James Hetfield has Gray Hair

Posted on August 24, 2011


As a hangover from my rock and alternative programming days I still receive emails from several band fan clubs.

One of my favorites is the Metallica “MetClub” email. I haven’t hit the unsubscribe on that one primarily because their merchandising fascinates me (anyone up for a game of Metallica Monopoly?).

But one recent email from Lars and the gang made me stop dead in my tracks when it referenced the band’s 30th anniversary.

That means a 15 year-old Beavis or Butthead who gravitated to Metallica early on is now in his mid-40’s and quite likely has a mortgage and children who think of “Master of Puppets” as “my dad’s music.”

Here’s a few other pop-culture references to help put the world in perspective for you:

  • Eight year-old children who embraced the first Harry Potter novel in 1997 are now old enough to drink legally.
  • A 15 year-old who couldn’t stop saying “Yeah baby” after seeing Austin Powers is almost 30.
  • A 17 year-old who found their voice when grunge exploded is going to be turning 40 soon.

My point is, especially for anyone working in a format where their audience is younger, be sure the pop-culture references you use are relevant.

So often I hear talent talking about events their audiences have little or no connection to. It might seem like just yesterday to you but not to your listeners.

It just makes them think you’re old.

If you are having a hard time accepting the fact that your cultural touchstones may be outdated, I’m not surprised. We’ve known for almost 20 years now that, “You can’t handle the truth.”