Live Shows Returning

The generosity of some people will always amaze me, although I try and do the same thing myself.   I have been given some equipment to use on loan so that I may start to do live shows again.  Effective next Monday June 26th I will begin doing the shows that normally aired Monday to Friday.  Weekends will for now be nonstop music, commercial free.

All show times are Eastern Daylight Time, and will run at their usual times 8pm to midnight

Monday 70’s show

Wednesday Indie Music Show (Including the Top 10, and all Indie music.  Unable to do interviews at this time so it will be all music for the 4 hour show)

Thursdays 80’s show

Friday All Request Show

The ability to do interviews is extremely difficult and as such , I wont be doing or airing any for the time being.  I have however restored most of the website and that includes the voting for the Indie Top 10.  I encourage everyone to start voting again for a brand new Top 10.

With that said as well, this equipment is just that, on loan.  We have set a target date for the End of July and although I don’t know if its realistic to achieve the overall goal, I am hoping to be in a position to replace the equipment I have on loan, at the minimum by that date.  Either way, that is the next target date and no decisions will be made until that time.  It is still entirely possible that KB will go off the air, be it permanently or for an extended absence.

We will deal with all possibilities when necessary.

thanks again to everyone, and see you Monday night at 8.


al yardy


KB Radio goes off air permanently

When I began this journey over 18 months ago, I never thought I would reach the level that I did.  However as fantastic as that is and has been it will end effective Midnight June 30th 2017.

After a major failure in my broadcast equipment I reluctantly started a Go Fund Me campaign.  I was encourage by a number of people to do this, and did so reluctantly.  I have never been comfortable with putting my hand out, but running a station is not cheap.  I have done everything to date out of my own pocket and alone.  That is not a complaint in any way, because I have loved every minute of it.  But the reality is I cobbled together a set up and as effective in some ways as it was, many ways behind the scenes it was a struggle.  If things hadn’t failed I would still be doing it that way, but the reality is that to try and piece meal things together again is not in the cards.  To run things properly I need to start with a board to mix and run everything through.  There are cheap models for podcasting, but they are designed for 1 hr broadcasts not operating 24 hours a day 365 days a year.  My best option is just over $3000 for that one piece of equipment and with exchange rates me being in Canada, duty, taxes etc comes out to more than $4000.  That is just the start of what needs to be replaced, and I just don’t have the money to do that out of my pocket any more.  I had been convinced in some ways that if only 1 out of every 4 listeners gave $1 I would be fine.  LOL  I am not cynical but I forgot momentarily that it is a me first world,  and very quick to throw away and move on.

What most people don’t know is I retired in 2013 due to an injury.  I don’t tell you that for any reason other to understand, I am not out working 9 to 5 with making other disposable income.  There is no well for me to dip into.  lol  I wouldn’t have it any other way either.  I have never been happier in my life.

The music in the system is programmed to run out June 30th, so instead of just turning things off I will just let it play out.  to those who have already donated I will withdraw the money and return it to you, and I thank you for your gracious donations.  I do not want anyone thinking this is a tactic on my part or sour grapes.  Its neither and just life, but at the current rate for donations I could look at getting thing up and running again in almost a year.  that just is not a reasonable option on anyone’s part.

I want to thank everyone for listening, the friendships I have built and more.  I won’t start listing names, because I would miss someone for sure.

To the indie music artists I say keep fighting.  The amount of great music that crossed my desk every week was phenomenal.. Keep fighting for your dream.


Al Yardy

KB Radio

KB Radio Status

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.   Over the past 48 hours while dealing with some personal family issues, another issue came up, which is the catastrophic failure of my studio.  To say things went up in smoke, would not put it quite clear enough, but the end result is more than 3/4 of all equipment and electronics have been compromised and destroyed.  KB Radio is currently running as an automated station entirely right now and all live shows have been cancelled.  As such I have disabled most of the kbradio webpage including voting for the top ten etc.

It is the kind of damage that insurance will not cover, so my next step is one of two things.  To try and raise funds to get everything back up and running or to shut the station down permanently.

I have truly mixed emotions, and while I set up a go fund me page, i have never been a person who puts my hand out.   As such I am going to take a few days to consider other possible options and decide which way to proceed going forward.

I thank all of the regular listeners and the indie artists who I try and support with air play on KB Radio.  the outpouring of support and messages have been overwhelming and very much appreciated.

I hope to have a decision and news by the end of the coming week, around June 16th.

thank you and I hope you continue to enjoy the music.  The playlist and rotation is the same as it was before this began.

Al Yardy

KB Radio

KB Radio-What its About

When i first began KB Radio strictly as podcasts, I started using the tag line “What Radio Used to Be.”  So the first question is of course is, what did Radio used to Be like?  It goes back to an era, somewhere between the dawning of rock and roll dj’s and the brutal corporate rape of the industry.  Through the 70’s and 80’s the entire music scene was very different.  There were generally only a couple of options to get your music from.  You either played vinyl, either 45’s or 33 RPM albums, cassette tapes would reach a peak during these era’s as well, or people turned on the radio.   Yes there was still some 8 tracks and reel to reel was used by some, but not by the majority.  Now if you had a social gathering in your home, quite often it came down to listening to the radio.  Playing 45’s, too much trouble, having to change the record every 3 minutes or so.  Albums, much longer playing, but not everyone enjoyed the no hit tracks on albums.  They wanted to hear music they recognized, and since most could relate to what was playing on the radio, knew those tunes, that’s what would be playing in the background.  It was there, it was perfect or close to it anyway because it filled so many voids.  Your morning show, news, weather, maybe traffic a bit of light entertainment.  Music in the middle of the day, for those working to listen to or the family members at home raising kids etc.  Afternoons the same as the mornings and repeat at night with mostly music to entertain.  A simple formula, but you also know when you turned on the radio you could listen to it and let your kids do the same.

That last line starts to make me sound old, but I have to question many or our values in society where you can turn on the radio, and hear songs talking about beating your woman, dropping the N word, and shooting and killing enemies, cops, whoever.  I don’t care who tries to explain, i will never understand how a derogatory word, again starting with N, what was created in hate towards a race or culture, can now be used by that very same culture.  Explain a song that uses that term and talks about hate and being repressed by “the man” or society?  It is completely asinine.  It would be like PETA campaigning about abuse to animals while eating a Big Mac.  So you will never hear that kind of music on KB Radio.  It is counter productive in my opinion and if you disagree, that’s fine too.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion and free to express it.

So when you tune in KB Radio I want people to be able to first of all, relate to the songs, recognize most and be able to listen to it no matter what the circumstances.  Out for a walk or run with a ear buds in, it should work.  Sitting in the car chatting with your passenger, it’s on in the background not brash or disturbing your train of thought.  At home with a group of people, and playing in the background again, or up loud for everyone to enjoy depending on the type of gathering.  It won’t ever be everything to everyone, I am not naive about that, but I want it to be there for those who like using music in those ways.  Many radio stations now, stick to a very tightly formatted sound.  Most are basically franchises, and if you go from Major city to major city, at least in North America, you will find, as an example Virgin Radio in London, a Virgin Radio in Toronto, and in 50 or 100 other cities in Canada and the US.  I remember traveling to Ottawa once a couple of years ago.  When I left I had a “Bob FM” station on.  As I went down the highway, on about a 7 hour drive, I switched from one Bob Fm to another all the way there.  I don’t remember the exact number, but it was 6 or 7 stations.  Every one sounding the same, except with different voices announcing the tunes.

The other problem with these tight formats is the limited number of songs they play.  A radio station that plays hit music, repeats the top songs if not hourly, almost every hour.  That is what everyone want to hear.  The balance of their music is other current songs, slightly less frequently and the odd past hit, splashed in maybe one every couple hours.  They may say they have 300 hundred songs in the rotation, but only a handful would be played repeatedly through the week.  The balance is the fillers, and they as i said, only get played ever couple hours.  To give a better idea, here’s the math.  Lets say they have 250 songs in the older music pile, where 1 gets played every 3 hours.  That means 8 songs a day, and to go through the entire pile will take 30 days before they start to repeat the list.

Here is where KB Radio is different.  I am not playing songs in high rotation. I work off of a playlist I created myself, music that probably 90% who listen will recognize every song.  That list is approximately 3000 songs that play Monday to Friday.  These songs will take probably 8 days to go through all of them, but you are hearing them back to back.  Not a song you know and love every 3 hours.  Besides, if you like a song and have your radio on, do you really want to hear that song played 7 or 8 times in an 8 hour work day plus in the car driving, five days a week.  After 1 week, hearing a song 50 times, it tends to wear thin.  But if you put on the radio and listen for 8 hours and every song that comes on, makes you smile.  Than you start hearing songs you havent heard for a while, forgotten songs that come back to you when they begin playing.

I than add independent music into the mix.  These are the artists that are busting their butts making music, but haven’t reached the stardom level.  Some you may recognize a name, they had a minor hit somewhere, but the majority will be new to you.  These songs i have play more frequently and they will average about 1 time per day.  But the hours are different, so maybe in your work environment you will hear that song on a Monday but not again till Thursday, but someone listening in the evening on Tuesday got a chance to hear it.  I firmly believe that with this style of play, songs become more recognize while not being driven down the listeners throat.  The music again, is not aggressive and fits inside the mental mold I have created.  Many wouldn’t know the difference if played back to back as an example and independent artist and say an artist from another country whose music wasn’t available in your country.  What difference would it make which was which anyway.  they will both be good tunes that the listener will hopefully enjoy.

Am I an expert on radio programming, not by any means.  But here’s the simplest way to explain everything.  I am an average person.  Logic tells me if i like something that the average person will like it too.  Sorry if you are high maintenance or high-end, maybe I am not for you.

The next part is the live shows.  I host shows and try to present them in a free style manner that is not offensive, is light-hearted and maybe informational, though I stay away from news, hot political discussions etc.  I like to find odd ball kinds of stories about the insanity that is mankind, and share them with you.  Not serial killer insanity, but Robin Williams, laugh at the world and how silly we are sometimes.  I try to stay active on social media, and respond to everyone who emails, messages etc.  I do it all alone, which is not a complaint, but KB Radio is me, Al Yardy.

My final thought is that weekend music follows the same type of format but is all country music.  When I did the podcasts, my Sunday night live show was a country music show and it had a very large following also.  So when I first started the station, I made weekends country music.  I don’t know yet how well this truly works, but I am watching numbers and statistics to see the differences.  Only time will tell whether it stays like that, or evolves into something else.  Maybe even a 24 hr country music station too?  Just a thought.

As always I welcome comments and feedback if you care to.  thank you for taking the time to read this.  Cheers



The Ultimate Decision

I last wrote about the pro’s and cons and possible ramifications about posting comments, support in politics, etc and how it could affect what you are doing.  I focused on the entertainment industry but it can go beyond that into any business and lets face it personal life.

My dilemma is not one in fact.  I wrote the original post with the hopes that it may be of some assistance.  It was inspired because of a number of recent events, and again this morning I am reading a post from an entertainer that I have a problem with.  I will not get into a debate about the issue, my views are just that, they are mine and personal.  If we ever get to be close friends than I am sure we will have learned about each other views in many topics.

But this morning I removed that person from all social media and pulled their music from being played.  Some may say that is harsh, but the way the world works now, by following or promoting someone you are by default also support their public views.  If I had an image of say a burning cross on my website, or FB page etc, how many of you would distance your selves from me.

I once again would ask is the potential harm worth the risk compared to the potential gain by maintaining that contact.  I will not let people get in the way of my progress.  I work very hard at my goals and refuse to be put in a position where it appears I am supporting something controversial etc.

I haven’t notified this person, because there is nothing to be gained by it.  I was trying to decide whether to even write this blog.  But I decided once again information is important when it is passed out in a proper manner.

Please understand also, this decision, no matter how popular or unknown this person may have been was not easy.  It also was not over a topic as simple as they think putting whipped cream on ice cream is horrible.  It did, and always will have to be of a significant and controversial nature.  I also don’t want this taken in any way as a threat.  I am just a very small cog in an extremely large wheel, but if I were to get notice from a superstar that I was being asked to stop playing their music, because of something I said, did or supported, would be the potential for a quick ending of my dreams.  It only takes one, to start something.


I hope this is informative only……

Thursday January 19, 2017

I was asked a question regarding this, and it got me thinking how arrogant this probably sounds.  It is not meant to sound that way, and if it comes across like that I apologize.  One thing I did not add and was remiss about is the trickle effect, for lack of a better term.  If someone supports another person who has views I can’t support or endorse, it in no way changes my opinion of anyone else.  We all live by a certain standard, and no one standard is right or wrong in my opinion.  If i were to follow that practice I would very soon find myself all alone on an island.

Entertainers, Politics, and Personal Views

The world of the entertainer is like no other.  In our times now they are under a spotlight and scrutiny like never before in our history.  Our society has sadly devolved to the point where people believe they have the right to know anything about anybody.  This is of course totally disgusting and unfair.  If you were to ask them how they would feel under the same scrutiny, they would shrug it off as if it was no big thing.  It is a huge matter and people trying to break into the entertainment business have to be aware of the potential as they become more well-known.

Beyond that invasion of privacy though lurks another larger and more imposing issue.  When you reach the level of stardom, or maybe even not so much, should you as a performer use that stature as a platform for political, religious, social and so many other categories to promote or push their beliefs.  It can be broken down like this, using a very current event.  Actress Meryl Streep recently during the Golden Globe awards made a very impassioned speech.  although she never said a particular name, it was assumed, and probably correctly so that she was speaking about the next President of the United States Donald Trump.  So should she have made that speech in that moment is my question?  My belief is that no, she should not have.  It was disrespectful to the people and everyone involved in that award show, plus the viewers.  If Ms. Streep chooses to go out on the campaign trail or appear at functions, designated to support a political figure, that on the other hand is absolutely fine.  Take advantage of your star power at events like that and help the candidate or cause you want.  Based on election results with her statement she probably alienated about 50% of the US population.

One of the most outspoken performers ever, has to be the singer Bono from the band U2.  He chooses to use their concerts to promote his agenda whether the fans want to hear it or not.  there is a video that has circulated for years of a U2 concert, where Bono is rambling on about his cause, when a fan can clearly be heard shouting, “shut the hell up, we paid to hear music, not your bullshit.”   One has to believe that if that asked every single person entering that concert if they wanted to hear Bono talking about his cause or just music, probably 98 to 99% would say music.  I don’t make it 100 because there will always be that one person who is on the other side of the line.

Much like Meryl Streep, as a fan you are in a forced environment, and don’t have a choice.  Television viewers can change the channel but not the live audience.   To me it is tantamount to an abuse of power.  If it is for a good cause or charity, is it so wrong?   I believe it still is.  Many stars support causes and do so quietly, because they do it for the good of the cause, and not for the recognition they get for helping.  The egomaniacs are something entirely different and won’t be broached in this blog.  The recent loss of musician George Michael exemplifies how someone can do so much good, without the world having to be told.  If you don’t know, read some of the tributes to him, about his work and donations that were done anonymously or quietly.

We now approach the main reason for this topic.  If you are someone trying to break into the entertainment industry, should you be using your stage as a platform.  If you are a singer, playing small venues and bars you likely don’t stop to promote saving the rain forest in the middle of a music set.  But, on the other hand, on your social media pages, did you post something that could be considered inflammatory?  It would have to be something outrageous, just something supporting a person a cause or a group maybe.  I ask myself everyday when I see posts whether they could affect what I am doing with KB Radio.  For one thing, my opinions don’t really matter about many subjects and are my opinions worth taking the risk of alienating some people be it listeners or musicians.

I have read in the last couple weeks, posts that do nothing more than tell me that a couple of individuals I follow have a very specific viewpoint.  I won’t elaborate more than that.  On a personal level I shook my head wondering how they could think that, and then I sat back and thought, do I want to play their music when they have such extreme views in my opinion.  You may think that is potentially a bad decision on my part, but from the business side of the music, if I played one song from each of these people even once a day, I am committing an entire 7 or 8 minutes of airtime to them.  If their music isn’t played it’s not like that space is only theirs, another song will play and no one will ever know what had happened.  I certainly am not about to post an announcement..”By the way, for the listeners, this time was supposed to be for Atist XYZ, but I won’t be playing them today.”

the entire point is that no matter how small somethings appear they can be magnified hundreds or thousands of times.  In my example does it impact the person whose music was hypothetically removed from the station.  It probably doesn’t, but what if I am not the only one.  What if others, in radio stations, or music fans in general see it.  The question does not come down to whether or not you have the right to do it, but rather should you do it.  When I reach the level of Meryl Streep or Bono, I still won’t but that’s me personally.  If you become a huge celebrity, and you think you don’t need to worry about these types of things, than say or post anything you want.

My final thought for you is this.  Many years ago, the television industry had no way of knowing who was watching their TV Shows.  Before computers and the internet,  a company called Neilson  set out to help them with that.  There were other companies that also worked in the Radio industry to help with listeners.  What was discovered, and the idea is still used today in polling and surveys, is that if you ask a certain number of people their opinions, once you reached a certain plateau with responses, it was a fair representation of the entire population.  They discover that if as an example only, if the population was 10 million and they surveyed One hundred thousand people, they would be accurate to within 1 or 2 %.  That is really quite accurate and as I said that is why that method is still used today.  It would be impossible to survey all 10 million, plus many would never even respond.  My point being, yes I am only one person, and that other person who reads a post and is offended is only one person, but our opinions represent many other people as well.  So why take the chance?  Did not clicking like or re-posting something make a difference to you?

I found this video clip today so I wanted to add it to the blog post.  I personally find U2’s Bono completely ridiculous.  He spends so much time at concerts preaching his beliefs, but watch this video clip.  Not only is he outspoken and an idiot for thinking people want to hear his crap instead of music, watch what happens when he doesn’t like what you are doing.  Most important in this clip are HIS WORDS



Christmas 2016

As Christmas day ends, I sit reading the news, and can’t help but wonder about this world we live in.  Singer George Michael died earlier today, another in a long list of entertainers this year that we have lost, a Russian airplane clashed into the black sea, killing among others the Alexandrov military music ensemble.  You do not have to be a fan of music in any form to enjoy this group.  You can see videos on YouTube etc, and they are so typical in Russian precision but also so amazing to listen to.  In news around this regions your mix of fires that killed families on Christmas day, our local police shot and killed a man, which here in Canada is fairly rare.  In fact in this city, London, Ontario the last death in a police shooting was 17 years ago.

I am looking for some kind of good news story, something to say that it really isn’t that bad, but damn our society is so driven by negativity.  Add to that the must have it right now attitude and than move on to the next thing, it makes me wonder if maybe I am one of the sane ones.  That’s a scary thought for anyone who knows me.

I wonder when this kind of mentality will change in society.  there is a belief that it has to change from within, but that’s like trying to stop a steam roller with a bunch of ants.    We need to make changes soon, before it gets to be unchangeable.  There was a fairly high profile trial around here recently that was called a mistrial.  it was a case of a younger couple who had a couple kids, and a very young son was scaled with boiling water all down his front.  He was never taken to a doctor and eventually died from the injuries.  So there are two parts to the disappointment in this story.  The first is, people like one of the couples mothers knew about the injury, and one night there was even a baby sitter in the house, yet nobody else had the nerve to call the police, or just load the kid into a car and take him to a hospital.

It was called a mistrial because one of the parents charged had a medical emergency, and was in hospital.  the trial was called and have to be redone.  The follow up to that is a couple days after the mistrial one of the jurors from the trial killed themselves.  Was it related to the trial, there is no word, but if you are someone suffering from depression already something like this, would be tough to deal with.

So when are we as a society going to stand up for what truly is right and wrong.  We don’t have to go back 100 years in time, but than again, kids back than treated parents and elders with respect.  It wasn’t perfect, but life sure would have been a slower pace and less filled with garbage and hate.


1 Week to Christmas 2016

A number of years ago the joy of Christmas left, I don’t want to say for good, but pretty damn close.  Christmas used to be a time, for me anyway, when family and friends came over on Christmas eve.  A quick drink, some friendly conversation and a fun evening.  I grew up with this and enjoyed that as much as Christmas Day itself.  As we grow up Christmas gets so hectic, that when you have kids and two sets of Grandparents it just seems to be go go go.  That isn’t a complaint in some ways, I have many friends who don’t have that option from losing their parents.  As the family gets bigger, it spreads out even more, and all you see is stress among so many.  They are trying to work out schedules to visit with family.  Son and girlfriend, both of them divorced parents, some grandparents still in the mix and pulling hair out.  I tell them, Christmas isn’t just a 24 hour period.  Its the season.  Make time that works for yourself, and plan the least flexible of family first.  Lets face it, if you try and plan them in later, they will never be happy.  Though chances are, they won’t be happy the other 364 days a year as well, so in my opinion…why bother.

I said to my sons, would you rather run from place to place Christmas day, short visits, or come and visit me on the 26th or 27th, and spend half a day or more, their choice.  Smart boys, they will visit around Christmas day, and we will have some family time.  I refuse to stress over it.  I don’t have a tree, and have no plans for one.  Others give me the Bah Humbug, saying I am a Grinch.  I may be, or quite possibly like the rest of the year, its the rest of the world that’s crazy and I’m the only sane one.

Now that’s a scary thought for you.

Merry Christmas

New Artists

I have written about this topic before, but it is a topic that needs to be brought up over and over again.  When you are a musician who has aspirations of the big time than you need to work.  Its like any other job only tougher.  If you are working at company X and you think one day you would like to manage, than you work hard and try and make a good impression, earn the recognition and get the promotions.  When you are a musician trying to make it big, you are going up against a couple people for that notice, you are fighting millions of other artists.  With the ability to broadcast world wide, instantly and share music through various avenues, from YouTube to Soundcloud and Spotify, just to name a couple of the big ones.

To get the recognition you desire for your music, it takes  more than just recording a song and waiting for someone to bang on your door with a truckload of money.  That kind of thing doesn’t happen.  You have to play the small venues and try and build a following.  You start on a local level and establish and than expand where you play.  Beyond the playing at bars and events etc is the follow up with fans.  This is 24 hrs a day 7 days a week.  This doesn’t mean you have to work non stop, but social media has made it so easy to reach out to virtually everyone.  Are you using it to your advantage or using it against yourself.  It can do as much damage as it can be a help.  I will give you a shining example and one of the driving reasons for re-writing this article.  I get hundreds of songs every week from new artists.  I am based in Canada, but I am getting it from around the world, and when we can, we play their music if it fits with our formats.

I was going through some new songs that I was adding and found a song that had an odd kind of name on it.  I started with the bands website, looking for a reference to what I thought the song title was, and listened to all the tracks on their site.  I will tell you I like this song, which is part of the reason for the extra effort.  I than did the same on some of the online resources as well and again could not find that particular song.  I have no recollection of where I got this song, who sent it to me.  I can find no emails from this group either that would say what it was.  I finally just broke down and sent them a message, explained the issue and waited for a response.  I am still waiting, and that song didn’t make it to rotation and was filled by another artist.

Can you answer every message that is sent to you.  Probably not, though it should be something that is attempted.  Lets face it, you aren’t Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley or Florida Georgia line, who get a thousand messages or more every day.  Find a way to do it.  Does it take time, absolutely, but is it worth while, you better believe it.  Someone like myself, in the broadcast business doesn’t need the personal contact, though the conversations with artists always are great.  Can you afford to blow off potential fans though.  Our society posts so much garbage and crap it really is mind boggling the amount of wrong information and outright lies that are out and circulating.  It only takes one disgruntled fan to post the comment that singer WXYZ ignores their fans.  You have to fight for every fan you can get.  You have to fight to get your music played all around the world.  Most importantly, you need to understand the way people are treated by you is often how you are treated in return.

A great example of the kind of effect comments or lack of comments can have are the Dixie Chicks.  One comment which was a personal one at that, not representing the group, and their music was completely pulled from hundreds of radio stations.  The effect of that, back in 2003 is still felt today.

I finish with this thought and question for you.  This is the second time in less than 6 months I have reached out to this group, and have not received a response. If they don’t give a damn about something as important as properly displaying their music, proper song title etc, than why should I care.  Why bother to play their music.  It is not a recognition thing, its common sense.  Everyone’s time is important, so do I waste time when I know I won’t get a response for significant questions, or just go on to someone else’s music and slip them in that spot in the rotation.

Don’t think this feeling is unique.  Its probably worse in terrestrial radio, because so many of them are being programmed by younger people, to save money,  and many of them have the same kind of idea, only worse.  They are the younger generation too, and many of them think they have the world by the balls.

Just some simple advice, take it or not.  It really doesn’t matter to me.


New Music & Musicians

When you step away from all the negativity that makes up the world today its a pretty wonderful place for a lot of us.  Here in North America we have access to so much that we really are spoiled.  But this isn’t about what we do or don’t have in that manner.  It is about the world of music and what we have at our fingertips this very second. let me start by going back in time a bit.

In the late 1980’s when I worked in terrestrial radio, I was a music director for a station in Canada at one point.  It was a mid sized market, and we got a lot of music in every week.  Through the week record companies and independent artists would send us their music.  In those days we received it almost always in the form of the 45 RPM single.  Once in a while full albums came through, but the record companies were looking to promote one song, not an entire album.  The idea being the album sales would be generated with a song on it becoming a hit.  It was a good formula and for the most part it worked.  Now in this station we would receive probably 75 to 100 songs a week.  Let me do a bit of math here, just imagine with the 75 songs each one was only 3 minutes long.  They tended to be closer to four, but I am rounding everything low knowing that the issue was actually worse than I am displaying.  To listen to each song entirely with those numbers would require 3hrs and 45 minutes, per week, and thats if each record played fully back to back with no breaks or discussions.  In the 1980’s Radio stations didn’t generate huge amounts of money, and now in 2016, it is in many ways an industry that is dying..  With all of that said, while Radio DJ’s jobs can be glamorous in some cases, there generally is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that nobody outside the building sees. Most do other duties as well, from production, to music or program directors.  To add 4 hours at the very least to the schedule each week was impossible.

So at Radio stations all over the world I am sure we all did the same thing.  When you played a song, if it didn’t fit your format it was gone.  What that means, if you played rock on the radio station and it was a country song, it was no good to you.  Those were the easy ones.  In Canada we had to play a certain percentage of Canadian music, which wasn’t really that difficult because there are so many well known Canadian artists and band around the world.  What it boiled down to though was literally only a few seconds to make an impression to the person or persons listening.  Once the song started, it had to grab you by the time the vocals come in.  Remember I am not talking about big name bands or singers here.  They were somewhat different, in they had an established history, and often the songs are already being played on other stations depending on how the song was released.  At this point I am sure you are ready to bail and stop reading so I will stop with the stats from the past.

The point to consider, at that time computers were nothing like they are today.  Your basic phone now has more capacity and options than computers did at that time.  So the average person had no way to hear all this other music, unless they were playing at a bar or an opening act for a bigger band etc.  This is where the difference in time is so evident.  If your friend or someone says to you, hey have you heard about the new band called The Phantoms, (@Phantoms_the) you just grab your phone or tablet or pc, search the name and the world opens up right than and there.  In the 80’s, if someone said that to you, your option was to hopefully see them live or know someone who actually had a record or theirs, or catch them on the radio.  In other words, it was little to no chance.

Now don’t take this next part the wrong way, but in the world today, anyone can and offer music.  There are so many forums online to display and promote your talents that there truly is no way to hear everything that is available.  I run a small online station, basically a podcast at this point that broadcasts live like a standard radio station but only 3 hours a day, and than is available after as well to listen to.  Even being this small cog in the giant entertainment wheel, I get emails etc every day with new music to listen to.   The numbers compared to back than are nearly 10 times what they used to be, and that is just the people out there pushing the music.  Their are another 100 times more artists and bands, that you never hear of for the same reasons in reverse.  So the chances of new artists making a dent into the music world in a big way are so small you cant calculate them.  Much like making it big in sports.  We all are just one needle in a extremely large haystack.

None of this meanwhile should be interpreted as a complaint.  What I am doing, I don’t get paid for and it is entirely a labor of love.  Would I like to get to a point to make money off this, sure, but its not a deciding factor in whether I continue or not.  I am blessed to be able to hear so much great music, and only wish there was the time or opportunity to showcase it all for people to listen too.  But its just not realistic.  At this point I suggest you do some things for yourself.  The next time you are on YouTube or Soundcloud or any service look around for someone you have never heard of.  You may be shocked at what is available to listen to and how good it is.

Over the past 72 hours I have had what I think has been an extraordinary opportunity drop into my lap.  I was contacted by a couple of people offering for me to check out and listen to one singer and the other a band.  What has happened over the past two days is funny that it happened twice in a row.  In both instances I was blown away by the music I heard that I spent almost 3 hours reading and researching about each, and in fact although two different genres, I have both playing as I write this.  Do you remember when you were a kid, or maybe you have kids today who do the same thing.  When they like a song, they play it over and over and over.  That is whats happening, but its not just one song, its all their music.  I realized yesterday that what I was listening to were the next to huge acts that were going to blow the world of music up.  IF?   If after reading the beginning of this blog you understand just how tough it is to be heard and make a name for themselves.  Even though in the case of this blog, It is still in its infancy as far as writing I had decided when I created the site, that I wouldn’t promote individuals.  I even took down my page of independent artist because their are so many that I just couldn’t keep up with all of the requests and didn’t want to be leaving people out.  Maybe I was wrong though.  Maybe I should be promoting those I have heard to maybe help in even a small way.  Thats why I am writing about these two.

Lets start with the band called The Pantoms from Scotland. They are considered Alternative, Indie & Rockers, but you can decide for yourself.   I invite you to also read another piece entirely dedicated to this band.  This was my introduction to them, and also includes links to their music.  The link will be at the bottom of the page.  I don’t know what to say about them at this point.  I sent a message to their Manager, that I now feel kind of stupid about.  It was a quick first impression of the music, which was good, but subsequently every time I listen again to songs “Lost” or “Wasting Time” I can hear different influences in their sound.  But what is best is this is “their sound”, and it is incredible.  I took one of their songs out for some friends to hear, and they all did the same thing.  It was remarkable, they listened, to the entire song, and than said, “Hey, play that again will you”.  I will let you decide who they sound like, but for myself, it is uniquely their own.  I was looking up some of their schedule for playing and am envious to those who have heard them live and will hear them in the near future in venues like King Tut’s.  Take away from those shows what you can, because this band is going to be big.  Just like you have heard the old stories of a band called the Quarymen and those who say they saw them in those small venues, seeing The Phantoms live these days will indeed be something you will share in the future.

The other artist is a solo musician over on the Country Music side of the dial.  Jake Anderson  @jakeandersongs came to me the same way, by introduction from somebody who knew him and wanted me to check him out.  This was approximately 24 hours before I heard of the Phantoms, and was the start of another big dive into one performer.  Jake just recently released a 5 song EP entitled “Comeback Kid”.  I sent him a message that says what I am about to write here.  I put the music on, and listened, and it just played through to the end.  I had enjoyed the first cut so much I hadn’t even stopped it part way.  This pattern repeated itself and by the end I had finished all 5 songs and was blown away.  Those of us older likely more so remember putting on entire albums and listening to both sides.  You don’t hear about that type of thing much these days, but when you played them there was always a song or two that wasn’t that good, and you ignored or did something else while it was on, or lifted the stylus and moved it over one track.  (Look that one up youngsters)

I couldn’t recall the last time I had done just that.  Listened all the way through.  Jake has a great Country sound.  In a time when so many songs crossover to the pop charts, the music at some times is indistinguishable, his is not.  The music isn’t overproduced, but has all the sounds it needs.  The first track “Die Young” has what you could call a haunting quality to the lyrics.  As you listen even the first time, the words and the meaning stick in your mind, and I am sure many many people could truly relate.  When you read about him, you see he is doing the small venues right now as well, and again, this is someone to check out in that type of environment.  I believe that very soon he will be riding a huge wave of success and the days of small clubs will be gone.

I don’t write this about these two easily.  I am after all just one person, and I am sure they have heard words like mine before.  But what they both have is incredible talent, and the drive to make it.  The other part of each days 3 hours of research and listening was interaction with either the performer or a representative.  Many others could learn from them that if you want something you have to work for it.  You can’t just record a song, and than wait for the world to come to you.  I thank those people for the interaction and look forward to more down the road.  I truly hope I am right also, because I would be thrilled for their success, as I said, so few get the chance to reach that level.

Links and references

The Phantoms

Twitter   @Phantoms_the


The blog/story I mentioned earlier.  Please read:

Jake Anderson

Twitter   @jakeandersongs