Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fewer clunkers, different darlings?

Listeners of "music mix" WUMB are familiar with the slogans "Your music, WUMB" and "Our roots are still growing." I have two new slogan suggestions:

"WUMB, we're playing fewer clunkers."
"WUMB, we have new darlings."


Clunker -"Just plain bad songs aired by WUMB that do not "serve the folk and roots communities". Or as Dick Pleaseance said 9/4/09 "once in a while we play a clunker". Boy, did he get that right!"" Clunkers definitely are not folk or roots, they could be Nashville pop, they could be the kind of pop embraced by listeners of "World Cafe, they definitely are AAA. Whatever they are, they are, plain and simple, very bad music.

Darling - A song WUMB plays over and over and over and over again. Statistical analysis of M-F daytime broadcasting reveals songs identified in the NEFolknRoots database comprise some 20-25% of all songs played.

This afternoon I had to run errands to Marlborough and Hudson, listened to WUMB three times for approximately 20-30 minutes each. During that time they played zero songs from the "darlings" list and only one artist (Ingrid Michaelson) from the "clunkers" list!

For the first few months after WUMB switched from formats from folk to AAA, Monday-Friday daytime was unlistenable, as if David Dies (sp?) had taken over as music director. After a year it (occasionally) became somewhat tolerable. But it has two continuing and nagging program traits, "clunkers" and "darlings" (there are several other traits that came in with AAA, but those are topics to be addressed at another time).

Given today's move away from clunkers and darlings, is it possible John Laurenti reading this blog and/or NEFolknRoots? Before singing Hallelujah! I am going to reserve accolades as they

  1. Played a couple of marginal songs from Joe Ely and Wilco which have attributes necessary for becoming darlings. I'll add them to the "watch" list.
  2. Played some previously un-aired tracks from "darling" artists. We know that the "darlings" cycle, WUMB could be going through a transition phase.
  3. Played "Walking on a wire" twice.

My heart goes out to Dick and Dave, whose, with 70 combined folk broadcasting years' experience, tremendous talents WUMB management is wasting doing simple voice overs to songs and artists selected by Mr. Laurneti to appeal some AAA demographic.

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