Today was an interesting day on the air for me, though actually doing my show had very little to do with it. Shortly after I hit the airwaves, some doorknob who either works for or is a fan of a heretofore unheard of Canadian band called CHIWAWA mass emailed what would appear to be several hundred people in the radio and recording industries promoting their band. Nothing terribly unusual about that, it happens all the time. What made this unique was the fact that the origination point of this email was tied in some way to the distribution list that it was sent to. The end result of this setup is that when people started replying to the email (mostly at first to say “take me off your distribution list”), their reply went to everyone who also got the original email.
It doesn't take people long to get irritated with this kind of situation, and that's when the fun starts. First you get the people saying “take me off this list,” followed by a bunch of “hey, stop hitting REPLY ALL” (which everyone assumes everyone else is doing), and then, because you're dealing with a lot of radio and record-industry wiseacres, it just sort of devolves into chaos. Fun is now inevitable.
Where whoever assembled this list got all of these addresses I have no idea, but I've gotten replies from all over the world. Norway, Britain, Samoa, New Zealand, I think I saw Italy, and of course people from all over the US and Canada have checked in. In addition to being global in geographical terms, the distribution went to an ambitious scope of people in various radio formats. Top 40, Easy Listening, Christian, Public Radio, Country...it went to everyone! Either this band is so mass appeal that essentially everyone in the world will soon be a fan, or they're so bad that they're flailing about in search of someone, anyone, who might be willing to listen to them. Call me jaded, but I suspect the latter.
Some wisenheimer has started a support group of sorts on Facebook called People Against CHIWAWA for those of us who were part of this fun little email chain. I joined immediately, though in a strange way I have to kind of thank this hapless band for giving me a lot of hearty belly laughs this afternoon. Radio has thinned its herd as a result of industry consolidation, but there are still some awfully funny people in this biz.
I can't recall seeing anything like this since my days in big corporate radio. Back when email was a more nascent tool, you actually would get people errantly hitting “REPLY ALL” and then people hitting “REPLY ALL” to chastise them for hitting “REPLY ALL.” Eventually everyone in the company was getting so many replies and replies to replies that work just ground to a halt until cooler heads finally prevailed. Good times. I always enjoyed those days. It was kind of like a blind taste test, with people as the product. Today was like that, too. I got to make snap judgments about people and form opinions about how their day was going. Cranky replies, replies with horrible spelling, replies begging for the madness to stop, I got to form an opinion of the sender based on the most ridiculous situational criteria. It was fun.
The odds of me ever crossing paths again with most of these people is small, but I kind of want to come up with some sort of secret handshake that would indicate “I was there” on this fateful day, when an unknown band either launched or torpedoed their career.