Gongol.com Archives: January 2024

Brian Gongol

January 14, 2024

Broadcasting Radio giant Audacy to "restructure"

The company is "undertak[ing] a deleveraging transaction" that will turn $1.6 billion in debt into company "equity". It's a Chapter 11 bankruptcy move. And it's yet another example of big, debt-laden radio ownership groups turning the market into a toxic environment for investors. ■ The list of unforced errors and acts of outright ego-driven stupidity of some of the radio industry's most high-flying executives is book-length. They've told tall tales for so long that it's hard to tell whether any of them believe their own hype anymore. ■ And it's tragic, because instead of offering radio the time and breathing room for a much-needed transition to a vastly more challenging advertising environment, their rash moves have led to mass layoffs and an apocalyptic hollowing-out of service quality.

Humor and Good News Children deserve our attention

In the sensible words of Jesuit seminarian Christopher Smith: "Be kind to children y'all. Notice them. Listen to them. Welcome them. Take interest in them. Think back to your own childhood: have you ever forgotten an adult who did this for you (no matter how long or how short your time with them was)?" ■ Your knees will probably hate you for it, but it's worth trying whenever possible to crouch down to eye level when talking with little people. Who doesn't remember how vastly distant and unapproachable their height made adults seem from a child's perspective? ■ Bringing our adult eyes down to child's-eye level is a small gesture, but one worth making. And not because it diminishes adults or adult authority: In fact, quite the opposite. Small children don't have the option to get taller, but we can make ourselves shorter. ■ In so doing, we demonstrate respect for their humanity -- which is an essential step towards earning their reciprocal respect. It remains obvious to both adult and child that they aren't equals in every sense, but to transmit the message that "You are worth my time, my attention, and my physical effort to meet you eye-to-eye" is also to transmit an understanding that all lives are valuable. ■ For too many generations and in too many cultures, the relationship between adult and child was (and in many cases, still is) built on a foundation of fear. (The Book of Proverbs contains lots of good advice, but "Whoever spares the rod hates the child" has been taken far too literally for far too long.) ■ That fear-based relationship impresses upon too many young minds both an unhealthy sense of self and a wicked understanding of authority. Real authority is earned and sustained, not asserted by violence. That's true even in the home. ■ Of course an adult should intervene -- forcefully, if needed -- to protect children from doing imminent harm to themselves or others. But, on balance, we cultivate better people by treating them, even when very young, as whole people. Their humanity is complete even at the moment of birth, and isn't proportional to their size.

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