The things you learn when you travel. I'm back from a wonderful trip to Italy (my first time). And aside from the usual attractions (the pageantry and history of Vatican City, the quaint canals of Venice, the stark remoteness of the Isle of Capri), I learned a lot from the passionate guides who schlepped us around in the record heat that permeated most of Europe last week.
While touring in Florence, our guide stopped by a street vendor pitching handmade Pinocchio puppets. They were nicely made, but I wondered what did the famous Disney character have to do with the story of the puppet that becomes a little boy who has a big problem telling the truth.
And then I proceeded to get schooled. Like so many other folk and fairy tales, Disney put their commercial spin on an insightful story, penned by Carlo Collodi back around 1880 in Florence. Yes, that's why this street vendor was in one of the most populated squares, selling his version of Pinocchio figurines. It turns out the story of Pinocchio originally appeared as a weekly serial in an Italian newspaper for children before it became a kid's book and a truly classic tale.
And that story inspired today's blog post because it's all about lies. Another product of the 1800s, Mark Twain, was credited with describing the three types of lies:
“Lies, damn lies, and statistics.”
So, for the purposes of this post, let's contort that to “Lies, damn lies, and radio lies.”
It started with Mike Stern sending me a story – “The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Each Other On Instagram” (“Clutter? Not in my home” and “I'm perfect” are a couple examples) – and suggesting that a “radio lies” version might be fun.
Well, it was. And by the way, the blog wrote itself. It was helpful that many of these lies have been told to me over the years – dozens of times. I've told a few of them myself.
So, here is our version of those lies we tell each other, to advertisers, to our bosses, our shareholders, and our employees. No explanation is necessary for any of them. They speak for themselves.
1. Your request is coming up soon.
2. We have rate integrity – it's the other guys who are slashing rates.
3. Seriously, it's just one meter.
4. We have nothing to worry about. It's the format-of-the-year frequency. No way this new one will work.
5. I'd put our signal up against anybody's in the market.
6. Young people have never stopped listening to the radio.
7. Our company would never sell the station – they love us.
8. Don't believe everything Jerry Del Colliano says – he makes a lot of this stuff up.
9. Radio is the original social media.
10. Who cares about radio's future? I'll be enjoying my retirement in five years. It will be someone else's problem.
Is #10 really a lie? How many of today's veteran broadcasters are leaving a mess for up-and-coming radio stars because of poor stewardship? It is not enough to have had a great career in radio – it is leaving the industry in a position where it can continue to survive and thrive in coming years for the next generation(s).
Something tells me I've missed a few “lies” along the way. Please use the “comments” section below to add yours, or visit me on Facebook or Twitter to be part of what I hope will be an interesting conversation.