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Bob Staffa speaks out about radio’s role in local music

Recently, ‘Silent’ Bob Staffa, midday jock at K-Rock (WKRL/WKRH/WKLL) and host of the station’s Thursday night local music show Backstage Live, posted an in-depth response to an ongoing discussion on a syracuse.com message board concerning radio’s role in promoting local music.

Man, I have been watching this K-Rock vs. 95X saga unfold and thinking many things without actually posting but I feel I must. I, personally am not at war with anyone. So what if K-Rock and 95X don’t do everything for local music, they each do their part (and then some) and if you combine what the two stations do, it equals quite a bit. In fact, it equals a lot more than most cities do for their scene. I have been in touch with a lot of label folks since the release of Nativ Noize and they all agree that it is rare for a station to release something like it. I remember that J’me Hassle released one and I know WOUR did. I also know that 95X and Dave helped put out the SAMMY’s compilation for the 1999 awards. I think there is a sense of people helping out local musicians that really gets forgotten about. Is it the job of Program Directors and Owners to cater to local musicians? I say, no, as much as I would like them to, it’s a simple fact that they have an extremely demanding job and from what I see, they have a hard enough time dealing with the major label bands. Radio is a business and that is a cold, hard fact that people need to understand. I am happy to be part of the radio business and even more happy that I get to help out local bands to boot. Without Backstage Live, I would still have a job with K-Rock. I do care about local music and not because I have to but because I like many local bands and I practically grew up (if you can call me grown up) at the Lost Horizon not noticing a difference in local and national music, just the difference between good and bad music. I have had to deal with unwarranted attitude from more than one local musician and I have gotten better at dealing with egos. No one should bow down to you because you are a musician, local or national. Just like no one should bow down to you because you are on the radio, I hate that! You have to sell yourself to the public, to the radio stations, to the press and that is how it works. In Ed’s New Times article he brings up the point of bands dumping all over each other during the first K-Rockathon opening slot contest and trust me, it happened…a lot more than you think. I am very surprised they didn’t cancel Backstage Live altogether. I know there are those that act a certain way in front of me and a totally different way behind my back and I understand that is human nature but at some point, we really have to work together to make things happen. Not every local band is good enough to “make it” and not every local band has that goal but such is life. I’m not the best DJ in the world or even in Syracuse but I do my job to the best of my ability (most of the time). I have no bad feeling towards anyone at another station. I have personally met Dave and Alexis and Sam and some others from 95X (Jamie and Paulie when they worked there). I even met Bob O’Dell outside of the 3 Doors Down show in Utica. I respect anyone that is going to try and make a living in this business in this day and age, there are not that many opportunities out there and I feel blessed to have one. I have met Ted and Amy from 93Q and people from B104 and I must say, the radio bond is a strong one, we can all relate to each other in so many ways and it’s interesting to hear other people’s stories and views. What I have to say to local bands about the Bleachers Band Search is this, if you want to, go for it, I’m sure it will be a hell of a lot of fun. I know it’s a hell of a rush to just be able to stand in front of that many people to intro a band, I can’t imagine what it would be like to play in front of them. If you don’t want to, don’t enter for whatever reason you want to use, it’s up to you. I know that many safeguards have been put into place to assure that this contest is as fair as possible for everyone involved, especially the bands. I know I am starting to ramble so I will bring this to a close but my advice to any band is to respect the people in radio as you wish to be respected and you will be surprised how many people will at least give you a chance. Don’t try to hype yourself up way beyond what reality is, no one buys it, trust me, but like someone said in a post earlier, learn the game and either play it or do not, the choice is yours.

Bob Staffa

Archive article reposted with help from volunteer Ashley Caster.

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