Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Chuck Nessa

WBEZ Chicago

120 posts in this topic

I obviously don't have insider's information as to what pledge levels, underwriting support and Arbitron ratings have been for WBEZ's jazz programming. But I doubt that the management's decision was made without serious review of these matters, vs. potential opportunities with alternative programming.

Again, I'd rather be listening to jazz myself than any talk show you can name, though my time is spent listening to new CDs, both in the car and at home. I don't have the time for anything else.

Edited by Ken Dryden

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clem, at this point I feel fairly safe (though maybe I shouldn't) as our station has a pretty tight relationship with the IU School of Music, and such a format change here, if attempted, would all but spark a riot. (I'm only half-kidding.) Therefore we're a bit cocooned from the merciless radio landscape that's evolved... but I was just reading Current on my lunch-break, and public-radio audiences declined slightly from 2003 to 2005--first time that's happened, evidently, in a long time. Listener & underwrite $$ were up, but they can't foresee that trend continuing if the audience keeps dropping.

Certainly programmers and station managers have a big responsibility to come up with compelling programming--I think in the past there was a somewhat lazy "you need to support us because we are a good thing" mentality, and an expectation that people would support public broadcasting. We can't do that; we need to give reasons for listeners and underwriters to support us, to EARN that support. "Here's what you're getting," etc. However... big however... OTOH, if public radio is simply going to act like commercial radio, albeit slightly more educated, than we'd better go back & rip up the mission statement. I have a good friend who's worked in this biz for 20 years, in a number of capacities, and I have enormous respect for his take on things; but he & I divide somewhat over this.

All I can say is that I really feel for the folks at WBEZ who do music programming, and that it only makes me want to work harder.. not just out of anxiety, but out of a desire to keep jazz on the airwaves--to some degree, anyway--and to draw both jazz lovers and casual jazz "likers" alike. Part of the problem is that the core audience for jazz is graying, and younger listeners have to be drawn in, in a culture where jazz is rapidly turning (in my perception) into a museum music in most people's eyes (or ears). Addressing that issue is a whole 'nother ballgame.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rotasi,

Daddy-O Dailey was the handle this annonymous person used when speaking to me.

Oh! Well, that's pretty uncool...maybe he should've used someone's name outside of the radio business so that

any statements he'd make wouldn't be attributed to Dailey? - maybe that well represented composer "Anon"?

yours,

Ken Nordine

Edited by rostasi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL, Rostasi

Ken: "But I doubt that the management's decision was made without serious review of these matters, vs. potential opportunities with alternative programming."

After my paranoid ramblings about WUOM this might sound equally as off base, but I DO doubt management's choices...right now, and for the last many years, the NPR network management in Washington is trumpeting the news model and local management is eating it up. Sometimes without thinking about anything other than making more money. A good local example is Werf's station, WGVU, which nixed it's day time jazz several years ago to chase the siren song of the news model, not thinking they'd be doing the same thing that WUOM was doing in the same market. It really took the air out of the place and now, at long last, they may have recovered from the change, that is, re-won an audience and their support. But it was clear in the first several years after they made the switch that they lost their audience and their funding but, you know, hubris and ego come into play, and they just sat there betting on the come because that's what NPR in Washington said would happen.

Ghost and I are in a similar boat. Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp is not going to change formats. That's the message in all of our fundraising campaigns. The result is, of course, we stay small. Our budget is $780,000 a year and we have a full time staff of 7. That's a pretty tight ship for a 100,000 watt station.

And there's a quite a bit of competition for public radio listeners in Grand Rapids. They can hear the NPR stations from Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Mount Pleasent, maybe East Lansing, as well as Werf's station at Grand Valley State University, Blue Lake and a small but well loved community station, WYCE. Ann Arbor has WEMU, too, but they can also hear WDET. In general public radio in Michigan is diverse and competitive enough to make things interesting.

Thank God for people who listen to and care about music.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think that management at most stations take format changes lightly. It is a major disruption and there obviously will be a degree of support lost. But in our market, the jazz numbers never were what we expected them to be. The jazz programming during the week is long gone, with a couple of syndicated shows still hanging on.

NPR isn't the only network available, though it is the major dog. But all of the networks had better be careful about offering too many of their most popular programs on satellite services, or stations will be wondering why they're paying tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars while people in their markets can get the same shows elsewhere.

Let's face it, for some markets, underwriting and membership received a huge boost once NPR news programming was added to the mix.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, that should have been Daddy-O Daylie -- no hyphen before "Daylie." First name was Holmes. A marvelous rhymer and player with words, he was -- got his start as a Southside bartender. I recall that hepronounced Wynton Kelly's first name WINE-tone. Dedicatee of "One for Daddy-O," of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The real Daddy-O-Daylie (correct spelling) died in 2003 at age 82

Thanks for that Larry...I didn't know that he had passed away. He was a strong part of my childhood.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Therefore we're a bit cocooned from the merciless radio landscape that's evolved... but I was just reading Current on my lunch-break, and public-radio audiences declined slightly from 2003 to 2005--first time that's happened, evidently, in a long time. Listener & underwrite $$ were up, but they can't foresee that trend continuing if the audience keeps dropping.

During that time the number of subscribers of satellite radio has increased. Any chance that all free stations have a slight decline?

I don't subscribe to satellite radio but I wonder if that's where jazz will end up for most of the country, as jazz is such a narrow interest.

Sirius offers 3 flavors:

Contemporary jazz - Modern jazz & fusion.

Smooth jazz - A sophisticated sndtrk of smooth jazz instrumentals & vocals.

Pure jazz - The classic sounds & styles of jazz masters, past & present

XM offers more wordage as to what they're playing:

Real Jazz - You know the real thing when you hear it: Louis. Ella. Duke. Dizzy. Monk. Bird. From the amazing Jazz pioneers of the '20s to the young lions making history today.

Watercolors - Sophistication doesn't shout. These cool, contemporary Jazz instrumentals and hip vocals create a muted musical backdrop. What more could you ask for? Maybe a chilled martini, on the dry side...

Beyond Jazz - This is the home of modern, plugged-in jazz. Beyond Jazz is where you'll hear the Lords of Jazz Fusion, The Stars of Modern Electric and Acoustic jazz, The New Jazz Singers, Techno Jazz, Acid Jazz, The Jazzy Jambands. The Future of Jazz is here so come join us in A BRAVE, COOL WORLD

Frank's Place - A rich celebration of the Great American Songbook with a little help from the Sinatra Family. It's The Chairman from A to Z -- along with his friends Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Nat King Cole, Count Basie, Johnny Mathis, Louis Armstrong, Rosemary Clooney and many more.

Like I said, I don't subscribe so haven't heard any of the above. But I fear that may be where it's headed. Free radio will mainly be talk, country and garbage, with a few interesting hold outs in scattered places where there are enough dollars to support it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot is changing.

Frankly, I can't imagine WBEZ's news talk reflecting the character or personality of Chicago the way WGN does. But I'm sure it will fill an information void.

That radio, of all things, is turning it's back on real music after their long involved history together speaks to bigger changes in society.

For instance the major news media's inability to report the news, leaving a huge vacuum for NPR to fill, which they have, and people are paying attention.

Through the Clinton administration his popularity during the Monica Lewinsky ordeal stayed around 70 per cent, and every wag on t.v. was saying off with his head. Today Bush's ratings are the lowest of a President since the depression and the pundits waive his bullshit off. T.V. news is insulated from the American public, and NPR's programs, despite their attempts at covering pop culture, are worthwhile for mearly doing the old job description of "journalist."

The investment in culture and public education that America (and Americans) made after WWII is nearly run it's course. Public Radio's committment to fine arts music programming was part of that investment. So were the tremendous music programs in the high schools of Chicago, Detroit and Philly, to name just three.

And the independant thinking engendered by such an educated populace is anathama to the locked steps of our time.

I believe jazz music can change people's lives, inform them of inner depths and outer communion, tell people instinctually how to detect falsehoods surrounding the gluttony of power, and imbue them with a sense of cultural history, of place and righteous purpose. Maybe the NPR news model can do the same thing in a different way. But I doubt it. Opinion today is an expendable commodity used primarily to consolidate power, not reveal truth, while music and art are timeless and at their best ONLY deal with the truth.

WBEZ's choice was to take the easy way out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lazaro, allow me to tell you what is wrong with your thinking:

Instead of celebrating the full market signal station that broadcasts jazz between 16-20 hours per day in Chicago, you lament the station that played jazz less than 40 when it decided to drop jazz.

Instead of looking forward to the point where jazz is being played on a radio station that WANTS TO PLAY JAZZ, you lament the station that very obviously had lost interest in the music.

If you call yourself a champion of jazz music, then start acting and talking like it. Celebrate the music and the places willing to play it, and quit worrying about the places that are too chickenshit to devote their airtime to it.

That said, I dig WBEZ's news and public affairs programming immensely. I just hope that they plan to do more locally produced material with their newfound time to kill.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very well then. Points taken.

Which station are you talking about: "Instead of celebrating the full market signal station that broadcasts jazz between 16-20 hours per day in Chicago" ?

I haven't heard WDCB.

Edited by Lazaro Vega

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very well then. Points taken.

Which station are you talking about: "Instead of celebrating the full market signal station that broadcasts jazz between 16-20 hours per day in Chicago" ?

I haven't heard WDCB.

well, then you should change that.

www.wdcb.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recall that he pronounced Wynton Kelly's first name WINE-tone.

Perhaps that's the origin of the tune title "Winetone" on this recording?

e96457o5nrs.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very well then. Points taken.

Which station are you talking about: "Instead of celebrating the full market signal station that broadcasts jazz between 16-20 hours per day in Chicago" ?

I haven't heard WDCB.

well, then you should change that.

www.wdcb.org

This should be a good time for WDCB to grab new listeners and I hope you guys take advantage of that and are successful!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice web site. I've had several Chicago residents who summer in West Michigan say they listen to The College of Dupage station everyday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

for 11.5 hours every day my warehouse (with marvelous acoustics) ROCKS with new lazlake, NUR jazz complete shows, and full night light shows, plus my own 40 year collection, INCLUDING TURNTABLE.

to ever subtract any of those elements from my mix would really suck.

Edited by alocispepraluger102

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A good local example is Werf's station, WGVU, which nixed it's day time jazz several years ago to chase the siren song of the news model, not thinking they'd be doing the same thing that WUOM was doing in the same market. It really took the air out of the place and now, at long last, they may have recovered from the change, that is, re-won an audience and their support. But it was clear in the first several years after they made the switch that they lost their audience and their funding but, you know, hubris and ego come into play, and they just sat there betting on the come because that's what NPR in Washington said would happen.

We've been back on an even-keel for at least 6 years or so, probably even more. The first two after the change were definitely brutal, but that was a decade ago. We're going to be short on our current drive, but we raised record amounts (for us) last fall, spring and in 04. Our dollar goal is going to be short (unless stuff pours in over the weekend), but our member numbers are very high (for us), which indicates that lots of people are pledging, but at smaller amounts.

Yup, NPR...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Scott,

After late morning listening to College of Dupage, caught Terry Gross on GVU today, the Jackie Mac interview, and heard your high powered marketing department in action for the funder. Though they work hard, I'd like to think the station turnaround is because of you, Werf. I hear your program everynight on the drive to work.

Who were those people screaming on the air tonight? WEEEEeeeeeeee!!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Scott,

I'd like to think the station turnaround is because of you, Werf. I hear your program everynight on the drive to work.

Who were those people screaming on the air tonight? WEEEEeeeeeeee!!!!!!

Thanks, Lazaro.

If, by people, you mean saxophonists, I believe you heard the new Odeon Pope "Locked and Loaded," the tune was "Munta Chant" featuring James Carter. If you mean real people screaming, it was sound effects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...

I haven't heard WDCB.

I have. If WBEZ's programming was fairly vanilla, WDCB's is even less interesting. Then again, I'm a partisan of the far more cutting edge WNUR show.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...

I haven't heard WDCB.

I have. If WBEZ's programming was fairly vanilla, WDCB's is even less interesting. Then again, I'm a partisan of the far more cutting edge WNUR show.

NUR rules!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...

I haven't heard WDCB.

I have. If WBEZ's programming was fairly vanilla, WDCB's is even less interesting. Then again, I'm a partisan of the far more cutting edge WNUR show.

NUR rules!!!!!

And how powerful is their transmitter now? When I lived in Chicago (5000 N - about a mile from the border) I had to drive to Evanston to get the signal. I taped a show for them once and had to ride around in my car to get the friggin' signal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...

I haven't heard WDCB.

I have. If WBEZ's programming was fairly vanilla, WDCB's is even less interesting. Then again, I'm a partisan of the far more cutting edge WNUR show.

NUR rules!!!!!

And how powerful is their transmitter now? When I lived in Chicago (5000 N - about a mile from the border) I had to drive to Evanston to get the signal. I taped a show for them once and had to ride around in my car to get the friggin' signal.

nur.org rules...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.