Tonawanda News

Columns

May 31, 2013

ADAMCZYK: It's just business. It always was

Tonawanda News — If you grew up in Western New York and can remember the Sattler’s jingle, you likely were influenced by Buffalo radio, and “influenced” is the operational term here.

Under the imprimatur of the Buffalo History Museum (née the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, that imposing building with the marble pillars next to Delaware Park) the “Giants of Buffalo Radio,” five men with a heavy presence in those late Fifties and Sixties and into the Seventies days when a radio was constant company, recently presented a laugh-soaked roll down memory lane. And other than a lot of reminisces and anecdotes, we learned it was all about the money. 

Of course it was, radio being a business like, and unlike, any other. Charity stunts were at the behest of advertisers, on-air contests were fixed, disc jockeys wielded considerably less power than their personae suggested and generally the “talent” seemed to be having a riot of a time until the grownups at the station put a stop to all the nonsense.

Some of this was brought out by the alleged “Giants,” each an elderly man in a comfy couch or armchair. They excel at talking and they have stories, so they talked.

We can look back on any job we’ve ever had and tell tales involving screw-ups, incompetence and whatever it took to get us fired. No one wants to hear about the idea you stuffed into a suggestion box that earned you $20 bucks and saved the company thousands. 

And while those of us with a connection to media enjoyed the stories of radio hijinks, the underlying current was clear: the fun stops when it is reinforced this is a business. A zoo does not give free reign to the animals.

Since the “Giants” forced me to recall those days, days when a radio was playing wherever I was, I am stunned by my, our, collected naiveté. Perhaps I look at the era with more maturity than I had back then, but it seems money was less important, and the thrill of experience meant more.

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