Just yesterday I wrote a blog entry hearing Eminem's "My Name Is" on CFNY Edge 102. It seemed strange to me that this particular Eminem song was played and I wrote Edge 102's program director Alan Cross about it. Alan and I have exchanged emails in the past, you may recall.
My email to Alan reiterated what I wrote here. Below is Alan Cross' reply.
Thanks for taking the time to fire off an email. The least I can do is reply, right?
The weird thing about running a radio station is that you have to try and please hundreds of thousands of people at the same time. That's obviously impossible. So what can we do?
For one thing, we can spend a ton of money (hundreds of thousands of dollars, actually) on audience research. Every two weeks, we conduct some very scientific research into the wants/needs/demands/desires/wishes of a statistically relevant sample of the people who listen to the Edge. We do it so often because we recognize that music-especially the area of new rock-is always changing and mutating. It's our job to keep bobbing and weaving with the times.
Eminem is a perfect example. Three years ago, our research results were clear: Do NOT play Eminem-ever! However, since then, the attitude of the majority of our listeners has changed. In our most recent in-depth study, we found that there has been a 180-degree change. There's now an incredible demand for this guy and a surprising amount of acceptance for his music (and other hip-hip influenced material) in the whole new rock universe.
And it's not just here. Eminem has become a staple artist on new rock radio stations across North America. Go figure. (For the record, I'm not a huge fan, but majority rules.)
As for Avril Lavigne, I wouldn't worry about it. Really.
That's a short explanation for what's really a rather complicated thing.
Hope it helps.
Alan Cross is a very decent dude and he always gets back to me when I write him. His reply basically tells me they now play Eminem's "My Name Is" because there's suddenly a demand for Eminem on Edge 102. I actually like Eminem and have every CD he's ever released in my collection and I've even seen him live in concert but I don't believe "My Name Is" is the kind of Eminem tune that the core Edge 102 audience is demanding. There is a handful of heavier, edgier tunes from Eminem that better fit the bill.
I think it's time for me to accept the fact I've left Edge 102's target demographic. Alas, 'tis true. Edge 102 is targeting the teens and early 20s crowd and quite possibly this crowd wants to hear "My Name Is" along side their Billy Talent, Sum41 and Linkin Park in the morning. Alan Cross assures us that we won't be hearing the latest Avril Lavigne tomorrow morning, but what if this "research" they're conducting concludes that Avril's "My Happy Ending" is suddenly in demand. Why not? It's a catchy tune with guitar supporting our fellow Canadian's vocals. As you've just read, this research is very "scentific".
I'm not even going to play the race card here, but I think it's safe to say that there would not be an "incredible demand for this guy and a surprising amount of acceptance for his music" if Eminem were not white. Sad, but true.
My final thought is this. What's Edge 102 doing spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on audience research when I'll tell them what to play for free concert tickets? I'd keep Eminem on the play list, but it would be "Lose Yourself", "The Way I Am" and maybe "Stan". Of course, I'm 30 and way too old to have an opinion about such matters.