[JPL] Re: Younger people on the radio

Bobby Jackson ftapache1 at sbcglobal.net
Sat Mar 10 10:21:15 EST 2007


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Toulouse, Sarah" <stoulouse at chicagopublicradio.org>
To: <jazzproglist at jazzweek.com>
Sent: Friday, March 09, 2007 11:19 PM
Subject: [JPL] Re: Younger people on the radio


This Week's JPL Sponsor: SUMMIT RECORDS


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.

HI SARAH,

YOUR POINT IS WELL TAKEN BY ME.  THEY SOULD CARRY EQUAL
WEIGHT BUT THEY DON'T.  IT'S PAINFULLY OBVIOUS THAT
PROGRAMMING TAKES A BACK BURNER TO PLAYLISTS
AND RESEARCH ABOUT WHERE CAN WE FIND WHAT PARTICULAR
RECORDING OR HISTORICAL FACTOID.  WHILE SOME PEOPLE DO
AND THEY HAVE THEIR REASONS, THE PLAYLIST IS THE LEAST
 INTERESTING ASPECT OF THIS LIST FOR ME.  IT'S THE INFORMATION
THAT HELPS ME PROGRAM; IDEAS THAT OTHERS USE TO "PROGRAM"
JAZZ FOR "THE RADIO" IS THE MOST USEFUL TOOL ON THIS LIST.

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).

I'VE PLAYED THIS GAME FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS IN THE
SERVICE OF JAZZ.  I'VE WORKED IN SHOPS THAT REMAIN
COMMITTED TO JAZZ SOLELY AS THEIR FORMAT AND I SERVE
CLEVELAND WHICH HAS CUT BACK IT'S JAZZ IN SLICES AT A TIME IN
FAVOR OF NEWS AND INFORMATION.  I HAVE A LIFE LONG PURSUIT
OF AND LOVE FOR JAZZ.  THAT'S WHY I CAME TO THIS FORMAT IN THE
FIRST PLACE.  IT WAS THROUGH WORKING HERE AT WCPN THAT I
DEVELOPED A LOVE FOR RADIO PROGRAMMING.  IT IS THE CARROT THAT
CONTINUES TO BOLSTER ME THROUGH ALL OF THE CUTBACKS I'VE EXPERIENCED
IN JAZZ PROGRAMMING.  I'M ALSO DOING TELEVISION HERE WHICH I'M LEARNING
SLOWLY AND STEADILY.  THE TRANSITIONS HAVE NOT BEEN EASY BUT
THEY HAVE BEEN REWARDING.  MORE REWARDING THAN PICKING UP
THAT LATEST JAZZ RECORDING.  TODAY, THE PLATE HAS MORE INTERESTING
TEXTURES ON IT AND I'M ABLE TO SIPHON ALL OF THOSE TEXTURES
THROUGH A JAZZ LENS AND AESTHETIC .  IT IS MY HOPE THAT IT WILL
BRING MORE PEOPLE TO EAT AT THE TABLE I'VE PREPARED FOR THEM.
IT MUST BE WORKING ON SOME LEVEL BECAUSE I AM STILL HERE.
FOR THAT, I AM GRATEFUL.

MY FORMER SATION, A JAZZ STATION WCLK IN ATLANTA HAS REMAINED
COMMITTED TO THE FORMAT AND THEY ARE STRUGGLING TO
STRENGTHEN THEIR ARB NUMBERS.  WHEN I SERVED AS THEIR PROGRAM/MUSIC
DIRECTOR I LEFT THAT SHOP WITH THE HIGHEST CUME/AQH.TSL NUMBERS
THEY'VE EVER HAD IN THEIR EXISTENCE.  TODAY, THEIR CUME AND TSL NUMBERS
ARE CURRENTLY AT THE LOWEST POINT IN 15 TO 20 YEARS.  IT IS A
SHOP FILLED WITH JAZZ EXPERTS AND DEVOTEES.  YOU WILL NOT FIND MORE
PASSIONATE JAZZ PEOPLE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. THE LESSON HERE IS
THAT LOVE  AND PASSION FOR THE MUSIC ON THE PART OF PRESENTERS IS
NOT GOING TO SAVE THE FORMAT.  THERE IS A GREAT NEED TO DEVELOP "RADIO"
ACUMEN IN THE RANKS OF OUR JAZZ BRETHREN.  WE NEED THAT MORE
THAN ALL OF YOUR JAZZ PASSION.  WHERE IS THE RADIO PASSION?

  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,

I HAD A CONVERSATION WITH OLU DARA A FEW YEARS AGO AND HE TALKED
ABOUT THIS.  HE SPOKE ABOUT THIS IN TERMS OF PEOPLE ALLOWING
THEMSELVES TO BE "COCOONED" IN THE TECHNOLOGY.  HE USED THE MAN
ON THE PARK BENCH AS ONE WHO INTERFACED MORE WITH THE WORLD THAN
THE MAN AT THE COMPUTER.  I'M PERHAPS NOT AS ELOQUENT AS HE WAS IN MAKING
HIS POINT BUT I WILL TRY.

HE TALKED ABOUT THE BUBBLES THAT WE WRAP OURSELVES IN EACH DAY.
FROM THE BEDROOM, TO THE BATHROOM, TO THE KITCHEN, TO THE CAR, TO OUR
WORK OFFICE/CUBICLE, TO THE COMPUTER.  THESE ARE ALL "BUBBLES" THAT WE 
COCOON
OURSELVES IN.  IN ALL THIS COCOONING WE REALLY DON'T INTERFACE WITH THE REAL
WORLD.  IT'S A TECHNOLOGICAL, SELF IMPOSED, SOLITARY/VOLUNTARY CONFINEMENT. 
PERHAPS
THE ULTIMATE CONFINEMENT IS THE I-POD, WHERE YOU HEAR ONLY WHAT YOU WANT TO 
HEAR
AND TUNE EVERYTHING ELSE OUT (NOT A LOT OF GROWTH HERE BUT SELF 
INVOLVEMENT).
RIGHT BEHIND THE I-POD IS THE COMPUTER ETC.  AS JAZZ LOVERS WHO HAPPEN TO BE
PROGRAMMERS WE TEND TO COCOON OURSELVES IN A SIMILAR FASHION.
THE MAN ON THE PARK BENCH IN A SENSE IS FREER AND IS SUBJECT TO MORE STIMULI 
AS HE
PARTICIPATES EVEN MORE WITH THE REAL WORLD, INCLUDING THINGS HE DOESN'T 
EXPECT OR HAVE PERSONAL
CONTROL OVER.  I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW OFTEN I FEEL LIKE WE ARE SO CONCERNED 
WITH THIS JAZZ THING,
 LIKE IT'S A LIFE OR DEATH CHOICE WHILE THE REST OF THE WORLD PASSES US BY 
WITHOUT EVEN
KNOWING WE EXIST.  WE CAN'T INVITE THEM TO JOIN US BY TELLING THEM ABOUT 
JAZZ.  WE HAVE TO
BE WHERE their HEADS ARE, not OURS.

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'VE HEARD WYNTON SPEAK INTELLIGENTLY AND ELOQUENTLY ABOUT ART( in at least 
two
different museums in different cities), FOOD, SPORTS, POLITICS, SCIENCE, 
MUSIC (other than jazz or classical),
GEOGRAPHY, FASHION, ETC.  HIS LIFE LONG INTERESTS AND CURIOSITIES IN 
LEARNING ABOUT
THE WORLD MAKES HIM MULTI-DIMENSIONAL.  HE HAS LEARNED HOW TO EFFECTIVEY 
EXPLOIT THAT.
OUR PROGRAMMING SHOULD ALSO BE MULTI-DIMENSIONAL ON A LEVEL THAT TRANSCENDS
THIS MUSIC ITSELF.  THAT'S WHY HE IS SO POPULAR WITH THE LARGER CULTURE
AND CONTINUES TO EXPERIENCE MAD SUCCESS, EVEN IN A JAZZ WORLD.  HE IS AN 
INTERESTING
PERSON WHO TRANSCENDS THE MUSIC THAT COMES OUT OF HIS HORN.  WE SHOULD AS
PROGRAMMER'S TRANSCEND THE MUSIC THAT COMES OUT OF OUR
PROGRAMMING.  INCLUSIVITY, NOT EXCLUSIVITY IS THE KEY.

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?

SARAH, I THINK IT HELPS THAT YOU ARE A WITNESS TO THE NUMBER THREE MARKET IN
THE COUNTRY, GOING UNDER AS A JAZZ FORMAT.  YOU REALIZE WHAT OTHERS
DON'T BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN STRIPPED.  IT WASN'T BECAUSE YOU WEREN'T
SMART, BUT THE CLIMATE IN RADIO DOES CHANGE AND WE NEED TO BE READY
WHEN IT HAPPENS.  YOUR FOCUS ON GOOD RADIO IS A GREAT IMPULSE AS OPPOSED TO
GOOD JAZZ.  YOU SHOULD BE AROUND FOR A LONG TIME.

PROGRAMMERS SUCH AS JAE, TOM THE JAZZMAN, GARY WALKER, ERIC JACKSON,
JIM WILKE, LINDA YOHN, ARTURO, ETC. I HOPE YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF FORTUNATE. 
\
YOU ALL BRING FORMIDABLE TALENTS TO THE TABLE.  I SALUTE YOU ALL.  CHICAGOAN
MARK RUFFIN AND STEVE WILLIAMS HAVE DODGED MANY A BULLET TO REMAIN VITAL
TO JAZZ RADIO AND FOR THAT THEY GETS BIG UPS FROM ME.  I KNOW YOU ALL WORK
HARD AND I'VE HEARD YOUR PRESENTATIONS OVER THE YEARS AND ACTUALLY WORKED
WITH YOU IN SOME CASES. JUST REMEMBER, WE ARE ALL TIED IN THIS, IN THIS SAME 
JAZZ
BARREL.  BUT LIKE THAT FISH IN THE BARREL ANY ONE OF US AT ANY TIME CAN BE 
CUT
DOWN. JUST ASK PEOPLE LIKE EULIS CATHEY, JOHN ROGERS, CARL GRIFFIN, NEAL 
TESSER,
CHRIS JONZ, ARTURO GOMEZ, MARK RUFFIN OR OTHERS WHO HAVE FELT THE STING OF 
THE BLADE.
CAN WE PLEASE RECOMMIT TO (particularly on the jazz PROGRAMMERS list) AND 
SHARE SOME RADIO
SCIENCE WITH ONE ANOTHER?  I'M CONSTANTLY SCHEMING FOR AND LOOKING FOR
PROGRAMMING IDEAS. MY CUP RUNNETH OVER WITH MUSIC IDEAS.

Thanks,
Sarah

NO, THANK YOU SARAH.

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.

I DIDN'T BRING HER UP BUT, I CHIMED IN ON MARILYN PITTMAN WHO I HAPPEN TO 
LOVE.  SHE HAS HELPED
ME "TALK BETTER" ON THE RADIO.  SHE IS A GREAT LISTENER AND MADE SOME
KEEN OBSERVATIONS THAT HELPED ME MATCH MY SCRIPTED VOICE WITH MY TALKING
VOICE.  JUST AN ASIDE ON PITTMAN.  ED TREFZGER INVITED PITTMAN TO A JAZZWEEK 
CONFERENCE
ONE YEAR AND I WAS EXCITED ABOUT IT.  SHE WAS NOT RECEIVED IN THE WAY SHE 
SHOULD HAVE
BEEN.  I GOT THE FEELING THAT  THE PROGRAMMER'S REALLY DIDN'T UNDERSTAND WHY 
SHE WAS THERE.
TO ME IT WAS A MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR MANY OF THEM TO "TALK BETTER." 
PERHAPS A VOICE COACH
SESSION AT AN IAJE OR JAZZWEEK MIGHT BE SOMETHING TO BE CONSIDERED AS A 
"RADIO AGENDA."
NO ONE VOICE COACH WILL SOLVE EVERYONE'S PROBLEMS.  THAT'S WHY
THERE'S DAVID CANDOW AND OTHER VOICE COACHES AROUND.   JUST A SUGGESTION AND 
I'M NOT SURE IF
MONEY IS AN ISSUE WITH THIS (it probably is) I THINK IT MIGHT BE NICE TO 
INTEVIEW VOICE COACHES AS
A FEATURE FROM TIME TO TIME IN JAZZ WEEK.  SURELY THESE VOICE COACHES HAVE A 
STAKE IN HELPING
PROGRAMMERS TO BE BETTER BROADCASTERS.

ALOHA,

BOBBY JACKSON

Philip said:
some good points.
Then again, it's pretty easy to spot the hosts for whom "jazz just
happens
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
the
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
than
a blemish-free, purely professional presentation by someone just doing
it
for the (admittedly small) paycheck or career experience.
Philip Booth

as a listener I can always spot the t



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