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Music At Work

Friday, March 12, 2010

WNYC is not a typical workplace – employees have always been encouraged to listen to the radio while at work.  Well, they’ve been encouraged to listen to one radio station in particular… but the point is, working for a media company means having media around you all day.

The News Hub – no one uses old-fashioned News Rooms anymore – is a big open space with desks and multiple TV screens hanging overhead, showing at least 3 different channels at once.  The Takeaway, the morning news show, has a separate area with another bunch of TVs on constantly.  The Music Department sits in a bunch of desks on the other end of the floor, near the Music Library, and they’ve got to be listening to music constantly.  Ditto for our Soundcheck team upstairs.  Throw in all the other shows – keeping up with what’s on the media, in the news, and on the concert stages – and this place could easily become a cacophony of competing sounds.

But the TVs are all usually silent, and most listening is done through headphones.  That’s how we avoid the biggest problem with music in the workplace - namely, who decides what everyone hears.  Music may make the workplace a more hospitable place, and maybe even increase productivity – but only if you don’t hate the music you’re listening to.  One UK article about music in the workplace mentioned a PR firm that used music to get the staff going.  Their top 3 tunes were Dolly Parton: Working 9-5; Michael Jackson: Man in the Mirror or Billie Jean; and Take That: Shine.  That would get me going all right – right out the door.

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