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OZ's format is changing

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Hello New Orleanians, hello listeners around the globe !

I wonder how all of you experience the change of format at OZ ?!

Since i listen every day for years now i noticed that there are considerable less live appearances in the studio during regular shows. It feels almost as if the local musicians would avoid OZ !??

Hardly do i remember when it was last time that Kermit dropped in at Bob's show, Charmaine usually seemed to be in every now and then. But most of all I am missing the often unexpected live performances !!

The last fund drive for that matter was a big disappointment.
While fund drive times originally were hard to bear it lately turned into the opposite when every showhost turned up with her/his "special offer". Instead of switching off [yes - guilty ;-) ] i was glued to my pc for hours.
That was abandoned all of a sudden with the last fund drive.
Why ?

Well looking back it was not all that sudden:
In February The Vibes were canceled without further notice and i really was shocked when even the Breakfast Jams at Jazz Fest - which from a listener's perspective had been an integral element of Jazz Fest (broadcast)- were canceled too. (still don't get it)

Neither do i understand that nor do i appreciate it !

While i enjoyed the broadcast from Voodoo Fest to the max it was awesome when J.J. Grey came in later to do an acoustic set on OZ !
That was like being invited to the party after the show.

Honestly - which station can offer only half of that ?!

Among the many artists to remember are the Holmes Brothers, members from the Neal family (think it was Little Ray's band) and "typical" OZ a band that did not have a name at the time of appearance.
(who of you listened LAMP March 24, 2006 ?)

All that makes the true spirit of OZ.
And for all that you got recognized among others by the Rolling Stone.
This and other votes were purely on what you did so far *in* NOLA *for* NOLA.
And we are happy that you shared this great experience with us but
who wants to take that away ?
If it does not happen in NOLA it does not happen at all anymore.

That makes me very sad to say the least !
Really imho it looks like
someone desperately tries to shoot both his feet !

WWOZ you are drifting away.

Get me right: i do not mind you generally broadcasting from elsewhere, but not either...or.
There is a substantial difference between full live broadcasts of big events and the in-studio intimacy - there is no competing against each other !
Studio production is your core business do not neglect it and do not make it a poor cousin !

Actually what is lacking lately made OZ what it is known for today !

Do not discredit the legend.

I like to ask each and everyone of you - listeners, musicians, showhosts, friends - to step up and let us know what you think about it.
For roughly 15 years i know OZ and this time changes do not look good.

A bit of history to help to understand

It has been suggested that I wrote the post above, so, let me assure you first of all that I did not, and secondly provide my input to the subject. I will do this in the way of a history of my involvement in LIVE IN-STUDIO performances and shows.

I had long been an occasional volunteer at WWOZ when in the spring of 2000 I was between jobs and I had time to spend at ‘OZ on the phone bank. I even got the phone call about my new job while there. The new job gave me added freedom to be a more active volunteer and I began dropping by more often. Fred Goodrich, aka Freddie Blue had a late Saturday night show called JAM SESSION and he asked me to come in and help with the show. The show featured LIVE performances by local bands. Freddie produced and engineered the show and I was just “helping” to set the studio and move equipment around. The sound equipment used to engineer the show was borrowed from the remote broadcast truck, very limited and somewhat inadequate to “do it right”. The station’s engineering group was unable, unwilling to or restricted from assisting us in upgrading this situation. Freddie and I took it upon us to purchase the needed equipment; a large sound mixing board, cables, microphones, stands, headphones and the like to produce a high quality LIVE broadcast. By owning, not donating, this equipment we assured that it would be available in the studio when needed for the show but was freely shared with other shows in the studio. The equipment quickly became integral to the membership drive LIVE performances. The equipment and Freddie where there to do a LIVE In-Studio performances at a moments notice for any show host who had a guest musician drop in.

By 2004 JAM SESSION was receiving some recognition from the music community and the audience and was moved to a “Prime Time” slot of 6:00 pm on Saturdays. The musicians came to know that WWOZ’s In-Studio production quality was great and that they could showcase their music with confidence. Judy Wood began her LIVE @ FIVE series on Jazz from the Park at this time. Freddie would engineer the live mix, I would run the master studio board and Judy produced and hosted the show. Working closely with Jazz clubs, NOCCA and artists the show was magic. In the spring 2005 the first Jazz Fest Jam was held, a 16-hour, 14 band all-night show between Sat to Sun Jazz Fest broadcasts. The Jam Session continued to showcase local bands until August 2005 brought Katrina and WWOZ evacuated from the old studio.

WWOZ in exile used our equipment to broadcast the WWOZ signal from the studio in Baton Rouge as well as when the station returned to its current home in The French Market. Until the real studio equipment could be moved from the old studio and set up our board was the station’s main board. Once “Studio A” was set up and running Freddie and I began working to set up “Studio B” for Live In-Studio performances again using our personal equipment. The post-K membership drive in spring 2006 had a stellar line up of artist coming in to perform and support WWOZ and Freddie and I handled them all along with co-producing the membership drive itself. You the listeners responded like never before to support WWOZ, far beyond our wildest dreams.

Your generous support allowed WWOZ to replace the remote broadcast truck lost to the storm and to build a second one. Meanwhile, Freddie, Judy and I continued to fund all of the equipment for “Studio B” with some help from a few individual supporters. LIVE @ FIVE thrived in the new studio. The Jam Session was gone, lost to the storm. But the Jazz Fest Breakfast Jams were created. Hey we knew that we would never survive another all-nighter, we’re too old.

Each morning of both Jazz Fest weekends beginning 7:00 am and ending at 11:00 am when the remote broadcast from Fest would begin; Freddie and I took to the air. Bringing in not only local artist but a few of the Fest acts as well. We gave preference to local artist, artists not on the Jazz Fest menu, young bands and to the “school kids”. From this format the ‘OZ VIBES From The Studio series was born.

‘OZ VIBES was a once a month special 90 minute presentation of a band. A chance to get to know a local band that you might not otherwise be familiar with. Vibes brought to the listeners a wide variety of music from young as well as very established bands. The quality of the show was recognized when, to my knowledge, it became the only show on WWOZ with an individual underwriter/sponsor. I extend my sincere gratitude to The Transportation Revolution for their generous support of our show. The quality of the Vibes and LIVE @ FIVE series lead to us being able to bring in an outstanding line up to the 2007 Jazz Fest Breakfast Jams including national record label artist The Holmes Brothers. Shortly after this proud moment, something changed.

New plans we being made to change the way in-studio performances were done. A new arrangement of Studio B was being talked about and the talks for the most part did not include Freddie and I. In February of this year while Freddie was on vacation the station’s engineering group was directed to disassembled Studio B. Our equipment was less than carefully set aside, and is now all stored in my garage. ‘OZ Vibes was cancelled with no explanation given to me. Jazz Fest Breakfast Jams were cancelled because “the morning show hosts objected to giving up their time slot”. Freddie was told that he could not participate in any on-air activities. With no Studio B, LIVE @ FIVE also ceased to be. Since February the number of live in-studio performances has dropped dramatically and most are “air mic-ed” in Studio A.

Reconstruction of Studio B began in July and is showcased in the articles here on the site. Station engineering will now be handling in-studio performances as they do the remote broadcasts from the trucks. I look forward to the return of Live In-Studio music and will work to make it as much or even more of a success as Freddie, Judy and I experienced over the last seven years.

May All Your Blues Be On The Radio.


A bit of history...

Hello Big D !
Thank you so much for your input.
It is sad to discover that things are beyond my worst dreams !
Who can be so stupid to suggest that you post under a second ID ??
Anyway let me tell that person that I am sure not Big D nor any other show host. LOL
This lets me realize that things are worse than i suspected. Something smells fishy here. So far nobody from OZ had the guts to respond to my call.
Big D you enjoy my highest respect for stepping up and sharing the time line as you experienced it. It coincides widely with my experience as a listener though i did not have to go through your ordeals.
While i did not know these underlying facts when writing my original post I (and others) sure did learn the effects of those the hard way.

Oh yes the spring fund drive 2006 was a great success and therefore i think it is absolutely cynical that the studio was not upgraded. It was obvious long time before Big D gave us these interesting insights today that the studio still struggled (technically). As a listener i can not endorse that.

I salute to your will and ability to keep it up with a station so ungrateful to you Big D ! In your wonderful shows it never once was to notice what was going on.

With all respect i hope that you are wrong here:
"Station engineering will now be handling in-studio performances as they do the remote broadcasts from the trucks." Sorry but i had to bear some of these broadcasts (some were ok though - to be fair).

I sincerely hope that live music returns to the studio(s) of OZ
and will run up to / match the level you and your pals established !

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