A warm welcome to all of you in the U.S. about to embark on a long weekend. Labor Day means a lot of things to different people.
The holiday was invented nearly 130 years ago by the labor movement. That first Monday in September was meant celebrate American workers.
It has also come to symbolize lots of other things – the end of summer, the beginning of football season, the kickoff to the rest of the year, and of course, a salute to all the working stiffs across the country.
The holiday was originally meant to reflect the Industrial Revolution where workers often put in 12-hour days and seven day weeks. (Some of you working in radio might be thinking things haven't changed all that much.)
Of course, Labor Day was also meant to point out terrible working conditions in mines, factories, and mills. And back in the late 1800s, children often as young as 5 or 6 years-old were routinely being put to work.
Thankfully, none of us are enduring that. And while some in radio may not be making as much money as they deserve or they're working crazy hours, most of us have it better than most of our ancestors.
A LOT better.
Making our livings entertaining audiences and serving communities is a privilege we may not always appreciate. This month, Jacobs Media celebrates its 40th year in business. I cannot tell you every day has been a joy. But I often think about how good I have it. Never in all this time did I ever regret my career decision. Hopefully, many of you share that sentiment.
And then there's this blog. Yes, it's a labor of love. I don't exactly love writing it every day. But I do on most days, and I always appreciate that you read it. I love hearing the anecdotal comments from you when I'm traveling, and it's always nice when you comment or react to the day's post, like it or not.
Like many of you who don't love every aspect of your job in radio, I hope you're able to derive some level of joy from what you do and how much you contribute.
After spending the last several weeks reviewing the results of AQ5, our fifth survey dedicated to on-air talent, I feel a sense of empathy and thankfulness for what air talent does. Many feel taken for granted – the data makes that clear.
My hope this holiday season, including the ones that come up in November and December, is for those of you in management/corporate/ownership take the opportunity to thank your frontline workers – the folks on the air – for all they do for your station, your company, and your community.
Radio may not be what it used to be in many ways. But nothing is. Things change. That's our collective reality.
But one thing that's still pretty much the same as it was decades ago is how similar stations function today compared to those from yesteryear. People talk into a mic, they play music, they talk about what's going on in the world or in their town, they run contests, they support local charities, they provide key information.
Yes, the technology is different. Commercials aren't played from plastic boxes containing magnetic tape. They don't edit audio by physically splicing tape with a razor blade. The ratings don't arrive by mail or over the fax machine. But at its heart, radio is still radio. It is easy for us working in the business today to closely relate to those in radio five more more decades ago. Even in the age of algorithms and AI, radio eerily resembles what it has always been.
While the conditions and regulations may have changed, the pursuit of happiness is still very much a goal. That's what more than 500 air personalities told us early this summer.
And that gives us food for thought this weekend as we are sucking down a favorite beverage and a hot dog while hanging with friends and family.
True, radio isn't what it used to be. But what is?
Hopefully over these three days (more if you've worked your schedule wisely), you'll take a moment to think about what it is about radio you love, even if it seems like a bit of a labor at times.
In reality, it's a labor of love that makes us happy.
Back with a new post Tuesday.
Our AQ5 webinar is set for Wednesday, September 13 at 2pm ET. It is comprised of 500+ air personalities on commercial radio in the U.S. Info/registration here.