Five Ways Low Power FM Will Power Up Public Radio

ds106-world-radio-dayWorld Radio Day is this Thursday, February 13. It’s the perfect time to talk about how Low Power FM Radio could change the public and community radio landscape in the United States. For the past three years, I’ve been putting a shoulder into low power FM (LPFM) infrastructure development. I have helped to get the word out about the opportunity nationally, assisted nonprofits with their applications, fostered relationships between applicants and identified resources to help them build. I’ve never seen so much enthusiasm for community radio, and my little public radio nerd heart is gleeful about the potential. Maybe some of the ideas are a stretch. I’m certainly showing my enthusiastic idealist colors, but World Radio Day encourages expansive thinking and big ideas. One thing’s for sure, LPFM will have an impact.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) created World Radio Day in 2011 to annually prompt us to think about the transformative power of radio. This year their focus is gender equality. People from around the world are contributing audio and video clips in which they further the discussion about gender in radio and other ongoing structural issues like race and class.

We know we have structural issues in public media. We talk about them at our conferences and participate in trainings at our stations, but the conversation doesn’t get much past working on individual racism and an introduction to white privilege. These inequities require multipronged solutions. One small way to chip away at them is the current LPFM radio infrastructure build out.

Some numbers that illustrate how we’re doing:

Women hold less than 7% of all TV and radio station licenses.
People of color hold just over 7% of radio licenses and 3% of TV licenses.
[source: Free Press]

92.7% of journalists at commercial radio stations are white.
81.5% of journalists at non-commercial radio stations are white.
91.3% of radio news directors (commercial & non) are white.
67.3% of the work force in local radio news are male.
[source: Radio Television Digital News Association 2012 survey]

For reference, the US population is 51% female and 49% male / 72.4% white and 27.6% people of color [source: US 2010 census]
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The Mid-Week Beat: Paying Tribute This Weekend

elvis-impersonators-590x310As many musicians out there know, a large portion of learning to be a instrumentalist or songwriter is learning to properly steal from your influences. Many musicians struggle to be original but chances are, someone has played the combination of chords and notes that you “wrote” before. That said, if you really get down to it, the actual notes and chords don’t really matter. It’s what you bring to those chords that matters; your unique perspective and individual playing style. No matter what you do to differentiate your sound from sounds of the past, there’s bound to be a little of your influences in there somewhere. That’s okay, as long as you also bring a little of yourself into the mix as well.

With that said, there are two very different ways to approach a tribute show. Some artists attempt to re-create the exact sound of the artist they’re paying tribute to, others choose to re-interpret an artists songs in their own unique way. I find the latter to be more enjoyable because it really distills music down to its pure form and pays homage to the folk tradition, where songs were passed down over the years; constantly changing and being re-interpreted. By interpreting a song in their own voice, a musician ensures that those songs will continue to grow and change for years to come. Songs by revered songwriters like Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen are constantly being changed and re-interpreted by musicians, while artists like Elvis or Neil Diamond often get impersonated, with musicians donning their cadence, look and stage presence.

Today on the Mid-Week Beat, we feature both kinds of tributes: impersonations and interpretations. If you’re a fan of the original artists, chances are you’re going to enjoy hearing the songs you love regardless of whether they’re done straight or in an entirely different style. What matters are the songs.
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Artist Ticket Picks: The Royal Oui, A Tribute to Harry Smith, Burlesque, Bellydance and more!

0X8A1830-2Welcome to this week’s Artist Ticket Picks! The Artist Ticket program gives our customers a way to donate to causes that we care about.

If you’re an event producer, you can allow your ticket buyers to purchase limited-edition tickets printed with original artwork in your event settings. The ticket buyer will pay a small, additional charge of $0.25 and receive a limited edition, collectible ticket imprinted with original artwork. The current charity of our choosing will receive 100% of the additional charge. Physical tickets must be enabled on the event.

If you’re a ticket buyer, you can check to see if the limited edition ticket is available to you at the beginning of the ticket checkout process or by visiting the Artist Ticket page. You receive a small piece of collectible art and support a valuable cause just by checking the box in the Artist Ticket widget when you’re purchasing your tickets!

See a full list of events carrying the tickets on the Artist Ticket page, as well as find out more about the beneficiary for the current run of Artist Tickets.

So, without further ado, here are this week’s Artist Ticket picks:

Thursday, December 12The Royal Oui, Pretty Broken Things, and Elk and BoarSeattle, Washington

“There’s never been any shortage of music in the Adrienne PierceAri Shine household: Vancouver native Pierce has released four-albums-plus of retro-mini epics known to fans of TV’s Grey’s Anatomy, Veronica Mars and beyond; Shine’s songwriting chops have shone on his solo releases (including last year’s Songs of Solomon) and his work as a composer. The husband-and-wife duo have collaborated before, but not under a band moniker until now, when the sometimes-L.A.-based couple decided to make music (and puns) as the Royal Oui. Their first 7-inch, “When You Lose Your Mind” (b/w “Actual Size”), displays not only their quirky sensibilities but their admirable restraint. And that opening lyric is a keeper.”  – Kevin Bronson Buzzbands.LA

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The Mid-Week Beat: Here’s to the Singer-Songwriters!

Bob_Dylan_All_Along_the_Watchtower_single_coverOn this day, in 1967, Bob Dylan recorded “All Along the Watchtower” during a three-hour recording session at Columbia Recording Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. Dylan would perform ‘Watchtower’ live more than any of his other compositions in the 45 years since its release. It would be covered by countless artists in a variety of genres, most famously by Jimi Hendrix for his 1968 Electric Ladyland release.

Other artists who have covered the song include the Dave Matthews Band, U2, Neil Young, The Grateful Dead, Pearl Jam, Eric Clapton, Supetramp, Van Morrison, Paul Weller, T.S.O.L., Bobby Womack and countless others.

While Dylan may be widely praised as a singer/songwriter, with countless artists covering his songs, he is just one in a long line of troubadours that have braved stages armed with little more than their words and an acoustic guitar. In Dylan’s day, singers that wrote their own tunes were relatively rare in popular music. Most pop singers sang other people’s songs or, occasionally, co-wrote their own songs.

What separates the “singer/songwriter” from other musicans is that they often provide the sole accompaniment to an entire composition, typically using only a guitar or piano and the compositions are written primarily as a solo vehicle. While in Dylan’s day, singer/songwriters were largely associated with the folk tradition, Dylan influenced many in the rock community to follow a similar path. As a result, singer/songwriters became a powerful force in popular music in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the success of artists like Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Paul Simon, Randy Newman, James Taylor and countless others.
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The Mid Week Beat- Last Festivals of the Summer!

We’ve got just another month or so until summer 2013 is officially in the books. It’s been another fantastic summer festival season over here for the Brown Paper Tickets team (thank you!) but its not over yet. Here’s a round-up of a few of the last summertime festivals, both indoor and out, for you to enjoy before you have to don a parka and boots while holding an umbrella. Also I realize this post is a bit “Washington-centric.” Apologies.

TONIGHT!! Wednesday, August 21

Cooperstown Summer Music Festival: East Coast Chamber OrchestraCooperstown, New York

Tonight in Cooperstown experience the self-conducted “organic collective” chamber orchestra that is ECCO. Gifted young string players — soloists, chamber musicians, principals of major American orchestras, and GRAMMY award winners, have played with the symphony orchestras of Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston among others.

In 2012 ECCO celebrated its first decade of friendship and discovery with the release of its first commercial recording.  It includes Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings in C Major Op. 48,” Shostakovich’s “Chamber Symphony in C minor, Op. 110a” and the exuberant and surprising “La Follia – Variations for String Orchestra” arranged by ECCO’s own Michi Wiancko after Francesco Geminiani’s “Concerto Grosso No. 12 in D minor.” Tonight at the Cooperstown Summer Music Fest they perform Mozarts “Divertimento in B flat major,” among their selections.


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We Won A Seattle Weekly Web Award

We are proud to announce that our mobile app was selected as a 2011 Seattle Weekly web award winner, sharing the music category right alongside local legends KEXP. Seattle is where our headquarters are, and we’ve always loved the city and its music scene, and we are honored to be a part of it.

Being constantly in motion is common for both event producers and serial showgoers, so we’ve strived to make our services able to accommodate those lifestyles. In addition to our web-based mobile interfaces, including mobile ticketing and transfer-to-a-friend technology, we released our first bona fide app back in March. The Brown Paper Tickets Scanner, available for both iPhone and Android, turns your phone into a ticket scanner for a compact, low-cost alternative to other scanning setups. More details on the app’s features and instructions are available in this PDF.

Of course, we would be remiss not to mention our amazing friends Willow Tree Apps who developed our mobile scanner — this is as much their award as it is ours. Without them we wouldn’t be sharing a stage with great local apps like OneBusAway.

Thanks for the love, Seattle! And congrats to all the winners.

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Seattle – Audioasis Broadcasts Live from The Sunset

Audioasis is KEXP‘s long running Saturday night radio program that showcases the best music that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Once a month Audioasis broadcasts live from the Sunset Tavern with the net proceeds of the event going to a local charity.

On June 4th join us at the Sunset Tavern in Seattle for KEXP’s latest Audioasis Benefit Show featuring bands The Heavy Hearts, Nazca Lines and My Goodness.

This month’s charity is Flash Volunteer. Flash Volunteer is a networking website for people who are looking for volunteer opportunities, or if you have a volunteer opportunity then it is a place where you can find people to volunteer with your specific project. The organization has a stated goal of, “Everyone in Seattle engaged in regular volunteer service.”
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SxSeattle Kickoff Party!!

We love to support the music community, and have some awesome plans for SXSW this year. I’m particularly excited about our involvement with the SxSeattle group, which helps Seattle artists get an audience down in Austin.

Playing at SXSW can be instrumental in an artists’ career – being in front of the right audience can lead to record deals, agent relationships, and perhaps the best part, new fans! It’s great exposure.

Each year, SxSeattle throws a party in Austin to showcase some of the best bands from our hometown. Before the conference, there’s also a local event to kick-off the fun and help raise funds for the trip to Austin. Brown Paper Tickets is proud to be a co-sponsor of all the fun down in Texas, and I’m a member of the planning committee for SxSeattle. Here’s more about what we have planned:
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