Where are the Radio Mad Men?


Hey, I like Mad Men. After all, who the hell doesn’t. The show wallows in behavior that today would be anathema. Drinking, smoking, sexual promiscuity, racial/sexual prejudice, sexism. It’s even chocked full of corporate greed on the individual level, where everyone had a shot at making their personal world more prosperous (unlike the corporate world today), where the good of the company was also tied to the good of the individual employee. It’s nostalgia (albeit very well written and acted nostalgia) of an America that once was and will arguably never be again.

In last weeks episode, Peggy is in Don’s office, notably freaked out about the loss of Lucky Strike, the agencies biggest client.

She asks Don: “So there’s nothing we can do?”

Don quips:

“Sure we can stay at our desks and keep typing while the walls fall down around us, because we’re Creative. The least important, most important thing there is.”

It’s pretty much where radio has been for the last decade or two. You could substitute just a few choice words to fill out the rough edges:

“Sure we can stay behind our mic’s and keep talking while the towers fall down around us, because we’re Programming. The least important, most important thing there is.”

Blame it on consolidation, bad management, emerging media, lack of vision, hell, blame it on the moon and stars. But until a broadcasting Don Draper takes his or her own advice (or in this case, his regurgitated advice from Peggy: “Why don’t we just change the conversation. You always said, if you don’t like what someone is saying about you, just change the conversation”), it’s more fiddling while Rome burns.

Luckily for the Agency, Don does change the conversation. His action with the full page add in the NYT’s will do the trick. And I thought he didn’t go for those kind of shenanigans? Don proves his point, creative is the least important most important thing there is, and saves all their asses.

Where are radio’s Mad Men? On the pavement for sending out an email with a link to an “inappropriate” ┬ávideo? Hawking You Tube? Twittering to no one? Get off your asses and reinvent the conversation. I’m sure Don could have done just fine in “plastics,” but he is staying with the plow. Keep your hand on that plow, and hold on.