The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #134321   Message #3054414
Posted By: Crowhugger
15-Dec-10 - 08:19 PM
Thread Name: Why do folk music radio programs fail?
Subject: RE: Why do folk music radio programs fail?
Conrad, I gather you're talking about shows that program mainly or exclusively UK-born traditional music and its colonial descendants, is that right?

In the Toronto area, so-called "roots" shows seemed to fare better than some niche programming. These programmed mostly non-UK, non-European folk, both traditional and fusions that varied according to the musical ancestry & tastes of the musician and their collaborators. I loved these shows because of the mix of past and present. I'd never have the feeling of enjoying a museum piece, or that I was hearing tradition being mangled, rather it was consistently alive, growing, beautiful, and current. (Dare I add: There was no angst about whether the music was or wasn't suitably pure.) I'd love to name the shows whose music left this favourable impression on me but I haven't tuned in or thought about them for long enough that I've forgotten. Almost certainly they were on CBC or the university stations, or maybe PBS from south of the border.

Over the last 5-10 years, live music-making has replaced most radio and a lot of other recorded music in my life. Back when I was listening to more radio, it seemed to be an era of proliferating roots shows, which causes me to wonder: Are demographics a possible reason for "folk" shows dying?

In the large urban centres of Canada, the percentage of population that hails from UK is shrinking steadily, so I wouldn't expect a show based on such content to flourish. I would expect its largest and most loyal audience to be those with an historical and sentimental attachment to the music.

Though come to think of it, I don't know if the so-called roots shows have had trouble surviving or not. Maybe someone else knows if the failing Conrad talks about is a problem faced by all small-niche programming these days. That info could shed some light on his question.