OK, gang. Time for me to vent, yet again, but not in the way those who REALLY know me on and off this board would think. And let me say up front to my friends here that you always will be my friends, regardless of our differences of opinion.
I have got to tell you, I have only been on this side of radio (station operator/programmer) for 16 months, but frankly, I don't know how some of you guys have survived doing this for 20+ years or more in the industry. Maybe it is ALL about passion and determination, because if I had none I would gave given up this hobby a long time ago and gone back to online gaming to pass away my time...LOL But seriously guys, I have to ask the question, is it possible that this format's hardcore listeners ask programmers to do the impossible (hit a home run with EVERY song or format tweak)?
As my regular listeners know, within the past week or so, I have taken a few shots down the field (football analogy), as it were, i.e., an innovative, out of the box approach to this format by injecting some change of pace vocal cuts that you have not and probably won't ever hear played on a typical Smooth Jazz station (some long-lost, under-appreciated AOR, Quiet Storm, AAA, and Pop cuts). But with very few exceptions (which I have already been crushed for), most of the new vocals I have added were VASTLY underplayed and I think represent a refreshing change of pace to an instrumental-heavy format that I think DESPERATELY needs it. I did expect a little blowback, but I have been surprised as to just how fervent it has been. In the past week alone, I have been flamed for adding a reputable national news service (The CBS' World News Roundup) to my M-F programming, which mind you, airs only TWICE daily at 11:00AM and Midnight Eastern (late edition) for 7 minutes. All I was really trying to do was give the station a more polished, professional sound, and keep who I already assume to be sophisticated listeners informed (I figured most would care about what's going on in the world, and wouldn't mind a little bit of news). Sure, I know you guys listen to me on your laptops and Iphones, and don't come to “The .wav” for news. But come on, gang. Haven't we gone a little too far with this Slacker and Ipod stuff? The addition of CBS syndicated news feeds was as much about injecting a change of pace to the, dare I say, monotony, as it was to add to the professionalism of the station. I am a throwback in every since of the word, and even though I am only 41, I have an appreciation for what radio ONCE was for me as a kid—a source for feel good music and information. When did listeners' definition of “ideal” radio become exclusively a human-less delivered, glorified, on-demand, overgrown Ipod, or at the other side of the radio spectrum, a nonstop news/sports talk show soapbox derby for overpaid syndicated blowhards with opinions?? What happened to the listeners' desire for balance? Is there anything wrong with spinning great music but spending just a couple minutes to keep folks “orally” informed about what is going on in the world and their communities? Why can't we have good programming and still have an ability to connect with our listeners on a personal level?
For the first time since I found this board, I am going to do something that I thought was once unthinkable for me: pat myself on the back. I have seen plenty of egos come and go on this board over the past year, and much to my chagrin, PERSIST beyond all belief or comprehension, and ignore the opinions of the uneducated “outsiders” and mavericks. But IMO, I think my programming is some of the best that this format has seen in some time, and those who listen to me for 10-12+ hours a day (not all of whom are who some believe are radio-info sycophants) have validated this for me. I believe my programming has always been innovative, and I am one of the best contemporary jazz streams either NO ONE knows about, NO ONE wants to acknowledge even exists because of their own ego or professional jealousy (because they know where to find me), or because they have been fed a garbage product for so long all they do is look at this format purely as background music and do not consider it a listening experience or lifestyle, like it should be. The fact is, I run a 24/7 operation from the basement of my modest split-level home without the luxury of professional studio equipment/infrastructure, or spending ONE DAY in the business. I wear the hats of station manager, music director, program director, prodcution manager, sales and marketing manager, blah blah blah. I have had professional imaging done, my cross-fade settings are tight, and my playlist is 3700 cuts strong. And yet, I still get flamed for trying to my best to inject some well needed life into this format WHILE taking on the giants of corporate radio. I can say with a great degree of confidence that if I had even 1/10 the resources of a terrestrial radio station like KTWV, I could sell this product to be profitable in numerous markets, despite what the pundits may say. I am that confident in my own abilities. But I have to admit, I thought I had the answers for this format long ago, gang, but I don't. I've tried. I'm exhausted. But one thing I can take from this whole experience is that the guys who criticize me the most are guys who I now consider lifetime friends that I never would have had the pleasure of getting to know had I not decided to launch this venture. And while we may have our differences of opinion, I respect these guys knowledge and taste in music FAR more than some of the industry and so-called “in the know” blowhards who regularly post on this board. If you guys could only take a moment to see how just how arrogant and out of touch you are with your listeners, maybe my job would have been a little easier. But you guys have made listeners so cynical, critical, and sour that they would rather listen to their Ipods or queue up Slacker. How sad is that? That's not radio, guys, not even close!!
This is not a shameless self-promotion, a sympathy plea, or a plea for donations. I know some of my longtime Radio-info nemeses/detractors will accuse me of such (and you know exactly who you are), but my station has always been a reflection of my passion, determination, and about giving new hope to a genre that has a terminal form of radio cancer, whether we want to admit to it or not. If I get bounced from this board or lose my reporter status, so be it. I do this purely for the intrinsic value of knowing that there are guys out there who listen to me 10-12 hours a day, and would genuinely miss my stream if I decide one day to pull the plug on it. But sometimes I wonder if it is worth the effort of being a 24/7 one-man show when the Smooth Jazz ship has taken on WAY TOO MUCH water because the chosen ones of corporate radio steered it right into an iceberg.