[JPL] Re: Younger people on the radio

Toulouse, Sarah stoulouse at chicagopublicradio.org
Fri Mar 9 23:19:39 EST 2007

Philip, while I would agree with you that a non-passionate presenter can
be just as bad (btw, I didn't say I'm not passionate about jazz, or
music in general, and I would hope my work (and possibly tattoos) would
prove otherwise.)  However, I do think it is equally important to first
know how to do great radio, and in particular with this list, working
with jazz or music is the palate from which we work.  It does not make
sense to take a career path where you have NO passion or interest, but I
don't believe any sole interest makes for a great music show or any
other type of program.  We work in RADIO, why does that side of this
debate seem to always get pushed aside in favor of the emphasis on JAZZ
passion?  What about passion for the medium we work in?  Why does it
have to be one or the other, and why aren't both passions given equal
importance?  Saying one is more important than the other does not make
sense to me.  I think they carry equal weight.  You could have the
secret to world peace, but if you don't have exceptional
skills/tools/resources for communicating your message, how is it ever
going to change the world?   Jazz is a wonderful expression of
creativity.  If we're not first thinking about how to best do our jobs
as facilitators of this music, then what's the point if nobody hears it,
or worse, they tune out BECAUSE the facilitator does a poor job with the
presentation? (On a personal note, if all you focus on is memorizing
jazz facts, what do you do when your station drops jazz and you still
need to earn a paycheck? The idea of trying to bank on doing the same
thing for your entire professional radio life, much less being only a
jazz host, is probably not a good bet, especially if you have
aspirations for having a long career in radio).
With the constant evolution of radio and media, in fact, I think it is a
big mistake to think passion alone is going to keep jazz or any other
non-commercial music or even just any non-mass appeal interests on the
airwaves.  I don't know about you guys (and women out there), but I'm
tired of hearing about Anna Nicole, Brittney, and Lindsay on the major
outlets, and on the flipside, I'm tired of hearing only about Iraq (or
substitute political story) or bird stories, or what essentially sounds
like people lecturing from the encyclopedia on public radio.   How does
any genre, topic, personality or program stay viable in a constantly
changing (and seemingly constantly homogenizing) media landscape?  How
do we keep it informative AND entertaining AND relevant to 2007
listeners?  iPods are great, but they are also making people more
wrapped into their isolated cocoons.   How do we get people to want to
be exposed to new things on the radio or other outlets?  How to we tap
into the next generations' habits of self-education with the internet,
and not just compete in what could be a losing battle with evolving new
technology?   I don't think these are questions to be casually brushed
aside, because with all of the passion out there for jazz (and I do
agree that the music itself is NOT dying) it continues to disappear from
the airwaves and all other places for exposure.  I don't think I have to
tell any of you who the central jazz figure is on iTunes, or any where
else for that matter, since y'all love to hate him so much - but hay,
while everyone continues to complain about him, he's busy reaching more
audience.  Love or hate Wynton, why is he STILL the only one to really
reach and maintain a presence in general consciousness?  
I don't think the answers are easy or simply black and white, but I
think it's our job to and continue to address these questions as best as
we can.  Too often these important conversations get side tracked with
petty arguments and everyone trying to measure up each other.  Wheels
keep spinning in the dirt, but are we moving the car anywhere?
p.s. I can't remember who brought up Marilyn Pittman, and I know she's
helped a lot of pub radio b'casters, but man, I just couldn't relate to
her methods.   On the other hand, I did very much value some sessions we
had with former CBC radio trainer David Candow.  He's great with
storytelling and attracting and keeping audience interest. 
Philip said: 
some good points.
Then again, it's pretty easy to spot the hosts for whom "jazz just
to be the music they are presenting."
Sure, terrible presentation and clueless programming is a turn-off.
But so is the sound of someone who doesn't have any evident passion for
music, any sense of jazz history or any enthusiasm about its future.
Personally, I'd rather hear a few false starts and bits of dead air on a

program presented by someone who's clearly passionate about jazz rather
a blemish-free, purely professional presentation by someone just doing
for the (admittedly small) paycheck or career experience.
Philip Booth
as a listener I can always spot the t


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