R3 86ed

More power to Steve Pratt in his quest to create the “worst” · radio station · ever, but I’ve given Radio 3 well more than the benefit of the doubt and all I can say is it runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.

CBC Radio 3 podcast wallpaper I read the old Globe piece in which Stursburg, or Slawko or whoever it was, said he didn’t know what these kidz were up to but they did, so let’s get behind them. I subscribed to one or more of the R3 podcasts. It took me several months to realize I was skimming through each one of them by skipping from chapter to chapter and auditing the first second and a half of each. I heard one interchangeable indie-rock act after another.

Essentially, that’s all Radio 3 is. Or so I gather – I just can’t use their bizarre 20th-century Web site, with its autoplaying music and “content” claustrophobically sequestered inside frames. (If you deploy your good browser to defeat the frames, you find that hours of effort went into custom JavaScript countermeasures to defeat your defeat.) And how do I subscribe to the blog? Why do I have so much trouble figuring that out when I had no such trouble with the 1,600 other blogs I’ve subscribed to? (Just the blog, not the vague “RSS feed,” which could end up stuffing entire MP3s or a live stream into my RSS.)

If I can’t use the site to figure out what else is on the network, how else am I going to know if my assumption that it’s wall-to-wall indie rock is correct?

Isn’t it true that the section called New Music Canada is really just New Indie Rock Canada?

Mix ’n’ match?

R3 could have done well what R2 is allegedly doing badly – mixing and matching genres. I think it’s well established that nobody wants to listen to a specified single program that mixes every genre under the sun, Buck 65’s ratings to the contrary. (He’s no John Peel.) But listening to a whole station that mixes and matches might be worthwhile. Wouldn’t it?

Or is R3 really a pre-podcast concept? Aren’t online radio stations – even Sirius’s – an exercise in narrowcasting? If so, isn’t CBCR3 just a narrowcast station for indie rock but nobody wants to admit it?

If you find indie rock intolerable to the point of disgust, where do you go?

If we look at the Beeb for everything, why haven’t we noticed the decades of high-profile placement of dance DJs and dance-music shows there? When, outside of a few songs on Brave New Waves, has any CBC branch ever played dance music? (For your master’s dissertation, chalk this up to an urban/rural divide. But what are kids out in the country really downloading? Indie rock?)

If you don’t like dance music, fine; it’s just the example I’m using. If you dislike dance music and indie rock, where do you go? Where on CBC do you go?

What I do is I have undifferentiable streams of drum & bass music playing all day while I pretend to work. The hooklessness and formlessness suit that usage. Other times I listen to KCRW, or the very solid Triple J down in Oz, which still has defined program slots. I subscribe to dozens of podcasts, some of which are borked and many of which are from U.S. public radio. (I’ll send you my OPML file if you want.) I haven’t listened to or downloaded a podcast from CBCR3 in months.

Is this the price I have to pay for not liking indie rock? For someone like me, isn’t Radio 3 already the worst radio station ever?

36 comments:

  1. amanda
    Posted March 9, 2009 at 5:07 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    BWA HA HA HAAAAAAAA

    As for dance music, don’t know what your tastes are like, but Edmonton’s Shout Out Out Out Out are currently #27

    This is funny as shit. When asked for examples of dance music, Radio 3 responds with… a danceable indie rock band!!!!!

    OMG I’m pissing myself laughing.

  2. amanda
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 3:19 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Q: how many people listen to R3 on Sirius?

    A: nobody knows, not even Sirius.

  3. James
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 1:35 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Anon at 1132:

    If you want to get into a serious debate on what constitutes “breaking” an act, we’ll set a time down my local boozer and you can buy the first round. Remember, it was an example in reflection of time spent with a purpose.

    But anyway, if memory serves, we were playing A New Demonstration of Thermodynamic Tendencies off cd-r prior to Scott’s signing to Kranky. Between consistent playlisting of hs work and getting him a session that allowed tens of thousands of people to experience him working in a live band context for the first time, I don’t think we did too bad.

    Warmest regards,

    James

  4. Fake Ouimet
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 11:52 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Anonymoose at 11:32: Come again?

  5. Anonymous
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 9:32 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Sorry, but it’s a fucking joke to say R3 “broke” Loscil.

    First of all, he’s never garnered enough attention to be someone who “broke”. And, as I remember it anyway, that guy was on Kranky before you guys even gave a shit. Did you ever play his 3″CD? Or the compilation stuff?

    This is all such a big lame joke. It’d be funnier if Radio programming had gotten better in the past few years, rather than worse.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted March 8, 2009 at 8:49 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I think My Dr. Proscribed Loscil for me when I had tonsilitis ;).

    But thanks to James, as an Electronic music fan-headphone-junkie, I will certainly google you out. I think I really the time yo were with with CBC. Halcyon.

  7. James Graham
    Posted March 7, 2009 at 3:08 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    You know, I have to admit to a certain amount of bemusement in reading this as I sit here preparing material for the next episode in a series of fifth anniversary broadcasts of my electronic music focused community radio show. I could say a great deal but I’m going to ignore a lot of the brouhaha up top and focus on what I know.

    I will say this though, the Shout Outs Outs while a wonderful band are about as relevant to this conversation as Proust’s A la Recherché De Temps Perdu is to teaching grade schoolers how to read.

    I’ve spent the last 15 years as a producer, DJ, journalist, radio host, booking agent and label owner, devoting a good chunk of my life to the promotion of electronic music of all genres. I’ve put out records, played all over the world and have spent far too much time with headphones on. But enough about me..

    As the person originally hired to scout electronic music content for CBC Radio 3 and specifically NewMusicCanada.com when it launched in 2000 and a former host and producer there from 2000 to 2005, I like to think I went some way towards helping “break new sounds” via CBC Radio 3. Funnily enough DTB, I actually got the gig thanks to my involvement with the good people at Neurofunk.com. But that’s another story…

    I can’t speak to the state of programming affairs there now, I can only speak to what was done in a certain time frame. Over the period I was there, we were able to give a plethora of both Canadian and International DJs and producers the opportunity to get on-air and to get exposure to a Canadian audience they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

    Hell, one of my fondest memories of my time at Radio 3 was the first time I ever hosted Just Concerts and was able to schedule concerts from the mighty Neko Case and improvised house music trio, the New Deal, on my very first broadcast.

    Saturday nights with Just Concerts on CBC Radio 2 were a boon as we were able to get shows from Coldcut, Plaid, Luke Vibert, Amon Tobin, Fila Brazillia, The Herbaliser, DJ Spooky, Gavin Froome, Quadra, Noah Pred and countless others into brand new ear drums.

    We were able to help break Canadian acts like the aforementioned Gavin Froome, Sekoya, Loscil and to get some of Canada’s brightest talent in techno, house, ambient and drum and bass air time and exposure.

    And even then, that was just Radio 3. Canadian electronic music owes a massive debt of gratitude to Patti Schmidt and the wonderful souls that were involved in Brave New Waves over the years.

    I cannot speak in specifics as to why you’re not hearing more electronic music on R3 today. I pretty much stopped paying attention after it became apparent to my own personal listening tastes that tuning in to Radio 3 would bring me the same joy as it would listening to highly rated Vancouver rock station CFOX. Just substitute the Arcade Fire for Nickleback.

    It did please me to hear that one of the most downloaded R3 podcasts was Vancouver Techno-producer Tomas Jirku’s Mutek showcase/DJ Mix.

    After a decade plus in the industry, I’m not stupid. Let’s be honest, electronic music does not hold the same cultural capital here as it does in Europe and Asia and despite the international status of a Canadian festival like Mutek, I would not expect any change on that front anytime soon. That in itself is an essay I’m loathe to sit here and write as it would encompass discussions on liquor licensing hours, drugs, social patterns in peoples consumption of music and why MuchMusic stopped Electric Circus.

    It’s because of this, that I think that without someone willing to truly break new sounds at Radio 3 and to actually push electronic music of all genres there, you wont see any change in the current state. Without that desire for change, Radio 3 will likely remain as relevant to Canadian electronic music producers as MuchMusic or MTV Canada. Case in point, I’m more likely to get airplay of the record I’m putting out next month from BBC Radio 1’s Mary-Anne Hobbs then I am from anyone on Radio 3.

    But enough ranting.

    As a side note, I have avoided touching on hip-hop because Radio 3 does actually have one of Vancouver’s most tremendous champions of the genre working for them in the form of Lauren Burrows.

    In the end, I can only wish the best for the good folks at Radio 3.

    Warmest regards to all,

    James “Kuma” Graham
    TKG Music/Art Of Beatz Radio

  8. Anonymous
    Posted March 1, 2009 at 1:42 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Steve, what is “extremely unique” supposed to mean?

    Once again, CBC managers prove that they can’t speak proper English.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted February 25, 2009 at 11:25 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    and still they have NO idea what ‘dance’ music means.
    shout out out the fuck out. are a fucking indie band. for fucking
    indie rockers to dance to.
    thus underlining the cluelessness.

  10. Fake Ouimet
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 10:21 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I already admitted †there’s your juicy T-bone of a word †that I only listened to the podcast in the past.

    I was quite happy to listen to Bill Maher, Start the Week, and Tiësto’s Club Lifé on the ride home tonight. I gave R3 a shot.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 9:29 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It’s nice to think of the many deep nuances between the various kinds of ‘Polaris Bait’ aired on r3. I’m sure it defines this era in your life to a T. In a way, folks who grew up in the ‘analog indie’ era look at r3 with jealousy, having struggled to find music (let alone other enthusiasts) without such methods of widespread distro.

    P.S.
    I am almost 40. I have written for fanzines. I listened to Cheap Trick, Live at Budokan on EIGHT TRACK, having to switch programs, mid song. And I remember Good Rockin’ Tonight as a source for new music. And I dressed up like Kiss like my brothers. I am probably more from the analog generation than your assumptions will allow.

    This analog indie jealousy is just the cries of the generation that told us to never trust anyone over 40, now realizing they are in fact the people they warned us off. Sure in the olden days people had to put their Lloyds tape recorder up to the radio to record new songs they like. And sure today’s internet generation has it like way easier man. But, isn’t that how technology rolls?

    Its one thing to think they don’t play enough of something you like that you see as a avant garde musical styling worthy of heading off into the future to, but to bitch because something is popular and you feel left out, is just… well obvious.

    tb3

  12. Anonymous
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 9:13 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    You, Anon, 6:44pm said:
    It’s great to be a ‘true believer’, tb3. Just don’t try and convince us that this revolution has much to do with anything ‘truly revolutionary’, when what you really mean is ‘truly popular’.

    Give me one web site / music portal out there that is (1) Canadian, (2) a Home for Canadian Independent Music (you’re aware that Indie is a broad brush painting what exactly I don’t know? but that Radio3 is a home for Independent Canadian Acts – not Indie), and here’s the BIG one, (3) doing a BETTER job or the kind of job you see fit, than Radio3 is doing.

    So far the criticism I’ve read here is formed from people who have spent little to less than little time with any of the regular content there, and have an idea of what indie is, and preconceived notion of how hipster that is, prior to having ever tried to understand or get what it is that Radio3 is actually doing.

    When I asked anyone here to please explain to me how the bands I listed sounded all the same, and the best conversation to that question is: It’s not that these acts necessarily have the same sound. What they do have is a similar palatability and marketability, all a few degrees of separation from indie rock.

    I have to think you don’t understand the current Canadian Music landscape whatsoever, and that your ideas are borne out of decade old mentalities. If you don’t get it, just say “I don’t get it”. Don’t try and hogwash it with some blathering about similar palatability… Of course it does, its a fricken radio station as it’s first mandate, of course some with have that.

    Do yourself a favour, and take every single one of the bands I listed, find them on New Music Canada, and listen to them. One song each. All the way through. Every last one of them. When you’re done, give me an elaborate explanation of how those all sound the same.

    And then, for the bonus round Trebeck, go ahead and define Indie. But here’s the caveat. Do so without sounding like Abraham Simpson sitting on the veranda bitching about those uppity kids with their skinny jeans and weird looking hairdo’s.

    Indie seems to have way more steeped meaning to the R3 naysayers in this blog than it does to the Preaching to the Choir Radio3 fans, myself included, over there at Radio3.

    Isn’t Matlock on?


    Love,
    tb3

  13. Anonymous
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 8:39 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Steve Pratt never answered the questions posed upthread?

  14. Anonymous
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 4:44 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Or perhaps, spend a some more time there, and get to know the place, and more importantly the audience.

    I’ve already been in that parents’ basement / dorm room / mouse-infested shared house already, thanks. And the soundtrack was provided by Augusta LaPaix, then Brent Bambury — and the small but incredible staff that put Brave New Waves together.

    It’s nice to think of the many deep nuances between the various kinds of ‘Polaris Bait’ aired on r3. I’m sure it defines this era in your life to a T. In a way, folks who grew up in the ‘analog indie’ era look at r3 with jealousy, having struggled to find music (let alone other enthusiasts) without such methods of widespread distro.

    Then please explain to me how Holy Fuck, Jenny Omnichord, K’naan, Brian Borcherdt … Sweatshop Union, Birdapres to name a few, all sound the same?

    It’s not that these acts necessarily have the same sound. What they do have is a similar palatability and marketability, all a few degrees of separation from indie rock. Each subgenre, although present is framed by indie rock aesthetic, and filtered through the earbuds of indie rock.

    You’re kidding yourself if you don’t think a little about how rocking, ragtag, renegade radio 3 serves as a farm system for major record labels. They’re basically taking what used to have to be pored over in countless ‘zines, heard by word-of-mouth, mail order, showgoing and mix tape swapping — and collating it into one tight demographic package. There’s a veritable lovefest between Apple Canada and r3, what with r3’s early-adopted, top rated podcast, too.

    Now give us 5 or 10 more genre based platforms like this that are accessible from different degrees of separation of other genres that aren’t as marketable, but that further true diversity of music.

    And no, CBC, you cannot just make some tired, catch-all world music / funk re-release disc network on Errol Nazareth’s back, either. AND you should centre at least 5 of those new networks OUTSIDE of Toronto (or Vancouver).

    It’s great to be a ‘true believer’, tb3. Just don’t try and convince us that this revolution has much to do with anything ‘truly revolutionary’, when what you really mean is ‘truly popular’.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 12:08 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Bro,
    It’s kind of ironical though to complain about UI in a place that has it’s own issues, no?

    Now, please define Indie.

    Then please explain to me how Holy Fuck, Jenny Omnichord, K’naan, Brian Borcherdt, Hilozoists, Wintersleep, The Barhmitzvah Brothers, Buck 65, Jill Barber, Timber Timbre, Bocce, Maljube, Elliot Brood, Cadence Weapon, Shout Out Out Out, Laura Barrett, Pink Mountains, The Choir Practice, Chromeo, Akido, Sweatshop Union, Birdapres to name a few, all sound the same?

    Are you really that retarded or prepared to admit you really didn’t listen?


    tb3,
    the Dude

  16. Fake Ouimet
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 10:18 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Dude.

    This is a shitty Blogger template. Were I setting this up from scratch, we’d be using WordPress and there’d be no CAPTCHA at all, as CAPTCHAs provably do nothing to stop comment spam and are inaccessible anyway.

    Now, I want you to address the following questions: Why is it that the alternative to Radios One and Two is a wall-to-wall indie-rock outlet? How is that actually an alternative?

    If it’s defensible to run a single-genre online radio station (indeed, there are now five of them), why do you insist that listeners with preferences for other genres go out to nightclubs or watch private-network TV shows? I’m looking for an intellectual justification here; since nobody, at all, has suggested shutting down or curtailing Radio 3, why are you acting like a dingo is about to eat your baby?

    I said nothing like “my tax dollars pay for this thing.”

    Now, crank the Arcade fucking Fire up to 11 and try to think this through. I did.

  17. Anonymous
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 7:59 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Okay, I reread, and still I stand by my commentary. Aside from forgetting to put the “t” at the front of “there” and ending up with “here”, perhaps you could actually reread and respond to any of the commentary here that you’ve generated?

    Or is that your thing? The tired and equally old ‘my tax dollars pay for this rhetoric’ and bitching about something you don’t get as though your opinion equals that of the rest of the world. You don’t have time to actually question your own opinions or the relevance of others.

    If you want and need more ‘dance music’ in your veritable pop culture diet, you can tune in one of umpteen million radio stations anywhere. Or watch American Idol. Or go to any bar that doesn’t have live music. Or delve a lot deeper in the thousands of songs that reside on New Music Canada.

    The most ironic thing, is you complain about usability, and yet the captcha system you use here probably frustrates most people into not bothering to leave a comment. And comments are as big a currency in blogging as songs is to an online music portal…

    You did do one thing though with this blog post… Doubled your comment totals of last year!

    Well played.

    tb3, a believer in Radio3

  18. Fake Ouimet
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 6:00 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’m a lover, not a fighter, a writer, not a radio station.

    You are encouraged to reread the post.

  19. Anonymous
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 3:19 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I think it’s a strange sentiment to say the music here, a site, basically which houses Canadian independent music from ANYONE who wants to post, that it’s too anything.

    Saying that is like blaming the country for not producing enough of what you want.

    You know what?
    Make something yourself then!


    tb3, a believer in Radio3

  20. Anonymous
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 2:53 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Gotta agree. I’m unsubscribing as well this blog used to serve a purpose and used to contain useful information – now it’s just kind of a free for all bitch fest.

  21. Anonymous
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 1:34 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    You know what was wrong with radio and music in general that caused me for the better part of a decade to not give an oil drum full of poutine about something that was a huge part of my identity growing up?

    The fat, sansabelt expanding waistband that the appeasing the masses, by vanillafying of your creative offering so as to not alienate your demographical expanse did the music industry as a whole. Music got way too general, and way too broad for me to give a damn.

    Enter the end of 2004, and me stumbling across a CBC Radio3 Podcast and Grant Lawrence. And all of a sudden I was opened to a whole world that was both new and equally familiar. Reminded that I did in fact love music, it was just that the channels for good music reaching our ears had all but been wrenched into the clasps of a mainstream stranglehold.

    Gone was mundane, mashed potatoes banter coupled with songs that had no meaning, diversity and spoke nothing directly to me, for their attempt to speak to everyone. And its place a world of very specific and broad expanse of Canadian music, lead by what I feel was some of the most passionate and inspired music fans I knew. People just like me. But the funny thing was, there were a whole lot more just like me, tuning in and living in that blog daily.

    Your synopsis of Radio3 is blatantly obvious the musings of someone who spent a day trying to get into something they didn’t get in the first place, because someone else said it was cool. And then complaining about cause you don’t quite get it or find a place where you fit in.

    Saying it all sounds the same… well that is about as an astute as an observation of going to Eaton’s Centre on a Saturday morning, and proclaiming all these people look the same. That five second observation needs no further investigation, other than just knowing its true, right?

    You don’t get it?
    Leave it at that.

    Because trust me one doesn’t find Radio3 because someone else told them it was the thing to do. They find it, because deep inside them, they yearned to return to that place where music was exciting and new again. Radio3 is what you make of it. There’s more than one podcast. There’s the streaming radio component. And then there’s the expansive library that is New Music Canada where you can make your own playlist of music that suits your tastes. So, if you can’t find something that appeals to you, I have to think you’re not really trying.

    It’s perfectly okay that you don’t get it, or don’t hear anything different in your limited Radio3 experience. Go back to where ever it is you find your musical pleasure, and leave the analysis of something you know hardly about to someone who wants to take time, care, and interest in the topic of their examination.

    Or perhaps, spend a some more time there, and get to know the place, and more importantly the audience.


    tb3, a believer in Radio3

  22. Fake Ouimet
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 11:11 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Dude, you can unsubscribe if you want, but I read Steve’s comment. Most of it. I read “most of” most of the lengthy documents I find online, some of which, it turns out, I wrote. Don’t take it personally; it’s the way we read online. (And †wait for it! †you’re never reading every word anyway, but that’s a topic for another time.)

    In essence, Steve argued that some people like autoplaying music (false; nobody, at all, anywhere, does like or has ever liked that), that its site is being made over anyway, and that R3 serves its constituent base well. But what R3 essentially tells us is that there really is only one constituent base, and it listens to indie rock all the time. Except when they throw in one “electronica” or “hip-hop” track.

    The post is a criticism of format. The solution is not to decommission CBCR3 but to start up CBCRs 4 through 6 (or 4 through n).

    I would further mention, somewhat more pointedly than in my piece, that it would be nice not to hire wall-to-wall fucking rock snobs to program your alternative network. Some people dress and groom well and go to the gym and maybe they have musical tastes too.

  23. Anonymous
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 11:10 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    In total agreement with 12:21. Steve Pratt, good on you for posting…I am not the biggest R3 fan myself, but you clearly have a direction in mind, and best of luck to you no matter what the outcome.

    Sadly, the tenor of complaint is much too reminiscent of “all that dag-nabed rock ‘n’ roll music sounds the same to me.” Everybody’s gettin’ older, I guess.

  24. Anonymous
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 10:21 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    OK, that’s it. I’m unsubscribing to the RSS of this blog… I shoulda stopped ages ago, but those occasional reappearances of Ouimet are tantalising.

    It doesn’t really bother me that the blog posts are so negative… But when Pratt comes in and respectfully talks about what CBC Radio 3 does and why, it gets a crazy reply from Allan and a “Too long; didn’t read” from Fake Ouimet. Why are you two even blogging!?!?

    I like CBC Radio 3, Pratt, and appreciate that it knows what it is… I’m not always in the mood for indie music, but when I am Radio 3 is great. I hereby replace Teamakers RSS with the Radio 3 one that scares Fake Ouimet so much.

  25. Anonymous
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 10:14 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    R3 has no idea what’s going on ‘out there’. It’s all safe indie/college rock. Always has been. Maybe a smattering of rockist hiphop – and maybe an electronic tune (with vocals preferably) – but they have no idea how to evaluate the avalanche of electronic/dance/experimental being made by Canadians and resonating around the world (same problem with the whole R2 network actually). And EVERYONE has beeen playing polaris nominees. It’s not a corner particular to them. They also think they ‘broke’ the Arcade Fire.
    And 100 percent cancon is bullshit – a total disservice to the very GLOBAL world we live in and a disservice to Canadian audiences who should be served ‘the world’ by its public broadcaster.
    R3 is incredibly non-contemporaneous – partly because they are NOT in the middle of anything (where’s the eyes and ears in Montreal)?
    And programming from a jukebox/database also means there’s zero sense of mood/tempo/tone/pacing (or surprise) using different genres and textures. None. Because its not actually radio.

  26. Anonymous
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 9:19 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Pratt: to what degree is R3’s future dependent upon Sirius solvency? and would you be doing a different format (less CanCon?) if not for punishing CRTC sat radio regs?

  27. Dwight Williams
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 6:04 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Instead of “For The Win”?

  28. Gilmour's MP3s
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 5:58 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    One dance song (or one “hip-hop” song) does not an alternative to the alternative make.

    True dat. Now let’s dispel the BS about r3 being the successor to Brave New Waves. Where’s the audio art on any of the CBC networks? Or the hip-hop. Or hundreds of other genres.

    Where are plain old well-researched hosts speaking to you as if you are smart, rather than some waif-ish hipster self-righteously laying some new product on you, as if all musical history before this era was irrelevant.

    Fuck, I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Joe Clark on something.

    Radios 3 thru 6 FTW

    Yes, you’re right, Joe. Fuck the World, indeed.

  29. Gilmour's MP3s
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 5:58 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    One dance song (or one “hip-hop” song) does not an alternative to the alternative make.

    True dat. Now let’s dispel the BS about r3 being the successor to Brave New Waves. Where’s the audio art on any of the CBC networks? Or the hip-hop. Or hundreds of other genres.

    Where are plain old well-researched hosts speaking to you as if you are smart, rather than some waif-ish hipster self-righteously laying some new product on you, as if all musical history before this era was irrelevant.

    Fuck, I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Joe Clark on something.

    Radios 3 thru 6 FTW

    Yes, you’re right, Joe. Fuck the World, indeed.

  30. Gilmour's MP3s
    Posted February 23, 2009 at 5:58 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    One dance song (or one “hip-hop” song) does not an alternative to the alternative make.

    True dat. Now let’s dispel the BS about r3 being the successor to Brave New Waves. Where’s the audio art on any of the CBC networks? Or the hip-hop. Or hundreds of other genres.

    Where are plain old well-researched hosts speaking to you as if you are smart, rather than some waif-ish hipster self-righteously laying some new product on you, as if all musical history before this era was irrelevant.

    Fuck, I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Joe Clark on something.

    Radios 3 thru 6 FTW

    Yes, you’re right, Joe. Fuck the World, indeed.

  31. Fake Ouimet
    Posted February 22, 2009 at 10:25 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Steve, TL;DR. Though not quite.

    Anyway, High Fidelity:

    †Massive Attack, No Protection, the song is “Radiation Ruling the Nation.”

    †Oh, kind of a new record. Very nice, Rob. A sly declaration of new-classic status slipped into a list of old safe ones. Very pussy! Couldn’t you be any more obvious than that, Rob? How about, I dunno, the Beatles? How about… fucking, fucking Beethoven?

    One dance song (or one “hip-hop” song) does not an alternative to the alternative make.

    Radios 3 thru 6 FTW.

  32. Dwight Williams
    Posted February 22, 2009 at 6:41 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’m with “Drop the Beat”. Let’s have Radio 3, 4, 5, 6 and onward.

  33. Allan
    Posted February 22, 2009 at 6:07 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hey everybody, look at Allan! Don’t forget about Allan.

    Did you forget? Allan posts most of the material here.

    When something isn’t written by Joe, it’s Allan who’s doing all the heavy lifting. You know, Allan from Teamakers.

    And if something isn’t written by Allan, you can bet that Allan will be at home smoking spliffs and hitting the refresh button, waiting to respond to every single comment that comes into the blog, a split second after it shows up.

    Because that’s what Allan does.

  34. Steve Pratt
    Posted February 22, 2009 at 6:05 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hey Joe,
    Thanks for writing about CBC Radio 3, although I’m sorry to hear that we’re not your cup of tea musically.

    You bring up a lot of good points and I want to address a few of the reasons Radio 3 does things the way we do them.

    Our website:
    We have an updated version of the Radio 3 website coming this spring that will address some of the concerns you have about usability. We’re giving users the option to have auto-play turned on or off, for example (it’s true that many people don’t like auto-play sites, although many of our listeners really enjoy it †it is, after all, a streaming radio service).

    As for the frames, we chose to use them because we wanted to let people move around within the website without interrupting the stream of music †although the frames are not ideal, it does create an extremely unique music experience that again, most of our listeners really enjoy. We’re working on a new solution for the updated version of the site.

    The Music:
    Most importantly, though, I’d like to address your concern about CBC Radio 3 being all indie-rock, all the time. We DO play a lot of indie music †this country makes a LOT of amazing music in that genre and it is hugely underrepresented on Canadian airwaves outside of CBC Radio 3 and campus radio. Internationally, we are renowned for our indie artists and we are extremely proud to showcase them on our network. However, we also play a significant amount of singer-songwriters, hip hop, alt-country, electronic music, etc. While there are a few obvious exceptions (KCRW, as you mention), CBC Radio 3 is broader musically than most radio stations out there.

    When we were first constructing Radio 3’s music strategy, we talked about having a wide variety of genre-specific programs and quickly decided against it †for both web radio and satellite radio (both of which reach audiences in multiple time zones across vast expanses of geography), we didn’t believe that appointment listening would be successful. So instead, we decided to create a very consistent mix of the genres I listed above. When people tune in, we want them to ‘get’ what we’re about relatively quickly. However, we have been experimenting with genre-specific podcasts †to date, we’ve had success with metal, country, and ska special edition shows, with hip hop, electronic, and others on the way.

    Having a consistent music mix on a 24/7 station is especially important when most of the artists you’re playing are not household names †a constantly varying sound combined with emerging artists would make our job of helping to support Canadian musicians much more difficult.

    After all, we are playing music that, with the exception of a handful of artists, is not heard at all on private radio. In my presentation this weekend at the Northern Voice conference about making ‘the worst radio station ever,’ one of the key points I made is that from a private radio perspective, you’d NEVER consider playing 100% Canadian music from mostly new and emerging artists. Now THAT is narrowcasting by most people’s definition, and yet, as a public broadcaster, I think CBC Radio 3 is doing something very special and valuable by doing just that. We are helping to raise awareness of thousands of Canadian musicians to audiences in Canada and around the world and we’re very proud of that.

    I personally don’t believe we can make a radio station that appeals to everyone, especially on the internet. I would actually argue that trying to make an exceptionally broad music product on the web, on satellite radio, or as a podcast won’t work. To me, the solution is to provide a variety of options for a variety of musical tastes. With the changes to Radio 2 and the four new web radio streams that they’ve launched, CBC is representing more and more of the breadth of musical creation taking place in Canada and I expect that trend to continue. I hope that in the near future, New Music Canada takes on a larger role within CBC so that we can attract an increasingly diverse mix of musicians on the site.

    I am very conscious of the fact that no matter how hard we try and how much great music we are able to play, we will never make the perfect music mix for everyone. However, with over 75,000 on-demand songs on our website that can be made into personalized playlists, the REAL value lies in helping our audiences become their own music ‘filters’ or ‘tastemakers.’ If we don’t play enough music that you like on-air or in our podcasts, you can surf through New Music Canada and find a great deal of Canadian music that you DO like and share it with other like-minded music fans. I know it’s odd to say this, but if our audiences become stronger tastemakers in the online community (and thereby make our own programming less relevant), I think CBC Radio 3 as a whole will become MORE relevant.

    With the variety of artists and genres that we play, however, we’re doing a pretty amazing job IMHO (I’m heavily biased, of course). CBC Radio 3 has regularly played virtually every nominee for the Polaris Music Prize well in advance of their nominations – in other words, our music programmers are consistently choosing music that is resonating across the country both inside and outside of Radio 3. We’ve also been nominated for Webby Awards two years in a row for Best Online Radio. And most importantly, we continue to see regular growth in our audience and the number of artists that are joining New Music Canada (now over 15,000 artists). I don’t believe that new artists would keep joining or that existing artists on the site would keep uploading new songs if we weren’t making a difference.

    Again, I know we can’t be everything to everyone and I’m sorry we aren’t more relevant to you personally †hopefully that will change in the future as CBC’s music stategy (not just Radio 3) continues to evolve. We’re working very hard to raise the profile of our homegrown music scene, but know there is more to be done.

    Thanks and sorry for being long-winded †I believe very strongly that we’re doing important work and making a difference for Canadian music.

    Steve Pratt
    Director, CBC Radio 3

    (P.S. As for dance music, don’t know what your tastes are like, but Edmonton’s Shout Out Out Out Out are currently #27 on our R3-30 chart and have been a Radio 3 favourite for a long time.)

  35. Allan
    Posted February 22, 2009 at 4:47 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Then why don’t you go neurofunk yourself.
    Of course joe will be delighted that someone finally takes something he says seriously.
    Just as I’m delighted that joe finally wrote something!

  36. Drop the Beat
    Posted February 22, 2009 at 4:31 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Credit where credit is due – finally something worth talking about from one of you guys.

    The solution to the problems of genre specificity and usability problems with the web delivery is simple. Boldly, there should be a radio 4, 5, 6 and beyond. And they should delve into different genre pockets, and sort out their content delivery problems along the way. And they should do it by putting a human face on it — by actually delivering PROGRAMS, done by knowledgeable people.

    Instead, (and somebody from radio feel free to chime in if I have this wrong) CBC Radio Music has done the opposite and made a large number of its musical experts feel unwelcome. People like Larry Lake or Jowi Taylor to name but a few.

    It’s easier for CBC Radio management to wrap its head around a giant iTunes playlist of safe genres that are au courant. And that’s bascially what the new r2 amounts to-
    the most safe version of diversity that a bunch of bureaucratics can arrive at. Not to mention that the more automation that can be added to the mix, the less they will have to deal with pesky people like artists actually milling around the building disturbing shit.

    A multiplicity of ‘networks’ in any format — web, satellite, podcast, terrestrial, staffed by knowledgeable personalities and presented in an intelligent manner is the solution. I don’t want to hear Jian back announcing some shite he heard on a Macbook Air commercial. I want someone who’s an expert in their area adding some context to whatever genre of new Canadian music is up for grabs on that particular network. And that one network should be just one jewel in a crown of online Canadian music networks.

    I do agree that this new narcissistic indie rock really is a bore, but don’t shoot the messenger. r3 is at least a template for moving in new directions.

    Fake Ouimet, you must miss Neurofunk.com. I sure do.


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