When Fear Programs the Music

Taking requests

Check out Spins.FM

It’s an app that lets you request a song, type in your location, and then choose from a list of local broadcast stations. Your request is then either posted on the station’s FB or Twitter page.



At first reading, I thought, ‘Why haven’t WE, in broadcast radio, come up with our own applications that make requesting music this easy?’

Then again, we already have an app for that. It’s called a Request Line. if we wanted requests, we could just ask for them, right?

Of course that would require a live body inside the studio to actually answer the phone.

I guess paying attention to what listeners want to hear so badly they’ll make the effort to call and ask us to play it might mess up our Selector rotations.

Then the corporate exec who oversees Selector logs might notice we didn’t have a full 2 hours and 50 minutes between plays, and circle it in red. Or — egads! — listeners might actually request a song that’s not in our 330-song library, and if the air talent had the temerity to actually play that song, well…we know the corporate exec would notice that.

And then next month when 1 or 2 of the 13 people who decide your station’s fate in PPM listen one less day, or daypart, than they did the previous month, because they had the flu and stayed home for two days, that corporate exec will pull out that Selector log with the big red circle on it, and nod knowingly, then pick up the phone and speak to your GM, or maybe even to your GM’s boss, the Regional VP.

And this is how fear programs the music in 2011.

If you can find the joy of discovering a great new song or artist…

or the pride you feel when you create the perfect thematic or musical segue…

or the sense of personal connection and gratitude a listener — remember listeners? They’re the ones we’re supposed to be doing this for — feels when she knows you’re playing that song just because she told you she really needed to hear it now, right now, and you gently commiserated with her over the loss of her mother, and shared some of your hope that she will make it through this because you will help her…

If you can find any of that when fear programs the music, please share it with the rest of us, because I, for one, can’t seem to.