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Topic: Music Presenters
Replies: 68   Pages: 5   Last Post: Sep 1, 2005 7:38 PM by: Ray Rolfe

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J.P. Rennquist

Posts: 27
From: Duluth MN
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 7:39 PM
  Reply

you know what, I need to say something about radio.

I got my real start in the professional world in college radio and then community radio.

I have worked/volunteered at many public and independent stations and have many opinions about this.

Steve McClellan

Posts: 18
Registered: Aug 19, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 7:39 PM
  Reply

Well, I dont' know how long you've been doing promoting up in Duluth, but you cerainly understand some of the most drastic change and right on about the HAVE'S keep getting more while the HAVE NOT'S get less. This is not just the case with Clear Channel and the independent venues nationally, but you can look at independent book stores and what's happened to them since Borders and Barnes and Noble entered the scene. You can Starbucks and the independent coffee shop accross the street. I know that Ted Lowell over at the Acadia Coffee Shop on Nicollet and Franklin is seeing higher and higher costs while attempting to present music and run an independent coffee shop. Now, he's got a chain, I think Starbucks, opening right across the street in a new condo development. Starbucks with over 9,000 shops today and their sights on over 20,000 in one year can sit on that site for years losing money while the Acadia slowly succumbs to higher rent, higher COG's, and WILL NEED TO STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE.
After this panel I"m going over to Molly Quinns Pub on East Lake Street where I will be late for a membership meeting for an organization called Metro IBA (Independent Business Association). The mission and goals of that organization is to allign a group of grass roots businesses together for purposes of survival. I take the mission a step further when I say that the "ma and pop" and "indie" organizations are very community based as the owner or operator is in direct contact with the clientele. I call that being in touch with the community on a more base level that reading the sales figures over a computer in the home office somewhere out of state and sometimes out of country.
What was the question again?
Steve

Colin Rusch

Posts: 1,435
Registered: Oct 16, 2002
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 7:39 PM
  Reply

FYI, I spoke with Chris and he is having some technical difficulties. Hopefully, he will join us soon.

J.P. Rennquist

Posts: 27
From: Duluth MN
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 7:41 PM
  Reply

You know,

I really only know the current by reputation. It sounds like it is good, and if I lived there I would probably listen to it.

Here in Duluth, public and independent radio is dominated by the MPR empire. Great stuff, but certainly not Wolf man Jack, that's for sure.

KUMD is a wonderful station, but they have pretty muc ha niche they are reaching: Blues, AAA, etc. they pay the World Cafe for three hours every day.

Colin Rusch

Posts: 1,435
Registered: Oct 16, 2002
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 7:44 PM
  Reply

Steve,

I think we are past a particular question now. mnartists.org's hope with these forums is to have smart, experienced people share their insight and knowledge with the mnartists.org community. So, as far as I'm concerned, follow your interest, even it means ignoring my questions.

Colin

J.P. Rennquist

Posts: 27
From: Duluth MN
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 7:45 PM
  Reply

Steve,

You are so right on about the grass roots.

I have not spoken publicly about any "conspiracy" in the closure of the Historic NorShor, but others have. I retain my optimism and hope about INDEPENDENCE.

Here's something curious. Our neighborhood "Old Downtown Duluth" has something that few communities in the world have. A mile or so of shops, businesses and community establishments for arts, booze and etc -- all of them INDEPENDENTLY owned. Starbuck's is a symbol, so I don't want to single them out unfairly. However, one great thing about that neighborhood is that you go to Jitters or Coney Island for Coffee, maybe the casino if you're low on cash.

Colin Rusch

Posts: 1,435
Registered: Oct 16, 2002
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 7:47 PM
  Reply

Chris just called. He is now logged in and will be joining us shortly with some thoughts.

Colin

J.P. Rennquist

Posts: 27
From: Duluth MN
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 7:48 PM
  Reply

Here's the thing developers have been buying up land -- lots and lots of land and buidligns in our neighborhood. They want to build "hotels"

This is the same talk that happened in Duluth in the 1990s in an adjacent neighborhood called Canal Park. Has anyone ever been to canal park before? Really a nice, comfortable baeutiful place -- but only if you are middle to upper class, white and .... enjoy gentrification.

Chris Osgood

Posts: 29
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 7:51 PM
  Reply

Hi Everybody,

Chris Osgood here. My internet connection got bombed this morning- Commando Steve Almaas and I were fishing last week in the Big Horns and he sent me a 13 megabyte photo journal of the trip- which shut down my email, and, until I was able to dump what my computer had cached, I was SOL. After 40 minutes w/earthlink tech support I'm back!

Colin Rusch

Posts: 1,435
Registered: Oct 16, 2002
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 7:52 PM
  Reply

Steve,

How hopeful are you about the Metro IBA being able to help First Ave and the other ventures you're involved with?

Colin

Steve McClellan

Posts: 18
Registered: Aug 19, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 7:53 PM
  Reply

Boy, answering the Clear Channel vs. Current question has gotten me in trouble before. I really do perceive the Current as a far better alternative than Cities 97' and 93X, but on the other hand I also state that The Current is closer to Clear Channel than KFAI, which I call the purest form of community radio. It's the case where I believe that Tony Paul who has programmed SHAKE AND BAKE (Monday afternoons now)for over twenty years on a voluntary basis not only loves the music but opens the airwaves to anyone from the community who walks in and has something to say. It's a marvel that an operation runs seven days a week and twenty-four hours a day with only about five paid staff. NOW, on the other hand, the Current has both the financially depth to run a "commercial radio type campaign" when it went on the air, hired a few of the KFAI programmers, and has been able to attract the attention of the masses. Of course, in doing so, it also is campaigning quite frequently for memberships and donations to continue it's dominance in the non-profit media world. When do the HAVES do harm to the more street level HAVENOTS? This is a question that needs to be examined outside of the structured "profit/non-profit worlds" set up with government and social organizations as I believe it to be the root cause of many failing businesses and vital non-profits in the overall community.
Let me also add that I view the "enemy" NOT as the large organizations, but like in the Pogo cartoon - "WE'VE SEEN THE ENEMY AND HE IS US!!" - people that listen to 93X or Cities 97' create the massses. Money is where the masses are. This is very obvious when you ask the question - Is the best selling move, the best film? Is the best selling book, the best story? Is the band with the largest audience, the most talented?
What was the question?
Steve

J.P. Rennquist

Posts: 27
From: Duluth MN
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 7:54 PM
  Reply

This may seem like it is off the topic of music prmotion, but it is not.

there is a great singer songwriter that I interviewed in my earliest radio days -- John McCutcheon. He said something that has stuck with me. He was saying that art and music performance is not for "professionals," it is for people.

I have an image of Starbucks, for example, that they play the same music and cds in all of their stores around the world. I understand that they now actually sell a lot of these cds. Follow me: Would our native son, Bob Dylan, ever have gotten his word out - had a chance to practice his songs and build an audience if there had not been independent coffeehouse music venues in the 60s and 70s. What about Simon & Garfunkel? you could go on into cultural icons.

However, something important goes back to the concept from John McCutcheon: What about teenage kids who just feel they have a song to share and want to share it with a crowd? Where do those "non-professional" musicians perform now.

In Duluth, I know for a fact that they often have to "squat" in public parks or use someone's garage. In our town unfortunately there are no venues for under age 18.

This is one of the inititives I was working on this summer. In fact we dropped our smoking for adults in the bar because I simply could not stomach operating a venue where it was illegal for adults to bring their children and grandchildren to experience (age appropriate) art.

Chris Osgood

Posts: 29
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 7:56 PM
  Reply

Chris here,

Hi JP. I have been catching up- reading about downtown Duluth, gentrification and radio.

Here's the question- ALL of us, Colin included I'm sure, are AGAINST the phenomenon of gentrification, but we live in a market-driven society. People say they want diversity, but dollars say we want homogeny- what do we do?

J.P. Rennquist

Posts: 27
From: Duluth MN
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:00 PM
  Reply

I am really beginning to think that what we need is one of two things, maybe both.

1) More egalitarian means of community experience -- the internet could be one, or micro broadcasters could be another. KFAI, is one of the best radio stations in the UNITED STATES - totally responsive to the community, diversity and by reputation breaking new art (including spoken word and poetry, by the way).

2) A return to Philanthropy. At the core of very much of this discussion so far is that independent, fringe and rising artists and the venues that cater to them, are really pretty broke. However, what if the super rich, maybe the government would support us, the artists, whatever, JUST for beauty's sake. As I understand it during the renaissance, the great artists, musicians, etc had benefactors that allowed them to just be creative. Today, some of our finest artists in this community deleiver pizza's to support their art. I am not kidding about this. Sure you can rise up, but it's a tough road.

I learned that being motivated by beauty alone fed many, many people's spirits, including my own. However, it did not pay for my kids school clothes. Luckily I have had "benefactors" nd a community to help me do that.

J.P. Rennquist

Posts: 27
From: Duluth MN
Registered: Aug 20, 2005
Re: Music Presenters
Posted: Aug 30, 2005 8:03 PM
  Reply

Again, I am not real experienced with "The Current"

BUT, Minnesota Public Radio is motivated by market forces. They have done market research on content, etc. They are interested in market share, absolutely.

I listened to Cities 97 when I was in college, quite a bit. Back in the early 1990s. I can not point fingers, but I will say that they were honest. They are commerical radio working inside a real market but trying to be creative. Is MPR as upfront about this on the current? I really wonder, please share opinions?

I suppose it is likely that after Rochester (the new favored second son in MN), the Current will have an outpost here in Duluth.

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