Paradigm Shift

Paradigm Shift:

noun

1. a dramatic change in the paradigm of a scientific community, or a change from one scientific paradigm to another.

(From Dictionary.com)

A friend who works as a radio promoter called me last week to catch up. During the conversation, he asked me if I’m still looking for work in radio. I told him I didn’t think so. He was sad and tried to encourage me to continue to look for work in that field. He said he misses me. That a lot of promoters miss me. That I have so much to offer to radio.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that conversation.

Two weeks ago I was offered the opportunity to create and program a new Internet radio station. I declined. There was one simple reason. I don’t want to work in radio again.

I miss discovering and sharing new music. I miss the weekly chats with label folks and indie promoters. I miss artist interviews and concerts.

I love the time I spent in radio. I learned a lot. I made wonderful lifelong friends.

I used to think I couldn’t really be happy if I wasn’t working in radio. Now I know that I can finally be happy because I’m NOT working in radio any longer.

Most folks who work in radio have always worked in radio, starting in college. I didn’t start working there until I was in my 30s. I was a business professional in love with IT.

When I first started in radio, I was amazed at a lot of things that seemed normal there – things that would never fly in any other field. Behaviors, ideas, hierarchies. Outdated methodology for charts and advertising. I thought that radio people lived in a bubble. I still do. I loved the bubble. But now that I’m no longer there I can look at it and once again see how out of touch the industry is.

When the letter supporting #FairPlayFairPay and subsequent Huffington Post article came out in October, 2015, it struck a chord with the general public and musicians all over the world. I received hundreds of tweets and messages of support and encouragement. That overwhelming support was balanced by the near silence from the radio industry.

I left the radio station I was working with and began applying for jobs in the radio field. I didn’t receive rejection letters, just silence. At first I thought I was overthinking it – that there was something else going on, it wasn’t the letter and article. I wasn’t that important. But the longer I’ve been confronted with that silence, the more it confirmed my fears that I closed the door on that career path by speaking out.

When that realization hit, I was angry. Strike that. I was livid. I was furious that those who worked for larger stations in bigger markets didn’t say anything or acknowledge what I did. Their silence, to me, spoke volumes about their being complicit in the attempt to deny artists their basic rights – to be paid fairly for their work.

I cursed those taste-maker programmers I knew. They had an opportunity to join me. To raise their voices and add to the strength of the musicians. What kept them silent? Fear of upsetting the status quo? Or was it the biggest trap of all – safety? Perhaps they are safe and comfortable where they are and can’t fathom losing it?

I don’t know the answer. I only know that their silence speaks volumes to me. The people who claim to love music and artists, yet continue to work in a field that denies artists fair compensation, are showing us whose side they are on: their own.

On. Their. Own.

I will never join them in that complicit silence again.

#IRespectMusic

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