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Music Festivals Thrive On Diversity. Why Can't Radio? An Interview With Radio Paradise's Bill Goldsmith

LOS ANGELES (Hypebot) — Part II – Yesterday we asked why commercial radio doesn't follow the lead of today's top music festivals and program a more eclectic mix. One of the few broadcasters who intelligently programs across the musical spectrum is Radio Paradise's Bill Goldsmith. Here's a recent set of tunes on RP:

Elbow – My Very Best
Eddie From Ohio – Number Six Driver
Cheikh Lo Lo – Guiss Guiss
Van Morrison – Precious time

We asked Bill for his comments on the current homogenized state of radio:

"In the world of broadcast radio – even in the non-commercial realm – there's a tremendous pressure for quick success and short-term profit. That naturally leads broadcasters to favor packaged solutions or easy-to-emulate formulas, such as a short list of the least offensive soft-rock hits, or non-stop NPR news and commentary. A formula like what we use at Radio Paradise (playing an interesting cross-section of many different music genres, carefully blended so that it flows gracefully) doesn't lend itself to easy packaging and implementation."

"As for Internet stations, the easy route there is to throw up dozens, or hundreds, of channels devoted to a particular narrow genre of music. There's not a whole lot of time, effort, and creativity required to put a "pre-1980 classic rock" or "ambient electronica"…(continued)

"…channel together. The real problem — for programmers, anyway — with a truly diverse format is that to do it well requires a LOT of time, effort, and creativity. Here at Radio Paradise, between us my wife and I devote at least 50 or 60 hours a week to programming-related duties on our single channel. A company that is trying to program 25, 50, or 100 channels just can't afford to put that much time into each one."

"Satellite radio has the resources and the opportunity to produce very high-quality programming, but too often they also fall prey to one or both of the pitfalls I described. Many satellite channels are very narrowly programmed, or are attempting to duplicate a formula that's been successful elsewhere. For whatever reason, there's not a single channel on either satellite service that attempts to do the kind of radio that I find most interesting: a truly diverse, skillfully programmed, mix of many different eras, genres, and styles."