Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Joseph Arthur "Saint Of Impossible Causes"

One of those behind the scenes things that you may or may not realize about MVY, or really, pretty much any radio station you listen to, is that most of the music that you hear on the air, is being played as an MP3.

I know, I know, you probably picture us playing song after song from CD.  Or even from vinyl.

And yes, that does happen.  But for so many reasons, anything we play regularly, we convert to MP3.  That way, it doesn't get lost, cds don't end up in the wrong jacket or filed out of alphabetical order, and nothing skips or gets scratched.

One side effect of this system, is that it controls/limits some information.

If I had the CD in front of me when I played a certain track, I might go through the liner notes and tell the listeners something I've read in there.

We do keep all the CDs and their liner notes in the library, but unless the DJ is looking for some specific info, they don't usually pull it out.

So the information the DJs have about a certain song, is laid out in front of them, as part of the MP3 library.

The DJs can easily see the basics in the digital information:

Artist Name
Song Title
Album Title
Year Of Release
Song Length

If there's a pronunciation question, there's a place to post that information, too.

So here's a Program Director dilemma/ethical question that I face from time to time.

Should I leave a certain field blank?

For instance, a few years ago, Blues Traveler put out an album called "Bastardos!"

Now I'd like to think that the air staff could restrain themselves from wanting to shout "Bastardos!" into an open mic.  But c'mon, let's face it---that's an opportunity that few of us could resist.

Unfortunately, part of my job as the PD, is to be the On-Air Cop, meting out citations to the DJs when necessary.

I think the staff knows that you can't say "Bastards!" on the air.  Or even come close to it.  But why tempt fate by putting it right in front of their eyes in bold letters?

A case of a thornier sort presented itself last week when we decided to add the Joseph Arthur song "Saint Of Impossible Causes."

The name of Arthur's album is "The Ballad Of Boogie Christ."

Am I offended by this name?  No.  Not particularly.

But can I see how another reasonable person might be?  Yes, I suppose.

Can I see how, by just delivering with a glib, or flippant, or sarcastic inflection, an MVY DJ could take the simple act of reading an album title and turn it into a situation where the Program Director has to dig deep into the Mea Culpa bag and write a letter of apology to someone who's miffed at the inappropriate use of the Son Of God's name?

Uh, yeah.  I could see how that could happen.

So, if you are an MVY DJ, and you play the Joseph Arthur track in your show, under Album Title it will only read "The Ballad."  And most likely, the DJs will refer to it as just that.  If at all.

Of course, any staff members who read this blog will know the truth, and may be tempted to say the whole name on the air.  In which case I'll have to instruct them to use the information gently and appropriately, while secretly being pleased that they actually read this far into this post.

Hear the song on Youtube.

1 comment:

  1. Best music posting of the week -- great song.