Drawing on 30 years experience and relationships in the music business, my company provides radio strategy, databases, promotion, tour marketing, label liaison services to artists, managers, labels and patrons looking to develop the AAA ~ NPR ~ Americana ~ Folk ~ Roots tastemaker radio community.
My company maintains 500+ radio, press/blog, retail, venue, agents, publishers and licensors data and relationships. We service over 300 AAA Non commercial, commercial, syndicated, satellite and Internet broadcasters. That list includes the reporting stations to charts such as FOLK-DJ, fmqb, CMJ, Mediabase, Americana, Roots, JamBand, Euro-Americana as well as many specialty programs, and numerous influential programs around the country who don’t report to the national trades.
We also work with syndicated national programs such as World Café, Acoustic Café, Mountain Stage, Folk Alley, Woodsongs, E-Town, XM Loft, the Village, and the Sirius Coffeehouse, the Midnight Special, Daytrotter, NPR All Songs Considered and more.
We are, more specifically, a company dedicated to concentrating on the station’s that are first and most adventurous in their music programming. What we’ve identified as the tastemaker stations. They are the ones who respect the art, and have allowed the music to still hold a fond priority in the midst of everything else their jobs require. These programmers have healthy appetites for new, unique and genuine talents and recordings. They have the skill to identify them and present them to their audiences. I believe if you are going to have a hit record for multiple formats, it must get past these people first. It’s still stimulating. Sometimes quite gratifying. Especially with the unlikely.
It is important to understand the distinctions between the formats and the textures. A #1 record on the Folk charts may not fit on the Americana charts, and a #1 Americana record quite often does not cross over to AAA. A #1 AAA record in Philadelphia may not be on the air in Asheville. An artist’s history in Austin is not the same history in Boston, and it requires knowledge of each artist and each town to know how to best market nationally and individually.
The tastemakers include the panel of AAA/Progressive non-commercial reporting radio stations and many other commercial stations that report to the national trades. We contact both the biggest and the smallest stations in the country who include WFUV [New York], WXPN [Philadelphia], KUT [Austin], WUMB [Boston], WNCW [Asheville], KCRW [Los Angeles], WMNF [Tampa], KCMP [Minneapolis] and many other great markets.
These are award-winning radio stations, many with multiple voting members in the weekly music meeting. This lends a great diversity as to what programmers can consider playing, and gives a broad palette of music a fighting chance to be heard and played, somewhat regardless of history, label and genre. Many of these stations are raising $300,000 to $500,000 numerous times a year. And that’s from about 10% of their actual listeners. They are also in many cases stations with lengthy hours of time-spent-listening, and with ratings in the hundreds of thousands of listeners per week, and these listeners are loyal, dedicated to finding great music, educated and responsive to their stations. These stations are the first to report listener response to a record, the stations that the local clubs rely on for driving patrons to the shows, and in most cases the first station to welcome an artist to visit and play live on-air. Many of these are the stations that play music to serve listeners first, not advertisers or shareholders. It’s a freedom that not everyone enjoys.
It is a privilege to work with the very best stations in the format. Programmers who take their work seriously and gleefully, are award-winning people operating award-winning facilities, raising huge amounts of money for something you don’t have to pay for, and who marry artists to audiences in a still magical way. Yes, despite all the goofyness, consolidation, research, BDS, syndication and overcrowding, records can and still do break.
The avenues for breaking records remain essentially the same as they have for many years. Radio. Radio is on its’ way to the “fastest growing year in radio’s history” and is listened to by 94% of Americans over the age of 12. In synergy with the Internet, and smartphones, radio continues to enjoy huge listenership, loyalty and dependence on localism and companionship and communication. Amazing resilience.
Even with the impact of Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, iTunes, Megaupload, and Facebook and Twitter, I think hearing a song on the radio, and falling in love with it, is a contextual thing that creates a bond between the artist, the DJ and the fan.
A convergence of these elements is what changes a great record into a hit record. And a hit record changes everything. And hit records come from anywhere at any time. And I believe that many of them must start with the programmers that I call friends and associates.
We can help with radio airplay in many of these top markets. These are also the stations on which we create co-promotions, and direct underwriting dollars. We also arrange station visits and book live performances in conjunction with management companies and labels, venues and agents as appropriate.
We work with a number of independent publicists and radio promotion firms including Sacks & Company, Conqueroo, Songlines, WNS Group, Powderfinger, Howlin’ Wuelf Media, Mark Pucci, Planetary Group, Fanatic Promotion, ShoreFire Media, Big Hassle, and many others. We have strategized, marketed and developed literally hundreds of artists over the years in harmony with the radio, record company and touring communities.
Artists and labels and management clients include Robert Randolph, Erin McKeown, Rykodisc, Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer, Allison Moorer, Richard Shindell, Mark Erelli, the Slip, Luka Bloom, Last Gang Records, Kelly Joe Phelps, Birdie Busch, A Tribute to Pete Seeger, Hope Sandoval, Sanctuary Music Group, Susan Werner, Sci-Fidelity Records, Keller Williams, Appleseed Recordings, Universal South Records, Jonell Mosser, Vance Gilbert, Mary Gauthier, Peter Mulvey, Scott Miller and the Commonwealth, Sugarhill Records, Rough Trade, Bar/None Records, The Langley Schools Music Project, Philadelphia Folk Fest: 40th Anniversary Box Set, Josh Ritter, Red House Records, Moxy Fruvous, Bottom Line Records, Richie Havens, Voices on the Verge, Kris Delmhorst, Daemon Records, Sloan Wainwright, Mary Lee’s Corvette, Lori McKenna, Famous Music Publishing, Umphrey’s McGee, Mercury Records, Rounder Records, Bill Morrissey, the dB’s, A&M, John Hiatt, John Flynn, Signature Sounds/KOCH, Salamander Crossing, Said the Whale, Sultans of String, Lindi Ortega, Hoots & Hellmouth, David Berkeley, Judy Collins, Kenny White, the dB’s, Shawn Mullins, moe., the Hooters, Freedy Johnston, Bop Ensemble, Blame Sally, Emily Arin, Jules Shear, the Strangelings, Al Stewart, Cotton Mather, Nels Andrews, Emily Haines, Happy Rhodes, the Neilds, Ellis Paul, Reggae Cowboys, Rory Block, Sister Rosetta Tharpe tribute, Phil Ochs tribute, Jon Anderson, the Kennedys, Roger McGuinn, Los Straitjackets, Chip Taylor, Magna Carta Records, Yes tribute record, Something Happens, Amy Correia, John Hall, the Redwalls, Winterpills, Holsapple-Stamey, Michael Fracasso, Mason Porter, Ben Arnold, Lisa Bigwood, the Stray Birds and many more.