Why did I ask everyone back for one more week of posts? Why didn’t I just stop when I decided it was time to be done with it? Frankly, I didn’t want Radio Exile to vanish from the world like so many other sites have in the past. I didn’t want people waiting for another update, confused why I hadn’t updated in a week. Or a month. Or a year. Over the last month, I realized I was ready to move on, but damn it, I tried to make a run at it one last time. I really did.
Radio Exile, as I have jokingly stated for the better part of these past five years, is my fickle mistress. At least, she was until today. She stole time from my job, time from my friends and time from my wife. She kept me up nights, had me doting on her (usually with emails and communications) and spending so much time on her that she never paid me back for. As of today, Radio Exile is done and dead and buried. It’s a sad day for me and for all the people that have been writing in over the past few days, but it’s the right decision.
Read my final thoughts on the last day here at Radio Exile “after the jump”
To think, all this started with a review of Murder by Death’s Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them.
So very much has changed in my life since Jonathan Widro decided to split our Inside Pulse music section into three distinct blogs. I was still pretty “wet behind the ears” when it came to running sites or marketing when I took over the site, but I was partnered with Greg Wind, whose personal experience in publicity we leaned upon in our early days to establish relationships with top independent labels in our country and abroad.
As many people can infer from his goodbye piece, I was ballsy at times, wasn’t necessarily the most mature editor, but we were passionate about the material and felt a responsibility to be, above all else, great. I didn’t want to be wasting our time or our writer’s either. Never once did I put an article live on the site that I wasn’t proud of.
That’s what made it so hard to let it go. Even once everyone else had moved on, I guess some part of me didn’t want to. In my head, there was no reason we couldn’t recapture the magic form we had from 2007-2009 when the majority of the staff were writing 2-3 times a week. Just look over everything on the site from that time frame. Brilliant stuff.
For me, though, I began to notice my own passion wane when I was no longer writing. I was editing and coordinating and talking to marketing and publicity folks, but I wasn’t writing. In November 2008, I started my first novel as part of National Novel Writing Month. Despite a solid plot and reams of pages, I still haven’t finished it.
Life, it seems, has been on hold for a long time.
Now, no more bellyaching. I hate that this started this way, but as I type thoughts and I figure out an eloquent way to close a major chapter in my life I guess I was due for some (omg, I won’t be Shawn, Editor-in-Chief of RadioExile.com anymore!).
First, we’ve done some really, really awesome stuff here.
Our pieces on punching and hugging artists aside, we were generally pretty humble and never singled anyone out. In fact, a great deal of our humor is what connected us with fans and readers. I mean, seriously, did anyone think I meant it when I said that Katy Perry and Zooey Deschanel didn’t look alike?
The quality of the staff made it possible for us to be ranked in the top 10 music blogs for British readers two years in a row. Our hard work and commitment lead to great opportunities for us all. I was among the first writers to be sent to Norway to cover by:Larm in 2008 [Link 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ]. For shit’s sake, I was there with Esquire and Black Book and Michael Azerrad (the author of Our Band Could Be Your Life). It was a super dark period for me when it should have been bright; I had just gotten engaged two months earlier, but I just lost my job due to a layoff when I got the invite of a lifetime and the friendships and experiences I had there will be among my favorite ever.
I got to interview Mary Guibert, mother of Jeff Buckley (quite possibly my favorite artist of all-time). Her grace and wisdom were greatly appreciated, but as always, I had to sacrifice to make it happen. I had shoulder surgery the night before and didn’t take any pain meds the day of the interview so that I would remain lucid during the call. You can hear on the call that I was in serious pain at points. Thank goodness she had so much to say so that I could mute the microphone.
I talked about music and art and told jokes and spread news and shared mp3s and mixtapes and videos and generally just had fun for the last five years. It’s been great and Radio Exile was always fun, but it’s time for me to move on. I’ll still be here at Inside Pulse working as the Chief Marketing Officer and working at Inside Fights. I just won’t have Radio Exile to play with anymore. Not right now, anyway. Maybe one day, the stars will align and things might be different, but blogging and music and the industry aren’t the same as they were half a decade ago. I’m just not as angst filled as I once was and I don’t have the drive to “change the world of music” with only one voice. I couldn’t get Ryan Adams to play at my wedding no matter how hard I tried (ha!)
At the end of the day, Radio Exile outlasted all of Inside Pulse’s music blogs. Radio Exile lived longer than many, many of my favorite sites who merely closed up shop without a whimper. Leave it to me to want to go out with a big ass bang, just like we started.
Greg and Toe and Kyle and Elie and Holly and Dan and James and Tom and Andrew (St. Clair and Pitkin) and Salty and Mark and Lauren and Cash and I busted our asses and had a ton of fun in the process. I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading or listening or watching what we’ve put out there. We wanted to connect with like-minded folks and ended up meeting the best array of writers and, above all else, people that I have had the privilege of working with. If I forgot anyone, I’m super sorry, but honestly, this might be the toughest thing I’ve written in a while. It’s certainly the most emotional.
Thank you again to Matthew Michaels and Widro for the opportunity and for understanding that we wanted to go out on “our terms.” I hope you’ve appreciated all that I have done here.
I want to give thanks to the two women who have supported my writing the most during this time. Thank you to my mother for playing the role of critic when I was too mean, or laughing with me when I called things “neat.”
Lastly, I want to thank my wife, Tracy (Kugler) Smith. I remember fighting on weekends as I wrote my columns for the site when you wanted to get out of the house. How you told me that it sometimes felt like I cared more about the site than about people or you. That was never the truth. I just wanted to do something to make you proud. I hope you are.
Funny story before I go. For those people who don’t know this, BoweryBoogie.com Editor-in-Chief and former RE editor Elie Perler and I worked together at TVT Records. He didn’t submit a writing sample like so many other writers before did. Every day, Perler had to walk to the front of the office (where I was the receptionist at that point…not too proud to admit that) and sort the mail for his department. One day, he says, and I quote, “Why haven’t you asked me to write for your blog, fucker?” The dude might weigh 115 pounds dripping wet so I laughed. The next day, I brought a CD for him to review.
The best lesson I have learned: hire people around you that can do the things that you don’t do well. Play to your strengths. This staff, this site, we were the fucking best. Thank you all for making my dream come true.
“…Before I go, I just wanna tell you: you were fantastic, absolutely fantastic. And you know what? — So was I!” – The Ninth Doctor to Rose Tyler