The Dick Summer (re) Connection Chapter 6

The Dick Summer (re) Connection – Chapter 6

I’ll have a lot more respect for the GRR (Guys Running Radio) when they get rid of low testosterone titles like “Urban Radio.” What’s wrong with “Black.” It’s a nice color. Goes well with my Airline Pilot Gray hair. Looking for beautiful? Google ” Whitney Houston.” For that matter, what’s wrong with “Colored.” Sounds like the opposite of “Color-less” to me. I’m “white” but I hope I’m not so bland that somebody would call me “color- less.” As a matter of fact the physicists among you will say white is a combination of just about all colors, and black is the absence of color. So why can’t we just have Black radio ? We did before we got our shorts all twisted up and angry at each other. And if we can have Black radio, why can’t we have White radio? And Yellow radio? And Red radio? And whatever other color God created to make things look/sound really good.

I grew up in New York City. Can’t get much more urban than that. The closest I got to being black was during the wonderful years I spent as a life guard at Coney Island. On a black scale of one to ten (ten highest) I figure I made about an 8.5. But come to think of it, maybe I did come pretty close to a 9 that one summer I spent hanging around on Tar Beach. (Tar beach is the roof to those of you who are New York Challenged.) One of my friends learned to fly helicopters mostly so he could check out the sights to be seen on Tar Beach, and he’s never regretted it.

Some enterprising GRR should counter program “Urban Radio” with “Suburban Radio.” And it doesn’t have to be just music radio playing the Barry Manilow Song Book. Just think, we could have a “Suburban Sports” station featuring “All Polo All The Time.” Instead of weather reports, we could have the “Lawn Party Outlook.” How about “Short Guy Basketball ?”

And why shouldn’t we have radio that specializes in the music and culture associated with the color of listener’s skin ? Calm down folks. Skin is only skin deep. White/brown/black/yellow/red doesn’t come off in the shower. It’s like nipples, everybody’s got some. And I think it would be kind of nice to hear some real culture on the radio. Don’t hear much of that anymore. We could have done that with talk radio. Maybe we actually did, but I just didn’t hear it because of all the screaming. I think it would be neat to learn a little about each other by just bopping along from station to station. But it won’t happen. Most of the GRR tend to live in the shallow end of the testosterone pool.

Back in 1975, while I was at NBC in New York, I wrote a memo to the President of NBC Radio suggesting that he turn WNBC into the country’s first White radio station. We didn’t have much to lose. We were getting walloped by WABC anyway. (Mostly because of the NBC Network News on the hour…but that’s another story.)

I’m a hell of a long way from being a racist, and my memo pointed out that negative racism is abhorrent, un-American and simply stupid. But I tried to get Mr. President to see that we might be able to create a “positive racism.” Black Pride Month is a good and powerful example of what I mean by positive racism. Some people say that kind of thing is divisive, and it can be. But it doesn’t have to be. My family is fourth generation American. But we have roots in Germany and England. As long as you keep focused on your God Given Americanism, there’s nothing wrong with pride and affection for your roots. Wie Gehst ? Cherrio, and let’s have a brew.

We’ve even got nutty titles like “African American.” I have three good friends who are black. None of them have roots in Africa. And I know a guy who was born and bred in Africa, but he’s white. What the hell does that make him?

One of the problems with black/white/brown/yellow/red radio is they’re all colors, and radio isn’t about colors, it’s just sounds. Mostly sound alike sounds. Lord forbid we should have any colors. Like Black Radio, or White Radio, or Yellow Radio, or…well I think you understand.

Anybody out there know what color testosterone is ?

3 Responses to “The Dick Summer (re) Connection Chapter 6”

  1. Ed Cochran says:

    NBC went that route years ago with the “Blue Network” (later ABC) and the “Red Network” didn’t it?

  2. JIM DORAN says:

    We have become a nation of spineless cowards where Race and Ethnicity are concerned. We are so afraid of offending someone that we have suffered a great loss. We have forgotten how to cherish the very things that make us different as people. When I meet someone of a different color, or someone sporting a serious accent, I am overcome with a desire to talk to them so that I might learn about their way of life, their customs, their food and their music. The hell with a “Melting Pot”, I want to be part of a society that is inclusive. We have lost the ability to laugh at ourselves as people. What happened to ethnic jokes, where we could celebrate our differences and shortcomings as people? Make all those jokes Irish (I’m kind of an Irish joke myself)and I won’t mind at all. God forbid that somebody gets offended. Just tell them to sit down, lighten up, and laugh a little. Here in Boston, the last radio station aimed at the Black population has just been sold. There goes the last station with a definite racialy targeted audience. Thank God for Emerson College Radio (WERS), a station that targets both specific ethnic groups and special interest listeners.They bring Boston Listeners such shows as the following:

    “Tune in and celebrate! Chagigah brings you the best in Jewish and Israeli culture. A show that transcends any language barrier, Chagigah embraces classic Yiddish and klezmer music dating from 1914 to today. The music style becomes more contemporary as the show moves into traditional Israeli folk and the latest in Israeli rock. It’s worth waking up for!”

    Some of the music they present is in Yiddish, and I don’t understand one word. Who cares? The human voice is as much an instrument as any trumpet, guitar or fiddle. Just sit back, enjoy, and be entertained. People who have migrated to this land of ours yearn to be comforted by music that is ethnically familiar to them. Why are they denied a choice of venues, and forced to listen to the same boring playlists, whether they live in Colorado or Ohio?

    Most Radio Stations would not exist without sponsors paying the freight. If listeners actually voiced a desire to hear something different and enough of them contacted the sponsors, who knows what the response would be?

    Radio Stations and the BGRR have all the control and power because we the audience allow them to run everything and decide for us. The blame for Vanilla Radio Playlists lies directly within ourselves.

    Jim Doran

  3. sandy says:

    I am so glad I found you on the internet.
    I have all your books and love them.
    I love your web site.
    So glad you are back!
    I listened to you so long ago. Love your voice.
    Keep up the great work.