On the Air (Sort of)


I told you about my fill in gig at a public radio station in San Francisco a while back.  At first they were all eager to get me to be on the show for two days in a row.  That schedule was pretty much set until Monday — when it all kind of fell apart.  I’m still going to be hosting the show, but only on Thursday. It’s difficult to know how things went from “What kind of topics are you interested in covering” to “Um, we’re going with a regular fill in host because we’re kind of stressed here and we don’t have time to produce the kind of shows you’re interested in.”

Exactly what made me high maintenance?  I wanted to do a show that examined something many of us can relate to:  feeling trapped by musical tastes.  I’ll pitch it to  you and you can let me know if this is something you would like to hear a dissussion on.  Okay here goes: As we age, our connection to new musical styles wane. For reasons that scientific research can demonstrate, our brains actually become less receptive to new musical forms the older we get.  However, for music fans finding new music that’s out of our comfort zone is complicated by the fact that as digital downloading becomes the norm, we can often be paralyzed by the choices we face.  Enter the role of the critic in shaping musical tastes.  When powerhouse magazines like Rolling Stone and Spin  — who had the power to push musical artists as “something you should hear” – started to get serious competition from online publications, the landscape of the music industry started to become more fragmented (even though there was more choice available).  With all things “Internet” (i.e., blogs, My Space, iTunes, bit torrent, Pandora, Last FM and the like) displacing brick and mortar music stores, how do we find new music and what’s the role of professional music critics in shaping those tastes when, it seems, anyone with an Internet connection and blog can be one. 

My guests were going to be Dan Levitin from McGill University who wrote a book that looks at the scientific reasons of musical tastes, Taylor (T-Sides, Bullz-Eye, and Pop Dose) was going to be on to talk about the role of the critic in shaping tastes, and we were  going to get the guy who founded Pandora as an example of personal Internet radio stations that reflect your music tastes — with some surprises thrown in.

The first half hour was going to be an interview with my  guests, and then the second half hour was answering questions from callers. 

So, what do you think?

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