channel-zero

So here we are… a new year, and for many of us the same ol’ proclamations of change, betterment etc., etc., Nothing wrong with that, I’m guilty of being caught up in the idea minus execution conundrum. I often tell the story of how I had an older cousin who dropped some knowledge on me when I was a kid as he would often say to me “You know a thought ain’t nothing but a waste of time.” For years I would tell people this and for years I had it wrong in what he actually meant. I took this sage advice as either you know something or you don’t know something so why spend time “thinking” as in the often used excuse “I thought”. It wasn’t until these last few months through actually “thinking” about what he said did it finally dawn on me that what cuz was advocating for was what is needed to accompany a thought so that it can actually become a deed and that is: execution. The waste of time is inaction not the thought itself. At this point you might be asking yourself what does all of that have to do with channels and changing and Grown Folks Music and all that stuff right there?

Well first there was this…

Radio

Then there was this…

Television

Somewhere along the way this popped in…

And now we have this…

iPhone

All forms of communication and entertainment. Some are one-way forms of communication. Others are two-way or more ways of communication. They deliver news, drama, comedy, sports, beefs you name it! Channels. Plain and simple. In the days of radio the channels were solely audio. Then with the advent of television came the marriage of the audio and visual. Eventually the delivery systems for the internet became mature and robust enough to deliver audio and video and with the advent of the smartphone and ever increasing network speeds that audio and video can be broadcasted or narrowcasted (depending upon your perspective) to and by anyone, in realtime. Amazing right? I think so but… there’s always a but right?

It’s an exciting time to be alive to witness all of this change. In my lifetime alone I’ve gone from 13 channels on the television and television “signing off” at 1am to 24 hours of any and every type of channel you can think about under the sun which I can access on pretty much any device at anytime and yet, I’m concerned. I’m concerned only in the sense that given all of the choices that humanity has these days in music, movies, entertainment in general it often feels like the worst of the worst is what’s magnified the most. Is that by design? Who’s design and if so why do people follow so willingly?

Now I don’t want you to get the impression that I’m advocating for every form of entertainment that we take in to be over a serious and uplifting nature. That’s boring. As I’ve often stated herein I like a little ratchet with my uplift but ratchet in balance and not ratchet to the point that I begin to take on a persona that reflects said ratchet because now I’m out of balance and blurring the line between my reality and a reality designed to program me to purchase value meals. What I’m advocating for in 2017 and beyond is better choices. How do we arrive at better choices? Investigate. Think and then act!

As I mentioned in my final post for 2016 I made some personal choices not to listen to morning radio(and afternoon for that matter) of the “urban variety”. That choice was made for a variety of reasons all based around the content programming of these shows or the lack thereof. A lot of my choice to change boiled down to speed of information flow. I think certain concepts that these shows employ are stuck in the last century. I’ll give you a few examples so you don’t think I’m just blowing smoke.

1. I do not need any contributor to read copy of gossip stories to me [Because: The Internet]

2. The eternal late pass on music. Now I will say that I wasn’t necessarily to these shows for their musical content but it just became increasingly frustrating to hear new music in January and that same music tried to be passed off as “new” in August?

3. No need for local cut-ins for weather and traffic – there’s an app for that.

4. Did I mention the content of these shows? Often not compelling, not funny. For compelling and funny I subscribe to podcasts. Sorry, not sorry.

5. The circle of jerks. No, I’m not calling people jerks I don’t know… I’m talking about the relative jerkness of “promotional” interviews and performances like it was 1996. What is an exclusive in the age of social media? Hint: There are none.

Sure I could go on and on but let’s be clear “urban” radio is not the only channel I believe where we need to make a choice. In part two of this series I will address the unreal reality of Television.

#GetGrown

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.