Arrivals and Departures

Odds and ends in the wake of the weekend. . . .

First: I met the newest program director in our group yesterday: John Sebastian. No, not that one—the other one. The radio John Sebastian is one of the great programmers in the industry, with stints at KHJ in Los Angeles and KDWB in Minneapolis during the 1970s, his own highly successful consultancy in the 80s, and later forays into country radio, which is what’s brought him to Madison, to program Q106, after recent gigs in Dallas, Chicago, and Phoenix. As a young program director back in the day, I paid close attention to what Sebastian said and did. I’m interested in seeing what he does with Q. That a group like ours could land a guy like him says two things: First, our group is considered something special by industry bigshots, and second, the raging corporate homogenization of radio has left few attractive places for programmers of Sebastian’s skills and reputation to nest.

Second: My Internet pal Pat posted a note on Facebook over the weekend lamenting the demise of the “radio vacation,” when part of summertime travel was checking out the local radio stations along the way. The Mrs. and I made a trip to southern Indiana this past weekend, one we’ve made many times in the last 17 years, and I can tell you that it was a 20+ CD trip there and back. We didn’t turn the radio on for a second, not even to ESPN on Sunday afternoon, as I’ll sometimes do when we’re traveling. Now perhaps I missed some local station down there that is doing wonderful work swimming against the tide of sameness that’s swamped the industry—but that’s not the way to bet.

Last: This blog had a brief acquaintance with Bill Vermillion, who was music director at WLOF in Orlando during its adventuresome days in the 1960s. I learned over the weekend that Bill died in May of 2008—which is something I feared after I stopped hearing from him and his website went down, although the journalistic quality of this blog is such that I didn’t check it out for myself. Thanks to Dan Kelley for sending this obit along.

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