[JPL] Regarding exposing young people to jazzp - Question

DPolletta at aol.com DPolletta at aol.com
Sun Jul 19 09:17:05 EDT 2009


In a message dated 7/18/2009 2:01:05 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
jaejazz at yahoo.com writes:

do have  a question for programmers...how do you feel about mentioning 
local events on  your show...like musicians gigs...from those that never give 
your station a  dime when pledge time comes around? Just curious.>
 
Jae,
 
this has always been a real sore spot with me.  For years, when we had  
much more jazz on WCPN, I recorded a jazz calendar that mentioned concerts and  
then ran down club gigs.  It aired three times a day five days a  week.  I 
would include as many events as possible.  Then when  fundraising rolled 
around, musicians, club owners and member of the local jazz  society (who in 
exchange for the list of events received a mention on each  calendar) 
vanished.   That was in conjunction with never refusing an  interview from anyone 
who asked, plugging gigs and playing music of artists who  would come to town.
 
During that period, during one of our purging jazz from the airwaves  
periods, I had two musicians tell me they would never give the station another  
dime and in the next breath ask me to include a special event on the  
calendar.  Not a hint of disconnect between the two events.
 
 One of the area's prominent jazz promoters became indignant when I  asked 
him to support our jazz programming given all the free publicity he  
received over the years.  He responded "I can't afford to underwrite or  contribute 
to your station."  Yet the club he booked ran ads every week in  two 
alternative weeklies.  Why?  Because a) they weren't  going to give him the ad 
space for free. b) he knew full well if he wanted  concert previews in the 
papers he needed to buy ads c) he knew we would  keep giving it to him for free, 
so why should he pay for it?
 
 I ran into the same issue with the a hired pr guy in the final years  of 
the local jazz society which had been very limited in their support. He  
called basically demanding that we interview this and that person for an  
upcoming series.  I asked him "Why would I support you?  You haven't  supported us 
at all over the years."  He claimed since we were public radio  it was our 
duty to advocate for jazz.  I told him that was all well and  good but it 
didn't help us pay the bills. He responded "what do you want  from the jazz 
society? It is a non-profit organization. They don't have  money to give 
away."  When I said "Well, if they don't have  money-where did they get the cash 
to hire you?" our conversation ended very  quickly. 
 
One of the vice presidents of the society told me that he listened every  
night. When I asked him if he was a member he said "No I can't afford it"   
He then proceeded to tell me about his three trips to NYC over the last three 
 months to hear jazz at Vanguard.  Same with the musicians. I worked in a  
record store for years.  The guys whose names I read daily on the  calendar 
would come up to the counter with a stack of cds to buy.  I  would ask if 
they were WCPN members."No man, don't have the bread," followed by  "You guys 
got that new 6 cd set by Miles?  I got to get it!" 
 
A very prominent local musician returned from a trip to Cali and called me. 
 He said "You should hear the public radio station out there. They really 
know  how to support the local scene. They play a ton of local music and are 
always  talking up the gigs.  You guys are nowhere near that much help."  
Two  weeks later I found myself in Cali in the same city where the musician 
had been.  The station was conducting its fundraiser.  I received my answer.   
When I returned home, I called the musician and told him I had been 
listening to  the same station as he,  but they were fundraising. I then gave him a 
list  of thirty names of musicians who had phoned in pledges over the three 
hours I  had been listening.   I never read a list like that in Cleveland. 

 
I think we needed to put our foot down earlier.  Since we gave it away  for 
free in the hopes that it would foster goodwill and  help us gather  
support, no one ever expected to be really be responsible to help us in  return  
They took for granted to we would always plug their stuff with no  need to 
reciprocate so that they process might continue.   When I cut  out the 
calendar and cut back on the plugging of local gigs, I had a lot of  complaints 
from those who had lost the free plugs, but I noticed no decrease in  the 
amount of revenue generated during fundraising.  It was sad that what  should 
have been the core support group was the least supportive.  It was  the general 
listener, not the jazz society member, musician or club owner who  came 
across with the pledges.
 
My all time favorite reason for not pledging came from a Cleveland police  
captain who dropped about $100.00 a week in the record store.  Every week  
he would come in to ask me about tracks I had played and buy the discs. He 
said  he never missed a show and sometimes he would tape them and listen the 
next  day.  I asked him why in all the years I had been on the air he had 
never  given a dime.  I reminded him how much music we had hipped him to buy as 
 well as the service we provided him every day.  "Give money to CPN?   No 
way, the news there is too liberal."   
 
ARGHHHHHHHH!!!!!
 
Dan Polletta
WCPN-FM
 
 
 
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