Radio (Finally) Opens the Airwaves to Indies

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Posted March 7, 2007 by Hearsay in Music

On Monday, the FCC and the four major commercial radio conglomerates reached an agreement that will result in more airtime for independent artists.

Giving less time to major-label acts is part of a plan to discourage payola, or the practice of “pay for play” that had gone undetected (or ignored) for decades before New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer got involved. His intense investigations snagged nearly every major industry player, including Warner Bros., Sony, and Clear Channel Communications Inc., CBS Radio, Entercom Communications Corp., and Citadel Broadcasting Corp. In keeping with the agreement, the four radio companies must pool their money and pay the government $12.5 million and devote 8,400 half-hour segments of free airtime to independent artists between the peak hours of 6 a.m. and 12 a.m. every day.

Bands that qualify as independent are ones that are not affiliated with any of the Big Four major record labels. American Association of Independent Music helped broker the agreement. The association’s chief of negotiations, Peter Gordon, says the agreement is a paradigm shift that could change terrestrial radio permanently, for the better. Gordon told SPIN.com that indie music accounts for 37 to 38 percent of the music market on the internet but represents only 10 percent of commercial radio’s content. “It’s a great wake-up call,” he told a reporter for the music magazine’s web site. “It’s a very clever move to very quickly make radio relevant again.” Visit FCC.org or A2IM.org. … If you’re a local hipster going to SXSW this year (March 14-17), I’m sure your dance card is already full: steroid smoothies with Lance Armstrong, “lunch” with Sandra Bullock, Turkish bath with Rick Perry. But if not, a few yokels will gather from noon to 4 p.m. at Darwin’s Pub (223 E. 6th St., 512-474-7399) on Sat., March 17, for a Fort Worth showcase. Featuring Calhoun, Stella Rose, Holy Moly, and Austinites-by-way-of-”Neptune,” space-rockers the Frontier Brothers, “Fire and Brimstone” is sponsored by Vatican Apparel and Firelight Music Group (Calhoun, Collin Herring). For more, visit Firelight’s Jed Peters at MySpace.com/JedPeters.

… Remember Camino? That awesome local piano-based rock band that managed to navigate the treacherous territory between Steely Dan (cool) and Coldplay (not cool)? Well, they live on, sort of, in new Fort Worth trio The Campaign. But where Camino was sort of monochromatic – beautiful and emotionally heavy, no doubt, but occasionally same-y and not in a good way – The Campaign, comprising Blaine Crews (drums, vocals), Tyler Wood (piano, vocals), and Paul Jenkins (bass, vocals), is soulful and colorful. After the band’s performance at The Aardvark this Fri. with Radiant (featured in the story to the left), they will begin recording their debut e.p. For more, see MySpace.com/TheCampaignMusic.com. … Correction: In last week’s column, the surname of Spune Production’s owner was spelled incorrectly. It’s Lance Yocom. The Weekly regrets the error.

Contact HearSay at hearsay@fwweekly.com


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