Top 50 JAzz Blog

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Excellent Turnout-What Next?

About 125 people turned out last night looking for ways to improve jazz radio in Boston. Reps from the major Mass. jazz organizations were in the house, as were a lot of musicians, dj's, promoters, producers, bookers, just plain listeners and the two guys who are in the center of this whole thing-constrained WGBH jazz host Eric Jackson and ex-WGBH jazz host Steve Schwartz. 

No matter what arises in the wake of the meeting, it felt great to be a part of that wizened, caring community. 

It was a lightly moderated forum, with no serious mic hogging. There was a certain amount of sheer venting as well as a lot of concrete ideas. I assume, organizers of the event, will post what was discussed. I also know that Dick Vacca is writing it up for the JJA. Find details at those sites. My comments will be general. 
Alan Dawson
There were some younger people there last night, including a 19-year-old who said "My generation doesn't listen to the radio." A sobering thought, although not quite accurate. They do listen: to KISS, JAMN WBOS, WERS at night and maybe a few other high wattage stations; not to jazz. As noted last night, education is an important part of growing an audience. The difference between stumbling across a disembodied track by Herbie Hancock that you like and having a knowledgeable DJ put it into historical/cultural context for you is huge.

This is just to say that any strategy undertaken to satisfy the current jazz audience and to grow a new one has to utilize both old and new technologies. There was a lot of energy to try and force redress from WGBH or to approach WBUR, but the current diminished size of the jazz audience means that no high-powered station in Boston with a big monthly nut will take a chance on jazz. Let's concentrate on utilizing those college and smaller non-commercial stations that have the flexibility to be supportive. 

In terms of newer technology, a Boston Jazz Stream would not be free, but with all the knowledge we hold, it's almost a no-brainer. In terms of social media, we have a long way to go. Last night, someone asked how many people in attendance blogged, Facebooked and tweeted about the meeting and I was shocked that so few of us raised our hands. C'mon people. I know you got the smart phones. That's what they're for.

[Ed. note: In the next week or two, I'll be posting an interview with Steve Schwartz.].


Chris Rich said...

Probably not much. Radio personalities spinning platters are doomed antiques.

I got a 120 gig ipod recently. It loads a month worth of music.

Sometimes I just hit the shuffle setting which randomizes my music pile and it is better, to me than any dj mediated stuff ever.

Radio was a transition tech.

The days when some smirking pud like Charles LaQuidiara(sic) could collect half a million bucks a year for yapping on radio are forever gone.

Eric has been replaced by a shuffle setting.

See buggy whips, typwriters and other bygone things never to return.

Crappy WGBH shot its wad on a glitzy build out when Harvard grabbed their old location for its own stupid real estate speculation failures.

And if you think about it, there was always something awful about these obstructive arbiters of what people should hear or see.

If being the OZ wizard stirring your imagined listener minions through the ether floats yer boat, ..okay.. I guess..

But to me it's worthless now even as someone who got a lot out of being a radio wretch.

The drive to convince the rest of the indifferent world that we are truly bitchin' will, like water, have to seek a different level as these channels are dessicated and played out.

Steve Provizer said...

Shoot Chris, unless you tell me you've posted a comment, it's one hand clapping in the forest...

Anywho-Because enough people have some investment here, something that feels like DIY might arise rather than an attempt to rescue archaic technology. Maybe not.