Since KXT/91.7-FM‘s inaugural broadcast last week, local musos seem to have rediscovered the wonders of the ol’ wireless telegraphy box. “Hey, 2009! The 1940s called. They want their wide-eyed optimism and can-do attitude back!”
Seriously, I can’t remember the last time so many otherwise aloof, unimpressed people — scenesters — were so giddy. (The recent return of ’70s-style, back-of-the-van casual sex does not count.) Local indie-rock artists on Facebook are all a-Twitter, saying stuff like, “Support KXT!” and, “KXT played my band’s song last night. Don’t let KXT die!” Stuff like that. Good, heartwarming, life-affirming, change-a-stranger’s-flat-tire kinda stuff. Stuff normally reserved for infomercials and Jimmy Stewart filibusters. But let’s all take a step back and a deep breath. Like all local media, KXT probably won’t help or hurt any local band. What I think I’m trying to say is that if your music hasn’t been spun yet on KXT — or if your music isn’t, uh, right for KXT — don’t fret. First, terrestrial radio is mainly the province of non-indie-rock lovers: African-Americans and Hispanics. Both groups, according to Nielsen‘s media analysts, listen longer than the average population. Nielsen’s data are confirmed by the preponderance of Latino radio stations on the dial and hip-hop/R&B music on the air — though most major media markets have only two or three hip-hop/R&B stations, “Rhythmic” songs (to use the industry parlance) cross over easily and can be heard on many more stations. Aficionados of indie-rock (or, in industry-speak, “Alternative” or “College Radio” music fans), according to information provider Arbitron, get their music mostly the old-fashioned ways: satellite and online. Second, the history of popular music has proven that for a particular song to take off, it has to be spun — a lot. Ten or 12 spins a week isn’t nearly enough to get Joe Bagodonuts humming along to your tune. We’re talking hundreds of spins. Lastly, when’s the last time radio actually “broke” an indie-rock band? The average popular indie-rock band today breaks out only after selling enough records to land a major-label distribution deal, and only then does an indie band’s tuneage get spun on terrestrial commercial radio. Selling records, naturally, requires mucho grassroots work, including playing live seemingly nonstop, breaking only for food, sleep, and drink (and, in some rare instances, bathing). If your band has proven that it has the wherewithal to play 100 or so shows a year in various markets and generate CD sales, then “Alternative” airplay isn’t your launch pad. It’s a bonus. Still, KXT is a plus and is worth love, especially if more local indie musicians of all stripes are invited to perform in-studio and if more local musos receive airplay. And by “local,” I mean, “Not just from Dallas or Denton but also Funkytown.” (See my Oct. 28 grievance so wryly entitled “Fort Worthless.”) Visit www.kxt.org. … Free tix: Got two pairs here for A Folk & Spune Thanksgiving with Charlie Parr, Doug Burr, and Seryn on Thursday at The Hydrant Café in Denton (208 W. Oak St., 940-384-0033). Just e-mail your name to associate editor Anthony Mariani at firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Folk & Spune” in the subject line. Some form of I.D. will be required to pick up the tix at the door. First come, first served.
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