Radio And Health Care: Brothers In Qualms

(By Ronald Robinson) People around the world, including here in Canada and 50 other countries, are aghast at how the American political and corporate systems are abusing, exploiting, and refusing to minister to the health care needs of its citizens. After a seven-year window to construct a reasonable medical program, the Republican majorities were unable to deliver the goods. Howls of disbelief, frustration, and rage could be heard across this border.

While an uniformed or non-participatory electorate can be held partially liable, the failure is, primarily, that of the legislators. Their priorities are entirely disconnected from any workable realities. Their wildly distorted ideological positions, along with their festering, corporate allegiances only guarantee a dysfunctional and horribly expensive system. The last people to be considered, if at all, are those who would be required to pay, and for whom the system is (allegedly) supposed to serve.

Radio in general and corporate radio in particular finds itself in a similar position. Can anyone in authority argue with the facts that their behaviors and positions are those that demonstrate a loyalty only to the corporate masters? The disregard for those who are (again allegedly) supposed to be served has been, and continues to be, obvious. These would include the advertisers, audiences, and staffs.

That abject embarrassment or any admissions of guilt have never been demonstrated constitutes evidence of horribly twisted senses of entitlement and a disgusting rejection of any responsibility to a public trust. Licenses are, after all, granted as a privilege – or so the story goes. Further, those who line up and are marching in lockstep with the radio dogma are demonstrating a fantastic degree of credulity and gullibility.

If there is to be any improvement in the state of radio, it can only come about with the enlightenment of the ownership and leadership. These would be the same people who serve the ownership’s dictums and offer no suggestions or challenges while doing so. Everybody down the hierarchy does, indeed, need to protect their “phony baloney” jobs.

Radio’s ideologies or “dogma” have been the force that has been wrecking the industry for decades. Vested interests are the main factors that have been stultifying the medium. Audiences and advertisers have been summarily dismissed and ignored. They have also been abused as if there were no chance of retaliation.

Similarly, the generation of a useful and reasonable healthcare system is being crippled by vested interests. The extraordinary lack of knowledge demonstrated by the principals whose primary responsibility is to design such a system is an absurdity. Wholly accepted ideologies take precedence. This is a natural and expected result of failing to challenge such long-standing, deeply held, and unexplainable positions. Particularly disturbing is the situation whereby the strategies are continuously found to be not only ineffective, but dynamically counterproductive – and at extra charge. On this matter, Congress has been demonstrating the old adage about “finding out what doesn’t work – and doing it harder.”

Similarly, radio refuses to make the changes to the only elements over which it has control – on-air presentations and the generation of commercials. Plus, radio has been making no sincere inquiries. The losers of radio’s profoundly ridiculous practices – or rather, the lack of other, more worthwhile approaches – are the audiences and the advertisers. Payback may be imminent. There are more effective options available to radio, just as there are better models for a healthcare system. They are seemingly hiding in full view.

My brother-in-law was struck down by a heart attack a week ago, here in Canada. He was transported to hospital by ambulance; he was admitted to emergency where staff moved into action to determine his condition, what technologies were immediately required, and what further treatment was necessary.

After he was stabilized, he was scheduled for a heart surgery at a specialized hospital. He was flown to the facility and the following day, the operation was performed. Estimated costs: $150.000. His bill: Zero. Tens of millions of taxpayers did not use any medical services last week. Essentially, that’s it.

The fix for radio is also as readily available. But, I have to wonder if anyone is really paying attention to the alternatives. Dogma demands: There are no alternatives. And if there were, they wouldn’t be any good anyway.

Ronald T. Robinson has been involved in Canadian radio since the ’60s as a performer, writer and coach, and has trained and certified as a personal counselor. Email him at [email protected].


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