No, I Won't Buy Your Record
July 28th is the official anniversary of the Welcome to the Neighborhood (WTTN) radio show, and this year celebrates 10 years of broadcast on the Portland airwaves.
Beginning in 2009 on radio station KZME, WTTN provided a platform for local artists, a place they could have their records played, come to the station for interviews and rhyme live on air. A local radio station to call their own.
The tag line of the station, “Music Where You Live” was something I worked hard to put into action. Making it a priority to support northwest based artists heavy in rotation every week, but also going to shows and [for the most part] not asking to get on a guest list. Hosting shows and not asking if there was a budget. Buying merch and physical copies of CDs and vinyl and not asking for the hookup. Literally paying my dues, earning a spot and financial investing in the Portland hip-hop scene.
As I look back on 10 years of broadcasting on FM radio, taking time to reflect on what that really means, I am humbled, proud, grateful. I don't believe I thought about how this would grow into friendships that are so much bigger than music. That a radio show would spark conversations 5 years in that would then lead to a successful podcast. That it would lead to one of Portland's favorite live hip-hop showcase events. It was truly an opportunity to serve a community I thought deserved support, only asking in return for that same community to support my efforts, and send me radio edits.
It’s been interesting to learn how those efforts have been perceived. In speaking with a fellow DJ at XRAY FM, I learned that artists assumed we are financially compensated for the work we do. Let me assure you that is not the case, that we volunteer our time to support causes we believe in, and we put in work.
For my 2 hour broadcast an Saturday nights, I spend a minimum of twice that amount of time during the week listening to song submissions, setting up interviews with artists, labels and promoters, educating artists on what’s required to play their music on FM radio and reports for charting, securing tickets to local shows and events to give away on radio, promoting the show and reminding folk when it airs (really)…at no cost to the artist, and for no financial compensation. That’s not to complain, but to be transparent as to what’s real.
Now in 2019, 10 years strong and proudly broadcasting on Portland's favorite radio station 5 years running XRAY FM, I have that same desire to represent the underrepresented. I still ask for the scene to support those efforts, helping me help you with a social media share, a word of support and promotion in your circles, telling folk to tap in so they can hear your record on the radio - I've earned that. I still ask for you to send me radio edits, but also to use your platform to make good quality music. Use the platform to promote positive vibes only. Encouragement vs. sorrow. Love vs. hate. I’m collecting on the investment that I’ve been making for a decade.
But if not, cool. I just won't buy your record.
Always - peace & love,