Jacked Up

Stephe and I were discussing the “Jack” radio format that is slowly invading American radio.

It seems like a good idea.  A larger, more varied playlist with fewer repeats.

As usual, the practical application is something far different.

Stephe was telling me he heard Morris Day followed by Heart then Def Leppard.  That sounded about typical to me.  I offhandedly called it “catch and release” radio.  They suck you in with a song you like or are surprised to hear and then quickly loose you with something you have no interest in.

The idea of the broader playlist appeals to the ex-DJ in me.  However, I think it should be broader still.  Why limit it to the 70s, 80s and 90s.  Why not go back to the 50s and 60s.  Throw in some Elvis, Beatles or Jerry Lee Lewis.  Play some Grateful Dead.  Don’t stop at the one hit wonders of the 80s and 90s.  Play some Bay City Rollers or the Hues Corporation.  These songs were all hits at some point.  Someone will be glad to hear them.

I want to hear George Clinton right between the Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Jimmy Buffett?  Sure.  Right after this cut from Motley Crue.

In today’s Ipod playlist world, there is no excuse to limit what you are able to play within FCC regulations.  Sure, you probably can’t play some NWA stuff, but there is no reason that you couldn’t play Bob Marley.

The other day I had my Ipod on and the random play went Arrested Development, Willie Nelson, Bob Marley, John Mellencamp and World Party.  THAT is “jacked.”

And how about some DJs?  “Playing what we want” would sound a whole lot more genuine if it was being said by a real human rather than a repetitive bed of station ids.  Seriously, let’s get some humanity back on the radio.

I think if they are to true “play what they want” they should take the “happy hour” approach.  What do I mean by that?  When I used to DJ in a nighclub we started around 5:00 p.m.  I had carte blanche to play pretty much whatever I wanted within the reasonable limits the club, much like the FCC, set.  If I wanted to mix Motown with Garth Brooks and the Doors, so be it.  The format was wide open.  The fun became stringing a great set together to keep people in the building.  Requests?  Sure.  But more importantly, the look on someone’s face when they heard that song they used to love but hadn’t heard in ages.

If I could afford a station we’d go to the happy hour format.  I’m serious.  It could be huge.

Until then, I’ll just reshuffle the Ipod and wait for Izzy Stradlin and the JuJu Hounds to show up again.

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