CRS 2014: 'Radio And Records: Do You Know What I Do?'
February 21, 2014 at 2:30 PM (PT)
TODAY's (2/21) CRS panel called "RADIO AND RECORDS: DO YOU KNOW WHAT I DO?" was a casual and easy-going discussion designed to bring a better understanding of how the two spectrums of the music industry work together.
Executed in "game show" style, moderator EMMIS/INDIANAPOLIS OM BOB RICHARDS asked two teams various questions about the other team's job and duties. Team A was made up of record executives EMI VP/Promotions JIMMY RECTOR and VALORY Regional AMY STALEY. Team B consisted of MAX MEDIA Country WGH/NORFOLK-VIRGINIA BEACH, VA PD MARK McKAY and CBS RADIO/HOUSTON VP/Programming/OM BRUCE LOGAN.
Some of the questions that were asked included, "How much time does a PD or MD actually spend listening to new music, and where?" Jokingly, the teams started off with fiesty answers. AMY replied, "Who cares?! Just add it!" and MARK said, "None. Just ask any of my reps!"
On a more serious note, he then explained that he listens to music weekly, and it really just depends on how busy the PD or MD is. Sometimes he is lucky to get 15 to 20 minutes of free time, whereas on other days, he might be able to close his door for two uninterrupted hours and listen to new stuff. BRUCE said that he prefers to load up all the new music on his iPOD and listen at various times throughout his daily routine, to which MARK added that he does the same, and often song artwork will catch his attention and make him pay closer attention.
Also touching on new music, the panelists were asked what weight Mscores have on their playlist. MARK and BRUCE both replied, "zero," saying that they feel that Mscores are too small of a sample.
RICHARDS then inquired about how much the relationship with a regional affects whether a new song gets played on a station. BRUCE and MARK both agreed that the relationship does carry some weight, adding that an established relationship with the artist is beneficial as well. They mentioned that they are more likely to take a chance on a new song if it is by an artist who has helped out the station in the past. However, MARK said that they also have to remember that it is "Show Business," not "Show Friends" (a line that he is often reminded of from the movie JERRY McGUIRE). BRUCE added that while those established relationships are important, a PD or MD still needs to believe in the record.
Regarding the sound of new music that is being pushed out today, MARK said that he feels it is up to the audience to determine what Country music is. Whie KELLEIGH BANNEN doesn't sound like PATSY CLINE, she sounds great on the radio. JIMMY recognized that labels do push the envelope a bit too far at times (referencing ERIC CHURCH's "The Outsiders"), but also noted that when JOHNNY CASH first came out, her was not Country -- and now that is what we define Country music to actually be. He said that MARK had once told him that he felt a record was bad. JIMMY responded with, "That doesn't mean that it's not a hit." He then touched on the fact that whether or not the label reps personally prefer a song, they still have passion for it, for by the time it gets to a radio station, the label has spent several months already working on that song in other capacities. "Team B" admitted that often times, personal musical taste is tempting when they are deciding on new songs, however they are careful to recognize that not all songs are meant for them. A good PD or MD must always listen to songs with different sets of ears.
MARK and BRUCE were candid answering the question, "Is there a such thing as an automatic pass for a superstar add?" They both agreed that there is, and BRUCE made the reference to winning a basketball game. "If you want to win the game, your not going to sit your superstars on the bench! You're going to get them up and parade them to the front of the line, past all the other players!"
The panel wrapped with BOB asking each of the panelists for final thoughts, or one thing that they wanted the other team to know about their job.
JIMMY RECTOR answered, "We (records and radio) need to work together. We are only one format, and need to work together in this format."
AMY STALEY said that she hopes radio and records continue to keep the lines of communication open, and recognized radio for helping her learn the ropes of her job since she did not come from a radio background.
Touching on AMY's statement, MARK McKAY added that communication is key in both directions, and he feels that it's important to at least click "send" on an e-mail to let his record reps know that while he is busy, he will get back in touch with them. That at least gives them an answer to give their bosses, when asked if they have reached out to his station.
BRUCE LOGAN wanted to remind record reps that while they occassionally have "Push" weeks that are urgeant, to be mindful of radio PDs and MDs who are dealing with 52 "urgent Push weeks" a year.