May 8th – Day of Silence


BY KURT HANSON and DANIEL MCSWAIN
Plans for the upcoming “Day of Silence” are coalescing, and a framework for the event is coming together, as support and suggestions from day of silencewebcasters continue to pour in to our offices.

As mentioned previously in RAIN [here], the primary goal is to design a “media event” that gets press — specifically, press that will have a direct impact on Congressmen. The goal of a “Day of Silence” is not primarily to get listeners calling their Congressmen, although we think it will also do that.With that in mind, here’s a look at the plans so far:

  • We believe that the ideal date for this particular event is Tuesday, May 8th — exactly one week before many of us may need to go silent permanently. Also, by that date a bill will hopefully already have co-sponsors, might have a committee hearing, and could be coming up to a vote soon.
  • Per the suggestion of some webcasters, we considered re-naming the event “The Day The Music Died.”(It might be problematic to use it for May 8th if the music comes back to life on May 9th) However, we’re already using that name for D-Day, May 15th — which will be the day the music dies, permanently, if Congress doesn’t step in.
  • “Day of Silence” is a nice, catchy, four-syllable name that resonates. SilenceIt works well in headlines. Some journalists (and consumers) remember the same event five years ago and we can build on those memories.
  • The idea of a day of all non-RIAA music has also been suggested. The problem with that idea is that many listeners might respond, “Fine! Problem solved! Just do that permanently!” and for most webcasters, given their genre choices and target audiences, that is not technically practical. [As a reference, a list of RIAA-member labels is here.]
  • We have floated the idea of, on that day, organizing a nationwide talk show hosted by some combination of NPR stations and/or Wolf FM. To really live up to the name “Day of Silence”, however, we concluded that this time we really need silence. (Too many journalists last time started going down the path of “You’re calling it a Day of Silence, but you’re not really silent…?” We don’t want to risk that again.)
  • For those webcasters who have advertising commitments to fulfill, we believe a Tuesday will work well. Hopefully the event gets so much press coverage that some of the hours of listening you lose on Tuesday you may be able to make up on Wednesday through Friday.
  • Last time, five years ago, we did not have the participation of the major Internet-only players. This year, we already have commitments RAIN Day of Silence 2002 Issue from major webcasters. We’re also reaching out to large broadcasters (i.e., Clear Channel, CBS, Entercom, Bonneville, Cox, et al.) to gauge their interest in participation.
  • We will work out a system where you can commit to your support and participation. We should all work together to develop personalized banner or player ads explaining the situation and encouraging action from listeners — “While we’re silent today, we hope you’ll use this time to call your Senators and Representative, so we don’t have to go silent permanently a week from today…”

In planning the “Day of Silence”, we’ve incorporated feedback from webcasters and listeners to make as successful of a “community effort” as possible. Use our feedback form to commit your station and volunteer additional suggestions.

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