Monday, May 01, 2006

Anti-Payola

I witnessed history and I was too dumb to even know it. I worked one summer in the early eighties at a computer software company that made software to program playlists for FM radio stations. The algorithm was really hush-hush. It was a small company struggling against 2 other larger companies with competing algorithms. I have no idea who won, but FM radio is the poorer for the change from disc jockeys who played the music they loved to computer algorithms playing what was expected. Even the latter is preferable to stations playing what the studios pay them to play.

How refreshing it was to read this article today. How sad to find out the rarity of this type of station.

2 comments:

  1. Yes its rare, I agree, but I think its pretty amazing that the growing number of fans are unknowingly about to kill the thing that has "saved their lives" so-to-speak. Its a bit ironic there is such a large need for diversity in music and despite all the intensive market research, no one is able to identify or address this need. I mean, what good is market research anyway if it cant find something with a magnifying glass, a reconnaissance plane, a laser beam, and a supercomputer that others stumble upon simply by stubbing their toe?

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  2. I like the "Jack" radio format and would be all for extending its playlist farther and wider.

    However, the world has iPods now. In effect this makes the common person as powerful as any Jack-type radio station. I can download an unlimited number of songs and podcast them, or at least recommend playlists, to millions of others, and get new music recommendations from any number of other people with diverse tastes. So one might argue I don't really need the radio at all.

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