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Pledging to improve the airwaves

Brandautopsy have an interesting post arguing for the democratisation of the playlist on US public service radio. But only for subscribers [those who ‘pledge’ a donation]. The US and Canada have a subscription based model for financing public service radio so you could argue that the subscriber should have a greater say in what is played and when. Kut-FM publish the playlist as an excel sheet where you can see what is played but you have no opportunity to suggest changes or even more radically feed into the playlist. But that is exactly

what the BBC did in a 10 hour takeover radio session, where listeners got to text in their choice of track using fuzzy matching of track title and artist name, last Easter Monday. It was excellent stuff. The tracklist shows some rather dubious preferences amongst the Radio 1 audience, perhaps to be put down to the novelty of the event and, well, some dubious listeners. But I’m not sure how well a truly democratised playlist and schedule would work and even if it would actually *be* public service radio and not just ‘community’ radio. That aside, would a minority with the time and inclination become more vocal and powerful, creating just another media ‘elite’. Probably. But it would be a nice experiment. From my experience of Canadian public service radio the editorial is driven by worthy, idealistic left-leaning ‘radicals’, a 24/7 homage to Noam Chomsky. It was a fun free zone: *very* dull radio. I’d ‘pledge’ to liven that up.