[JPL] Computers are useless
rwsfin at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 4 13:26:54 EDT 2006
"Computers are useless because all they give you are answers."
Suppose I assert that the only acceptable way to present any form of
artistic expression is to present it with artistic intentions. That is,
present it in a manner aesthetically pleasing to the presenter, one who
always feels perfectly free to lay it out as it plays, like a good jazz
musician. How would that idea strike you? Unworkable? Pretentious?
Self-indulgent? Naïve? Incorrect? How about Necessary?
The notion today that one or two people in a radio station should compile a
list of music that its okay to play and that that list will best represent
the music and serve the listeners, is an outmoded idea and exactly the
opposite of what needs to happen. If every member of your air staff is a
knowledgeable and gifted presenter, centralizing the decision of what gets
played is inherently inferior to the collective consciousness (including the
moods, spells, notions, eccentricities and sudden urges) of an air staff.
If you dont have a good air staff, maybe you should switch to a news/talk
format. That way theres at least a chance that someone might say something
Music radio was born when music was scarce. From the 1920s until quite
recently, radio was a way to help mitigate that scarcity. Today, as people
discover that they are able to hear almost any music they want when they
want it, music is no longer scarce. With an iPod and a little effort most
people can build their own music stream. Theres certainly less and less
reason to spend time with a radio station thats not exceptionally good. By
good, I mean unique, irreplaceable.
I think that one of the fundamental survival skills for music radio is to
provide unique, one-off sources of music that are as compelling as what
listeners are doing for themselves, a valued option despite the fact that
they may also roll their own. Music-based stations with centralized play
lists and other tools of top-down management, are facing diminishing
importance. They mistakenly assume that an optimum presentation of music is
some kind of marketing science rather than an art, and that as such, music
selection should be placed firmly in the hands of program management
professionals who act as gatekeepers or tastemakers. In the name of
consistency, such stations offer a distillation of the views of those who
are well-schooled in chart reading and adherence to whatever passes for
programming status quo. But views are no substitute for vision and
consistent is not a synonym for compelling.
Another survival skill is to become cutting-edge adept at, and attentive to,
your web presence and deft adaptation to other emerging platforms. If you
live, it is by the grace of your role as a content provider. Old-school
jazz radio wont cut it in that environment.
You need to put on a hell of a show, actually a series of them. Thats the
kind of consistency that really counts. To do that you need an air staff of
knowledgeable and gifted presenters, people who already know what to play.
Such people are not known to be particularly interested in whats on your
list or what your view is of those eternal questions, What is jazz? and
What are we to do? (Ruby, my dear)
Thats why Im not interested in listening to anyone that I think would
follow my play list, much less yours. I want crazy-brilliant, willful,
passionate people on the air, doing what they love to do, making it up as
they go along, people who love playing music more than they love the radio,
or for that matter, they mamas.
Can I get a witness or something?
2816 Barmettler Street
Raleigh, NC 27607
WSHA - www.wshafm.org
Bouille & Rogers Consultants
email: rwsfin at hotmail.com
phone: (919) 413-4126
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