In this week’s issue… Western Mass. loses a legend – Saluting the competition – Cumulus enters the Buffalo fray – Townsquare rearranges Jersey Shore – Beasley cuts in Philly – New signals north of Montreal?
By SCOTT FYBUSH
Editor’s Note: In the years since this column got its start back in 1994, we’ve watched so many colleagues and competing publications come and go. The news that broke suddenly on Friday afternoon was especially sad, though: after 28 years, our friend and colleague Joel Denver will be closing AllAccess.com on August 15. It’s no exaggeration to say that for most of that time, AllAccess was mandatory daily reading for so many of us in the business; if you had anything to do with music radio or the record industry, Joel and his staff were right there with all of the comings and goings, moving at the speed of the internet when most of the industry (aside for, ahem, us) was still on weekly print deadlines. We’re not at all ashamed to say that it has always been a daily – OK, several times daily – must-read destination here.
Joel and AllAccess brought so much more to the industry, too: music downloads, especially for small stations; vital columnists like Perry Michael Simon; a comprehensive industry directory and job listings – and, yeah, a replacement every fall for the mousepad on your desk or in your studio. More than that, it created a sense of community in the oh-so-transient world of radio people. For every “SHOCKER!” news item about a jock or PD suddenly “on the beach,” AllAccess was also social media for radio long before Facebook or Twitter, helping those jocks find new gigs and keep in touch with old friends. (I’ll forever treasure the birth announcements that ran there for both of my children.)
As Joel explained in his farewell message, the industry has changed and the revenues that kept his site afloat for so many years just aren’t there anymore, making it impossible to sustain a site like AllAccess with all the staffing it required. We wish Joel and his staff all the best as they wind things down after their long run, and we look forward to working with our content partner Lance Venta and RadioInsight to try to fill at least some of the big void being left behind by its disappearance.
One more thing, if we may? As the news of AllAccess’ closure spread over the weekend, we’ve been deeply moved by reading all the stories of how much it meant to all our radio friends. The time will come, no doubt, when it’s our turn to hang things up and move on, especially as we approach our own 30-year mark next year – but we’re not there yet, and we’d like to remain sustainable for a while to come with our business model of subscribers and an extremely small mom-and-pop staff.
If you find what you read here even a fraction as valuable as everything that AllAccess did over the decades, we’d be grateful for your subscription, and even more so if you’d help us out by spreading the word about NERW to your friends and colleagues. We don’t expect a lot of growth in the remaining years of this column, given the trends of the industry, but just holding even is a kind of victory these days, and we don’t ever take your support for granted.
*If you didn’t grow up in western MASSACHUSETTS, it’s likely you never heard of Phil Drumheller. But if you did, “Phil D” was an important part of radio life in the Pioneer Valley for more than six decades.
Born in Springfield in 1937, Drumheller was on the air in his hometown by age 17, working as a DJ on WJKO (1600) starting in 1955. Within a few years, he’d moved to a much bigger station in town, WHYN (560), which is where “Phil D” became famous.
At WHYN, Drumheller did everything – playing music on WHYN radio, where he once drew an amazing 70 share; hosting Springfield’s version of “American Bandstand” on WHYN-TV (Channel 40, now WGGB); and eventually rising to PD and general manager.
In later years, Drumheller moved up the valley to Greenfield, where he managed WHAI (1240/98.3) – and then, in his late sixties, finally became a station owner, buying the former WGAM (1520) and relaunching it as WIZZ, playing the oldies he loved and hosting shows from a studio in his own basement on a hill above Shelburne Falls.
Drumheller ran WIZZ for almost 20 years as a mostly one-man labor of love, right up until poor health led him to sell the station to Saga last year.
He was 85 when he died on Friday, survived by five children and a dozen grandchildren – and a community of listeners who were part of his life for almost 70 years.
WE’VE LOWERED THE PRICE!
It’s officially summer. Have you still not ordered your Tower Site Calendar?
Good news! You can now purchase it for just $8. You also still have the option of getting it signed for $13, or buying a storage bag for $1.