Published on November 9th, 2009 | by FuNkwoRm


Why Radio Sucks

It’s the same story in every city I go to. Local radio plays the same playlist all day every day and there’s little support for local and independent artists.  I’m beginning to hear from a growing number of people that they just don’t bother to listen to the shit anymore. And it’s taking it’s toll. Listeners are leaving and stations are losing money.  Sure everyone hates the format until one of their joints makes it into the rotation. I enjoy it too. But being the producer left me removed from the politics that had to be played by artists, labels and independent radio promoters to get the music played. It’s a frustrating game.

Radio didn’t always suck though. There was a time when radio DJs  got their reputations from the great songs they broke on the airwaves. But those days are long gone. How did this happen? Well a few artists on this video clip give you the low down on how things got so screwed. Chuck D adds some commentary as well. Check it out. There’s some good info in it.

About the Author

FuNkwoRm is a music producer, creator of the hip hop comic strip, Rap Ratz, and has a dope backspin.

  • I try to tell the radio dj’s they need to play this new independent hip hop game on the radio, but even legendary radio cats are real hard headed to getting the new school heads open. That’s an awful look..Yo 96.3…get at me. These people want to hear REAL shit. Insult to intelligence can be deadly to business.

  • Yeah, these days radio ain’t as powerful as it used to be. I remember the days when it was the main source of new fresh music. That’s why I haven’t listened to the radio for almost 5 years. It’s overdosed w/ ringtone music & even record stores don’t have any good records any more. The Internet took over the game, cuz our favorite artists/songs ain’t on the radio.

  • I have been preachin this same story for years. People wonder why hip-hop is so um…”different” now; why labels are losing money, and why the radio “sucks”. It’s not that there is no talent like it use to be; far from it. It’s that the powers that be find it easier to control ignorant masses than enlightened.

    DJs nowadays (on the coasts) can’t break artists like they use to. I know this to be especially true on the west coast with big, legitamate stations. They are held to very stern play-lists. Wonder why you hear so much southern music as apposed to newer, less established artists from the coasts? The south isn’t mandated by the same rules.

    With that being said, an unsigned artist can get steady rotation on the radio. Getting steady rotation means being able to create an opportunity to sell their product in the mom and pop stores. This creates a “fish shoot in a barrel” concept for labels. Why sign someone with no buzz when all you have to do is check their spins or sells? If they are already doin all the work, a label can slide in and become a middle man. Once that happens, those artists get played on the coasts.

    That illiminates a much broader playlist, and kills any hope in allowing hip-hop to blossom – not even to the standards of how it was “Pre-Master-P” era.

    So this gives us a very two dementional genre, with extremely limited on concept. A younger, less enlightened set of listeners assume that if it is on the radio, it “must be hot”. Hence, the final equation is a weakened financial economy for labels, record stores, and radio stations, and a devalued sense and hightened level of ignorance towards the hip-hop culture.

  • Gil

    Radio treat their playlists as a revenue source. Big labels pay to get played as with the radios that are on the internet. On the airways it’s called advertising. On the net it’s called a chance to be heard. In all the more you pay to these people the better the slots you will get hence, the better the venues and then the more people you reach. In both cases the big labels know this and then saturate the slots with loads of money and that minimizes the slots that are left. New music artists need to go to the stations and market their own stuff. takes a lot longer but much more effective and profitable.

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