Photo by Slobodan Dimitrov
You’ve probably never heard of Perry Michael Simon, but he’s often the source for much of what talk-radio hosts choose to use in their endless spieling or what direction a music station takes. Simon writes a column and edits the news/talk section of the industry Web site Allaccess.com, a virtual clearinghouse for industry firings, hirings and news. The New Jersey native is a wisecracking cyber-radio guru and pundit who has an endless knowledge of AM/FM — earned from stints as a program director at stations such as 97.1 and Y107.
As an opinion maker, Simon isn’t shy about laying into the supposed common knowledge that underlies the perception of radio. “There was never a ‘golden age of radio’ in L.A.,” he says. “KNAC may have been seen as this music pioneer, but their numbers doubled when they went Spanish; KROQ as a ‘back in the day’ thing had low numbers as well. That’s why the changes. There never will be a perfect radio station for an individual — that’s why it is broadcasting.”
As far as his specialty, talk radio, Simon takes an unexpectedly contrarian view toward heated-up rhetoric over hot-button topics. “Can’t solve Iraq, can’t solve abortion, guns, the dopey T&A crap. Why is this stuff on talk? The average person doesn’t have the time for it. Were it up to me, it would be about the kind of day-to-day stuff — health, schools, local economics and the like. What hits people personally. Like Stern used to do before he lost touch with reality. That’s what talk should be.”