[JPL] Time To Re-Think How We Do Radio

David Johnson djohnso2001 at yahoo.com
Sun Jan 18 22:59:11 EST 2009

I think I get what Jae's driving at, and I've had similar thoughts, though not as well-developed or as well-articulated as Jae's are.  "Teach" may sound like a loaded word (one that those of us in public radio, as many of us are, are conditioned to dread these days), but there is a block with many folk and jazz.  Yeah, you can't program with an "eat-your-vegetables!" attitude and hope to survive...but I do think there are different ways of arriving at the goals of which Jae's speaking.  Anybody here remember "The Schickele Mix"?  It was a classical music program that also drew on jazz and other forms from time to time; I listened only occasionally, but I think he did a decent job of making learning about classical music kind of fun.  And the more you know, the more your enjoyment of the music is enhanced.  Pat Harbison, a trumpeter and professor of music in the jazz-studies program here at IU, does a great presentation each year during the
 Continuing Studies seminars for older folk that takes off on the old "Where's the melody?" line and runs a standard tune through all kinds of jazz formulations, explaining in a very accessible, down-to-earth way what's going on with the music.

Sometimes, too, jazz might suffer a bit from its own sense of hip.  There's a sort of "in the know" aura about the music that makes it attractive to some, but might be off-putting to many others.  It doesn't have to be dumbed down or made un-hip, but I agree with Jae that it's not a disservice to listeners--to potential listeners, especially--to debate and seek out new ways of making it more accessible to them.

David Brent Johnson
Night Lights/Afterglow
WFIU-Bloomington, IN


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