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Thread: MPR's only black classical host fired

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    Senior Member Victor Redseal's Avatar
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    Default MPR's only black classical host fired

    "God," asked Adam, "why did you make Eve so beautiful?"
    And He replied, "So that you could love her."
    "But God," asked Adam, "why did you make her so stupid?"
    And He replied, "So that she could love you."

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    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    It would have been favorable to know the music the host was substituting for the programmed fare.

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    Senior Member Nereffid's Avatar
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    I'm very much in two minds about this. I'm sympathetic to efforts towards making classical music more inclusive and diverse but at the same time, classical music as a whole, over its history, hasn't been "inclusive" or "diverse" in our contemporary sense. Yes, program more minorities (and women) but at what point do you end up pretending classical music is something that it's not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
    It would have been favorable to know the music the host was substituting for the programmed fare.
    Interesting that the station says the issue wasn't the music he played, just the way he went about changing it - implying that he was screwing up the system for ensuring correct royalty payments.
    Mahler, Glass, Beethoven, Vaughan Williams, Wolfe, Liszt, Reich, Bach, Nyman, Schubert

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    Senior Member Room2201974's Avatar
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    The Johnny Fever of classical music.

    Ah, this brings back memories. I spent 5 years of my life being a radio announcer, mostly spinning classical music. I've been dressed down before for not playing the playlist and I felt just like Johnny Fever. There is a hierarchy at a radio station just like any place else. The music programmer programs the music and the announcer plays it. Your job as an announcer is at risk anytime you deviate from ********THE PLAYLIST*********

    Radio Stations have to pay royalties to copyright holders. Those payments are based on what you play and how many times you play it. That list has to be accurate and the royality collection agencies check what a station plays against the list of what it says it plays usually by recording the station.

    If you have been warned about this serious breach in operational standards and continue to do it - that's insubordination. In my situation I was warned about deviating from the playlist and it was explained to me that it was their decision (The radio station) which royalties they were going to pay, and not mine. If I changed the playlist again they would have to fire me.

    Well I did what any self respecting Johnny Fever type would do - I quit. And that was a really good decision because I was working at a top 40 station at the time and I had already come to the conclusion that if I stayed much longer I'd have to take a gun to my head. (Probably why I changed the playlist to begin with.)

    Bugger!!!!!!!!
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    Senior Member pianozach's Avatar
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    "“The warnings presented to Garrett were not tied to his choice of music or the reasons for his unauthorized changes to playlists,” they wrote in the statement Friday. “The manner in which he made changes is what caused an issue. We have a process in place for changing playlists, and that process exists to maintain our more than 200 partner stations’ compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and to ensure royalties are properly paid for the music played.”"

    I think this was handled poorly. They liked his choices. Instead of firing him, they should have found a way to celebrate what he was doing. The positive press would have been worth being more flexible in their playlist programming.

    Oh, I get that it's not just a single station, and simply keeping track of what they play. It's a bunch of stations, and they evidently have to keep track of a single playlist for all of them. Seems more like an accounting issue.

    They would have had far better press had they raised this guy up, embraced his choices as "good trouble", and basked in the accolades of having done their small part in promoting diversity in their programming.
    Last edited by pianozach; Sep-12-2020 at 16:41.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    MPR already does plenty of diverse programming - turn them on any time of the day and you’re almost guaranteed to hear something by African-American, Hispanic, female, etc. composers as well as a surprising amount of contemporary and obscure music. They are definitely not the stereotypical “warhorses” and “bleeding chunks” one associates with classical music radio stations. I like that I will probably hear something new every time I listen to them. I do understand the rationale for the firing but it’s guaranteed to make a lot of folks upset.
    Last edited by Allegro Con Brio; Sep-12-2020 at 16:38.
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nereffid View Post
    I'm very much in two minds about this. I'm sympathetic to efforts towards making classical music more inclusive and diverse but at the same time, classical music as a whole, over its history, hasn't been "inclusive" or "diverse" in our contemporary sense. Yes, program more minorities (and women) but at what point do you end up pretending classical music is something that it's not?
    Over our history of almost anything there has not been very much diversity or inclusion (not since Roman times, anyway) but that doesn't make it right. We have an amazing heritage of great classical music and I believe that accessing it and participating in it is a right for all. I do not see why sharing it widely should lead to pretending it is something that it isn't - we are already doing that with the likes of John Williams - although it might lead to it going off in new directions, some of which might have meaning and value.

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    Senior Member JAS's Avatar
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    John Williams is not pretending that classical music is something that it is not --- that would be Brian Ferneyhough, and others of a similar mind.
    Last edited by JAS; Sep-12-2020 at 17:05.

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    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    I picked up on this on Twitter today. With so much black lives matter polemic and stuff about white privilege and supremacy it was hard to know what it was all about. I figured out he'd been insubordinate and got the sack.

    What at was worrying was all the nasty comments about the 'music of dead white men'. Not per se, but because when I'm not listening to those incredible artists from the past, I'll listen to Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Barry White ..... it made me feel quite ghoulish

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    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAS View Post
    John Williams is not pretending that classical music is something that it is not --- that would be Brian Ferneyhough, and others of a similar mind.
    Maybe I worded it badly. I didn't mean he was pretending. It is we who pretend he is a classical composer. I don't know much about Ferneyhough's mind or who else has a similar one. At least he is seeking to break new ground rather than going back to distant history.

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    Senior Member JAS's Avatar
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    John Williams is a composer whose film scores, for the most part, are firmly in the classical tradition. Whether or not they belong in the concert hall, presumably in the form of selections or suites, is a matter of opinion, but the basic statement that he is not in the classical tradition really cannot be substantiated. (Some say that he adapts or "steals" from already established classical composers, which is another discussion. But he can hardly be writing music based on classical music and yet be outside of the tradition.) Breaking new ground is not a requirement of classical music.
    Last edited by JAS; Sep-12-2020 at 18:49.

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    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    The host was an employee. He went rogue and got himself fired. That's what happens when an employee acts as if he's self-employed and all full of himself. Diversity is not an issue here.

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    Senior Member Nereffid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
    Over our history of almost anything there has not been very much diversity or inclusion (not since Roman times, anyway) but that doesn't make it right. We have an amazing heritage of great classical music and I believe that accessing it and participating in it is a right for all. I do not see why sharing it widely should lead to pretending it is something that it isn't - we are already doing that with the likes of John Williams - although it might lead to it going off in new directions, some of which might have meaning and value.
    I wasn't very clear with my "pretending" comment. Historically speaking, there have been very few female or non-white composers. If you're a radio station, or some other group promoting classical music - for example, the TC Most Recommended List - then the bigger picture is definitely going to be completely dominated by dead white men. You can do your best to highlight the female and non-white composers (and it's certainly easier with today's music), and I'm totally in favour of that: if the station plays a lot of, say, Mendelssohn symphonies, then why not occasionally play one by Farrenc instead. My point with the "pretending classical music is something that it's not" comes into play only when you try too hard, as it were, to promote the music of minorities. What's the correct quota? MPR says that 24% of their playlist is either composed or performed by women/non-whites - and that "or performed" is crucial. If a quarter of the 19th century symphonies you play were composed by women/non-whites, this is laudably inclusive but surely very far from representative of the reality. That's all I mean by "pretending classical music is something that it's not". And I should also remark that this possibility is just something I'm curious about, rather than outraged by.
    Mahler, Glass, Beethoven, Vaughan Williams, Wolfe, Liszt, Reich, Bach, Nyman, Schubert

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    Senior Member Victor Redseal's Avatar
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    "God," asked Adam, "why did you make Eve so beautiful?"
    And He replied, "So that you could love her."
    "But God," asked Adam, "why did you make her so stupid?"
    And He replied, "So that she could love you."

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    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nereffid View Post
    I wasn't very clear with my "pretending" comment. Historically speaking, there have been very few female or non-white composers. If you're a radio station, or some other group promoting classical music - for example, the TC Most Recommended List - then the bigger picture is definitely going to be completely dominated by dead white men. You can do your best to highlight the female and non-white composers (and it's certainly easier with today's music), and I'm totally in favour of that: if the station plays a lot of, say, Mendelssohn symphonies, then why not occasionally play one by Farrenc instead. My point with the "pretending classical music is something that it's not" comes into play only when you try too hard, as it were, to promote the music of minorities. What's the correct quota? MPR says that 24% of their playlist is either composed or performed by women/non-whites - and that "or performed" is crucial. If a quarter of the 19th century symphonies you play were composed by women/non-whites, this is laudably inclusive but surely very far from representative of the reality. That's all I mean by "pretending classical music is something that it's not". And I should also remark that this possibility is just something I'm curious about, rather than outraged by.
    That makes good sense. Thanks for clarifying.

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