Thursday, April 19, 2007

Finding The Next Big Thing: In the world of Country music, if you don't move to Nashville and starve there for a few years, you don't stand much chance of being noticed by the decision makers on Music Row. There is something both good and bad about a music genre's hub being in one city. The good is that you know where to go (perhaps after being told where to go)to get noticed if performing is your aspiration. The bad is that great talent in places all across America may be missed because that person has not ventured out of his or her own city.

Country music historians remember a time when there were two different cities with their own sound; Nashville and Bakersfield. In the 1970's Buck Owens had a recording empire that strongly competed with Nashville with tremendous raw energy.

My point is that both the music and radio industry can work together to find the next big thing. As I noted in an earlier blog we haven't had one for a few years. For radio, let's look in our own back yards. For the music industry, look beyond the backyard. Let's open a dialogue about how we can work together to take Country music all across the Country and find the Next Big Thing.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Imus Firing: If there was some positive in the Imus firing it was that radio as an industry captivated the headlines for nearly a week becoming front and center in the national conversation and reinforcing our relevance.

Here's my prediction for Imus. He will (wisely) take a year rehabilitating his image, if not his own psyche, and will start his own radio network and or end up on the Fox News Channel. Where there's money to be made, we'll see and hear Imus again.

By the way, the two best stories I've read on this subject were yesterday's (4/14) Wall Street Journal chronology on the events leading to the firing and Frank Rich's column in today's (4/15) New York Times.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Is Country Dead? Noted writer Chet Flippo explores the notion on's "Nashville Skyline" in a thoughtful article. The reality is that we are three years away from the last big thing. Gretchen Wilson, Big and Rich and others from the "Class of 2004" are having mixed success. When the next big thing comes along, CD sales will recover and the format will again gain coverage on 60 Minutes, Newsweek and other mainstream media.

I can't help but wonder if the chase for crossover success is not once again slowing us down in more ways than one. While the new Big and Rich song is terrific and possibly bound for crossover success, has the music in general gone too soft? When was the last time Montgomery Gentry gave us a dose of their famous turbo twang? Anyone trying to schedule music on a radio station these days knows how difficult it is to maintain tempo. The good news is that there ARE great Country songs of all styles and tempos to choose from. Let's not be afraid to play the good ones, or we risk Music Row retreating and focusing on the Hail Mary crossover strategy. As always, your thoughts are welcome.

Here's a link to the "Is Country Dead" Chet Flippo article: