So for those not in the know, Boston Progress Radio is now a fully operational battle-station, devoted to pumping out APA jams all day and night, and “Delia”, one of the site’s contributors, posted a call for feedback:

You know how when you’re in a room that has a funny smell to it, eventually, you stop smelling it? Well, it’s kinda like that… I’ve been thinking about the site a lot, about what we can do to make it better… but I’m starting to get a little immune to it all in a way. I mean, really, the feedback should come from other people… so. What do you think? Have you listened to the radio? What do you think about it?

Since I’ve listened to BPR a few times and the project of Asian American radio has fascinated me for a while now, I figured I’d offer some feedback of my own, with the disclaimer that I know virtually nothing about the inner workings of BPR, or radio in general. Man, I love having a blog.

As the site catches on, the larger the playlists will be, so it doesn’t particularly irk me that the Native Guns’ Stray Bullets Vol. 2 Mixtape consists of roughly 1/4th of BPR’s airtime (hi Eugene!), and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the tracks I’ve encountered. More music will make for better radio, hopefully to the point where the DJs can discriminate a little more in the songs they leave in the playlist. Personally, I need to be in a certain kind of mood to listen to the radio over, say, iTunes-in-Shuffle-mode, so I’m not above saying that I like the idea of the “radio single” because it’s those songs that are going to catch my attention much more easily than some of the more experimental, involved stuff that an artist puts on their album. But maybe I’m just a pop-whore.

What intrigues me more about BPR and the project of Asian American radio is the potential to use it as a community audio-space. Radio can be so much more than a playlist; commercial radio knows that their radio stations are part of how we identify ourselves, and they cash in on the affinities we build not only with the music they play but the people who play them. We love our DJs, our talk shows, our call-ins, all the programming, and, yes, even the advertisements. While we may resent this when it becomes overtly crass (hello, MTV), all of that could build an incredible sense of community investment when we bend it to our own people instead of our own pocketbooks.

I would love to see a BPR with DJs who have personality in their playsets, a morning show with the latest in API community news, even ad-breaks for Blacklava or particular community-based organizations. “Asian American Music” isn’t quite a genre in the same sense that Hip Hop or Rock are, so the community that forms around an Asian American Music radio station is going to be drawn around a sense of Asian America that won’t come just from the music.

pat m.

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