Archive for the Radio Category

Bob Wills Radio to launch July 4 2009

Posted in News, Radio on July 1, 2009 by takecountryback

Bob Wills Radio” a weekly updated pod cast from will be launched at noon on July 4th, 2009, featuring historical interviews of former Texas Playboys and  contemporary artists influenced by Bob Wills. The interviews will include recordings from the respective artists and is a venture that Dwight Adair, owner of and longtime friend of the Wills family says, “is a free, weekly tribute to the music and legacy of Bob Wills, a fun-filled half-hour show without commercial interruption, available world wide 24 hrs. a day.”

Bob Wills Radio is sponsored by , the Official Site of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, and The Broken Spoke, , Austin’s premiere honky tonk, that booked Bob Wills for multiple dates in the mid 1960’s.  James White, owner of The Broken Spoke, remembers the thrill of seeing Bob Wills perform in his own club, and says he feels Bob Wills Radio “is a wonderful opportunity for fans world wide” and “is a way we can continue The Broken Spoke’s history of presenting legendary Texas music to all Country fans.”

Mr. Adair, who has one of the world’s largest collections of Bob Wills memorabilia and recordings, says, “In the Bob Wills era, performances and personal charisma on daily noon radio broadcasts were how bands advertised their weekend dances, where they made the bulk of their income. When we discovered that our community base for visited the website in the greatest numbers at noon everyday, the idea for Bob Wills Radio was born.”

Bob Wills Radio is wholly owned by , headquartered in Austin, Texas.  Mr. Adair wholly owns .

Better Days Radio broadcast – Episode 313 (audio links)

Posted in Podcast, Radio with tags , , on February 8, 2008 by takecountryback

This is one of my favorite weekly broadcasts. Doug Lang hosts Better Days on CFRO Radio (Vancouver BC) each Thursday night. Since he’s two time zones away I usually end up listening on Friday morning. It’s always a treat to see what he airs each week – his taste is eclectic but superb. Not only will you find a mix of new releases and an abundance of treasures, Doug will often share his own talents via in studio performances of his songs or spoken word recitations. I’m going to make an effort to make sure I pass on the listening links and playlist each week as I think there are many TCB readers who would enjoy the programming as well. Here is last night’s episode for your enjoyment titled “Transient”

Listening Links:

Part One (starts 10:45 into file)
Part Two
Part Three

Lookin’ For Better Days : Wayne Hancock
Going To A Town : Rufus Wainwright
Good Morning Mr Railroad Man : Martin Simpson
Black Water Child : Fionn Regan
Postcards 3 For A Dime : Eric Taylor
The Road So Long : Greg Trooper
I Only Want To Be With You : Shelby Lynne
Down To The River / Jeb’s Tune : The Duhks
In Tall Buildings : John Hartford
Transient (Al Purdy) : poem recited by Doug over top of
Lament For Limerick : Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill
Ain’t Got No Home : James Talley
Glorious Peasant : Keith Greeninger
The Living : Natalie Merchant
Don’t Take His Name Away : Harry Manx
Across The Great Divide : Kate Wolf
Bearhug (Michael Ondaatje) : poem recited by Doug
Tribe : Luka Bloom
Marie : Townes Van Zandt with Willie Nelson
Gloomy Winter : Sugarcane
1-2-3-4-5 : Karine Polwart
Listening To Levon : Marc Cohn
Single Girl, Married Girl : Levon Helm
Border Town : Doug Lang
In My Father’s House : Eric Bibb
Bees : Laura Cantrell

Listen in: Better Days Episode 311

Posted in Podcast, Radio with tags , , on January 25, 2008 by takecountryback

This is one of my favorite weekly broadcasts. Doug Lang hosts Better Days on CFRO Radio (Vancouver BC) each Thursday night. Since he’s two time zones away I usually end up listening on Friday morning. It’s always a treat to see what he airs each week – his taste is eclectic but superb. Not only will you find a mix of new releases and an abundance of treasures, Doug will often share his own talents via in studio performances of his songs or spoken word recitations. I’m going to make an effort to make sure I pass on the listening links and playlist each week as I think there are many TCB readers who would enjoy the programming as well. Here is last night’s episode for your enjoyment titled “Sister Mercy” in remembrance of John Stewart.


Sister Mercy

Listening Links

Listen to Part One (starts a few minutes in)
Listen to Part Two
End of last song here…


Lookin’ For Better Days (theme) – Wayne Hancock
Tribute to Mississippi John Hurt – Chris Smither
Louisiana 1927 – Martin Simpson
Hallelujah – John Cale
Tell Somebody – Rickie Lee Jones
Shine On – Eric Bibb
You Don’t Come See Me Anymore – Malcolm Holcombe
Family Reunion – Corb Lund
High Shelf Booze – Eilen Jewel
Shattered Cross – Darrell Scott
The Dowie Dens Of Yarrow – Karine Polwart
Awake At Night (Wendell Berry) – Read by Doug
Sea Fever – Kris Delmhorst
July You’re A Woman – John Stewart
Sister Mercy – John Stewart
Horses (Wendell Berry) – Read by Doug 
Broken Roses – John Stewart
I’d Rather Be Dancing – Jim Page
Waist Deep In The Big Muddy – Richard Shindell
Unfaithful Servant – Rosanne Cash
The Waking Hour – David Francey
Whiskey, Bob Copper & Me – Linda Thompson
Lincoln’s Man – Ben Bedford

Radio still plays key role for music industry

Posted in News, Radio with tags , on January 24, 2008 by takecountryback

By Russ Corey

Despite the growing popularity of the Internet as a means of distributing recorded music, radio still plays a major role in helping listeners discover new artists.Radio is no different from many businesses that are experiencing changes in the digital age, said Brian Rickman, programming director for URBan Radio Group in Tuscumbia.

Rickman said radio might not be the first place to turn to when someone wants to hear their favorite songs, but it is the primary medium where people will discover new music.

“They will be exposed to it here first,” Rickman said.

Once they discover the artist, a new fan will likely utilize the Internet to learn more about the artist or to download their music.

“There’s no doubt the Internet is incredibly important to artists these days,” Rickman said.

Record producer Rick Hall, who founded FAME Recording Studios in Muscle Shoals, agrees that radio is and will remain the primary means of bringing new artists to the public.

While he believes artists could have a hit recording by utilizing the Internet to distribute their music, “I don’t believe you can have a giant hit without radio.”

Shoals music business insider Dick Cooper said radio “is one of the places you as a fan can discover artists you like.”

Cooper, who recently became the chief operating officer of Rockin’ Camel Records in Gadsden, said radio today, whether it’s traditional radio, satellite radio or Internet radio, gives new artists more avenues to target their particular audience.

“Radio still plays an important role in the music business. It’s just more diverse,” he said.

Bob Garfrerick, director of the Entertainment Industry Center at the University of North Alabama, said radio is more important in bringing country music to the marketplace than it is to rock. He said country artists must have radio play “to be big.”

Like Cooper, Garfrerick said he sees a more fractured marketplace, and new artists that do their homework can use the Internet and other means to find their target audience.

“The key for the artist is to know where the potential buyers will be,” Garfrerick said.

The Drive-By Truckers, an Athens, Ga., band with roots in the Shoals, have used the Internet, word of mouth and a grueling touring schedule to take their alt-rock country sound to the masses with very limited radio play.

“If you’re getting played on the radio, I think it’s still relevant,” said Truckers’ founder Patterson Hood, who grew up in the Shoals. “It has not been very relevant in my band’s career. There are so many bands I like that don’t get played on the radio, but find ways to make up for it.”

Hood said he can count on his fingers the number of stations that are playing the Truckers’ music.

In the markets where the music does receive radio play, places like Seattle, Wash., and Charleston, S.C., there are more people attending Truckers’ shows, Hood said.

But that leaves a large portion of the country where the Truckers have had to find other methods of getting their music noticed.

“The Internet has been a saving grace for us,” Hood said.

The Truckers recently have been broadcast from the airwaves of WLAY 92.3 “The Sound,” URBan’s all-Shoals music.

Hood said the press has also helped, whether it be in the form of an interview or a record review. Hood said he believes if someone has read something good about the band, they’re likely to come to a show.

And then there are the live shows, which Hood admits has been the best way for the Truckers to spread their music.

“We’ve sold more records playing live, more than any other thing,” he said.

Even without widespread radio play or a new album to tour behind, Hood said the band enjoyed one of it’s most successful tours this year.

“It’s like chasing a dragon. I’m not sure I believe in dragons,” Hood said. “Our band has had our biggest successes when we’ve done things most people said we couldn’t.”

The indie band Glossary of Murfreesboro, Tenn., utilized the Internet to release its fifth album, “The Better Angels of Our Nature,” and invited fans to download it for free.

Download demands crashed the band’s Web site the first day. The album is also available on compact disc and a vinyl version will be offered in January.

The British rock band Radiohead, which is no longer signed to a major record label, released its new album “In Rainbows” on its Web site and allowed fans to download it for whatever price they chose to pay.

Garfrerick said producing and recording your music and releasing it on the Internet or selling discs at shows is a good business model used by young bands because they retain the profits.

Hall said he plans to integrate the Internet in his business model for the resurrected FAME Records label.

It will basically remain true to the old school way of producing records and getting them played on the radio. A big difference from the early days: he will be utilizing the Internet to allow fans to download the music.

Rickman said for traditional radio stations to keep up with the changing times, they will also have to embrace the Internet and offer features such as streaming audio to reach listeners outside the range of their AM or FM signal.

Getting music on the radio is still done in relatively the same way, Rickman said. A record label’s promotional people must convince programmers and consultants to play their artist’s music.

Cooper said there are still stations that will accept independent music from artists, such as Mighty Field of Vision Internet radio.

“What they emphasize is independently produced and recorded music,” Cooper said.

URBan’s “The Sound” will also accept music created by local artists.

Hall said as long as there is music, and he’s assured there will be, there will always be radio to bring it to the masses.

“I don’t see it diminishing at all,” Cooper said. “What I see is it broadening its base.”

Why Things Suck: Radio

Posted in Industry, mp3, Radio with tags , on January 24, 2008 by takecountryback

By Brendan I. Koerner Email 01.18.08 | 6:00 PM

Unless you enjoy hearing the same insipid Fergie song a dozen times a day, chances are you loathe mainstream radio. And for good reason: The FM band between 92.1 and 107.9, where commercial stations reign, is mostly a desert of robo-DJs and pop pabulum.The sad decline of conventional radio is an Econ 101 lesson in the consequences of artificial scarcity — and a B-school case study on the limits of scientific management. The scarcity is the fault of the Federal Communications Commission, which decided in the mid-1940s to confine FM broadcasting to its current frequency range, roughly between 88 and 108 MHz. The FCC’s spectrum-allocation rules, designed to prevent station signals from interfering with one another, further limited the number of broadcasting licenses it granted in any one market.

By the ’70s, thanks to a fecund period in popular music, a generation of audacious DJs, and cheap radios, FM had become wildly popular. That made stations valuable properties — so valuable, in fact, that only large companies could afford to buy and manage them. “The legal cost alone of getting on the air is enormous,” says Jesse Walker, author of the radio history Rebels on the Air. The government could have eased this situation by allocating more spectrum for radio use and increasing the number of licenses, Walker argues. Instead, Congress chose to relax the rules regarding the number of stations any one entity could own.

That’s where the scientific management comes in. The biggest barriers to building a radio audience are the polarizing power of music and the plethora of choices on the dial. So, when corporations like Clear Channel started buying up stations in the late ’90s, they set about building a lowest-common-denominator product that would be attractive to the most listeners. “There’s this idea of the perfect playlist,” Walker says. “Find it with research and attract the perfect audience.” But it turns out that the most lucrative audience is really just “people who will not change the channel during the ads.” The result: watered-down programming designed primarily not to offend.

So bored consumers are just tuning out. Listenership among 18- to 24-year-olds is down 20 percent over the past decade. Stations have responded not with bold programming but by cutting costs. They’ve also expended considerable resources to squelch competition from low-powered FM stations and Internet radio. Not that it has helped — 85 percent of teenagers now discover new music through sources beyond the FM dial. Even the biggest radio fans envision a grim future for the medium. One bright spot: The inevitable shift to digital radio could create more room for more types of content.

SoundExchange’s Motion Sledge-Hammered

Posted in News, Radio, soundexchange with tags , , , , on January 9, 2008 by takecountryback

Today, Chief Copyright Royalty Judge, James Scott Sledge, Denied SoundExchange’s motion for a rehearing ‘“to reconsider the definition of Gross Revenues set forth at pages 28-31 of the [Initial] Determination; and, in light of recent predictions that approval of the XM/Sirius merger is imminent, reconsider its unwillingness to assess the impact of a merger as part of its [Initial] Determination.”’ Seeing that both sides aren’t particularly happy with the rate determination, the Copyright Judges must have done a good job.

SoundExchange based its motion on the need “to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice” in regard to the definition of Gross Revenue, and on new evidence with regard to the merger. The judges rejected SoundExchange’s arguments for the same reason it rejected them in the initial determination: insufficient evidence.

SoundExchange claimed that the initial determination excluded numerous categories of revenue that would result in a significantly reduced effective royalty rate. Judge Sledge found that “SoundExchange does not provide a shred of evidence concerning the nature or magnitude of leakage suggested by its own proposed revenue exclusions and how those exclusions might compare to any exclusions found in the agreements that comprise the benchmark marketplace.”

SoundExchange was also concerned that a merged entity might structure itself differently to reduce the effective royalty rate. SoundExchange failed to provide any evidence showing how or in what magnitude the rate might be effected by “gaming the system”.

The judge hammered SoundExchange in his conclusion stating that, “In the absence of an adequate showing of new evidence, SoundExchange’s argument amounts to nothing more than a rehash of the argument that the Judges considered in the Initial Determination.”

Bill Seeking Broadcast Performance Royalty Introduced In Congress

Posted in Radio, savenetradio, soundexchange with tags , on December 19, 2007 by takecountryback

In a pre-Christmas surprise that most broadcasters could do without, identical bills were introduced in Congress on Tuesday proposing to impose a performance royalty on the use of sound recordings by terrestrial radio stations.  Currently, broadcasters pay only for the right to use the composition (to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC) and do not pay for the use of sound recordings in their over-the-air operations of the actual recording.  This long-expected bill (see our coverage of the Congressional hearing this summer where the bill was discussed) will no doubt fuel new debate over the need and justification for this new fee, 50% of which would go to the copyright holder of the sound recording (usually the record label) and 50% to the artists (45% to the featured artist and 5% to background musicians).  The proponents of the bill have contended that it is necessary to achieve fairness, as digital music services pay such a fee.  To ease the shock of the transition, the bill proposes flat fees for small and noncommercial broadcasters – fees which themselves undercut the notion of fairness, as they are far lower than fees for comparable digital services.   

While, at the time that this post was written, a complete text of the decision does not seem to be online, a summary can be found on the website of Senator Leahy, one of the bills cosponsors.  The summary states that commercial radio stations with revenues of less than $1.25 million (supposedly over 70% of all radio stations) would pay a flat $5000 per station fee.  Noncommercial stations would pay a flat $1000 annual fee.  The bill also suggests that the fee not affect the amount paid to composers under current rules – so it would be one that would be absorbed by the broadcaster. 

The summary of the bill says that it would make other broadcasters not covered by these flat fees subject to Section 114 of the Copyright Act -meaning that their royalties would be set by the Copyright Royalty Board.  But the summary does not make clear what standard would be used.  Would it be the “willing buyer, willing seller” standard that is used for (and produced such controversially high rates for webcasters – see the various discussions of those issues, here), or the more lax 801(b) standard that just resulted in a 6-8% of revenue royalty for satellite radio and has resulted in a 7% royalty for cable audio services (see our post here)?  That may well be a crucial issue.

Already, opponents of the performance royalty have signaled their opposition, suggesting that the low, introductory rates for small and noncommercial broadcasters are just that – an opening rate that will allow the royalty to be imposed, but will quickly be raised.  They point to a similar experience in Canada, where there was a low starting rate for smaller broadcasters that grew over time at the request of the recipients of the fees.  In fact, when one compares the proposed royalties for small broadcasters with those paid by small webcasters, even those paying under some form of the Small Webcaster Settlement Act, an Internet radio station with $1.25 million in revenue would pay over $130,000 in royalties for sound recordings – which would seemingly raise questions either of fairness (why is the Internet radio company paying so much if a similar broadcaster only pays $5000), or suggests that SoundExchange will try to have the rates raised in the future.  And imagine what a $130,000 royalty would do to a small broadcaster’s business.

SoundExchange and the Music First coalition have also issued their own press release supporting the bill.  With a bill finally introduced, the battle will really begin.  Watch for the fireworks in 2008.