Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tune, Er, Click In

A Newspaper Does Radio

Ray Wiley Hubbard’s “Screw You. We’re from Texas!!!” was the first song on Austin’s newest music source. The source—Austin, the Austin American-Statesman’s newest medium. DJ L.A. Lloyd promised listeners off the top that artists featured on the new Internet radio station would have Austin connections creating a recognizable Austin sound.

The studio for is imbedded within the newspaper’s headquarters on Lady Bird Lake near South Congress. A radio station in a newspaper? Yup. Of course, the powerful thing about Internet radio is that it can be accessed worldwide.

I use Google’s Chrome for my favorite browser. Apparently, Chrome may not communicate with the site. I switched to Internet Explorer, suggested by their “Help” drop down. Then, I had to download Adobe Flash Player to “tune in.” After downloading the flash player, the music flowed from Chrome as well. There were a couple of technical snafus during the first hour and some of the “buttons” don’t work—something that’s bound to happen.

The second song, was Willie Nelson’s “Maria, Shut Up and Kiss Me” in recognition of Nelson’s 78th birthday today (April 30, 2011). DJ Lloyd promised to play Willie at the top of the hour all day. Ironically, on the other side of downtown Austin at KUT-FM, longtime radio host Kevin Conner was also honoring Nelson during his Saturday morning show.

The third song? BB King’s “The Thrill is Gone?” Great song, but I don’t hear Austin in it. King has played Austin City Limits. I guess that’s close enough. The fourth song was “I Got Drunk” by Uncle Tupelo. “Booty City” by Black Joe Lewis. DJ Lloyd alluded to Waterloo Records noting the high ranking of Lewis’ current album. I think the reference was to create another connection to Austin and to soften the segue to the next song: The Green Cards’ “Time”, a stark contrast to “Booty City”, but it proves that is intent on playing all genres.

“What It Is” by Mark Knopler followed The Green Cards. So much for Austin connections.
“Dixie Chicken” by Little Feat was Lloyd’s next offering, followed by “Pyro” by Kings of Leon, Bob Schneider and “The World Passes You By”, Fiona Apple and the John Lennon song, “Across the Universe”, Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe”, Norah Jones singing “Feeling the Same Way”, Dwight Yoakam with the old song “Little Sister”, Alexi Murdoch singing “A Song for You”, Jimi Hendrix and “Castles Made of Sand” (Austin?), finishing the first hour with Paula Nelson & the Guilty Pleasures with Willie Nelson doing “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” (I thought it should have been “Whiskey River”.).

In the first hour of the show, there had been a few “promos” (promotional spots) and NO commercials. It was an hour and 20-minutes before I heard the first commercial. I had to believe that wasn’t going to be all music all of the time. It will grow into another revenue stream for Cox Media. Of course, the gateway to the site is covered with ads and promos.

Notably, the announcement of came on Facebook. The post said “tune in” at noon:

“The sound of Austin is hard to describe, but it's instantly recognizable. You love it ... and we love it, too. That's why we've launched, a site delivering 24/7/365 music by artists from Austin and across Texas. At home, at work, on your mobile device ... you'll hear Bob Schneider, Slaid Cleaves, Iron & Wine, Kelly Willis and so many more. The Live Music Capital of the World deserves an outlet devoted to promoting local musicians. And, very soon, we'll have it.”

One promo said, “The future of radio is here …” Well, not quite. It’s been here.
Of course all terrestrial, traditional radio stations stream their on-air signal online too. KGSR FM when it truly lived up to the now retired slogan “sounds like Austin”, pushed its Internet radio presence and had transplanted Austinites listening around the globe.

KUT-FM and Kevin Conner, I’ve said before, probably “sounds like Austin” more than any other station nowadays. Some would argue that KVET-FM’s country sound is the true Music Capital of the World’s sound, however. Further, many of the offerings of KOOP-FM are Austin-only.

Internet-only “stations” like Pandora and LastFm challenge the ethos of local radio. If, indeed, can achieve that local flavor, it might gain a following.

© Jim McNabb, 2011


Anonymous said...

I bet a lot of the songs played had hidden Austin connections. For instance, Uncle Tupelo's Anodyne was recorded in Austin.

Denise Barkis Richter, Ph.D. said...

And radio does TV! I was listening to Diane Rehm on the way into work one day this week, and she mentioned that they were streaming her interview with the Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu. Media convergence...gotta love it! Cheers, Denise

Anonymous said...

I was bummed. They claimed to be an Austin station but play a lot of other stuff like Kings of Leon, Norah Jones and Tom Petty. Am i missing something?