There was another earthquake in the radio biz yesterday, one that’s being felt by literally millions of current and former broadcasters everywhere: Radio and Records, one of the industry’s most famous weekly publications, is going out of business effective immediately.
R&R, as it was known, was all things to all radio people. It was a news magazine that reported the comings and goings of jocks, executives, and other important radio and music-industry people, the sale of stations and station groups, and anything else that had an impact on the business. It published comprehensive and influential record charts for a multiplicity of formats—only a handful of stations had the honor of reporting their airplay statistics to R&R; everybody else followed their lead. And it featured a comprehensive listing of job openings, and for most jocks, the job section was the most important part. I got two full-time jobs through ads I saw in R&R (although I gave one of them back). One of my Facebook friends remembered yesterday that management at one station he worked for would remove the job listings from R&R before circulating it to the jocks. I also placed a looking-for-work ad in R&R at least once. I don’t think I actually said “good prod, tight board, no drifter” (a phrase some of you will instantly understand, while others will not), but many did.
Once, R&R was part of a troika of publications you had to read every week. The Gavin Report was a more programming-centric magazine, a bare-bones pamphlet-style publication in blue ink with no ads. In my files, I still have a couple of articles about the craft of on-air work that I copied from Gavin. It went out of business in 2002. Friday Morning Quarterback, which lives on today, was another. It was focused almost exclusively on music, and when I was reading it regularly, it was written in a breathless, rumor-mongering, exclamation-point-laden style. In the summer of 1980, I got mentioned in FMQB—or my station did, at least. I’d tipped them to the fact that we were playing Queen’s “Dragon Attack” and “Another One Bites the Dust” as a segue, like stations had done with “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” a couple of years before, and the editors gave us a single sentence. But since many pages of FMQB were black ink on red paper to forestall copying, I haven’t got any evidence to prove it.
A station generally got its money’s worth with a subscription to R&R—each week’s copy would be circulated to every department in the building. During all my years as a full-timer, it was as much a part of my life as reading transmitter meters and ripping the news wire. But today, the meters read themselves, the wire doesn’t rip anymore, and now, Radio and Records is gone, too. Jerry Del Colliano writes its obituary here.
Other Recommended Reading: At Popdose, Jeff and Jason argue over the merits of late-period Elton John. (I am remaining agnostic on the issue.) And over at WNEW.com, I remember the late Koko Taylor. (Or I plan to, whenever the editors put up my post over there.)