Monday, July 6, 2015

A Few Worlds About the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame

Normally, I use this blog to discuss current events, and believe me, there are plenty I want to discuss.  (And I will.)  But let me digress for a moment, and talk about something I dearly love:  radio; and an organization that means a lot to me:  the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.  I know not everyone who reads my blog is from Massachusetts, but I also know that wherever you are, many of you still listen to (and  still care about) radio.

Believe me, I understand that things have changed from when I was a kid.  Radio is no longer considered a "magical medium," like it was when I was growing up. I understand that most kids today don't dream of being a disc jockey, the way I did.  I understand that in our internet world, there are lots of ways to listen to music-- and they don't all require listening to a d.j. or sitting through commercials.  And yes, I understand that for many people, radio has become an afterthought, one more possibility when people are not streaming audio, streaming video, watching television, or downloading music.

And yet, as I have said before, there's still something special about radio.  It's a unique kind of communication, and when it's done right, it can make you feel as if the announcer is talking directly to you.  Even though media consolidation has created too many stations that all sound the same, there are still some great announcers, great news reporters, great sportscasters, and great stations.  If you're a Rush fan, you know the song "Spirit of Radio"-- the first verse explains it perfectly:

"Begin the day with a friendly voice
A companion unobtrusive
Plays that song that's so elusive
And the magic music makes your morning mood..."   

That is what radio is:  a companion.  And at its best, it touches so many lives.  It can cheer you up, change your mood for the better, play a song you love, provide some information you need about the weather or the traffic and help you move through your day.  It's no exaggeration when I say that radio helped me to get through my childhood.  When kids bullied me, when I felt alone, I could listen to my favorite d.j.; and hearing his voice, or hearing my favorite songs, somehow it made me feel better.  Maybe you too had a favorite radio station growing up.  Maybe you had a favorite personality you loved to listen to.  And maybe radio was an important part of your life, the way it was for mine.  I had the privilege of becoming a d.j., and maybe during the years that I was on the air, I too was that friendly voice, making someone else feel better.  I ended up spending nearly four decades in broadcasting, in cities all over the US, before coming back home to Boston, the place where my career had begun.

Given how much radio has always meant to me, I was really pleased when I found out about the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.  I joined the organization, and also became a board member; it has allowed me to work with some amazing people from all aspects of radio and television, past and present.  But more importantly, it has allowed me to honor some of the people I most admired during my youth.  In fact, that is one reason why our organization was formed:  to make sure that the broadcast personalities we all grew up with would not be forgotten.  As our mission statement explains: "The Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame is a non-profit, 501[c]3 organization which honors the industry’s most noteworthy members from Massachusetts; commemorates their achievements and contributions to broadcasting; and preserves their work for future generations."  Other cities too have created similar organizations-- they are much needed, because they preserve the great work of previous generations of broadcasters, so that current and future generations can benefit from their accomplishments.

Our annual charity auction is taking place, and if you can bid on an item, you will help us to keep doing our part to commemorate the work of the greatest broadcasters, and induct them into our Hall of Fame. And if you're not from Massachusetts, consider forming (or joining) a chapter of your own broadcasters' hall of fame-- it's so important to find a way to honor those who have entertained and informed us for so many years.  More information about the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame and our charity auction is here; thanks for reading this, and I hope you will be able to make a bid!

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