Being able to take constructive criticism well is a gift. Especially in publishing and broadcasting, feedback often feels personal, and no matter how reasonably it’s delivered it can reduce one to a quivering, gelatinous mass .
In the radio business, the general rule is every single comment from a listener probably represents what hundreds of others think, too. Good and bad. For the most part, the radio program managers I know take listeners pretty seriously.
Criticism from peers sounds even more loudly. So when the Public Radio Program Directors Association released contest judges’ reactions to a piece I produced, I braced myself.
The piece was a podcast from last spring of me interviewing the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s Music Director, Christopher Seaman. We talked about a concert featuring Carmina Burana, and Christopher played excerpts on the piano.
Me: (interrupting) Yes, but you WEREN’T ASKED BACK. Who’s accountable for that? And when donor slippage rears its head, what’s next for the future of the orchestra? And while were at it, how about the yucky, cheap wine offered at concerts? Is that CALIFORNIA WINE? Who’s responsible for THAT?
Actually, these are mostly legitimate questions, however rudely expressed. But I decided not to ask them, though they occurred to me Monday when Christopher stopped by to talk about the orchestra’s new season.