We had the good fortune of connecting with Don Amiche and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Don, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
As an On-Air Personality, I have had the pleasure to work in the radio industry for close to three decades. I have held just about every title it has to offer, from program director to creative services. The one thing that I can tell you about my industry that you might now know is, it is in the perfect storm of chaos, causing it to die a slow death.
Debt, Technology & Less is more = Death.
In the mid to late 90s, Wall Street poured millions of dollars into the radio industry. Medium-size companies bought out mom-and-pop radio owners, allowing them to expand into radio behemoths. That expansion created massive debt, which is stunting radios growth.
In addition to debt, technology is eroding its market share. Podcasts, Youtube, Spotify, Sirius Satelite Radio, and other media that weren’t here 20 yrs ago are all vying for radio’s monopoly with listeners.
The Millennial & the Gen Z generations, which should be propelling radio’s growth, view it as old media and aren’t using it. That lack of growth is translating into less revenue. That’s a significant problem. The top radio stations in Los Angeles are all 25-54 yr old focused, and it wasn’t like that 15 yrs ago.
Now I’m not trying to paint a doom and gloom picture as radio still has a place in your life. News and traffic, especially here in LA, are essential. In addition, providing emergency information, whether it be for fires, earthquakes, or politics, is still a valuable resource that radio offers. But outside of that, what’s left? The music you can get anywhere, DJs who provide little to no value to your in-car experience, and commercials.
During the mid-2000s, iHeartradio pushed a statement, “Less is more.” In theory, less is more is excellent. Think of a great performer whose timing is impeccable, leaving the stage with the audience wanting more. So the DJs stopped talking so much, no more crazy stunts or interesting conversations to capture attention, and let the music be the star. This industry-wide philosophy has allowed radio to become stale.
Less is more also translated into less talent, less promotion, and less attention to evolving the brand. Add debt servicing and returning value to shareholders, resulting in workforce reductions; we are witnessing the Death of an industry by a thousand cuts.
Who’s to blame?
Radio at the local level has the most dedicated, loyal workforce of any industry. The on-air personalities, production, sales & promotions departments do a fantastic job with few resources. They want to arrest your ears with compelling content & experiences that you can’t find anywhere else, so they are not to blame. Wall Street, Corporate Executives, and Owners who want to squeeze out the last dime are where the fingers need to point.
How do you fix this industry?
It’s effortless, but we’ll save that for another conversation.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Please tell us more about your career.
I have been an on-air personality for close to three decades and what sets me apart from others is my unique perspective on life. My Show “Don Amiche Vs. Everybody With Crysta & Kiara” takes on topics with no easy solution. Every day we work to evolve our audience through healthy debate and different perspectives.
I am most excited about the work I’m doing on KBLA 1580am, as it’s so fun to curate a 3-hour conversation while making it exciting and funny. I’m doing the best work of my career on top of working with some fantastic people.
How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy?
My journey to where I am now was a long and bumpy road filled with massive amounts of rejection (The letters I still have). I started radio in Los Angeles, then moved to Oklahoma, Texas, and back to California. That journey was a difficult one. I got married, got divorced, had an amazing son in the process. What kept me going was my perseverance to find people who would say yes! in addition, networking, a lot of faith, professional development, and a little bit of luck.
What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Stay focused and find a person who will say yes. Also, invest in yourself, and bet on yourself. Along the way, you will come across people who tell you no, don’t listen to them. Keep pushing and let the universe move you closer to your dreams. Remember, there are no rules for life; anything can work.
What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I’m the son of an immigrant who grew up in and out of poverty. My mission is to love the world while making you laugh.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Temescal canyon for a hike, Maestros for dinner. Leimert Parks “Sole Folks” for a little shopping. A tour of the homeless encampments as that seams to be a major attraction here in LA. As for entertainment, the magic castle or the impov on melrose.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Wow, so many people. Let’s start with my mental health. Deepak Chopra’s soul of healing meditation, anytime I get stressed, I put this on, and it immediately helps relax my mind. Jack Canfields Maximum Confidence – 10 Steps to Extreme Self-Esteem, which was a game-changer for me.
Professionally, Stevie Wonder for keeping me employed through the great recession and being a fantastic boss and kind friend. Tammi Mac, for being a tremendous cohost for over a decade, you learn a lot about women working with one. And finally, Tavis Smiley for inviting me on his journey when he started 1580 KBLA here in Los Angeles.
MICHAEL MOORE @MICHAELMOORE616 MRM STUDIO