Monday, July 19, 2010

Music Radio is Political?

There is a billboard campaign in town for Jack FM that says, "Two reasons we don't take requests: Kenny G." This ad bugs the crap out of me. For several reasons. To begin with, Jack FM has a centralized play format, meaning that it is not local nor customized. They go with a rebel slogan (Playing What We Want) and make themselves out to be a maverick radio station when really they are the McDonalds of radio. So I already object to them due to their format and marketing.

But this particular ad especially gets my goat. It uses a superiority complex to justify the station's lack of personality. Basically, they are saying they know better than their listeners, or at least some of their listeners, and are capitalizing on their target audience wanting to join them in feeling superior and elite to other listeners (who prefer or enjoy Kenny G).

Basically, they are taking their standardized format that does not allow for djs or locally generated playlists because it all comes from some centralized and non-Nashville-specific source, and then using their ads to justify not catering to their listeners because some of the listeners might have taste they object to. They are spinning it into a "people are dumb and we know better than you do," and using that as a selling point.

There is a reason I never listen to that radio station. I have been told by friends that it has about one good song in three (which isn't enough for me), but I also prefer something more local, community-oriented, and (gasp!) locally owned. Which is why I mostly listen to Lightening 100 (Nashville's Independent Radio) with some 102.9 The Buzz (Everything that Rocks) thrown in for my hard rock fix.

This is yet another one of those things, I guess, where the simple choices of my day are political. I choose not to assault my sensibilities with input from sources that are not up to my standards both for entertainment (I want 80-90% songs I like on my radio stations, thank you), and for localism and community politics. I sincerely hope all these little things ad up in the end. That's all I'm saying.

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