Many thanks to the gentle baboons who have kept this blog going for several months and especially the past few weeks while I’ve been distracted by work.
Our Fall Membership drive is underway at Fresh Air Community Radio – we’re in the middle of the second week of fundraising, just two days away from the scheduled conclusion. Just recently I’ve been preoccupied helping friends like the Morning Blend hosts (pictured above) as they try to get listeners to call 612 375-9030 to make a contribution.
If you’ve never listened, you should give it a try. The most baboon-friendly show on the schedule is Stone Soup, Wednesday mornings from 10am to noon. I often hear host Pam K. playing music that was, or would have been, featured on the old MPR Morning Show.
But that’s no surprise. Our station has many personalities, literally and figuratively. We are the antidote for anyone fed up with tightly formatted radio. While the most popular stations in town strive for stability by trying to sound exactly the same whenever you tune in, we are like the flowing river. Stick your dial at 90.3 / 106.7 FM and you’ll find that you can’t listen to the same station twice. No matter what you think you’re going to hear, it’s always going to become something else.
Some people look at that and say we’re hanging on too long to an outdated model, suggesting that the volunteer-based grab bag approach to programming where individuals use the medium as a form of self-expression is a hippie artifact. They say we’ve got to step into the digital age and create a coherent multi-platform brand that is consistent and predictable and is tied to something more marketable than the quirk factor.
But I look at the digital age and see an environment where any form of media that’s seen as monolithic and prepackaged is at risk of being overwhelmed by thousands of small-time operators who are creatively and subversively employing the same tools as the big players. And I don’t think subversive is too strong a word. After all, we have a broadcast frequency in a major American city, and we routinely hand it over to just ordinary folks so they can be heard.
In that sense, community radio is the original social media.
If we were Facebook, we’d give everyone their own show, and I do sometimes encounter people who think they can walk in the door at KFAI and have an on-air slot within days. After all, they have excellent musical taste! Unfortunately, we’re limited by the number of hours in a day, and new program hosts soon find out having your own weekly radio show is a more demanding commitment than simply posting your thoughts and putting up a cat video every now and then.
But it is an enticing thought.
If you had a radio show, what would it sound like and what would you call it?