Monday, June 7, 2010

Long live The Future of Rock & Roll

Timing is everything.

I’ve wanted to post some additional thoughts about the WOXY situation for a while. At the very least, to provide listeners an accounting of how things came to be, how events have transpired since our shutdown and perhaps, point a few fingers and name a few names because there’s plenty of blame to go around. Some diehards have gleaned information from other sources, if not contacted some of us directly, about what’s been going on. But, I’ve always walked to the ledge and turned back.

I think it's unfortunate that the station's loyal listeners haven’t been given the courtesy of any kind of ‘official’ status update and what, if any, future plans are in store for WOXY. For those of you who've maintained interest, you're owed a great deal of thanks even if that hasn’t been explicitly expressed. For that, cheers.

To be clear, I don’t speak for anyone else affiliated with WOXY past or present. I can accept the failure of WOXY as a business. Always have. But in the past 2+ months, I’ve been mad, frustrated and angry not so much at the failure of the radio station but rather, upon learning some the actions that’ve made the post-signoff lives of the staff more difficult than it should have been. There were some very simple practices that weren’t adhered to that can best be described as a failure of Business 101.

Whether I’m alone in believing this or not, I always wanted WOXY to operate as transparently as was realistically possible. So, earlier this week, I dropped a note saying that I’d have a WOXY update soon. For seemingly the third or fourth time in the past 6 weeks, I was ready to bring listeners the yet untold story. Again. Then, I think to everyone’s surprise, we received an e-mail from the principals at Future Sounds requesting to meet with the remaining-in-Austin staff this past Friday. So, I thought I should at least see this pow-wow through before going to press. Timing is everything.

In short, we had a cordial, professional chat with the guys. As was noted elsewhere, they've been working to make the situation right but held out no hope for an immediate resolution to WOXY’s operational status. In essence, the patient remains comatose. That the website remains is indicative of its life support. That there’s nothing to say speaks to the immediate plans and prospects. It’s totally on them.

For what it’s worth, it was kind of bittersweet to have the discussion turn to suggestions the staff had for ‘what if’ WOXY is resurrected. Between speaking from experience, recognizing lessons that could be learned and ideas that could be expanded upon, it was invigorating to detect not so much a desire to see the station live on, but the affinity for the ethic that WOXY stood for. To my mind, anyway, that was as much the attraction as the music itself.

But at the same time, the meeting provided probably as much closure as any of us will get about working for the Future of Rock & Roll. Future Sounds revealed that they have resumed the process of seeking a partner or buyer or something that would allow WOXY to resume operation. No one knows in what form that would be, including them.

How WOXY might be able to exist is the $64,000 question. Since September, the station employed 6 full-time staffers. Royalties exceeded $12,000 A MONTH with more listeners meaning more to pay. Some of the staff suggested turning WOXY into a listener-supported, non-profit. Surely, underwriters would see a tax write-off as a worthwhile incentive. (BTW, the number of listeners who came forward asking to donate money, post-signoff, was humbling) My opinion? Convincing a profit-minded businessperson to turn their investment into a non-profit is a hard sell.

I’ve skirted some of the b.s. the staff has had to deal with since we shut down because ultimately, it just isn’t productive. While I’d love to resume working in a similar situation or environment, I cannot in good conscience return to any entity helmed by Future Sounds.

And so, I’m on a full-time hunt for a full-time job. My previous experience includes working nearly 10 years for Toyota Financial Services, so I’m also looking in that field. Musically, I’ll still be in the mix. That you’ve found me here, it seemed a good transition to launch THE BIG BEAT. This’ll be my place, my outlet, which after all of these years, is all I really want: a place to do my thing. The blog will focus on music discovery, news, reviews, rants and raves. In due time, I’m hoping to get the apparatus together to put together a regular on-demand program of new music with actual DJ talk. Just like old times. I'm a beginning blogger so hopefully, for a while anyway, you'll be interested more in the content than the bells-and-whistles.

To be honest, I don’t know just how much light I shed on the WOXY situation. More than anything, though, I thought you should know more than what you’ve been told. As a listener, it’s what I’d want.

Thanks for reading this. Long live The Future of Rock & Roll.

24 comments:

  1. Hey Mike,

    I really appreciate the update. I know as an avid listener who was around for the previous shutdowns, not hearing anything (except from what you and Shivvy said on Twitter) was difficult. It also sounds like that even if WOXY were to come back, it would be in name only.

    Good luck with the job hunt. If you need any help with the technical aspects of blogging, I'm sure there's tons of experienced blogger WOXY fans who would be willing to help (myself included.)

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  2. thanks for the update, mike. thanks to you, shiv, bryan jay, joe and the rest of the crew for your hard work and dedication to woxy.

    will forever dream of "the good old days" when i knew you guys would get me through a day and open my ears to amazing rock & roll.

    look forward to keeping up with the new blog!

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  3. Cheers for that, Mike.

    I know how frustrated you have been these past few months & I know you've wanted, deep down, to name & shame in order to bring the listeners into the loop. I think, as a compromise, given the circumstances presented, this is as much as anynoe needs to know. Anything else, like you say, would be counter-productive.

    Good luck with the job hunting - like I said, if I hear of anything I think would suit I'll point you in that direction.

    Good luck also with the blog - I'll certainly be popping in & afforing you my usual narky opinions ;)

    Shout any time you need any advice re: the on demand program, etc.

    Best,

    DC

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  4. Thanks Mike.
    Good luck on the search and "The Big Beat"!
    I look forward to hearing more from you.
    You and the other WOXY staff turned me on to so much in the past 5 years or so. I am forever grateful!
    thanks for everything,
    Sincerely,
    Dick

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  5. You are a class act, Mike. I wish you the very best in everything you and Jennifer do.

    And if music is your future, I will be there.

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  6. Thank you, Mike.

    I'm glad you cast a beacon in this dense, post-WOXY fog. Whatever the future brings, I shall continue following you on this blog!

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  7. Thanks for the info, Mike. I appreciate it. Best of luck with future endeavors.

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  8. I am both happy and sad reading this. It pops the balloon of hope I had while hoping for another miracle but knowing that you are moving forward and are in a good frame of mind is heartening. Super classy of you for now blowing up employer or employees. It is never a good move, as I learned the hard way years ago. Keep your head up and move forward cause what goes around, comes around.

    The very best of luck to you, Shiv, Bryan, Joe and all involved. Now about those up and coming UK bands!!!

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  9. Thanks for this, Mike. Kinda exactly where I thought things stood, but glad to hear it said out loud.

    Looking forward to seeing (and hearing) what you have in store for us here on the blog, and wish you nothing but the best of luck with everything!

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  10. Thanks Mike. I want to say that I was honestly more mad about the effect this shutdown had on your lives than the fact that I would no longer get to listen to the greatest radio station ever. It really broke my heart to think of how you guys packed up your lives and moved to Austin just to have the carpet pulled out from under you.

    You're really a great DJ, Mike. You've just got great instincts when it comes to music, and talent when it comes to an on-the-air personality.

    I think the fact that it's now been 2 months and I still have not come even close to finding a station which could fill the void that was left when WOXY went off the air speaks volumes and volumes of just how great all of you have been over the years.

    For me the shutdown was made even worse by the fact that I had JUST bought a wi-fi clock radio for the one single reason of being able to listen to WOXY when I woke up in the morning. And then, 2 weeks later I bought an iPhone and the very FIRST app that I downloaded was the WOXY app. I'll always remember getting in my car & firing up the iPhone and turning to my girlfriend and saying "Oh wow - this is the first time I've listened to live WOXY in my radio since I moved to Atlanta in '94 !!!"

    ....and then 2 weeks later you were shutdown. It's almost as if it was too good to be true.

    I'll definitely be a regular on here. I'm looking forward to hearing whatever picks and comments you would like to share with us.

    I wish I could say more than simply "good luck", but I just don't know what else to say. Love ya - looking forward to your blog.

    v

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  11. Thanks Mike! Being a Hamilton/Oxford guy from way back, I was disheartened when WOXY when off the air waves, disappointed when WOXY left Oxford and disgusted that WOXY went defunct. I cannot imagine the difficulties that you have had dealing with the fall out, but knowing what a top notch DJ that you are, I know that you will find something that makes you happy.

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  12. Thanks for the update, Mike. I have Doug & Linda's 38 rules for success up on the wall of my cube at work. It's funny how much of it can apply to the corporate world as it does operating a radio station. I think a lot of us take those values to heart when it comes from something that touches us, like woxy.

    I hope to someday meet you and buy you a drink. P.S. I am not a stalker. :p

    -Nate/The Sheck

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  13. The best of luck to my favorite DJ ever! I'm happy to know we'll keep hearing from you here @ The Big Beat.
    WOXY was my favorite radio station, but I tend to think that changes are always good, always for the best. Cheers from Brazil

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  14. Thank you, and best of luck...
    Woogie

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  15. Thanks Mike, sorry for being totally selfish but I hope you (and Shiv) land a gig with a station I can pick up here Canada! :) I'll be following your blog, I wanna hear more... 'bout the maiden with raw iron soul ...and I'm really looking forward to your on-demand program. Best of luck!

    Leonard
    Edmonton, AB

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  16. Mike,

    I miss everything about WOXY. That Portugese "set your mind free..." thing, The "Taylor" loop you ran every morning at 9am, and particularly you guys. I selfishly hope you have time and interest in keeping this blog up and that you someday launch that on-demand feed of new music you described. At a minimum, I need your top 98 albums of the year or it won't be Christmas time.

    Godspeed,

    Keith
    DC

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  17. I am angry, disgusted, and yet even more disillusioned with the state of the union.

    To me, WOXY was one of the last beacons of freedom in this country. As we get sucked further and further down the vortex of corporate-run government and corporate-run media, all I can think of is get me the fuck out of here. WOXY was a rare oasis from the madness, but was the oasis merely a mirage? Will the corporations shut out any and all music that doesn't shill for their crappy products? Is all hope lost?

    Fuck corporate radio. Fuck the short-sighted, corporate-owned lawmakers that forced WOXY to pay $12K+/mo for royalties (and we know how little of that gets to the actual artist). Fuck the forces at work that caused us to lose WOXY.

    What's next? Dead bodies floating in the streets of New Orleans? Catastrophic oil spills that alter the course of history? What? Oh, never mind.

    God bless you Mike. You and Shiv got me through some long days. I am a better man for listening to WOXY. I will miss it dearly.

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  18. Looking forward to reading (and listening!) to your musical discoveries, Mike. WOXY will always be a big part of our musical heritage, yours and ours. Thanks for all you've contributed, all your honesty, and your unabashed enthusiasm for great music.

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  19. I just want to add my voice to the chorus of those who appreciate all you have done over the years and who hope you get a new gig (preferably a musical broadcast one) soon.

    woxy fan in Montana

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  20. Hey

    Thanks for the listing in your Blogroll. I'll add you to mine.

    Interesting to read your views on 'having a rant' here on your blog. I like to that as well ocasionaly (although more on the basis of having a discussion than a rant) but generally I don't write too much negative stuff - I don't see the point. I'd rather focus on great, amazing new music and publicise this to my readers. That's why I started my blog and that's still what I do - basically to inflict my tastes on the world :) I'd rather spend my time doing that than waste time writing why something is bad / isn't good, unless there is a significant context (for example a band that we have previously championed not living up to expectations).

    Anyway, the most important thing is your passion for music, so go for it and I look forward to visiting regularly.

    Robin @ Breaking More Waves Blog UK

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  21. Best of luck Mike.

    Thanks for all the news and all your hard work over the years, and years to come. Looking forward to your thoughts on music again.

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  22. Thanx Mike for some closure at least... Your fans still say there's nothing like woxy and you guys were the ones who made it that way. No one can ever take away that, good luck with your future endeavors and know we'll be looking forwards to whatever you can do :)

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  23. Mike,

    I can't thank you enough for posting this. Although I don't think I'll ever come to terms with WOXY's absence, I do feel a little more at peace.

    I really look forward to reading your blog regularly. I will also tune in if you get that on-demand program up.

    I wish you the best! Thanks for sharing thousands of great tunes all these years.

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  24. Mike, thanks for updating everyone as much as you can/want to. It is appreciated. A note of support for you: I can't imagine there ISN'T some kind of awesome career future awaiting you. You are one of the best there is. Surely, some company or person somewhere out there wants you to be the voice of great new music. I don't know how or when, but it's coming for you -- and soon, I hope!

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