[JPL] Regarding exposing young people to jazzp - Question

Jae Sinnett jaejazz at yahoo.com
Sun Jul 19 10:21:08 EDT 2009

That is exactly what I'm going through Dan. There is a strange disconnect with the musicians and many of those involved directly or indirectly in the jazz community. They're listening. They call me and ask questions. I hear it all the time but few are members...even at the basic level of $35 dollars. I agree with Peter that it's a public service we provide but now, at what expense to the jazz? People must know that this public service can't exist without "public" support. That message MUST get out if we're to survive. Can you imagine the complaints from that same group if the jazz disappeared? Then what would they do? I would bet...pay to get it somewhere else and at the point the free ride is over. One only knows what would happen if stations started charging for their streaming broadcasts.  

I've had the same sense of bizarre reasoning as to why many don't support. I had a person tell me..."Why should I have to pay for listening to jazz on your station?" I responded...where are you going to hear jazz on the radio (besides smooth jazz but they're running ads to get you to buy whatever product they're pushing) that you don't have to pay for it to have that access? He responded..."On the internet." No shit. I said, ah, don't you pay for your internet service? 

I have supported the local talent for years and years without one bit of questioning as to why many in that community don't support what we do. You're right Dan in that much of the music they buy they hear on our stations. I try to get the musicians to get the venues they are playing in to underwrite jazz programming. Few do so now I'm over it. Ironically, the majority of support from underwriting jazz receives comes from non-artistic sources...unless it's festival season. That's a very different story. Plus the station dropped down a new policy on "giving away" free air time. I understand because we no longer can afford to do it. There was a theory that if we promoted heavy the area performances and such with say - our concert calendars...that support would come in from those we're helping to promote. That's not happening. I would say that at least 80 percent of those on those calendars aren't giving you a dime. 

Across the board in public radio...about one in ten...in our case one in eleven...that listen contribute. That research also tells us that our listeners have the highest income and educational levels. I'm very sensitive to the artists...I am one myself so I know the deal and the struggles many have. I've been there but even for me during those struggles I contributed at the basic level...at that time $25 per year...way before I started working here. Now the basic level is $35. For as much as they listen and what we provide them...you can't pay us that basic memembership? I now tell many who what us to promote what they do to underwrite. That way they can have all the promotion they want.  

What is now bothering me is the fact many seem to take what we do for granted. It's obvious and it's a shame really because we provide a tremendous service and it deserves support. I do my part for sure. The more we give the more they want and when do we say enough?

Jae Sinnett    

--- On Sun, 7/19/09, DPolletta at aol.com <DPolletta at aol.com> wrote:

> From: DPolletta at aol.com <DPolletta at aol.com>
> Subject: Re: [JPL] Regarding exposing young people to jazzp - Question
> To: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
> Date: Sunday, July 19, 2009, 9:17 AM
> calendar!
> ******************************************************************************
> 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."   
> Dan Polletta
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