Feature article from the March 2007 AIRblast

BJ Leiderman, Composer 

BJ Leiderman's theme credits include NPR's Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Common Ground, Car Talk and Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me and APM's Marketplace.

Most of you know me from the Public Radio themes I’ve written over the past 30 years. But what you may not know about me is that I am a card-carrying Rock and Roller. The Beatles taught me to play by ear and BJ LeidermanI've been rockin’ ever since. Which is why, having just turned 50, I find myself a new member of the “What The Hell Happened To My Music?” generation, the Great Demographic of the Disappointed Desert. Necessity being my mother of invention, I've embarked on a new project; a program entitled 4/4 with BJ Leiderman. (For a side project that allowed me to vent my rage about the state of music and sound, see my parody Miss Analog High, this month's AIRBlast audio feature.)

Currently in pilot production, 4/4 seeks to prove to the aforementioned demographic that, yes, there is still a good deal of rock and pop music out there worth listening to—and not just by people pushing up daises, either. To be featured on 4/4, a song must clear three hurdles:

1) Good Songwriting: Intelligent and creative lyrics along with mature, unpredictable chord changes and, hopefully, harmonies;

2) Good Performance: The players have to really know their way around their instruments—no slackers here. And, yes, they have to really be able to sing (sorry rappers!); and finally,

3) Good Production: I just love recordings where the production is every bit as interesting as the song itself.

Most episodes will be thematically based, others, performer-centric. In any event, I hope 4/4 with BJ Leiderman will soon be an oasis in the disappointed desert, shimmering somewhere at the bottom of the dial.