Hearsay: Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Lone-ly Star?

Not sure what to make of the change at 92.5, from a purely arena-rock format to a mix of Outlaw country, alt-country, and Southern rock. I mean, I like what I hear on Lone Star, the dial’s new handle — it’s kind of like Jack-FM in that the musical tissue that connects the diverse artists is more important than their hewing to the confining strictures of a single genre. (At Jack, the tissue is pure pop. At Lone Star, the tissue is non-mainstream, non-heavy, guitar-based pop.) But I don’t know if I trust that Lone Star isn’t just a temporary segue into a traditional format, like tejano, rap, or pure country, the three remaining genres that have pretty much taken over terrestrial radio. My fear has roots in the so-called Digital Divide, a sort of information version of the gap between rich and poor. As the rich (mainly educated white folks) keep fleeing in droves to rather expensive digital entertainment media, such as iTunes, TiVo, and satellite radio, the poor (mainly racial minorities and uneducated whites) make the best of what remains: c.d.’s, cable tv, and terrestrial radio. Billboard Radio Monitory, a radio trade magazine owned by the music industry bible, published a story about a year ago that said black and Hispanic listeners are keeping terrestrial radio “from experiencing steep declines in listenership.” I’d go on to say that they’re actually bolstering terrestrial radio. Why a station like Lone Star, owned by the 800-pound gorilla of radio conglomerates, Clear Channel Communications, would pass on an opportunity to milk even more advertising dollars from our huge Fort Worth-Dallas media market doesn’t make sense — it’s not very Clear Channel-esque (read: greedy). J.D. Freeman, Clear Channel Radio market manager for Fort Worth-Dallas, tells LoneStar95.com, “We got extraordinary support from corporate. They completely insulated us and told us to break all the rules. So we broke them in programming, we broke them in advertising, we broke them on the web.” The key phrase is “insulated us,” meaning that Lone Star may be allowed to go on as is, but probably only if Clear Channel can pick up the slack on other parts of the dial. Owning a large chunk of the Fort Worth-Dallas radio market should help, but with digital entertainment becoming more affordable — and more enticing to lower-income people — Clear Channel might have to re-double its efforts over the next year or so to “insulate” 92.5. The options: buy more dials and spin more tejano, hip-hop, and country or stop insulating Lone Star — at all. ... After shutting its doors several months ago, the Metrognome Collective recently received federal tax-exempt status as a nonprofit organization, meaning that the arts group can now accept tax-deductible donations from corporations and foundations, the fat cats of the nonprofit world. The goal, said co-founder James Watkins in an e-mail, is to “buy a building to house our studios, performance space, gallery space, workshops, and more.” Visit Metrognome.org. ... Saxophonist Dave Williams, trumpeter Chris White, drummer Dennis Durick, and bassist Paul Unger will unite on Sunday to perform the music of Fort Worth legend and recent Pulitzer Prize-winner Ornette Coleman as the Ornettology Quartet at 6 p.m. at Sardines Ristorante Italiano, 509 University Dr. For info, call the restaurant at 817- 332-9937.

Contact HearSay at hearsay@fwweekly.com.

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