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Return of the ‘Pod People

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Ok, after all the furor my previous post about iPods raised, I have some clarifications to make:

1) Radio still rules. Without it there would be no call-in shows. Radio is interactive. Podcasting is not–I don’t care how cool it is (and it is cool)–it is by its very nature isolating, not unifying. (That is, until people start getting together and throwing podcast parties…Can’t you just see it? “Hey, let’s get a keg and download that last Randi Rhodes show!”)

2) I don’t care how much my friends think they know about music, history, and life, DJs like Kid Leo, Wolfman Jack, B.B. King (that’s right he was a DJ) and Little Steven know infinitely more. And were/are just cooler than you and me. There is no substitute for a great DJ. (And while that includes club DJs, theirs is a different species altogether.) Same thing goes for talk show hosts. There is a reason why some of these people never got on the air. Just cos they can podcast doesn’t necessarily make them good.

3) The promo art on albums/CDs/posters/whatever RULES, and is an integral part of this music. If you don’t believe me, witness the uproar over Nike’s co-opting of Minor Threat’s artwork, and some music fans’ reactions. Until they come up with a way to beam the artwork into my brain whilst I’m listening to the new Madonna track, it just won’t be the same.

4) All this iPod crap is just too damn time-consuming. Uploading, downloading, synching, finding podcasts…to quote one of my favorite characters in Barry Levinson’s classic film, Diner: “Who gives a shit? I just wanna hear the music.” Make it easier or you won’t get my money.

There endeth the lesson.

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About Lisa Iannucci

  • steve

    Apple is very OK not having your money.

  • sure dj’s know infinitely more (well, i’m not really gonna agree with that but still…)…but that’s all in the past. regular old fm radio is more or less fully programmed with absolutely no dj input.

    not satellite radio on the other hand is more like the old days…sort of.

  • master of all things

    Podcasting is soooo much more than listening to your fetish (the same stuff you listen too all the time) music or being “elightened” by some $0.50 DJ. Get a clue. Keep your money for your next AM radio, true podcasters don’t do what they do for money.


    Clear channel type radio dj’s don’t know dookey or care about for the most part what music is being played, they are playing whatever the centralized program software/Man behind the curtain is giving them. That DJ on the Modern rock station will be giving the weather update on the country station after the next corporate local revamping, that is, if they aren’t let go altogether. A few companies control all the stations, they have really tight, really lame playlists, and the dj’s play whatever they are told to play.

  • I’m not sure if Lisa was bating us, or what. But, come on, Lisa, you can’t be serious. The only good radio out there right now is independent radio or college radio. NPR too, of course, but I know the NPR station in Kent, OH (at least the last time I listened to it)plays only classical music all day long. There is so much better public radio available out there. (WKSU was the only NPR station that I could receive).

    But I got off on a tangent. Mainstream radio sucks. And for the very reason you give in your post complaining about podcasting: the DJs have no say.

    A DJ at the station where I work recently left for a paying job (we are all volunteers) at Clear Channel. Who could blame him? Jobs are tough to find in Missoula, MT. But he has less than 5% say in what he plays. And the programming is heavily weighted with commercials. Very little time for music.

    Yes, DJs like Kid Leo, Wolfman Jack, B.B. King and Little Steven were great. Little Steven STILL is great, and for those of you, like me, who can’t catch his radio show on a radio near you, you can catch it at Little Steven’s Underground Garage. It rocks.) But the days of great DJs are over. Never again will a DJ “break” a band. Never again will a DJ like Kid Leo bring so much awareness to someone like Springsteen that his shows in Cleveland became legendary in the late 70’s/early 80’s. Never again will a DJ like Eric Olson who did “Cool Tunes” on Cleveland radio back in the late 80s/early 90s (yo, Eric! –and, no, not a suck-up, just true) play the music that he enjoys, exposing audiences to a wide variety of programming.

    Maybe you’re too young to remember, Lisa, the days when WMMS won the Rolling Stone magazine “Best Radio Station of the Year” award. Repeatedly. For seven years or something like that. And then it was discovered that WMMS was stuffing the ballot box. That was when I began to lose faith in radio.

    And, having traveled the country literally coast to coast in a van over the past 2 years, I have heard radio in almost every state in the lower 48. I’m here to tell you, Lisa, it’s all the same. And it all sucks.

    And satellite radio? A decent alternative, but, as the Master of all Things mentions, it won’t get you away from the same stuff you listen to all of the time. And even satellite radio is repetitive if you listen to it long enough.

    No, the future of “radio” is podcasting, streaming radio done by independents, and other forms of pirate radio.

  • Marc says: “the DJs have no say.”

    DJs are simply on-air talent who are paid to not stumble over their words.

    You think those talking blouses on CNN have any bearing in what gets read on the air? You think SportsCenter anchors have stock in which highlights show up? Even college DJs have to adhere to some form of rotation schedule.

    And Marc says at the end: “No, the future of ‘radio’ is podcasting, streaming radio done by independents, and other forms of pirate radio.”

    Then I weep for local businesses, who will lose a great way to advertise and connect with fans of music.

  • Matthew’s right, “DJs are simply on-air talent who are paid to not stumble over their words.” But that is not how it always was. And that’s the whole point. As far as advertising goes, there is still room for local businesses to advertise. I work at a college radio station, and we have adverts for local businesses every hour. Depending on the time of day, some adverts happen 3 or 4 times an hour. And we have such a loose requirement as far as what we must “adhere” to that rarely will you hear the same song twice in one day. Do we have a rotation? Yes. Does it consist of songs? No. We have a selected set of CDs that are required to be played, but we can play whatever songs we want from them. And requests? Fill ’em all the time. Try getting a request played on a Clear Channel station, a request that isn’t in their regular rotation. Will never happen.

    And not just my station is making a difference. Check out the list of stations that matter over at Spinitron

  • Marc, I should have said podcasting only neglects localization.

    College radio does good, but none of the people I knew in college really listened to either of our radio stations.

    And even corporate radio cares about local biz. I interned for Cumulus, which has over 300 radio stations. The stations in and around where I interned had on-air locations at minor league baseball games, restaurants, car dealerships and concerts. Their keycards gives you 10 percent off all food at Jed’s, which is a local chain of sports bars.

    Clear Channel I know less about, but I know more people are angry at their business strategies.

  • My frineds and I TOTALLY listen to commercial-free podcasts of the Randi Rhodes show whilst drinking Lone Star. It’s the only way…