Thursday, January 03, 2013

Phil Hendrie Rants About Radio's Low Pay

Popular Radio Comedian Says Traditional Radio On Way Out - Blames Low Talent Pay

Phil Hendrie, Los Angeles syndicated talk radio show host ranted Wednesday night on his comedy radio program that radio is on it's way out. Hendrie, who does comedy character voices on his long running show blames radio station management for cheapening radio programming.

Hendrie, a 40-year veteran of talk and entertainment radio, said radio station owners refuse to pay talent fairly and hints that online internet radio will eventually  take over as traditional radio broadcasting is left behind.

Hendrie says he make more money from his internet blog and online downloadable shows than he does from his live on air radio nightly broadcast.

Hendrie has been involved in television and movies for more than a decade appears in the movie, “This Is 40.”  Hendrie has also had a recurring role in the TV sitcom “New Girl,” and appeared in the movie “Last Call” and does voice work for the animated version of “Napoleon Dynamite.”

He also plays a character on the ABC-TV hit show “Modern Family” in which he plays the recurring character “Boots.” 

His first broadcasting job was at WBJW 1440 AM in Winter Park, Fla., a suburb of Orlando from 1973–1975. From 1976 to 1988, Hendrie was a disc jockey (DJ) on AOR-format rock music stations in Utica, NY, New Orleans, LA, Miami, FL, San Diego, CA, Los Angeles, CA and Fresno, CA. 

In Miami, he did many on air comedy skits with veteran broadcaster Larry King, both working for WIOD  610 in the 70s.

He says he's now "totally divorced" from conventional talk radio and refuses to talk about traditional political topics anymore calling it "garbage" entertainment, "a garbage can filled with meaningless" political talk. Hendrie says he's never talked to anyone who's impressed him with their political opinions. In the coming year he says he's going to talk about everything other than politics.

"That's the leaf I've turned over," he said Wednesday. He says he's neither conservative or liberal, but says current radio management tries to "squeeze blood out of a rock" cutting salaries and "formulatic" programming tea party radio.

He says radio is not longer fun to do and there's no money in it. "This is no way to run a business" he says, claiming people who run the broadcasting business don't know what they're doing. He says management either doesn't know what they're doing or they're robbing talent blind.

He cites bad programming where stations sell time to the highest bidder who wants to put on a syndicated program that has no entertainment value for listeners.

For several years, portions of many of Hendrie's comic radio shows have been available as free downloads at

Hendrie’s comedy bits, including characters Jay Santos, Chris Norton, Bobbie Dooley, David G. Hall and Ted Bell are now available on the Pandora internet radio channels.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more w/Phil. It's deplorable what the marketing mavens have done to traditional radio. I made a very nice living while I was on the air in San Francisco, LA and New York. But w/the turn of the century, you could see what was happening. Consolidation of the least expensive (for management) stuff available. Their thinking was why should some guy who sits in a windowless room, talking into a microphone and doing creative radio--why should he get paid so much money? Of course, none of these a'holes have ever tried doing it themselves. They'd bust a nut trying it for one week, if they lasted that long. Look, I know I sound like some old guy, like my dad used to sound when he'd make statements like "the big bands are coming back." No, Dad, they're not. And neither is traditional, creative local broadcasting occurring any more. If you have a favorite radio personality in your area, someone who's not pumping out cheap political bullshit about what they believe in--and it's always what's wrong w/things, never what's right--if you've got a guy, or a man-woman comedy team doing daily radio, trust me, they're not going to be around for much longer. Phil Hendrie keeps the standards as high as anyone around these days. Or I should say, "left around these days." Say what you want about Howard Stern, but there's a radio personality who has never put up with money-grubbing, tight-assed management. On the contrary, he had Mel Karmazin behind him. Mel is, or was, one of the most successful radio managers who ever lived. One of his basic beliefs was that it is the guy who's on the air, up at 0-dark-thirty, in the trenches in front of that microphone, getting ratings, that's the guy who's putting money in everybody's pocket. Why fuck w/him. That's right, there was a time when it was the personalities who got the ratings. But when it was discovered that you could do a handful of shows for an entire country from one central source, wow, bye-bye high-paid jocks. And yes, it pissed me off, not just because it's no longer available to me--I had a great run w/some fantastic radio managers--but it's no longer available to kids coming up who want to produce that kind of radio. I seldom get through a day w/out someone coming up to me and saying, "Shit, Terry, I used to listen to you on the radio. God, radio was fun then. What happened?" What happened? It was cannibalized by people who know nothing about entertainment, about what it takes to produce a funny outgoing show, directed at a person's need to be entertained. Sadly, this cannot be undone. They've burned all the bridges that used to connect people to that little magical box, the radio. You go, Phil! Keep leading the way. As for me, maybe, if I'm lucky enough, I'll find a home on internet radio, doing what I used to be paid a very nice salary doing. You cannot respect, love and dedicate yourself to a format. It takes a personality.