Friday, July 13, 2012

Building a New Jazz House

Jazz people are increasingly having their media sanctuaries taken by eminent domain. Here's the press release: "We got more cars, need bigger highways, something's gotta give. Sorry... Feel free to stand by the highway holding signs, trying to convince drivers to go back home and ride their bikes to work."

"You are a diminishing and not very desirable demographic. We're not saying you're not a wonderful human being, but romance without finance is a nuisance. The bigger the broadcast outlet-and we are the biggest around here-the bigger the gap between your needs and ours."

Ok. I hear you and I accept your explanation.

I'm not happy about having my home bulldozed by the news/public affairs juggernaut (I'd be slightly happier if it wasn't lurching ahead on retread tires). But over the last 15 years I started several pirate radio stations because I knew the game was rigged and I knew the answer was to find another place to hang my porkpie hat. At a certain point, I stopped bad mouthing Clear Channel, as I'm done now with bemoaning the wrong-headed-ness of WGBH. There just ain't no traction in it, nor a convincing moral case. As my recent post about my daughter and her friend clearly showed, art and morality are in the eye of the beholder.

Call it a plea to the jazz community to use this moment to dream a little bit; to look for unthought-of creative solutions. Let's look ahead, not back. Regulatory action is a dead end. Positive actions win hearts. Jazz is at the center of all this. That should give us all the inspiration we need.



3 comments:

Larry Cronin said...

It seems to me that "Building a New Jazz House" is a survival necessity.

The protest mission to influence WGBH certainly should go on. But what if we are not successful in getting WGBH to reverse its decision- what ARE WE GOING TO DO to foster the well being of not only jazz, but also folk and blues (or even Arts & Culture) in Boston? We need the generation of new ideas since the current situation is not acceptable for the future. Let’s assume that an over the air station is needed as an epicenter in addition to the Internet. Since reality often starts with imagination, let me toss out a few “what ifs” (that may or may not generate discussion)---regardless of the current existence/political situation. "You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound".....:

• The July 31 meeting becomes a Constitutional Convention to form the Arts and Culture Coalition in recognition that this is more than a creativity situation- it is also very political for both the short term and the long term.

• WGBH converts WCRB over to “The Arts and Culture Station” combining classical, folk, blues, and jazz. Plays jazz during evening hours.

• Eric In the Evening and Steve Swartz become syndicated, and get simulcast on multiple stations that buy in.

• Berklee, New England Conservatory, Emerson, Northeastern, Harvard, MIT, and Tufts form a consortium to combine resources to form “The Arts and Culture Station”. Petition FCC to boast the WERS signal as outlet.

• Jazz Boston, Berklee, New England Conservatory and Northeastern step up to buy a station and form “ The Jazz Boston Station”, which becomes the epicenter of jazz in New England, but also plays folk, blues and progressive rock.

• Legislation is created to link all the University of Massachusetts stations together in a network that both creates educational opportunities for students, and also plays major league music in prime time with the major league music education twist--such as Eric/Steve/Dick P. With all their repeaters, this network would be like a 75,000-watt station.

• Berklee, New England Conservatory, Emerson, Northeastern, Harvard, MIT, and Tufts form a consortium to produce syndicated high quality music show with the educational component- simulcast in a network throughout Massachusetts/New England.

bigtiny said...

I think the new refuge for arts is going to be internet radio. It's cheap, ubiquitous, and available to just about anyone. It IS a 'PULL' technology, but given the expense of trying to buy airwaves and deal with the FCC what choice is there?
If I were a DJ, I'd be doing some serious reading and studying about how to get up and running on the superhighway....

keith hedger

Larry Cronin said...

There's multitudes of Jazz stations on the internet already- and many are pretty good. Some just play music, while others (especially streaming terrestrial stations) have some commentary.But nothing beats listening to a terrestrial station where you know the DJ is sitting in the same city, (hopefully) tuned to the pulse of the day as if he/she were sitting with you, or stuck in traffic with you, or partying with you.