Paul McCartney Still Rehearses, Merlin Media Doesn’t

Posted on August 1, 2011


Two exciting events took place in Chicago this weekend: Merlin Media launched an all-news format on the 101.1 frequency replacing Q101 and Paul McCartney played the first of two shows at Wrigley Field.

Living in Chicago just a few blocks from Wrigley Field I was able to hear the beginning of both.

One went smoothly, one didn’t. Feel free to guess which one.

I’ll bet you can sum up the difference in one word: rehearsal.

Sir Paul’s set was made up of songs he’s been performing for 20 years or more, yet he still rehearses. According to this video blog entry, he rented out an entire arena to do it:


Apparently the crew at 101.1 wasn’t as concerned about delivering a great product for their audience from the very first note.

Listeners were greeted by news anchors struggling to read their own copy and awkwardly attempting to banter with each other about such important subjects as the price of dry cleaning. 

One newscast actually included four timechecks just one minute apart and I heard the same pre-recorded interview with a reporter about why Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler keeps such a low profile three times in about 90 minutes.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect the concept Merlin is attempting to launch. It appears to be an all-news format that appeals to a younger demographic by being less focused on hard news and incorporating more personality.

I hope it works. I think it could be great for the industry.

It’s just a shame they weren’t patient enough to take the time and rehearse so they could have started strong like McCartney did instead of stumbling out of the gate.

I can understand it. I’ve even done it. I’ve launched new shows and stations too early instead of taking the time to rehearse.

That’s why I’m writing this post: so hopefully you won’t make the same mistake Merlin Media and I did.

Take the time and rehearse; Paul McCartney does.