Chapter 1

Radio’s Days of Glory

There was a day when radio had an enormous promise all its own.

With 14,000 stations in the United States alone, in the largest cities and most remote outposts, the medium and its people were able to deliver on a local level what marketer extraordinaire Seth Godin calls the building of tribes. Godin’s notion of tribes is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. Radio was one of those ideas. Listeners would gather around transistor receivers, disc jockeys would form bonds with station followers, and, importantly for advertisers, dedicated and passionate audience members would buy soap, car insurance, and yes, even beer, in response to the commercials, promotions, and reviews from others.

Important news was learned via the radio, such as the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The Beatles started a sensation in the same era through no small role of radio. Generations sat side-by-side transfixed on a box that delivered every pitch of World Series mastery by Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax.

The community nature of radio is what pushed Ivan Braiker into the business in the 1970s.

“Radio in those days was all about engagement,” he recalls. “If you think about the way it was growing up 30 years ago or longer, people grew up loving their radio stations and having a great affection for the on-air personalities and having an attachment to the music they played and to the contests.

“With ...

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