Shameless dam, or damn shame? (By Kenny Love)
Being the ed-u-ma-cated fool I am, a recent article in the Birmingham Weekly newspaper got me to thinking (usually, a bad thing for me, at any point). The article reviewed the current well being of the two radio satellite stepchildren… XM Satellite and Sirius Network. Now, get this…
In just over 1 year of existence for XM, and just under 1 year of existence for Sirius, there are already nearly 500,000 subscribers. That’s right…500,000 people who finally had enough and yelled, “Hell No! We won’t go!” in response to the state of watered down commercial radio that most of us have come to know and hate.
And, their rebel yells are, largely, because of the watered down “music” and endless unbearable advertising that is a mainstay staple of commercial radio, and which is also fast becoming much the same way with public radio, of which its “underwriting” label is now guised thinner than J-Lo’s evening gowns (we’re talking flesh-level, babe).
500,000 people demanding a water-free, commercial-less radio experience! My goodness…what will these numbers reflect this time next year, or even 5 years from now? Don’t ya just love it? At this rate, any degree of geometric multiplication could reflect phenomenal results at the end of a 5-year period.
And, in regard to non commercial radio, unless your music happens to fall within the parameters of Classical or Jazz (and, primarily, limited to the “traditional” aspect), you can forget about approaching or becoming a public radio darling whatsoever.
But, back to commercial radio…
Upon reviewing the Birmingham Weekly article, I immediately entered one of those trances similar to the ones David Letterman used to enter when he was still a funny comedian. In this trance, I saw two characters known as “Dam” and “Clear Channel.”
Now, at this point, you are probably wondering if I had finally gone off the deep end, aren’t you? Well, so did I.
And, with my last bit of sanity, I managed to snap out of the trance-like state and, for some odd reason unbeknownst to me at the time, I sought out my copy of Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, turning to the phrase, “dam.” And, here is what I discovered:
1: a body of water confined by a barrier
2a : a barrier preventing the flow of water or of loose solid materials (as soil or snow); especially: a barrier built across a watercourse for impounding water.
Hmm…through these definitions, my vision was starting to become self-fulfilling and becoming all too, pardon the pun, crystal clear as I now reviewed the information at hand, and before me.
I decided to break it down, in the interest of making a sane connection between the two terms that had previously befuddled me. And, here is what I found through comparing them…
Webster: “DAM” – def. 1: A body of water confined by a barrier.
KL: “Clear Channel” – def. 1: A 1,200 radio station network barrier confining a body of unsigned and independent recording artists.
Webster: “DAM” – def. 2a : a barrier preventing the flow of water or of loose solid materials (as soil or snow); especially : a barrier built across a watercourse for impounding water.
KL: “Clear Channel” – def. 2: A pain-in-the-asset barrier preventing the flow and exposure of true creativity, or of unsigned solid music (with intelligent lyrics); a barrier built across the entire country for impounding artists.
< *Sometimes, this stuff is just too unlawfully sweet.*> 🙂
Anyway, the vision had now been made “clear,” I saw the connection, and realized what I (and you) must now do. And, that is, to begin utilizing, yet, another alternative outlet in marketing and promoting our works, through cultivating relationships with the satellite networks.
And, it is, indeed, a damn shame that a document such as the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has allowed a single entity, obviously driven by greed, to gobble up so many stations, so as to stifle and slay the very element that is, supposedly, a much coveted possession known as “freedom of speech.”
In such commercial radio station acquisitions, verily, verily, I say unto thee…wherefore cometh now, the commercial outlets for unsigned and independent artists’ freedoms of speech?
Alternatively, these satellite networks appear (for now) to be the exact antithesis of what commercial radio has now become, although it began as the satellites have begun… focusing mainly on great music, with only a handful (if any) commercials. And, in our own interests as artists, we can only hope that more such ideological (and hopefully, implementing) resources are not far behind.
Editor’s Note: Kenny Love has an extensive background in both the Music and Writing industries. Learn about the new services that he is providing to unsigned and independent recording artists in response to today’s shaken and fractionalized Music industry by sending an email request to email@example.com