Guest Editorial - Thanking the DJ!

Image635134585364784411Rita Small 

writes this Guest Editorial for Prescription Bluegrass


After reading the nice acknowledgement that The Gibson Brothers gave to DJ’s, I started reflecting on what that gesture truly means. Being a DJ at a small all-volunteer, public radio station in Cincinnati, this nod of thanks is greatly appreciated and will not soon be forgotten. While it would be ridiculous to think that all artists have the ability to thank radio personalities on such a grand scale, simple gestures do go a long way.

Many radio personalities, especially in Bluegrass, do not receive any monetary compensation for the countless hours that go into bringing listeners a quality show. Numerous DJ’s spend their own money to purchase, not only the latest projects, but to purchase older music that a listener may have requested. Time is needed to create a playlist for the week’s broadcast, be on-air, and compile reports for such publications as Bluegrass Today, Bluegrass Unlimited, and Roots Music. Like many fans, we also spend money to attend festivals and local venues.

What do radio personalities ask for in return for this hard work and personal sacrifice? Not a thing. I am often asked why I volunteer to co-host a radio show and, the answer is the same as many other DJ’s, it is simply for the love of the music, the desire to share it with others, and to keep Bluegrass alive in our respective communities. Much the same answer that any type of volunteer would reply.

So what can artists, and listeners, do to support DJ’s? First, acknowledge the hard work it takes to produce a show. Since many radio personalities have a Facebook page, simply drop them a note of appreciation or, if you see them out, say thanks and let them know you appreciate their efforts. Secondly, artists can tune-in to shows and be active in chat rooms. This will not only let the DJ know that you care but also allow you to interact with other fans of the music and perhaps gain some fans. While it is not be possible to send every Bluegrass show a copy of your latest project, artists can at least get a copy, even a digital one, to local shows and go so far as to offer an interview. Also, for those artists on a label, offer to add the show to the label’s mailing list. Finally, promote Bluegrass radio during your gigs. Obviously those attending your show enjoy Bluegrass so remind them to tune in via the radio or internet.

While many artists already do a tremendous job of thanking and acknowledging radio personalities, there may be room for improvement. Perhaps, you have never thought that radio personalities like to hear encouraging words or that someone has taken notice of their broadcast. Even though many of us truly do our shows for the love of Bluegrass music and honestly expect nothing in return, when those simple nods of approval and appreciation are received, they go a long way.

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