James Leroy Wilson's blog

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Sacrifice and a Launch

I am customizing my very own Internet "radio" station from SBC Yahoo Launchcast. My goal is to guarantee a healthy amount of the really great and popular music from 1964-1979, the best of classic rock, New Wave, punk, and alternative since then, healthy doses of older country and folk music, and then random selections from all genres. But I don't control the playlist, a computer program does based on my input.

This requires a "relationship" with a computer program. I can rate each song, album, and artist as it comes up. Each choice can possibly narrow or widen the playlist. The computer is programmed to think, "If jim102670 likes x, he'll like y, and WANT TO BUY Y's ALBUM." But often, no dice.

For example, since I like Rickey Nelson, the program assumes that I like Leslie Gore. But I don't blame the program. The programmers, maybe, but this is the product of market research. Hey, it's all free and who am I to complain? Any way you look at it, you're getting no deejay, commecial-free music.

What I did do is ban four bands: Boston, Air Supply, Journey, and Foreigner. This despite that each group has one - and exactly one - song that I like (Rock and Roll Band, Making Love (Out of Nothing At All), Lovin' Touchin' Sqeezin', and I Want To Know What Love Is). But I didn't ban Styx, or REO Speedwagon, or Cheap Trick, and I gave Jefferson Starship's song "Miracles" the highest rating. Nevertheless, these may also be sacrificed, as the computer program can't read my mind entirely. But as great songs or great acts occur to me, I'll add them to my four-star lists.

It's a work in progress, but I'm very satisfied with the results so far.

Please let me know if the link doesn't work. Thanks!


  1. Hey Jim :-)
    I did the dj thing in college - have some other stuff keeping me entertained. how about Steely Dan, Al Stewart, Joni Mitchell, Alan Parsons Project, CrosbyStillsNashYoung,Chicago. I made 40 mixed audio tapes in the early 80s while in grad school and i can still pop them intoday and have the right mix.
    One query - why do we do it? We like our music, but what is our impulse to share it. If we can answer that question, i think politics can change.

  2. Jimbo Bwana!!! DUDE! You don't like Boston?!? Incredulity distorts my scream of denial!! I saw Boston in L.A. in 1979, supported by Sammy Hagar. Wow:-) As an innocent Aussie exchange student, I waited outside beforehand to sell a spare ticket. 3 blokes in a row came up & tried to sell me crack, coke & weed, talk about "budding" capitalism (get it?). We got inside the stadium, the lights went down...AND EVERY SECOND PERSON LIT UP ON THE OPENING CHORDS! Zowie. These US navy guys in front blew us out for nix. PS if you don't like Air Supply we are going to have to break off diplomatic relationships with Waco, Texas (or was that Jonestown? mmm). regards Greg from Oz.

  3. The impulse to share one's music. Hmm... For me, it is to demonstrate that it is both possible and o.k. to be fans of both Neil Diamond and Bob Dylan. ABBA and the Ramones. Stevie Wonder and Merle Haggard. To love Chicago (1970's) and hate Chicago (boring 80's love ballands). I tend to like all kinds of music, and wish that radio reflected that diversity.

    The main thing about banning Boston and the other bands has to do with classic rock radio overkill. I wanted to draw SOME line in the sand, otherwise I feared the program will just drift to classic rock to the exclusion of other things I'd like to hear.

    If it's any consolation to the man from the land down under, INXS plays on the station. There are also a couple of Men at Work songs I wouldn't mind hearing.

  4. Greg Fisher12:38 AM PDT

    INXS??? oooh-yuckypoo! The day I listen to a bloke who died auto-asphyxiating himself whilst pullin' da pud I'll... The best Aussie bands were all a tad alternative. I personally can not stand MOR format, having worked in radio on 2 Sydney stations that totally sucked! If you ever get the chance listen to Radio Birdman, they've a wild song called "Hawaii 5-0" 'bout the TV show. Also Beasts of Bourbon and The Scientists, X (the aussie one, not the yank one). I reckon one of the hottest yank bands out now, about to do Splendour in the Grass at Byron Bay here, is Interpol, particularly their song "Evil", awesome. Oh yeah. Iggy fnrocks!