Tuesday, October 14, 2014

WOOK-LP Announces Schedule for Recording Promos and Station IDs

WOOK 103.1 LPFM announces the following schedule for programmers and show hosts to record promos and liners in anticipation of its on-air launch this Fall: 

     Wednesdays - 1 p.m.- 7 p.m.
     Thursdays - 1 p.m. - 7 p.m.
     Saturdays - Noon - 6 p.m..

Recording sessions last approximately 90 minutes, so plan your time accordingly.  E-mail wookradiodc@gmail.com with your contact information and name of your WOOK  program to reserve the date and time for your recording session(s).  All recording sessions and directions to the production studio will be confirmed by telephone.    


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Egghead Declares Jazz Dead After Listening to Albums Played Backwards

My first reaction upon reading Washington Post Deputy Editor Justin Moyer's August 10 op-ed ('All That Jazz Isn't All That Great') was to write a point-by-point deconstruction.  Then I remembered jazz doesn't need a defense.

It's clear from his editorial Moyer doesn't particularly like jazz.  A better characterization is he doesn't like what he believes jazz to be, despite his admission to being clueless as to what is jazz music.  He made 5 points -- none of which I'll recite here -- as they're all irrelevant to assessing The State of Jazz Music in 2014.  I don't understand the motivation for making such pronouncements beyond a writer's compulsion to project themselves as the default yardstick by which the rest of us are to measure life's experiences. 

The disagreement I have with many pundits is their steadfast conceit aesthetic judgements have absolute value.  I can appreciate someone stating their like or dislike for a particular thing, even when their opinions are volunteered.  But in the case of aesthetics, which in theory encompasses all art to certainly include jazz, we're really talking about the expression of ideas.  Jazz for me represents self-expression through music.  Accordingly, jazz can both assimilate and be assimilated by other influences, events, places, and people.  A Night in Tunisia is bound to sound different to different sets of ears.  Imagine the infinite variations possible on one composition as it's performed by different artists.  As interpretations of this and many other concepts are continually performed by artists every day across the globe, the suggestion jazz is kaput doesn't hold up to reason.  Jazz as an idea lives on.  It's probably this phenomenon that explains the academy's embrace (and occasional romanticization) of jazz, leading nerd-priests like Moyer to qualify it according to pop marketing theory.      

Perhaps Moyer's intent was to provoke a reaction from readers, and therefore by reacting with this essay I've been punked.  OK... he got me.  But I think it's important that we recognize that an idea need not be popular, exclusive, novel, spontaneous, or have a purpose for it to exist.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Call for Models: Funk + Fashion

A outdoor music and fashion event scheduled for August 2014 in Prince George's County, Maryland is hosting auditions for metro D.C.'s most stylish female and male models, 7 p.m., July 2nd and July 9th at Safari Lounge, 4306 Georgia Avenue NW in Washington, D.C.. All models are to provide headshots. Ladies are to wear shoes with a minimum 3" heel, with neutral or no makeup and *no* accessories. Plus-sized female models are welcome! Men are to be 6' or taller, wear a fitted top, and may wear their shoe of choice. $15 registration fee.

R.S.V.P. on WOOK-LP Radio's Facebook page @ www.facebook.com/WOOKradioDC.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Public Affairs, Talk/Variety Programs Announced For WOOK-LP 103.1 Lineup

WOOK-LP radio is adding two talk shows to its programming schedule, Socially Speaking and Breath of My Ancestors. Sincere Seven Executive Director and 2012 D.C. Statehood Green Party candidate for D.C. Council At Large Perry Redd produces Socially Speaking, a Progressive news and current events program, currently podcast live from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays.  Redd, a D.C. native, songwriter, and longtime social activist, is also a nationally-syndicated columnist whose op-eds can be found online at BlackCommentator.com.  

D.C. author, motivational speaker, poet, and activist Ty Gray-El will host Breath of My Ancestors, a weekly 1-hour program showcasing spoken word artists of metropolitan Washington and beyond.  An internationally recognized storyteller, Gray-El is focused on resurrecting radio theater with Breath of My Ancestors as a way to

Look for WOOK to offer encore editions of Socially Speaking podcasts on demand beginning late March/early April 2014.  Breath of My Ancestors is scheduled for Mondays at 8 p.m. starting with WOOK-LP 103.1's anticipated Summer 2014 launch on the FM dial.  Join Perry and Ty in establishing WOOK as a platform for D.C.-based art and culture as a member or sponsor.  Ask about opportunities for hosting your own WOOK radio program.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Call for Entries - WOOK-LP Radio

WOOK-LP Radio is now accepting music for airplay from recording artists throughout the Washington-Baltimore region. Funk, Jazz, Rock, Neo-Soul, Hip-Hop, Blues & World Beat music accepted; re-issues and out-of-print recordings are OK. Albums and singles are acceptable in CD Audio or .mp3 format. Send an e-mail for more information on promoting your next album release or reserving performance space.

MP3 singles may be forwarded by e-mail to wookradiodc@gmail.com. Please include your contact information, i.e.; full name, name of act (if different), phone number, mailing address, etc., with your submission. Please forward CDs -- singles and albums -- with your contact information to:

c/o 422 Marietta Place NW
Washington, D.C. 20011

Follow WOOK on Facebook ('WOOKradioDC') and listen online @ www.wookradiodc.org.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Call for On-Air Radio Talent

WOOK-LP Radio DC announces over 50 openings for on-air hosts of D.C.-based music and public affairs-themed radio programs for its low-power FM project.   No experience necessary; students are encouraged to apply.  Proposals for 'live', pre-recorded, and/or syndicated productions from:
  • performing artists (incl. DJs, spoken word artists, and comedians)
  • educators and schools
  • activists
  • journalists
  • webcasters and Internet radio stations
  • recording labels
  • small businesses & entrepreneurs
  • event promoters
reflecting the culture of Greater Washington, D.C. will be given top consideration.

Time slots will be reserved on a first-come basis. On-air hosts will be required to participate in the station's membership campaigns, but will have the opportunity to use their shows for fundraising on behalf of charitable causes, or to earn income from 3rd-party sponsorships and/or promotional agreements.  The fee for hosting a weekly 1-hour program is $75/month; a $50 non-refundable deposit is required.  More details are available on the station's website.

For an invite to apply in person at an upcoming monthly mixer, R.S.V.P. by 'liking' WOOK-LP Radio on Facebook, or leave your full name and e-mail address in the 'comments' section below. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

'Black' Radio: Revisited

Several months ago, I wrote an op-ed countering the so-called demise of 'Black' radio in America.  Premiere Networks' (Clear Channel) cancellation of Michael Baisden's syndicated radio show, and longtime New York City Urban Contemporary outlet WRKS-FM's format switch to sports talk triggered the customary round of reactionary handwringing and conspiracy theories from industry insiders, activists, and critics predicting Black radio's iminent extinction.  I responded by first pointing out the number of radio stations -- broadcast and Internet -- owned or operated by African-Americans is higher today than at any point in history, even as growth among Af-Am owners of broadcast properties has roughly stagnated since the mid-90s.  Second, the number of Af-Ams currently working in the U.S. radio industry is higher today than at any point in history (racial/ethnic demographics of ownership notwithstanding).  Third, the cumulative total of radio programming inclusive of Af-Am themes and/or aimed at predominantly Af-Am audiences is also greater today than at any point in history.  It should be noted, however, that Af-Ams remain disproportionately underrepresented in all areas of the U.S. radio industry and underserved as a market.

I'm now following up on the first op-ed with a deeper analysis of the milieu as IMO the State of Black Radio sucks.  This time my observations are largely anecdotal and mainly concerned with aesthetics, especially the areas of marketing and programming.  Assuming Black radio to be programming principally representative of Af-Am culture, it does a terrible job putting the full range of Af-Am-oriented content on exhibit.  Black stations seem to come only in one of three flavors: R&B/Hip-Hop (more frequently marketed as 'Urban Contemporary' or 'UC'), 'Adult-oriented' R&B ('Urban Adult Contempory' or 'UAC' -- R&B for late Boomers and Gen Xers), and Gospel.  There are a handful of Af-Am news/talk stations, including WURD-AM in Philadelphia and Radio One's WOL-AM (Washington, D.C.) and WOLB-AM (Baltimore) scattered about the country, but in many cities where Af-Am represent > 10% the metropolitan area population Af-Am-oriented news/talk is practically nonexistent.  To be fair, there is a growing number of Af-Ams launching radio talk shows online, but the economics of Internet radio are such that it's doubtful many webcasters are building the audience needed for their stations to achieve financial viability.

I realize that business considerations influence radio stations' programming decisions, even for Black/Urban radio stations.  Yet, managers of these stations regularly complain they receive few ad buys relative to their ratings performance.  Urban radio's executives accuse advertisers and media buyers of redlining: fixing a percentage of the total ad dollars that are to be spent among all Af-Am-themed media.  Media buyers and ad agencies fire back by citing many of the listeners of Urban stations are young adults, < 25 years old, who aren't yet decision makers shopping for durable goods; i.e., cars, appliances, etc..  Therefore, the sponsors of Urban stations tend to be fast food restaurants, beverages, and toiletries/personal grooming items, along with other impulse buys (including entertainment media and lottery tickets) and special events. 

Many Af-Am-themed stations have chosen to brand themselves as 'Urban' rather than 'R&B', 'Hip Hop', or even 'Black' outlets to escape redlining, but the strategy has failed on two fronts: 1) programming remains narrowly focused on contemporary R&B content from a limited number of Af-Am content producers promoted and distributed by an even smaller number of non-Af-Am-owned media conglomerates, 2) stations' marketing efforts aren't in sync with their branding.  It stands to reason a generic UC station would feature programming with a greater mix of non-Af-Am artists across a similarly wide cross-section of music genres matching its local demographics.

It appears today's Black radio management simply lacks the imagination and fortitude for their stations to avoid appearing as anything but dull.  It's no surprise that so many critics regard Black radio as moribund.  Still, the potential for growth with Af-Am themed radio programming is vast and mostly underdeveloped.  It can and should be redefined in a way that results in more diversified programming and greater revenue streams for both individual stations and across the industry.

A good first step would be to distinguish 'Black' (or, 'African-American', 'Afrocentric', etc.) stations from UC, R&B, Gospel, and similar formats.  The hypothetical Af-Am station would feature content reflective of the African diaspora; a cross-section of several music genres; i.e., R&B, Jazz, Rock, International, etc., blended with local and regional news and public affairs relevant to Af-Am listeners.  Af-Am stations could further differentiate themselves from their UC counterparts by exhibiting content produced over a wider time period.  To counter tepid ad sales revenues, listener membership campaigns could be implemented as auxiliary (or even primary) revenue streams.  The added value from listeners having an interest in the station would also be a boon for its branding.  Many radio consultants recommend social media and digital content sales -- especially of metadata -- as revenue sources, but I believe event planning and production hold more potential as revenue sources for broadcasters and webcasters.

Ownership remains the biggest challenge facing Af-Am radio.  While Af-Am ownership of radio stations has exploded since the 90's, nearly all of the growth is in Internet radio with its relatively low barriers to entry.  Despite the growth, few online-only radio stations of any genre ever break even, let alone become competitive with their broadcast counterparts.  However, an individual webcaster's financial viability -- and their station's ability to compete with AM and FM stations -- is perhaps less important to the big picture of Af-Ams empowering the voices of our communities through the use of Internet radio technologies.  Considering also the standing opportunities for Af-Ams to launch or acquire AM and FM stations and networks through syndication, leasing, and investing to operate as low-power, full-power, commercial, or non-commercial entities, the conventional narrative describing Black radio's downfall is in dire need of a rewrite.