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"Always Going to be a Need for What We Do"

   He’s heard it for 30 years. Radio is dying.  Radio is dead.  But Roe Conn doesn’t buy it.  “We are the heart and soul of the information industry in America,” he told a ballroom full of broadcasters Wednesday in Normal.
   Conn has been doing afternoon drive at Chicago’s WGN radio since January, after 25 years on the air at WLS.  His time slot, his co-hosts, and his content have all changed over the years, and he understands broadcasters’ feeling that the industry is undergoing major changes.  But he thinks the core of all of it – the storytelling - is the same. “We are trying to find a way to make what we do relevant,” he said, ”and we already did.”  He talked about social media platforms, like Instagram and Twitter:  “You don’t fall in love with the app.  You fall in love with the stories and the people and that’s what we do.”
   Conn was the morning speaker for IBA2015, an annual conference of the Illinois Broadcasters Association, aimed primarily at sales staffs and station managers.  He urged the veterans in the room to take the time and effort to teach young broadcasters what’s right, what’s wrong and how to develop that nose for a good story.
   “It’s the stories that we tell and the people who tell them that really make the difference.”