One of the unintended consequences of COVID may be something of a curve ball. It has been hard to notice an increased sense of gratitude, appreciation, and gratefulness across the spectrum. People whose services perhaps we once took for granted, we now consider as “essential.” And those workers have heard a lot more “thank-you's” throughout the course of 2020.
We find ourselves being especially thankful for delivery drivers, grocery store stockers, postal workers, and program directors.
Now I know I'm going to bend a few noses out of shape with this next comment, but I'll stand by it.
As a rule, there has been considerably less appreciation for radio among Rock artists.
While their label reps and management teams are grateful and there are still gold and platinum records being awarded, the artists in the Rock community have not always been particularly generous, much less effusive with their words.
That's especially true when we look across the aisle at Country performers. Whether it's on stage or at conferences like CRS, the hugs and kisses from the musicians aimed directly at program and music directors has never been in question. It's a fact these artists are the most generous and appreciative across the entire music industry.
But in Rock, not so much.
But perhaps this year has changed all that.
Many artists are suffering right along with the rest of us, unable to tour, perform, and easily hawk their merch. For bands and artists that are down the pyramid a bit, it has been an especially trying time. But even the big stars, their families, their crews, and staffers have been affected, too.
That's why it's been gratifying to see some truly kind and thankful gestures.
And these days, thanking radio has never been more important. So often, radio support is either taken for granted, or worse – minimized by music executives and publishers more willing to praise streaming services, TikTok, YouTube, and just about any other musical outlet rather than radio. But maybe that's beginning to change.
Exhibit A is a trade ad from Wolfgang Van Halen (son of Eddie) whose new project, Mammoth, is seeking airplay. For Wolfgang, this is his moment, following the loss of his dad this past October.
And so he ran the ad you see here, specifically thanking radio for supporting the lead track, “Distance.” Kudos to WVH and his radio team (listed in the ad) for taking the time to specifically thank Rock radio:
The same week, Chris Daughtry (remember him from American Idol?) expressed his thanks to radio with the video below. Traditionally, he has been very radio-friendly, but this message for radio programmers is especially resonant in 2020:
This video was clearly not hard to make or distribute, but it means a lot to those on the receiving end. As KLOS PD Keith Cunningham told me when he forwarded it, “Daughtry gets it.” Hard to argue with that.
And it keeps coming.
Signs of gratitude are everywhere, even in those simple trade ads. If there was ever a doubt Rock radio – and ALL of radio – was making a difference for artists, it's been erased by the pandemic.
In 2020, we appreciate everything. An “add,” a kind word, an interview, a virtual event – you name it. The gratitude has been noticeably present this year, at a time when it has been especially necessary.
I've seen that same mindset from rockers that have participated in those Rock Fantasy Camp “Master Classes” I've written about. Last weekend, it was Styx. Five members of the band showed up (singer James Young couldn't make it), well-framed in their homes/studios, dressed to the nines. They were there for their fans.
More importantly, these classes are set up for one hour in length. Styx hung around 1:45, patiently and joyfully answering questions, and hanging out with their adoring fans.
It is noteworthy, the band's financial proceeds from this paid event went to their crew – a group that hasn't had much to celebrate these past 10 months.
I've seen that same spirit from Alice Cooper, Roger Daltrey, and other superstars who don't have to display that level of gratitude in these “Master Class” events. But they do.
COVID has changed us, but not always for the worst. Some good has come out of this ordeal. I'm heartened by these signs of taking stock, giving back, showing appreciation, and offering thanks.
If you've got great examples of how you've been thanked – or how you've thanked others – list them in the comments or on my Facebook and Twitter pages. This is the perfect weekend to think about the people we're thankful for.
And thank YOU for being so supportive all year.
Throughout this pandemic, these posts have been harder to write. And yet, many of you dutifully read them every day.
Starting tomorrow and through the end of the year, I'll be peppering in some of this year's more popular ones for my “Best of JacoBLOG” segment, as I recharge the batteries and join you in looking back on 2020, a year we might like to forget, but never will.
Thanks again, and be safe.