Hunger Strike

The world isn’t so different than it was six years ago, but there are those tiny evolutions, especially when it comes to the Internet. In 2009, blogs were still finding their way to the mainstream. What had started as small-time music sites were now responsible for breaking new bands. Web writers were getting music sometimes months before radio, a dynamic shift that was causing a big stir inside the industry. It was also the year that I got back into radio properly after spending the previous five years in other parts of the biz.

When I started at WFPK, it was with those blogs in mind that I launched The Weekly Feed. The idea was to aggregate the songs that were being posted the most, as well as dig a few gems that would have otherwise been lost to a lack of page clicks. We also made a plan to launch it as a syndicated show, to be broadcast around the country.  And since more and more stations were feeling left behind by this new revolution, they were more than happy to pick up my new show.  

Through the years, things slowly stabilized between the web and radio, causing The Weekly Feed to evolve, too. I introduced interview segments into the hour and eventually music news. We played with the format every now and then, eventually getting a template that we’ve used for a while. As new music became more easily accessible to radio stations, I started to focus more on the interviews, and thanks to being broadcast in 30 or so markets around the country, I’ve been able to ask for some pretty big names. It also didn’t hurt that we partnered up with to debut the video versions of the interviews and Paste Magazine to run the transcript. More and more, The Weekly Feed became a one-stop shop for artists to get the word out on their project.  

But the winds of change are blowin’ and they’ve changed just enough for The Weekly Feed to not exactly make sense anymore. What use to be a hot-spot for discovery is now another new music show in a crowd of many. It’s partly with that in mind that I’ve decided to end the show that’s responsible for my national profile and the opportunities that came from it. After six years, and roughly 300 episodes, I’ll unplug The Weekly Feed sometime early this summer.

It’s scary to kill something that’s been a part of you for so long. It would be an understatement to say that life will be different, as this little, one hour, weekly show has more or less ruled most hours of my every day. But, man, am I ever ready. I’m ready to finally have time to work on other ideas that I’ve been brewing on for what seems like forever. New radio shows, TV show pilots and pitches and more interviews. Lots more interviews. They’ve been the part of this that has grown organically out of The Weekly Feed and my team is already working on some really cool ways of getting them out into the world. And I’ll still continue the video series for Salon, which just so happens to also be called The Weekly Feed, so in an off-shoot way, the name still lives on.  

I also get to concentrate on WFPK and my music director position more. Over the last six years, we’ve built WFPK up to a great spot, being recognized as a top-five station in the country multiple times since 2009 — a curator and a trendsetter. While we use to break artists on The Weekly Feed back then, we now regularly break them on the WFPK airwaves in regular rotation. Another reason of redundancy to shut the show down.  

It can be easy to do the same thing over and over in our lives. Routine is safe, but complacency can be the end game. The alternative can feel like a trust fall. And while a person could get in a lot of trouble from basing their philosophies on Mad Men’s Don Draper, there are two words he once said to Peggy that have always stuck with me. “Move forward.” I do promise I’ll still be obsessing about turning you on to new music, here and elsewhere, but in new ways. Thanks for taking the ride with me.

Kyle Meredith is the music director of WFPK and host of the nationally syndicated “The Weekly Feed.” Hunting bears was never his strong point.