Friday, June 3, 2011

A Chance to Learn from the Pros

Each year a group of radio supporters gets together in the Midwest and talks about the business. Those sessions are the best education a person can get about radio’s evolution.

It’s officially called the Great Plains Radio History Symposium, and it’s held every fall at Kansas State University in Manhattan, near the site where Dr. Brinkley became famous for his goat gland radio broadcasts.

Each year the group gets larger, which is gratifying to those of us who worked to get this annual event off the ground. You never know what you’ll learn or who will be there. Papers have been presented on the development of the Storz empire, homemaker radio, public radio, the McLendon chain, the invention of digital recording – we even heard the story of a prisoner in Jefferson City, Missouri, who became a radio star while he was still incarcerated.

What has impressed me most about these annual bashes is the quality of the participants and their overwhelming love of radio. These are people who have been very influential in the business, and people in academia who appreciate what they’ve done. There’s always plenty of time to shoot the bull, and that’s something we’re all fairly full of, so the evening can stretch through several bottles of wine and beer.

I’m always the guy who’s admonishing them to work toward preservation of radio’s history. That’s been my “hobby” in St. Louis for the past 23 years, and now that I’m getting older, others are stepping up to the plate to help. At K-State, I’m always among friends who share the same standards and who are willing to share their memories.

These bi-weekly blogs here have given me a chance to put some of my thoughts and memories down and share them with you. I’ve run my course and am tapped out, so I plan to wrap all this up in my next posting in two weeks, but I’ll be charged up again by the time I get to Kansas in the fall.