Monday, March 21, 2011

If I Had A Radio Station...

I am not a fan of talk radio. I like music. I LOVE music, actually (not like I love my wife but very much like I love Mexican food, actually MORE than Mexican food! But much, much LESS than my wife!!). I like for my radio to play music. I expect it to play music. That’s it’s job as far as I’m concerned. Maybe it’s not your radio’s job and that’s fine. Maybe you like talk radio and that’s fine too (If you love it so much why don’t you marry it?!...sorry I’ve been watching a lot of Pee Wee Herman lately!). I’m just talking about MY radio and what I like to hear. When my radio stops playing music, I put in a CD, turn on my iPod, sit down at the piano or pick up a guitar because I want to hear music. Talk radio is very popular these days. There are stations that talk about sports, news, conservative issues, liberal issues, science, comedy, cooking, etc. there might even be a station that talks about music! I’ll have to check. I have many friends, musicians and music fans among them, who listen to more talk radio than music. I am not one of them. If I had a radio station it would play music 24/7. According to the current paradigm, it wouldn’t be very successful to most people I know. My friends would listen to it because I asked them to, (at least they would claim to be listening to it, probably while listening to talk radio). I would limit advertisers (you have to have the ads to pay for the airtime, or maybe I could be like XM and just sell subscriptions!) to 5 second commercials; “Buy Ford Trucks!”. The news would only come on if something major happened and then wouldn’t repeat until a really new development actually happened. There would be no hours and hours of commentary about the implications of this major event on the rest of the world, blah, blah, blah, unless there was an implication for the rest of the world to be concerned about, and then the implication would be explained and we would move on.  The news would come on with that sound that they used to use on TV when news would break; click, click, click... We don’t use that sound anymore because news is ALWAYS breaking! Turn on any news program and while they’re talking about news, a scroll is running underneath telling more news. Sometimes it’s important; Japan’s earthquake and nuclear disaster, but sometimes it’s not important; the warlock Charlie Sheen. That’s not news. It’s strange and interesting like a car wreck is interesting, but it’s not news like Libya and yet it’s on the same scroll as news about the economy or the health care debate. Sometimes, they break in to the news with more news! It’s like; “That’s interesting news Bob but we’ve just heard this even more interesting news!” 
 My station would be unlimited when it comes to genre. I don’t recognize them in the world so why would I recognize them on my radio station? Blues would be next to Rock, which would be next to Country, which would be next to Jazz, which would be next to Pop, etc. I think other than making it easier to find CDs in the record store (if you can find a record store and even know what a CD is...) Genres are kind of useless anyway. It gets very hard to categorize some artists and figure out which section they should even be in; (is Johnny Cash in the Country section or the Folk section?) For that matter, if “Pop” is short for “popular” (it is) wouldn’t all artists who’s records are selling well be considered “pop”? Currently, according to Billboard magazine’s chart of the top 200 songs, R.E.M, Sara Evans, Bruno Mars and Jason Aldean would all be considered ‘pop’. Hmmmm. On my radio station, they would all get played anyway, so I guess the categories wouldn’t matter.
 On that thought, genres are kind of like us humans. We’re always looking for the differences in ourselves that separate us from each other and yet there’s way more stuff that make us the same. Just like music! Race, sex, religion, social class, nationality, eye color, weight, skin color; all that stuff that we use to differentiate ourselves, separate, put apart. Categories are great for a simple explanation but they rarely tell you anything about a song, a movie, a painting, an artist or a person for that matter. I’m not sure why we feel the need to do that. I have a young daughter that I’m trying to teach about life and the world and trying to teach her that all people are the same is a very important part of that. I try and explain to her that we don’t judge people. We get to know them. That tells more about someone than the color of their skin or their height. Music is like that too. Don’t dislike something out of hand, listen and judge it based on if it moves you or not. 
  My playlist of artists would look something like this:
  • B.B. King
  • Ms. Aretha Franklin
  • Motorhead
  • Justin Bieber (just wanted to put his name right next to Motorhead!)
  • Roy Hamilton
  • Buck Owens
  • Rhianna
  • The Statler Brothers
  • Albert Collins
  • The Police
  • Elvis Presley
  • Jeff Buckley
  • Jeff Beck
  • Jeff Bridges (I could just do a day of ‘Jeffs’)
  • George Jones
  • Salif Keita
  • Buddy Guy
  • Eric Clapton
  • The Monkees
  • Hound Dog Taylor
  • Material
  • Sonny Sharrock
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • AC/DC
  • Steve Earle
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Merle Haggard
  • The Beatles
  • Van Halen
  • Tammy Wynette
  • Spinal Tap
  • Ali Farke Toure
  • Robert Johnson
  • Prince
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • The Sex Pistols
  • Hank Williams
  • Scott Holt (well, it IS my radio station!)
  • John Coltrane
  • Sam Cooke
  • T.V on the Radio
  • P-Funk
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Billy Idol
  • Sly & The Family Stone
  • Wes Montgomery
  • Miles Davis
  • Santana
  • Skip James
  • Faron Young
  • Mozart
  • Bob Dylan
  • the cast of Glee (seeing if you’d actually read the whole list down!)
  • etc. (by that I mean, I could go on and on. Etc. is not to indicate a band called etc. although I’d probably play them too)

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