Radio Listeners & Sales Up!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I seem to be posting a lot of about radio on my return to this blog, however, lots of good information has come out.

Doing my daily briefing of country music news, I see the new radio survey has come out from Arbitron. Country radio is doing very well in radio. In fact, this survey shows its best ratings in 7 years. Wow.

Country radio is the 6th overall most listened to radio format in the country. A 9.5 share. News/Talk is the most listened to format, adult contemporary is #2. Contemporary hits, Spanish, and Urban are above country music. Rock stations fall just under country music.

Sales are good too. During the first six months of 2006, U.S. sales of country albums increased by 17.7 percent to 36 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Sure is shaping up to be a very good year for country music.

The Reason KZLA Up and Left for Another Fan - Los Angeles Times

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Reason KZLA Up and Left for Another Fan - Los Angeles Times

The L.A. Times yesterday published another article on the format change of KZLA. It discusses in detail the reasoning behind this change.

I highly recommend reading this article.

It comments on many different topics. Some of those include the impact of satellite Radio and a connection of the Hispanic population slower to move to new technology. The Caucasian population has been quicker to move the newer technologies such as IPods, MP3 players, and satellite radio.

The article also discusses the lack of other ethnic backgrounds in country music, which doesn't attract listeners from other backgrounds.

I still don't agree with the changes and the reasoning behind it. An area about 115 miles from Bakersfield should not be without a country station, that is for sure. The biggest problem in this world of business these days is displayed in this move. No respect for tradition, history, family values, rather a total bottom line thought process.

KZLA-FM Will Dump Country Music - Los Angeles Times

Saturday, August 19, 2006

KZLA-FM Will Dump Country Music - Los Angeles Times

It's already happened and lets add the #2 market in the U.S. to the list of no country music. New York is well known for not having a country station, and as of Thursday, L.A. doesn't either. How sad. The station, KZLA, that promotes themselves as "America's Most Listened To Country Station" is now heard by no one. They abruptly changed the format about 10:15am PST on Thursday. That's when the staff was notified of the change, the music changed and the DJ was told he was out of work. How sad.

Furthermore, the change of the station happened as Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were probably preparing to head to L.A. to begin their 3 night stay for all sold out performances of their Soul 2 Soul II Tour.

If you check the website for the station, you will see a notice that looks new advising visitors that country music will be available on their HD radio station and streamed online. You'll see the banner at top as mentioned, and even a "Country Bash" in October featuring Gretchen Wilson, REO Speedwagon, Phil Vassar, SHeDAISY, and Jamie O'Neal. So, here is a station that appears to be behind the music and in the matter of hours, isn't.

What's going on here. It just doesn't make any sense at all to me. I don't understand the corporate radio world. They don't understand what they are doing. Being in the top 20 of the #2 market... even though reports say the station's ratings have slipped. Don't blame the format for that totally. There so many other reasons for ratings to drop other than the format. It could be more listeners, such as myself, going to XM or Sirius, or many other factors could be apart of the issue.

I wish I had an answer to this question... Why do they think the area needs another pop/r&b/dance music station? Why would they want to reformat into a style of music they are going to have to compete for listeners rather than have the entire market with no competition for listeners? Just doesn't make sense to me.

Country music fans everywhere need to be involved. Country music radio is slipping away from commercial radio stations. It may be slow, but it is important that the listeners in all areas of the U.S. know they are listened to and important. If they don't get the message, you are going to see even more of this trend. It is also important that listeners in the L.A. listening area make their opinions heard, and loud.

Welcome Me Back

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Hi there,

Long time no post I know. However, there has been so much going on that it did not make any sense to post.

The website is back up finally and running smoothly. Lot of work to do in the upcoming weeks, but its up, running, and updated. Little problems turn into big ones in web design and running a website. A small re-design that under perfect conditions taken about 1 week at most, turned into 16 days. This is especially true when your server gets accidently deleted.

Take a visit to the website, http://www.countrymusicalive.com and take a look around. I hope you will enjoy it.

Look for blog entries to be coming on a regular basis very soon and can't wait to get back into it.

Links and Quotes on Buck Owens

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

"Mr. Owens performed his last show at his Dinner Theatre 'The Crystal Palace' with us Friday March 24, 2006. Although it was a quieter show than normal, Buck gave all he could as he has done several times in the last few weeks. Normally he played Don Rich's fiddle as a part of the show, Friday he did not. I knew he wouldn't be back for our show on Saturday, I told him I loved him and to go home a get well. Those were my last words to the man who has watched over me, worked beside me, laughed and joked with me and shared the one love that makes us all spark, our music. I will miss my friend dearly, but will never forget him."
--Kim McAbee-Only female member of the Buckaroos

"He wrote it with Harlan Howard," Evans told CMT Radio during an interview Monday (March 27). "Because I recorded that song, I was able to meet him and sing with him in his dressing room. But before that, I always loved Buck Owens. I grew up listening to him, of course, and had seen him on Hee Haw. He's just a legend, and it's really, really a sad loss to the world."
--Sara Evans

My friend Buck Owens was one of a kind. A larger than life music legend who reinvented country music, epitomized musicianship, and was the inspiration for countless artists including the Beatles. He loved to become friends with other musicians and loved to pass advice on to young guys like me. He was very giving of his talents and wisdom. If any good can come from his passing, I hope that it's a renewed interest in his achievements, and more importantly, his incredible "Bakersfield" sound. He deserves to be remembered as one of the most important artists in all of music history. Thank you Buck for everything. I will miss you terribly.
--Brad Paisley


http://www.kget.com/buckowens/
http://www.buckowens.com
http://www.countrymusichalloffame.com/inductees/buck_owens.html

Reflection on Buck Owens

What sad news. It always is difficult to think about the passing of the legends of country music. In my past 12 years or so of writing, it is always one of the hardest things for me to prepare. So many thoughts come to mind about the artist. Whether its a song that I love, something about their personality, or their impact on country music... It is always hard to think about that this is the end of the road for that particular artist.

With the passing of Buck, it was even more difficult than some. The memories for me go back to my elementary school days of watching HeeHaw with my parents and loving it, unlike some kids. I'll never forget that red, white, and blue guitar I loved seeing every week on the show. In a more recent memory, I can remember standing in front of the display case at the Country Music Hall of Fame just looking and appreciating that guitar.

Buck Owens did so much for the music. He brought the sound of Bakersfield to so very many. He made the world know that country music didn't just have to come from Nashville to succeed. I could go on and on about his music and the songs of his that I dearly love to this day.

I could go on and on. I really could. However, the most important thing to keep in mind is that even though he may have died, his music certainly hasn't.

Comedy and Country

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ok. I know it has been way too long since I posted last. But honestly, I couldn't really think of something to post. Writers Block is not a good thing when you run a newsletter, website, and a blog... oh well. Thankfully, I have actually have something to say. It's a bit of a lesson for you. So, guys especially, listen carefully.

Do not play Ron White's new CD while attempting to shave. Yes, this was from experience. No, I do not suggest that you try it too. You see, White's delivery ends with a great one-line punch line. He is so funny that you will attempt to laugh with shaving cream on your upper lip that will be snorted up your nostril. It isn't pleasant. Luckily I stopped laughing in time and noticed what was going on in order to prevent the closing of the nasal passage and not being able to breathe. That wouldn't have been good.

ok... ladies you can join back in with us...
Ron White is a leader among the comedic acts out there. Country music and comedy acts have a deep history together. Just think about one of country music's greatest icons... Minnie Pearl. The Opry continues to this day feature comedy acts, of country theme. Bluegrass star Mike Snider has a great sense of humor and is always sharing funny stories, Bubba T. Bechtol also makes appearances on the famous stage. Then of course there is the rest of the Blue Comedy group... Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, and Larry the Cable Guy.

All of these artists have something in common, for the most part, aside from their country life style. Their comedy, for the most part, is clean for all ages. Sure some of it deals with topics of adult nature, but its in a mature way and not what I would call offensive. Come to think of it, just like country music. Adult themes come up for sure in songs, however, the material is not delivered in an offensive nature but rather to share a view or a experience in life.

Thank goodness for comedy, country style and country music to be able to be enjoyed by all ages.

Where is Mauritius?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Today, I have was looking through the list of my subscribers to the newsletter. I was checking out where people hear about the site and such. Also, love looking at the locations of the subscribers. I have members all over the United States of course, a few friends as members here in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia, Canada, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Australia. I know where all these places are. Easy geography. Then well, I came across one recent addition in the country of Mauritius. That's when I had to head over to The World Fact Book to find out where exactly this place was. I found out that it is in Southern Africa, an island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. Wow. This ranks right up there with the member in Crete.

I am not bragging. I am bringing this up to make a point. Country music is an international love. There are fans of the music everywhere. It is amazing that something that is thought of an such an American tradition is truly loved all over the world. It is always said that music is an international language. I agree. I have always thought of country music being fairly regional though in the vast world. The U.S., some in Canada, the UK, and Australia. However, I am learning in my 11 years of writing that this isn't the case.

It makes me so proud to be a country music fan and even more privileged to be able to spread the word of county music in my writings all over the world.

If you are a country music fan and read this blog, I also invite you to visit my website and join the newsletter. The website, this blog, and especially the newsletter is free of charge. The website is http://www.countrymusicalive.com

FOX News Report: Kenny Chesney Isn't Gay

Last week, I was on the FOX News website looking some information up about a press conference that President Bush had. As I was scrolling around, I see in bold print "Kenny Chesney Isn't Gay." It was in their FOX 411 section, Foxlife, a part of their entertainment section.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,182859,00.html

Ummm.... ok. I have a couple questions. 1-Why is this something a writer thought needed to be brought up? 2-Why on FOX News' website and on its main page. 3-Does anyone care?

Sure, the rumors have been floating around and always a rumor started about someone. I know that, but come on. A major news corporation doesn't need to do a story on it that talks about some flight attendant saying that she was his lover. Who really cares? I certainly don't.

Why not do a story on the music, or lack there of of from certain artists. How about something with substance about country music. Who decided this story needed to even run? I just don't get it. I slept just the same and certainly didn't feel informed by the end of reading this mini-article.

It is amazing to me where I find information, what's next.

Opie and Anthony: Takes a Look at Country

Thursday, January 19, 2006

XM Radio's Opie and Anthony took a look at country music today in a bit where they commented on the top 10 country songs this week.

As a fan of the show, I know a lot about these guys. They aren't exactly for everyone. This is a show for adults that don't get offended easily, to say the least. They are 2 guys that have been in the radio business for quiet sometime, mainly in the Boston and New York radio markets. These are your pretty typical New York dudes that have an remarkable talent to do very good radio. They aren't country fans, and commented today and in the past they don't understand the music.

That makes sense to me. Country music isn't for everyone. No doubt.

Steve, one of the guys that help run the show, made a comment early on in their conversation answering a question that comedian Patrice O'Neal (filling in the 3rd spot for Jim Norton while he is working on a television show) asked about what makes a country song a "country song." Steve commented on that the mechanics of a the songs remain the same and its about the story and lyrics of the song. That is something that a lot of non-country fans don't understand and why they don't give it a try like that should. Its about the lyrics and the story... You have to actually listen to the music for awhile to really grab a hold of the music at its core.

One thing though I found really cool about this radio bit was the following. First, they gave it a try and really listened. Second, they included country music fans in the conversation and also a couple that didn't. Third, even though they may not have noticed, but they made a lot of good points about the music.

The bit turned into naming the song and then trying to guess what the song was about before they played it. They didn't do so well. Funny stuff, but they were reading way too much into the titles and trying to take what little knowledge of the stereotypes to make their decision. So in doing that, they showed that there is indeed some good songs in the style.

For instance... the songs we love as country fans are simplistic in lyric, though go much deeper. Example was in the #1 song of the week, "Jesus Take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood. They guessed it would be about asking Jesus taking over the wheel of the car etc. (including very funny comments about how possibly drinking involved.) However, they did notice that the song was about something deeper than the lyrics. It has a spiritual connection to it.

Sure, since they were talking and thinking of what to say to entertain us listeners, they missed a few of the actual lyrics. But hey, they got the just of the song.

Opie and Anthony are true music fans and know music. Even though country isn't there choice of music, they understand the music on a certain level. I feel the same way about rap, R&B, and other urban styles of music. Do I like it? No, not really. Do I understand how someone could like it? Sure, I understand the connection between culture and lifestyle. They also know that their listener-base is all over the country and now even in Canada. They know they have country fans listening and thought they would give it a try.

I applaud Opie and Anthony for giving the top 10 exposure and a try today on the show. Sure they were joking with it and having fun, but it was done in a way I felt comfortable with. Why? Because I understand these two crazy guys. A first time listener may not feel the same way, but if you listen to them long enough, you will see everything and everyone gets joked on.

Early 2006 Tours: Fans Get What They Want

I've been looking through all the tours that have started or announced so far for the first half of the year. Boy, the fans are really getting a of treats. Are the artists finally seeing the light of what is going to bring people into the seats?

  • Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley, Sugarland
  • Gretchen Wilson, Blaine Larsen, VanZant
  • Brad Paisley, Sara Evans, Billy Currington
  • Toby Keith, Joe Nichols, Scotty Emerick
  • George Strait, Tracy Lawrence, Miranda Lambert
  • Martina McBride doing a solo tour, performing a full 2 hours
  • Tim McGraw and Faith Hill to tour again

Pretty cool huh? This trend is so nice in country music. The tours have a little something for everyone. Most of the larger tours now even have 3 artists on the tour. Sure, that means a little less time for the 1st two artists, but that's fine.

I love these tours that have a lot of talent and something for everyone and grabs the most exposure to the artists as possible in the evening. Sure, they will come out for Kenny Chesney, but while there, get the chance to hear some of Dierks Bentley while they are there, that has a more traditional country sound to him. Just maybe get a fan of two hooked on real country.

David Kersh Saying Goodbye

Friday, January 06, 2006

David Kersh's Letter

I've seen this item posted on several websites in their news sections. David Kersh is leaving country music. Um, I thought he already did. Sure, he did some decent stuff in the late 90's was pretty good. The last album released was in 1998. If I'm reading the calendar correctly, its 2006. 8 years. Pretty long time has gone by since that last album.

"My heart is just not in the music business anymore. I can't deal with all of the BS that goes on in this industry now. Nothing is in my control anymore and it all just makes me a miserable person."

Well, Mr. Kersh, that is the time to get out. Nothing I can think of worse to hear is an artist that doesn't have his/her heart into it. Though, I know Nashville is a nasty business to be in, but if you really want something and really believe in it, you deal with it. Kersh saying nothing is in his control is not exactly correct in my opinion. There plenty of small, independent labels out there that I gaurntee would give him the chance to make his music. So, please, don't give me that line. He is still officially signed to Curb records he said further in his letter. Heck, their tons of artists that would die for that chance just to be on a label of that magnitude. I don't care if they don't give you the control. Giving up on it isn't what I would do, no doubt.

I wonder how long exactly did it take him to get that chance to be on Curb? I wonder a lot of things about his letter that I don't exactly know the answer to. That's ok, I personally don't need to know. My question is why he decided a letter was even needed? I haven't reported or thought about his music probably since 1999 or so. Close the website, silently, and vanish into the world like so many others have. Furthermore, why has the media picked up on it? Interesting to think about.

Another side point, I certainly hope this doesn't make any flames burn out in those that do want to be given the chance. Yes, its tough. Yes, a lot of things are not in your control. Yes, you deal with it. Especially if there is a spark wanting to share your love for music with the world. I've never done it, nor have that dream to sing, but I've been told by many its worth every bit of the barriers to live out a dream.

A look ahead..2006

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Well, what do I think we can expect from the upcoming year? I would love to say that the mainstream country music would get a lot better, a turn to a real traditional sound, and everything would be perfect. But, I am not one to dream. I am a realist.

In the new year, I do see an improvement in the country industry. I believe that a lot of truly talented artists are going to breakout of their molds and either turn to an independent label or be given more artistic freedom from their major label. Look at the success of Lee Ann Womack's past year with her traditional country album.

I believe that Big & Rich will fade away, along with the rest of their friends or "Mafia." I believe the fans of country music overall have spoken. They like their pop-country, but not something like B&R.

I also believe Craig Morgan will continue to have great success and will be accepted as an established artist, as he should be thought of.

The big thing for the upcoming year I think will be more lesser known artists getting exposure thanks to Satellite Radio and the FM/AM dial trying to keep up. A few years ago, a song like "Swinging Doors" from Joey Daniels would have never been heard on radio, even though its an excellent song. I think we will see more of that as well.

The big artists will remain big, the majority of the music will stay the same, and more of the status quo, with a few minor tweaks overall.

These are my predictions and thoughts, I guess in a year from now we will truly know. Time always tells.

Best of 2005: Albums

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Country Music Alive's Top 5 Albums:


1. "See If I Care" by Gary Allan
2. "Honky Tonk University" by Toby Keith
3. "Be Here" by Keith Urban
4. "Jason Aldean" by Jason Aldean
5. "There's More Where That Came From" by Lee Ann Womack


Gary Allan makes the numner #1 spot because it is the best example of country music's magic. An album of such intense personal reflection on a tragic event in his life is a true example of the true to life emotion of country music.

The Best of 2005: Artists

Country Music Alive's Top 5 Artists of 2005

1. Keith Urban
2. Toby Keith
3. Craig Morgan
4. Gretchen Wilson
5. Sugarland

What a year for these artists. Keith Urban released a great new album, new DVD, Entertainer of the Year, and I know first hand that he is bringing in new country music fans. It only takes one artist to catch the attention of a non-country fan to grab them and get hooked.

Toby Keith just below Urban basically because Keith doesn't have the massive crossover influence ability. Yes, it is a strong one and a talented artist, no doubt. The new album is one of the best of the year and put on one great tour this year.

Craig Morgan has had his best year ever. The #1 song of the year according to Billboard, a long list of hits, and also one of my favorite albums of the year. He also has lead the industry in showing that you truly can be successful on an independent label, get airplay, and also continue to be true to the music.

Gretchen Wilson had a great year. One of the most anticipated albums of the year, chart success and her impact on country music is stronger than most acknowledge, especially on the single female mother.

Sugarland is in at #5 for their impact on mainstream music as well as their success directly in country music. They are a great group, but the true test will be 2006.

Looking Back....

Monday, January 02, 2006

I sent out my 2005 Year in Review earlier this week to my newsletter members and thought it would be a good idea to go into some more detail. A personal reflection if you will, on the past year.

To me, the big story of the year is independent labels. Some of the greatest music of the year came from the independent labels. Broken Bow Records had to be smiling as they look at 2005 with the success of Craig Morgan, having the #1 country single of the year according to Billboard and the great year debut artist Jason Aldean has had. Also, Toby Keith went out on his own. His first single from the upcoming album is playing on XM. Garth Brooks also went independent. Clint Black released his 2nd album on his independent label, and gave Little Big Town a second chance in the industry, creating a great album and had a very successful year.

Also, I have the privilege of reviewing and hearing many artists on very small independent labels. You know what? Some of the best music I have heard this year have come from those artists. Jake Kellen is an example of that. In 2005, that is where the true talent was found...on the independent labels.

Sure, the larger labels did have a few good albums hit stores, but I think those albums were the result of some of the pressures of what is coming out from the independents.

I am so happy to see this turn in the music business. The best thing, I believe, would be for several independent labels to be in the industry. Not too big, but just big enough to be noticed. Broken Bow is a great example. They have room for maybe one or 2 more artists. More than that though would set them up for the possibility of becoming apart of a major label. Not a good idea. Toby Keith's label Show Dog/Big Machine has room to grow as well. 2006 can be an even stronger year for these smaller labels.

In the upcoming days, I will take a look at the best albums of 2005 and predictions for 2006.

Happy New Year everyone and I look forward to a bright 2006.