Hearsay: Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Dear, KFWR/95.9-FM, The Ranch

I appreciate all you’ve done for local Texas Music. The battles of the bands, the promotional shows (Pickin’ Parties, Colgate Country Showdown), the resources on 959theranch.com – the things you do on a consistent basis are more genuinely helpful for local musicians than all of the other local commercial radio stations’ battles of the bands and promos combined. I tip my 10-gallon lid to you. However – and an XL “however” here – I can’t shake the sinking feeling that you’re reluctant to get your butt out there and break local bands. Y’know, the way it used to be done before the corporatization and homogenization of commercial terrestrial radio. Rock radio, hip-hop radio, country radio, you name it – their “DJs” are prohibited by the big cheeses from actually dee-jaying, from actually selecting the music to be played on-air, hence the preponderance of “on-air entertainers” and dearth of legitimate tastemakers. Seems that the only artists who get any drive-time airplay are major-label artists. I’d love for some local program director – here, in Austin, San Antonio, wherever – to stand up to the major-label distribution reps who’ve been browbeating him into playing their artists for years and say, “You know what, Mr. Nashville/Arista/Atlantic/Capitol/MCA/RCA: I’m tired of playing what your greenbacks tell me to play. I heard this local band last night at the club ’round the corner from my house, and they kick ass, and that’s who I’m gonna spin at 6 p.m. tomorrow.” Granted, I don’t expect much from all of the other mega-commercial radio stations here in town. But Ranchy – may I call you “Ranchy”? – you’re a different animal. You started out small not too long ago and still have some homegrown roots, and because you’ve earned the backing of the entire 817, you can make a stand for local artists. I admit I’m not as schooled in radio-country as I am in, say, jazz or indie-rock (or musicals, but that’s another story). Still, having heard plenty of Cory Morrow, Randy Rogers, Cross Canadian Ragweed, and Miranda Lambert (whose bass player, BTW, Aden Bubeck, plays in local jazz legends Bertha Coolidge), I know that the only thing that separates their CDs from those of, say, my local faves is production value. Obviously, if a major label were willing to spend the same amount of money on Cory, Randy, CCR, and Miranda as on Stephen Pointer, The Hawkes, Jordan Mycoskie, or Maren Morris, the average listener wouldn’t be able to tell which artists were Big Time and which weren’t. Ranchy, my man, if you’re not busy on Friday night – actually, even if you are busy on Friday -- please join me at J. Gilligan’s Bar & Grill (400 E. Abram St. in Arlington, 817-274-8561), where The Hawkes will be playing. Or if A-town is too far for you, stop by Fred’s Texas Café near the Cultural District (915 Currie St., 817-332-0083), where Morris will be playing with her full band. Or swing by the White Elephant Saloon (106 E. Exchange Ave., in the Stockyards, 817-624-8273), where Mycoskie regularly holds court three or four nights a week. Don’t worry, Ranchy. Once you break ’dem boys (and gal), you can take all the credit.
Respectfully, HearSay.

Contact HearSay at hearsay@fwweekly.com

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