that he thought Arch moved to Charlottesville to get
away from all the complaints he got after selling the stations...
This is Joe McCaffrey who briefly worked there mid-days, was a
vociferous libertarian, had a wife who was a stewardess, moved to the
midwest and ran for governor somewhere? Do you know what happened to
him and where he is now?
Seth,

Not the same one. I first encountered him when we was a political commentator for WMAL. When he retired he moved to Culpeper and started a newspaper with his son. He wrote a much read "locals" column in the paper. I suppose you could call it a gossip column.

Joe died perhaps 10 years ago. The paper was eventually sold to the Star Exponent...a part of the Media General empire.

I don't know what happened to the other Joe McCaffrey. Perhaps a Google search is in order.

Ross


Re: The State of Radio - II- art vs science

Seth Williamson <seth@...>
 

On Sat, 2003-07-19 at 19:44, Ross Hunter wrote:

...Joe McCaffrey once wrote in the
"Culpeper News" that he thought Arch moved to Charlottesville to get
away from all the complaints he got after selling the stations...
This is Joe McCaffrey who briefly worked there mid-days, was a
vociferous libertarian, had a wife who was a stewardess, moved to the
midwest and ran for governor somewhere? Do you know what happened to
him and where he is now?


Re: The State of Radio - II- art vs science

Ross Hunter <xhunter@...>
 

I've been kicking this "state of radio" thread around in my mind for a few days and wonder if it doesn't come down to an art vs science struggle? There are lots of industrial age businesses that go through a process as they mature: railroads, telegraph, telephone, computers, the internet to name a few.

They are begun by inventors or engineers, developed by entrepreneurs and finally taken over buy business people. It's a logical progression once an enterprise shows it can make money. The only problem is that the business people often lack the vision or understanding to know what made the enterprise worthwhile and successful in the first place. I know I'm painting with a rather broad brush here and there certainly are exceptions.

We are fortunate that the owners of Orange, Culpeper and Louisa are local people, not some company with an out of state office. I'm sure the stockholders get plenty of unsolicited comments and advice in their day-to-day travels. That's a good thing since it keeps them grounded what the locals think. Joe McCaffrey once wrote in the "Culpeper News" that he thought Arch moved to Charlottesville to get away from all the complaints he got after selling the stations.

Just the same as the "out of town suits" can suck the life right out of a radio station, a station run by out of touch artists can be so trendy as to be unlistenable. It's a difficult tightrope to walk. Arch was very good at knowing or sensing how far to drift to the art or science side before needing a correction. He was also good at setting the limits and letting employees have free reign within the boundaries.

Given all the radio choices today, it's harder now to develop programming to please a large number of people. And the bottom line is, as the old ad agency slogan went, "It's not creative if it doesn't sell." If you program too much to an audience that doesn't ring the sponsor's cash registers, the business just won't fly.

Ross (who is glad he doesn't have to make the decisions, but is willing to offer free advice, which is worth about what you pay for it)
71-86


Re: The State of Radio - II

Seth Williamson <seth@...>
 

On Sat, 2003-07-19 at 18:35, R Roberts wrote:

In a one station, one newspaper town, creating a sense of community is
The Prime Programming Directive. An enormous potential exists for a
small market radio station to be the hub of a community, and not just
foster a sense of community, but actually be a town's living room and
refrigerator door.
I am sympathetic to the general concept, but after all these decades in
radio, as many in commercial radio as public radio, I have a hard time
seeing the typical GM agreeing with you. The "prime directive," at
least as I have personally witnessed it over the years, is to make as
much money as possible for the owner/s. If public service or the
creation of community can be accomplished at the same time, fine. But
if not, too bad.

In radio, as in a family, a balance must be achieved between art and the
"dismal science." When the equation becomes lopsided the family
suffers.
Sure. It's just that, as I sit here and recall sales managers and GM's
I have known, and attempt to visualize the scene where the PD tells them
in a meeting that "a balance must be achieved between art and making
money," somehow all I can see is stunned silence followed by laughter.
I know of a few places where this might not have been the case. WJMA
was one; there was one other. It's fruitless to berate the
green-eyeshade types; it's just human nature and economic reality. But
it's for reasons like this that in several stations where I've worked,
the guys selling time were known by the jocks as "sales pigs." It's the
old conflict between art and money.

What happens in a home where the only concentration is upon financial
concerns? What happens when the arts, sports and just talking to each
other are ignored? What would happen if, because most of our time was
taken with fiscal concerns but we still wanted to be a well-rounded and
efficient family, we subscribed to a Family Programming Service from
some outfit in California?
You don't have to convince me of the value of such things. I would love
to see them incarnated at some small-town station. It's just that long
experience suggests that it's unlikely to happen in most places.

"Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same,
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same." -Malvina Reynolds

I humbly offer the above thoughts for your consideration as I keep in
mind Tolstoy's words, "It is easier to produce ten volumes of
philosophical writings than to put one principle into practice."
One thing I have to say about Arch is that he seems to have hired a way
higher-than-average percentage of people who have actually read books.
Radio is filled with people who think of watching Katie Couric as the
intellectual high point of the day. When I think back on the WJMA staff
I knew, there are a bunch of exceptions to this rule.


Re: The State of Radio - II

R Roberts <russroberts@...>
 

When I brought up the subject of theater on the radio, it was the result
of a brainstorm on what one might do to make small market radio 1)
interesting, 2) unique, 3) personal for the listener and 4) create a
sense of community. Of course broadcast theater work wouldn't support
itself financially. But then, Live Arts, 4CP and countless other
community theaters don't support themselves either. They rely upon
patrons.

A broadcaster could worry about the production, the funding and when to
run a theater show without running off the core audience. Never mind
all that. The question is, "Is the project worth pursuing and, if so,
how are we going to tackle it? Does it support The Prime Programming
Directive?" The end result would probably be far removed from the image
first glimpsed in the mind's eye.

In a one station, one newspaper town, creating a sense of community is
The Prime Programming Directive. An enormous potential exists for a
small market radio station to be the hub of a community, and not just
foster a sense of community, but actually be a town's living room and
refrigerator door.

In radio, as in a family, a balance must be achieved between art and the
"dismal science." When the equation becomes lopsided the family
suffers.

What happens in a home where the only concentration is upon financial
concerns? What happens when the arts, sports and just talking to each
other are ignored? What would happen if, because most of our time was
taken with fiscal concerns but we still wanted to be a well-rounded and
efficient family, we subscribed to a Family Programming Service from
some outfit in California?

"Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same,
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same." -Malvina Reynolds


I humbly offer the above thoughts for your consideration as I keep in
mind Tolstoy's words, "It is easier to produce ten volumes of
philosophical writings than to put one principle into practice."

Russ Roberts

-----Original Message-----
From: Seth Williamson [mailto:seth@swva.net]
Sent: Saturday, July 19, 2003 2:11 PM
To: WJMA@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [WJMA] The State of Radio - II

I have found this thread interesting. Not least because it was an idea
I proposed to Arch as a hobbledehoy young part-time announcer in the mid
or late 60s.

Considered qua an event on the medium of radio, it still strikes me as
worth doing. Although I have a better feel now for why Arch rejected
the idea then and why, in the intervening years, I think back in
amazement that I ever thought such a thing could fly on a commercial
radio station.

It would be cool if it could happen on a regular basis, even if
infrequently. But not for nothing is economics known as the "dismal
science." I still find it nearly impossible to believe that theatre on
the radio like this could support itself financially. But good luck to
whoever wants to try it...

Seth Williamson


On Sat, 2003-07-19 at 13:01, Rgraves321@aol.com wrote:
Again, I agree. You could have the cast on and do, perhaps one scene -
which
would allow you to pick an excerpt that would work best for radio.
This could
also be something that runs before the show opens - giving listeners a
"sneak
peek" of the show, and giving 4FP a reason to promote that broadcast
(and the
radio station) in THEIR literature and ads.



Ralph Graves
1983-1990


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Re: The State of Radio - II

Seth Williamson <seth@...>
 

I have found this thread interesting. Not least because it was an idea
I proposed to Arch as a hobbledehoy young part-time announcer in the mid
or late 60s.

Considered qua an event on the medium of radio, it still strikes me as
worth doing. Although I have a better feel now for why Arch rejected
the idea then and why, in the intervening years, I think back in
amazement that I ever thought such a thing could fly on a commercial
radio station.

It would be cool if it could happen on a regular basis, even if
infrequently. But not for nothing is economics known as the "dismal
science." I still find it nearly impossible to believe that theatre on
the radio like this could support itself financially. But good luck to
whoever wants to try it...

Seth Williamson

On Sat, 2003-07-19 at 13:01, Rgraves321@aol.com wrote:
Again, I agree. You could have the cast on and do, perhaps one scene - which
would allow you to pick an excerpt that would work best for radio. This could
also be something that runs before the show opens - giving listeners a "sneak
peek" of the show, and giving 4FP a reason to promote that broadcast (and the
radio station) in THEIR literature and ads.



Ralph Graves
1983-1990


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Re: The State of Radio - II

Ralph Graves
 

Again, I agree. You could have the cast on and do, perhaps one scene - which
would allow you to pick an excerpt that would work best for radio. This could
also be something that runs before the show opens - giving listeners a "sneak
peek" of the show, and giving 4FP a reason to promote that broadcast (and the
radio station) in THEIR literature and ads.



Ralph Graves
1983-1990


Re: Obit: Ernie Crane

Ross Hunter <xhunter@...>
 

I sold Ernie Crane his last house. His comment

Who you are makes a difference,
Love, Willow
What a small circle and small town can be. Arch reminded me in an off-list email that Ernie bought Arch's house on Little Skyline Drive when Arch left Orange for Charlottesville.

Ross
71-86


Re: The State of Radio - II

R Roberts <russroberts@...>
 

Ralph,

Thanks for the information on "grand rights." There are many ways to
plot a course through the barriers; generate program specific income,
have the cast pony up, have the playhouse ante up in exchange for
promotion, original local scripts, &c. In any event, the idea is to get
the community involved in the radio programming to create interesting
content.

Russ Roberts

-----Original Message-----
From: Rgraves321@aol.com [mailto:Rgraves321@aol.com]
Sent: Friday, July 18, 2003 6:11 AM
To: WJMA@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [WJMA] The State of Radio - II

Russ has a good point. Interns are a great way to augment paid staff.
Plus,
having a high school report from all the coverage area's high schools is

another way to add vital local content.

<< Working with outfits like 4 County Players, a current play could
easily
be recorded in a radio version and presented on air after the show
closes at the playhouse. >> - This idea won't fly, though. You probably
know
that radio stations pay blanket licenses to BMI and ASCAP (and sometimes

SESAC) to be able to broadcast music. Those licenses don't cover what
are called
"grand rights." Grand rights cover the broadcast of any dramatic work
that is
performed in its entirety. For the 4CP to do a broadcast performance of,
say,
Mame, the station would have to contact the publisher of the work and
negotiate
and get a grand rights license to air it (usually several hundred
dollars).

The concept of grand rights originated back when radio was young, and
Broadway producers were afraid that if their productions were broadcast,
no one would
come to the theatre. Grand rights clearances would be necessary if the
station wanted to
1) Broadcast the play/musical in its entirety
2) Broadcast of substantial portions of the play/musical in sequence (IE
a
condensed form)
3) Broadcast of three or more musical selections in sequence

The exact definitions vary from publisher to publisher, but the point is
that
anything that gives the arc of the story (which is why sequence is key)
falls
under grand rights. These rights apply to any dramatic work, which
include
not only drama and musicals, but also operas, ballets and any other
staged
production originally intended for the theatre.

Okay, so that kills that idea - but what about having a review of the
4CP
production? Again, the paper and the radio station share the expense of
having a
reviewer cover the event (and I mean $20.00 and you get in free). The
reviewer
writes up something detailed for the paper, and records a 1-2 minute
version
for broadcast. Again, the "critics corner" could even be sponsored by
somebody.



Ralph Graves
1983-1990


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Re: Obit: Ernie Crane

Barbara Potter-Drinkwater
 

Whoops...to continue... Ernie told me after I sold him his last house,
"Finally my wife is happy. We shall stay there until I die. " I think they did.
What a guy!

Who you are makes a difference,
Love, Willow

wild crafted nutrition for wellness
http//:www.energyforyourdreams.com
1-800-927-2527, ext. 03969 (voice mail) 585-746-8019 (cell)


Re: Obit: Ernie Crane

Barbara Potter-Drinkwater
 

I sold Ernie Crane his last house. His comment

Who you are makes a difference,
Love, Willow

wild crafted nutrition for wellness
http//:www.energyforyourdreams.com
1-800-927-2527, ext. 03969 (voice mail) 585-746-8019 (cell)


Re: Speaking of innovative programming...

nickriv@...
 

No, the deal is, I believe, that the producers of All Of Us or whatever
it's called include Will Smith (Men In Black, etc). He ends up on a
lot of talk shows and probably says to the viewing audience "Vote for
my show." Anyway, the whole thing is non-scientific and fairly
pointless, really. Nothing really matters until the Nielsens start
coming in.

I should add, the show is set in Los Angeles, so I would hope it
wouldn't be considered a slam against rural people. I'm not sure which
show that would have been.

Thanks for your support, regardless. By the way, we premiere September
11. Yes, 9/11. Nice, huh? Gives you an idea about the decision makers at UPN. See you then!

Reid
On Friday, July 18, 2003, at 07:40 AM, <JWhitten@christhospital.org>
wrote:

I try to vote everyday, but the Mullets's percentage keeps getting
smaller and smaller.

I think that multiple votes are treated as negative votes.

Is this the show that some group was protesting because of it's
(perceived) negative depiction of rural life/people?

-----Original Message-----
From: clh@pobox.com Sent: Saturday, July 12, 2003 3:20 PM
To: WJMA@yahoogroups.com; WJMA@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [WJMA] Speaking of innovative programming...

I'm sure that many of you remember Reid Harrison, a WJMA alum. Some of
you probably know that, today, Reid flexes his formidable funny-bone as
a sitcom writer in the land of Lala.

His natural modesty prohibits him from mentioning his latest vehicle in
this forum, and I hope that I am not taking a liberty by doing so in
his stead. For the past several months, Reid has hovered amongst his
alembics and snappy retorts helping to create a clever comical
concoction, a dozen vials of which will be dispensed this fall on a
major TV network near you. The show, "The Mullets", feature two
dim-witted but lovable brothers, partners in the roofing profession,
whose hair-dos and heritage are suggested by the show's title. Their
doting, d├ęcolletaged mother is played by Loni Anderson, of WKRP fame.
They live in the rustic shack in which they grew up, in North
Hollywood, and Mother (who married a millionaire) lives close by in her
trim but stately mansion.

If you're thinking "Beverly Hillbillies 2003", you're cookin' with gas,
sweetheart! Now there's but a wee problem. A little fly-by-night, yet
influential, website called www.upn.com is running a poll that asks
breathlessly "Which new Tuesday night show are you most excited about?"
The candidates are "All Of Us", "Rock Me Baby", and "The Mullets".
My
friends, the Mullets are running a distant third as we speak. There
are rumors afoot that certain interested parties have rallied a sizable
contingent to vote early and often for "All Of Us". I deprecate the
practice of stuffing the ballot box as seedy and beneath contempt, and
I encourage all of you to visit the website and vote your conscience.
I think you get my grift. Drift; I meant to say 'drift'.

http://www.upn.com



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