After his final broadcast on a Minnesota Public Radio program, Dale Connelly got the send-off by the working folks at MPR News a few minutes ago, even though he asked that no going-away party be held. “It’s true what they say about the news media,” he told us. “You really don’t listen.”
We gave him a teddy bear, a pillow, some pajamas, and some tea to help him sleep, now that he won’t be getting up early in the morning anymore.
A lot of people — and correctly so — will point out that MPR owes its growth to Garrison Keillor. But it also reflects the work of people like Connelly, who reminded us today that few people listened back in the day when he was part of the news operation. “You’d call people and nobody would call you back and why would they?” he recalled.
Many years ago, an MPR executive decided to brand us with a “Your News Source” slogan, which Dale turned into “Your News Horse,” and a different slogan: “We may not get there first, but we’ll stay longest.”
Like most people in the mainstream media, we’ve gotten pretty good at holding these little going-away affairs with their trips down memory lane. But the institutional memory of organizations like this is fast disappearing, too. And fewer and fewer people who grew up with radio are coming into the radio business because fewer people are growing up with radio as a primary form of communication.
Technology has made the challenges of live broadcasting almost disappear. Twenty years from now, these little parties will have stories like, “hey, remember the time my computer crashed?”
It just won’t be the same.