Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Nashville Star Week Two: Give Me A Break. I am reconsidering my thought that radio should get behind Nashville Star. Nothing against my friends at XM, but do we really want to be indirectly promoting XM on our stations? XM got more promotion than the ACM's gave our radio stations. And what's with all the pop songs and older Country songs? Except for John Rich's "Save A Horse Ride A Cowboy" there was nothing representing today's Country music. I had to laugh when they said that next week Nashville Star is going Pop. You mean, "Natural Woman" wasn't pop enough this week? To quote John Stossel, "Give Me a Break." I still have hope for the show, as there is some real talent there, but I'm not happy at the way the music is misrepresenting our format.

Lessons Learned from Tim Russert: How ironic that in the past year, I found myself saying to myself, "Be like Tim Russert"; meaning, be objective, see all sides, make issues clearer, have a meaningful discussion and don't make it personal. Recently, I had the privilege to moderate the keynote address at the CRS which explored the red hot controversy of whether or not radio should pay performance rights. Before taking the stage, I'd hoped to channel Tim Russert. I received generally favorable feedback on the session in that my goal of airing out the issue and avoiding personal attacks appeared to have been met.

This past weekend, in watching all the tributes, I was inspired by how Tim Russert lived his life. This guy not only believed in teamwork, but practiced it. By being generous and giving to his workmates, he elevated the team, and himself. He mentored, yet still was able to accomplish his personal goals too.

As radio struggles to find it's way with changing technology and economic challenges, we can all take heart that we'll be OK if we approach our jobs the way Tim Russert approached his. Relentlessly seek the truth. Care about your co-workers. Give others credit and elevate your co-workers. Be prepared. Don't cut corners. And most of all, put family first. A good team will understand.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Nashville Star Debuts: There were some real potential stars last night. Ashley Hewitt looks and sounds like a Nashville Star. Pearl Heart (sister trio); Laura & Sophie; Gabe Garcia; and even Alyson Gilbert who almost got kicked off, scored in my book. Song selection was a bit odd with the emphasis on old Country and Pop songs like Bubbly. I'd like the music to be more mainstream and better representing our format.

Some of judges' dialogue seemed scripted, but I understand that. They're trying to develop a shtick together (not unlike a morning show would do). If that makes it more entertaining, more will watch. I think it's a great opportunity for the format, and I hope radio will embrace it better than we have in past years.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Where Radio Veered Off Course: A friend of mine, still active in radio, but no longer programming music stations has this thought about the current state of affairs. (He prefers to remain anonymous for obvious reasons):

"...the invention of VOICE TRACKING and NEWS OUTSOURCING caused radio to become a commodity not a local source of entertainment, news, talk. (When I programmed music stations) we did news. With a person and a half. It's just not news but "content" personality. Play lots of music but have a "human" element and a passion for the music. Country at least still does that. Gee, why do OLDIES stations still get ratings, especially in PPM after we told everyone the format was dead? Honestly only music I listen to on the radio anymore is NJ 101.5 on weekends. It's still fun. K-EARTH LA is good. Locally (in my market) there's nothing. Country at least still has a pulse."

I couldn't agree more that the passion and "pulse" of Country will keep us viable for a long time, as long as we don't starve our stations and our audiences. Keep feeding them, and they will pay us back in spades!!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

These Artists Want You To Pay For Play: The "Founding (Country) Artists" of 'The Music First Coalition."


Dixie Chicks
George Jones
Don Henley
Deana Carter
Brooks & Dunn
Big & Rich
George Jones
Gretchen Wilson
Hank, Jr.
Jimmy Buffett
Kenny Rogers
Lyle Lovett
Lynn Anderson
Martina McBride
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Miley Cyrus
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Terri Clark
Toby Keith
Tim McGraw
The Wreckers
Vince Gill

We've helped them make millions exposing their music on our airwaves. Now they want you to pay to play their music. What's wrong with this picture?