Sargent Sacto is between opportunities
Detroit radio observers are noting another historical footnote this week, Tom Ryan’s departure from WOMC. Some felt it was a decision that should have been made years ago, while others see it as another example of how big radio has lost touch with its audience.
For me, Tom was most enjoyable as Dick Purtan’s sidekick, as Sargent Sacto and as the creative commercial voice of numerous ads (Remember Captain FFO?). Although he had a loyal following, I could never connect with him as a host. Think of the communications magic Bob Green, Tom Shannon and Scott Regen had. Tom Ryan never quite made it to that level.
If the past is any indication, Tom won’t be off the air for long. Detroit loves its media people and there’s already talk that he will resurface over at WMGC.
Perhaps what we are mourning is the death of true personality radio, from the days when we felt we had a relationship with the hosts. Personality today seems to be the demagoguery extremes, people who thrive on anger, conflict and exclusion, the opposite of what the best of the CK and Keener guys were: friendly, seeking common ground and inclusive.
Somewhere along the line, the drive to distill a winning formula and maximize profit made the non-broadcaster owners lost sight of what made great radio really work: The People.