Since completing I Am What I Play, I’ve been outreaching to the radio community with an interest in discussing the key theme of the film: disc jockey creative control. I continue to be curious about who is still out there on the dial, doing radio in the spirit of free form so a couple of weeks go, I dropped into Toronto radio station Indie 88 for a chat with Program Director Adam Thompson.
Indie 88 burst on the Toronto radio scene a little over a year ago with the mandate to give a voice to truly independent music. I wanted to get Adam’s thoughts on programming music, his approach to radio and get a sense of the amount of freedom he gives the DJ’s.
Three encouraging things:
1)Adam is clearly a radio guy. I mean that in the most positive way. He clearly knows the business but is coming at it from deep love and knowledge of the music, rather than from some kind of marketing and PR background. He is a decade younger than me but grew up a radio die-hard.
2)The DJ’s have input into the music they play. The station definitely thinks in terms of shows, not shifts. As the name implies, the station is independently owned – family, not corporate. There are DJ’s on the show who program their show entirely and most at the station are involved in the music programming.
3)The music is not narrow-casted. Of course, they have a target audience but they program a wide spectrum of artists.
They vow to put music first. There is even a manifesto: http://indie88.com/about/indie88-manifesto/
As any good radio station should, they are slowly but surely integrating themselves into the Toronto community and giving a voice to indie artists and events. And hey, they even threw it open to the general public to not only audition to be the voice of the station but to vote on the finalists once the field was narrowed a bit: http://indie88.com/jen-is-the-new-voice-of-indie88/
As a voice talent agent, how can I not love this?
It will be interesting to keep an ear on Indie 88 in the next couple of years as they gain more of a foothold in the Toronto scene. Will the reins tighten a bit on the format or will they continue to push forward in “the spirit of radio”?
This is the first in a series of pieces exploring radio programs and stations where the music programming is unpredictable and the DJ’s are given freedom. We are interested in hearing from you. Do you host a radio show or work at a station that fits this description? Or maybe you listen to one? Drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’d love to publish your blog piece about the show or station. We aim to spread the word about current radio operating in the spirit of “I Am What I Play.”