Dan Shelley named RTDNA/F Executive Director

“The Radio Television Digital News Association and Foundation (RTDNA/F) today announced that longtime Association member, former Chairman of the Board and current Foundation Secretary/Treasurer Dan Shelley has been named Incoming Executive Director of the two organizations. Shelley begins work immediately and will assume the role of Executive Director in September.”

I met Dan in 1984 when he was news director at KTTS in Springfield, Missouri, and I was doing affiliate relations for The Missourinet (Dan’s the guy in the red tie). From Springfield Dan moved up to Milwaukee where he was news director of WTMJ for a few years before moving to New York to take over digital media for WCBS-TV. Then on to Radio One and, in 2015, iHeartMedia.

I interviewed Dan in 2005 when he was elected chairman of what was then RTNDA (Radio Television News Directors Association). They changed the name in 2009 because this digital thing just wasn’t going away. During that interview we talked about blogging, podcasting, satellite radio. For a little context, XM (satellite) Radio did it’s first broadcast in 2001; Facebook launched in 2004; podcasting became a thing that same year; YouTube started 2005; Twitter in 2006; and in January of 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. Whew.

Media, journalism and Life As We Know It has undergone some big changes in the last dozen years. According to a 2016 Gallup Poll“Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media ‘to report the news fully, accurately and fairly’ has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.” 

I don’t see how he can possibly find the time but Dan says we’ll talk again. Boy, am I looking forward to that.

This post was updated on April 6, 2017 at 6:50 p.m.

Dan Shelley reveals “secrets” of talk radio

Back in my radio days I co-hosted a daily, hour long talk show. It was mostly the kind of silliness you find on morning shows but we (Tom Colvin did the show with me) had a good time. And we were never angry.

Most of the talk show stars with which I’m familiar are a) pissed off and b) really, really conservative. Before I stopped listening (many years ago), I often wondered why they were so angry.

My old pal Dan Shelley offers something of a behind-the-scenes look at talk radio as practiced at WTMJ in Milwaukee, where he was news director and program director before taking a job in New York.

“To begin with, talk show hosts such as Charlie Sykes – one of the best in the business – are popular and powerful because they appeal to a segment of the population that feels disenfranchised and even victimized by the media. These people believe the media are predominantly staffed by and consistently reflect the views of social liberals. This view is by now so long-held and deep-rooted, it has evolved into part of virtually every conservative’s DNA.”

“To succeed, a talk show host must perpetuate the notion that his or her listeners are victims, and the host is the vehicle by which they can become empowered. The host frames virtually every issue in us-versus-them terms. There has to be a bad guy against whom the host will emphatically defend those loyal listeners.

“This enemy can be a politician – either a Democratic officeholder or, in rare cases where no Democrat is convenient to blame, it can be a “RINO” (a “Republican In Name Only,” who is deemed not conservative enough). It can be the cold, cruel government bureaucracy. More often than not, however, the enemy is the “mainstream media” – local or national, print or broadcast.”

“Forget any notion, however, that radio talk shows are supposed to be fair, evenhanded discussions featuring a diversity of opinions. The Fairness Doctrine, which required this, was repealed 20 years ago. So talk shows can be, and are, all about the host’s opinions, analyses and general worldview. Programmers learned long ago that benign conversations led by hosts who present all sides of an issue don’t attract large audiences.”

While reading Dan’s article I found myself thinking of talk radio hosts as “professional” wrestlers who get really mad once in the ring. They forget it’s not real and they are entertainers, not athletes or warriors. Of course that wouldn’t work in the WWF. Somebody would get hurt.

If anyone knows of a soft-spoken, optimistic, not-mad-at-anybody, conservative talk show host, gimme a shout. I’d love to hear what that sounds like. And if there are any WTMJ listeners out there, I’d love to know Charlie Sykes’ on-air response –if any– to Dan’s article.

Looking back at 2006

This blog is first and foremost a personal journal. A place for notes on what I’m reading, watching and thinking. I took a few minutes to click and scroll back through 2006:

I posted on podcasting with some regularity and tried my hand at it with Dr. Domke’s Living Healthy Podcast.

I am more fascinated with blogging than ever and persuaded our company to start a blog. I’d like to think I played a small, behind-the-scenes role in the launch of the best veterinarian blog on the net.

We did some interviews: Ben Brogdon (Original cast of Best Little Whore House in Texas); Dan Shelley (Executive Editor of Digital Media for WCBS-TV); Dan Arnall (Business Editor, ABC News) and Kevin O’Keefe (Lex Blog).

Kasie had a birthday and I (almost) had my first cigarette.

I was overcome with Mac Lust and bought my first Mac and became a “slider” (someone that slides back and forth between PC and Mac).

I read, wrote and thought about radio. I discovered that politics matters to me more than I thought.

Blogging and surfing cut into my reading time. I only read 24 books. I came up with a couple of good ideas for screenplays that had everything but the ending. Fortunately, Kay was able to provide those.

I discovered the formula for The Perfect Day; I came to grips with the reality that I am not a team player; I worried about how much I worry; I watched two good friends build a tree house and concluded that work is your real life.

I’m blessed with a few good friends; one great partner; two sweet pups; the best job in the world and high-apple-pie-in-the-sky hopes for 2007.

Interview: Dan Shelley, WCBS-TV

Dan ShelleyIn July, my old friend Dan Shelley left WTMJ in Milwaukee and moved to New York as Executive Editor of Digital Media for WCBS-TV. I spoke with him this morning about digital media, journalism, blogging, radio, life in NY and riding in the elevator with Andy Rooney. Dan is pumped about his new job and living in Manhattan.

AUDIO: Interview with Dan Shelley

Dan offered this warning to broadcasters: “If you don’t do more than just stick your toe in the water, if you don’t plunge head-first and totally immerse yourself in the digital media future, and do it now, you will die.”

For those that might have missed it, I interviewed Dan in May, 2005, right after he took over as chairman of the Radio and Television News Director’s Association. He talked the “digital talk,” and now he’s “walking the digital walk.”

Dan Shelley headed for Big Apple

Dan ShellyeMy old pal Dan Shelley is headed for New York to become the Executive Editor of Digital Media for WCBS-TV and WCBSTV.com. Yesterday was his last day at WTMJ in Milwaukee where he has been news director since 1995. Before that Dan was ND at KTTS in Springfield. I interviewed Dan in May, 2005, shortly after he was elected chairman of RTNDA, and he talked about journalism in a digital age. I’m trying to get a follow-up interview. Stay tuned.

RTNDA’s Dan Shelley gets it

Dan Shelley is a long-time and valued friend. For a dozen years he ran one of best (probably THE best) radio newsrooms in Missouri. In 1995 he moved to Milwaukee to become the news director of WTMJ. A year ago he was elected chairman of the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) and took over those duties a couple of weeks ago at the association’s annual meeting in Las Vegas.

In his first speech as chairman, he outlined five challenges or issues facing “electronic journalists.” We asked him about blogging, podcasting and satellite radio.

AUDIO: Interview with Dan Shelley 30 min MP3

I’m not sure Dan –or any other mere mortal– is capable of taking broadcast journalists where they need to go but he’s the right guy at the right time.