Monday, November 12, 2012

Music Director Note: CD Checkout Box

Hi, all!

Just a quick note that there is a new system for checking out CDs from the library.

On the desk upstairs, you will find an ugly green plastic box (I found it in some stuff that Mom gave me when she cleaned out her garage, and it's probably vintage 1976 or so...) On the box is a label that says "CD CHECKOUT".  Inside the box are some nice, big index cards (there will be more as I carve out time to make them).  Please fill out one of these cards with your name and contact information at the top, followed by the CDs you check out.  It's pretty easy to figure out.  There's an example card in the front.

Thanks for respecting the KRZA music library and taking good care of our CD collection.  I'll give you the lowdown on the latest releases when we're back from the big conference in Boulder this week.  Until then,  be nice to Laura and Gerald while we're gone.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Music Director Notes 11-2-12: Top Picks

Howdy, all!

First post-fund-drive post here.  Thought I'd take a break from catching up on the usual backlog of previewing and talk at ya for a few minutes.


Joe Gilman: Relativity
Jeff Holmes Quartet: Of One's Own

The Verge: Introducing The Verge
Diana Krall: Glad Rag Doll
Andrea Brachfeld: Lady of the Island (GREAT jazz flute--rare!)

Pacific Mozart Ensemble: Brubeck & American Poets:  (yes the same Dave Brubeck of jazz piano fame)
Baton Rouge Symphony Chamber Players: Weill, Ibert, Berg

Rodriguez: Searching for Sugar Man


Mary Jane Lamond, Wendy Macisac: Leinn (This CD seems to have already disappeared; whoever aired it last, please return it, pronto!)
Ya Amar: Egyptian Project

Background Noise Crew: Everybody Does This

Local H: Hallelujah!  I'm A Bum
R.E.M.: Document
Steve Harris (founder of Iron Maiden): British Lion
Mumford & Sons: Babel
Mark Mallman: Double Silhouette (quirky as hell)
David Cale: Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood
Paul Barrere and Roger Cole: Nova Train

Thanks, all!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Music Director Notes 10-5-12: Those Darn White Labels

T'was the day before the Fund Drive, and all through the station
People watched the debates and shook their heads at the nation.

Well, okay, so I'm not that great at poems...but I didn't watch the debates, either.  I like being happy.


The topic for today's post is "Weeding: Why on earth do we have to put the date and the track number on those stupid white labels on front of the CDs, which block the information I need for my playlists half the time?  I just wanna play music, here!"

Okay, I don't blame you, and please note that, due to the squeaking of several wheels, I just moved those annoying DJ Feedback sticky notes from the front of most of the CDs to the inside, so that should help you out with the whole white label thing.

As always, there's a reason we do things the way we do them here (other than to torture you, which is fun, but sometimes counterproductive.)  We receive roughly 40 new CDs every week, and some of them eventually end up out in the library.  About once a year per section, it's the Music Director's job to go through the library and pull out CDs that nobody seems to be interested in so that we have room for the 2500 or so new CDs coming in.

How do I know whether or not you're interested in a CD?  You guessed it--I look at the white label!  If I see that a CD hasn't been played in 4, 5, 10, 12 years?  Out it goes, unless it's by a well-known artist or it has been played a lot.  If the white label is full of your handwriting, it gets a new white label for you make notes on.

Quite often, I see a white label with dates but no years on it.  Something like this:

If this CD hasn't been played since 2004, I should pull it to make room for something more appealing to you guys, but I can't tell.  Can you?

By the way, what happens to the CDs once they get pulled from the library is that first Gerald, our Program Director, goes through them and pulls out anything that should be kept in.  Then we ask the DJs who specialize in that genre of music to go through them and do the same.  The ones that don't make it through this process get taken to area music festivals and other places where KRZA sets up a booth and are given to people in return for filling out a survey.  Or you can take them home, too, if you like.

Okay, on to the New Releases for the week:


Quite a haul this week!  The music promoters are finally beginning to get what we do and don't air here, so there's less junk to go through.  Which I like!  :-)


  • Diana Krall: We have Diana Krall, we have Diana Krall, we have Diana Krall....okay, I'll quit boring you.  I'll just say that Glad Rag Doll really takes the 1930's Frank Sinatra sound to the next level! 
  • The Verge: And now, for something a little different...
  • Andrea Brachfield: You don't see decent jazz flute come along every day, and Andrea is now my new heroine.  If I focused exclusively on jazz and practiced eight hours every day for ten years with a top-notch band, I might...MIGHT...sound like her.  Maybe.  


  • Mary Jane Lamond and Macisac: Celtic music from Cape Breton Island; again, something we don't see every day, so let's encourage the music promoters to send us more by airing it.

All I can say is, if you're not checking out the New Releases, you're missing out, big time!
  • R.E.M. "Document"
  • Steve Harris (Founder of Iron Maiden) "British Lion"
  • Mumford & Sons "Babel"
  • Local H "Halleluiah, I'm A Bum": Good stuff!
  • Mark Mallman "Double Silhouette": Quirky, quirky, quirky!
Classical:  Dave Brubeck--yes, the very same Dave Brubeck, jazz pianist extraordinaire--composed classical choral music!  Check it out in the New Release section!

Hip-Hop: I really enjoyed Background Noise Crew, AND it's FCC clean!

Folk: Apparently there's a film out about Sixto Rodriguez, 70's Mexican-American folk artist, and now KRZA proudly owns the soundtrack, which features music solely by him.  Oh, yeah!

See ya after the fund drive!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Music Director Notes 9-25-12: Playlists Part 2

Howdy, all!

Okay, just a couple of examples of "how NOT to fill out a playlist", and then I promise to move on to the New Releases.


Not-So-Good Data Entry, Continued: 

(I just found out that you can click on these pictures, and they get nice and big so that you can see them. Try it!)

Example No. 5

Okay, there's still some misunderstanding around Tracking Numbers vs. track numbers.  Just to be clear, the "Tracking Number" means the 5-digit number on the upper right of the white label, not the track number on the back of the CD.  CMJ doesn't care WHICH song is played from a CD, or that PART of a song has been played; it just cares that a song has been played.

Also, this is a great example to illustrate that a New Release ALWAYS has a Tracking Number (unless I forget to write it on--duh.)  If a CD has a Tracking Number, it's a New Release.  If you're entering a Tracking Number, you should be toggling "New" in Spinitron. If you're toggling "New", you should be entering a Tracking Number.

I realize that toggling "New" is kind of a repetition of effort, but again, every little bit helps me do the reporting, and it also tells the listeners who log in to the website to see your playlist that what you played is a new release.

Okay, now it's your turn.  What's wrong with the following playlists?

Test 1

Test 2

Test 3

Test 4

Test 5

(Actually, there's nothing wrong with the last two.  I was just seeing if you were paying attention.)

Okay, that's it.  Next time, CD weeding:
  • Why we ask you to write track numbers and dates on the white labels, and 
  • Why those annoying sticky notes are on front of the New Release CDs
And now, on to...


Rockers: If you're a fan of Mumford and Sons, check out The Dunwells.  I also recommend Kate Miller-Heidke (pop), Ben Folds Five (rock-pop), Alt-J (indie-pop) and, of course, the Dave Matthews Band.  Metalheads, check out Before the Dawn and Knell; both albums are (I think) FCC clean, or at least mostly clean.

Jazz: I'm not a huge fan of Kurt Elling, but the band in 1619 Broadway is so good, I have to recommend this album.  Also, for Swingtime hosts, check out the Preservation Hall Jazz Band; ya can't get any more New Orleans than this (although they snuck some bluegrass in there, too).  Dave Douglas, of course, always puts out great music, so check out his album, "Be Still"; it's not. Still, that is. Finally, don't let the name "4thward Afro Klezmer Orchestra" put you off; this album is seriously smokin'!

World: If you haven't already, check out The Olllam, kind of on the quieter side of rock/pop/Celtic crossover.  Very nice.  I also liked the Soul Jazz Orchestra, which incorporates the elements of its name, plus Afrobeat and other cool stuff.  Enjoy!

Thanks, all, and until next time...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Music Director Notes, 9-12-12: Playlists Part One

Howdy, all!

So I thought I would start a little "what is wrong with this playlist" series, as a way to educate and reinforce what you, being the brilliant and savvy DJs you are, already know about playlists.  This is probably a classic case of "preachin' to the choir", since, if you have been reading this blog, you already know how to use Spinitron as well as I do...but perhaps if you run into a fellow DJ, you can tell them about all of the great  information here and encourage them to visit and get the latest scoop.  Deal?



Your playlist is one of the most important--and yes, time-consuming--parts of your job as a KRZA DJ.  So, why all of the fuss about playlists?  Well, there are four reasons:

1. KRZA is legally required to report everything that goes out over the air, including music.
2. Reporting the music that gets aired enables the artists to get paid for airplay.
3. Playlists are now published online, and this enables your fans to see what songs you played for them, any day, any time of day.  Nice, huh?
4. Most important to me, selfish being that I am, is that I use your playlists to report new release airtime to CMJ--the College Music Journal.  Artists and music distributors read the reports generated by CMJ and based on these reports, send us (mostly) appropriate new music to play.  Free.  We like free.  So when you play new releases on your show, it keeps KRZA's sound sound fresh and unique, and encourages artists to keep creating new music for us to enjoy.  It's a win-win situation all the way around. We all like that!

The Spinitron Report:

By now you are quite familiar with the input screen of Spinitron.  You know how to data-enter the artist, album, label, time, and most of you know what the Tracking Number is and where it goes, and what the "New" toggle is for.

So, what happens after you've submitted your playlist after your show?  Well, here's where I step in.  I log into Spinitron as an Administrator and generate a report that looks like this (I blacked out the DJ and show names):

                                                               Spinitron Playlist Report

I take this report and count up the number of times a song from a new release CD is played.  For instance, I see from the above screen shot that three songs from Loreena McKennitt's "Troubadours on the Rhine", tracking number 13315, was aired on this particular date.  So I take this number--3, for three songs--enter it next to the Music Database entry for "Troubadours on the Rhine", compile it, and send that data to CMJ:

                                                                 KRZA's Music Database

The playlist report from Spinitron (the first screenshot above) represents seven day's worth of playlists.  This particular one was 22 pages long.  That's a lot of music to keep track of, which is why I'm always hounding you to do good data entry.  If you feed me too much, too little, or incorrect information, it really slows me down on the reporting, and then I don't get to do my other job duties, like maintaining the library so that you can find the CDs you want...or writing articles for this blog.

Good Data Entry:

So, let's take a look at three examples of correct data entry:

Example 1: 

This DJ clicked "New" in Spinitron and entered the correct Tracking Number under "Song Notes", and these values are present in the final two columns to the right.  Great job!

Here's another example of good data entry :
Example 2:

Wups, the goofy Music Director forgot to write the Tracking Number on the label on front of the CD.  Yeah, I'm afraid this happens a lot; sorry.  The above example illustrates a great way to let me know.  Below is another way that works just fine:

Example 3:

Notice that "New" is still toggled in both cases.  This is crucial.  Here's why:

Not-So-Good Data Entry:
Example 4:

This snippet has one New Release song in it.  Can you tell, at a glance, which one it is?

Next time, we'll have another installment on the playlist stuff.  For now, on to the New Releases:


Bluegrass: Ricky Skaggs!  'Nuff said.

Rock: Judas Priest, their 30th Anniversary, two-CD collection!  Oh, my, oh, my...wait, did I say 30 years?  Ouch, that hurts...

Jazz: Diana Krall has a new album coming out on Verve, and we have a single preview, "Just Like A Butterfly"!  Play it lots so we get the whole thing!  (Sigh...I have such a crush on Diana Krall.  Not only is she blond and gorgeous with legs a mile long, but she has more talent in her little finger than ten Brittany Spears'.  Too bad Elvis got to her first...but oh, what a marriage!)

World: Fatoumata Diawara is an actress-turned-singer from Mali.  Good career move, there.

Latin: If you like the new generation of electronic Latin music, have a listen to Bang Data.  Be careful for profanity in the lyrics, though; the little bit of English I listened to was okay, but I'm not bilingual.

Blues: Greg gave Magic Slim and the Teardrops a big thumbs-up, and I have to agree.  Enjoy!

Some Of Each: Tizer is a jazz-rock-world fusion band, and they're really good and really popular in Europe.  I put them in Jazz, but it was a tough call.  Yes, they're going to stick out of a jazz program a bit.  But then, they're going to stick out in World and Rock, too.  So, if you'd like a little pizzazz in your jazz show, give them a listen.

Until next time...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Music Director Notes 8-29-12: Picks of the Week

Howdy, all!

Don't really have much else to say this week, so here's some of the New Releases: 

WORLD MUSIC: Continuing our fabulous haul from ARC: 

  • Valentina Ponomareva: Gypsy Romances from Russia
  • Osvaldo Chacon y su Timba: Salsa Afro Cubana
  • Vivienne Dogan-Corringham and George Hadjineophytou: Popular Turkish folk songs
  • American Indian Powwow: Music of the Navajo Indians
  • Saor Patrol (Pronounced "Shore Patrol"): 
    • Duncarron 
    • Two Headed Dog. (Basically the same tunes as Duncarron...but they add distorted rock and roll rhythm guitar to the pipes and drums, and it sounds fabulous!)

  • The Modern Mandolin Quartet: Americana features a quartet of mandolins performing famous works by Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, and other American composers.  Fun!  
  • Celine Ricci and Daniel Lockert: Le Bestiaire. Songs for soprano and piano--all about animals.

  • Concord has released their Summer 2012 sampler, featuring remasters of some of the greats. Always good.
  • Lou Pallo of Les Paul's Trio: Thank You, Les.  You're not going to hear guitar playing this good for a looooong time--enjoy!


  • Girlyman: Performed at the last ALMA Sundays at Six concert, and they're pretty darn fabulous. 


  • Michael Connolly and Miller McNay dish up a tasty serving of both original and traditional tunes.  Great stuff!

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Couple of Quick Spinitron Things: 8/21/12

Hey, all ~

Just a couple of quick Spinitron things before I dive in to work for the day:

1. If you're using your own laptop to access Spinitron, point your browser to

2. If Spinitron gives you the "Cookies" error--it goes something like "It looks like cookies aren't enabled in your browser, etc. etc."--just close and reopen Internet Explorer.  You should be all set.

Okay, that's it.  See ya later...