Where is the Heartbeat? It’s Music Radio’s Turn to “Take Action”

Our nation is overwhelmed in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy. It’s almost impossible to avoid social topics everywhere you turn, and emotions are running high. Now, weigh the current national temperature with new research that shows millennials who go to concerts and festivals are tied at the hip with social causes. In fact, 8 in 10 millennials are more likely to attend a concert or festival with artists who support social change and to show their support. Millennials, and likely many music lovers of all ages, are connected between their ears and their hearts. Meanwhile, music radio stations are mostly staying on the sidelines. Yes, the primary role of music radio stations is to entertain and that must always be in the forefront. But, we’ve never seen a political climate like this in our lifetimes. Ignoring the anxious reality of listeners’ lives today leaves a wall around the heart and soul of your radio station, denying listeners the heartbeat they sorely crave. Do you have to “take sides?” No. Can you have opinions? Yes. Frankly, in my world, unequivocal human and social equality is a given. Not everyone agrees, but (I believe, or hope) the vast majority of us do. So, instead of “taking sides,” why not promote a positive culture of “taking action?” At a minimum, “Take Action” is a term every music radio station can get behind. It’s self-empowering to the listeners without being one-sided. Acknowledge what is happening in our world and run “Take Action” promos and live reads that send listeners to your website for a list of links where they can take action. “Just go to our website and Take Action!” Use your social platforms to inform listeners of [...]

By | August 20th, 2017|Creation, Direction, Interactive|0 Comments

Music Format Highlighting Hip-hop, Other Genres Seeks Home on Public Radio

Original story posted on: Current Date: 08-17-17 Written by: Mike Janssen, Digital Editor Hip-hop and R&B could become staples on public radio, or at least more widespread, if a new CPB-backed format catches on among stations looking to change up their programming. Under development for more than a year, the format is now poised for wider adoption. CPB is looking for a consultant and up to three stations to collaborate on creating and testing the format over a two-year period starting no later than October. Dance, hip-hop, R&B and indie rock will be the musical mainstays of what CPB is calling Urban Alternative, “an innovative approach to attracting younger, multicultural audiences to public media.” Some noncommercial stations already air hip-hop, dance and R&B. But few have based their entire sound, audience and identity on those genres. More often, listeners may come across a hip-hop show wedged in among an eclectic mix of other styles on a college or community station. One exception is Chicago Public Radio’s Vocalo, which has gone all-in on a format that is serving as a template for the new Urban Alternative. Its audience can hear lesser-known local acts alongside a bevy of big names like Beyonce, The Roots and Janet Jackson. Some shows on noncommercial stations are “emblematic of what this format would be — an underground hip-hop or mix show,” said Silvia Rivera, Vocalo’s managing director. “But there’s never been an effort to make it an entire format.” Last year, CPB gave Vocalo and Chicago Public Radio $450,000 to further develop the Urban Alternative format with insights from market research and focus groups with listeners. Two stations licensed to historically black colleges, Baltimore’s WEAA and WNSB in Norfolk, Va., also participated [...]

By | August 18th, 2017|Creation, Interactive|0 Comments

Radio Milwaukee Throws Down a 10 Spot

Radio Milwaukee (WYMS-FM) recently celebrated their 10th anniversary by doubling down on local music.  Featuring over 700 songs from over 600 Milwaukee artists, the new 414Music.fm channel uses 88Nine’s HD2 frequency to air online and on the station’s mobile app.  Over 100 bands have used the station website to upload their music for consideration.  Milwaukee bands on the channel includes Violent Femmes, Citizen King, Coo Coo Cal, Field Report, Ish Darr, Trapper Schoepp, Naima Adedapo, Vinyl Theater, Willy Porter, GGOOLLDD, WebsterX, Paul Cebar  and the late Al Jarreau.” The “414MUSIC.fm Worldwide Debut” is a special offer to established Milwaukee artists to debut new songs on the stream and on the FM at the same time.  The featured debut gets 12 plays in one day on the stream, in addition to 2 plays on the 88Nine signal.  Radio Milwaukee also posts a blog that links to the artist page and any platforms that stream the debut track.  The FM station promotes the local channel when it plays local music, and the local channel promotes back to 88.9 FM.  414Music.fm launched with a custom imaging package and station voices, and will be a training ground for local students. […]

By | July 13th, 2017|Creation, Interactive|0 Comments

NonCOMM recap: A conversation on community-building

Original Story Posted on: WXPN The Key Date: May 18, 2017 Written by: Megan Cooper A major part of being a public radio station is connecting with the public. This morning at NonCOMM, Mike Henry from Paragon Media Strategies hosted the panel “Walking The Walk and Talking The Talk – Acting and Branding Local,” which featured conversations between Matt Reilly from KUTX Austin , Benji McPhail from The Colorado Sound, and Jordan Lee from Radio Milwaukee. These three industry pros sat down to discuss the various challenges, and also major advantages, to running successful noncommercial stations grounded in locality. Since each panelist represented stations varying widely in age, location, and background, each provided fresh and helpful perspectives from different stages in the industry. Riley from KUTX served as the radio vet, and gave insights into working with an established, well-recognized organization; McPhail of The Colorado Sound discussed the struggles and strategies for building up a completely brand new organization, and Lee from Radio Milwaukee gave a behind-the-scenes look into a fairly new, but quickly rising station. Though the panelists varied across the board in a number of ways, one element remained constant: the importance of community. Radio Milwaukee’s Jordan Lee especially emphasized this fact, as he described the unbreakable link between music and community, and how important it is in bringing people from all backgrounds together and create actual lasting social impact amongst its fans. Lee gave background into Milwaukee’s very segregated population, and how Radio Milwaukee’s active and intentional inclusion of a wide catalogue of diverse artists and genres has had the effect of enacting a real social impact on the community. KUTX Austin’s Matt Riley and The Colorado Sound’s Benji McPhail also spoke on the importance of including and strengthening all parts [...]

By | June 2nd, 2017|Creation, Direction, Interactive|0 Comments