I have to admit that though I used to consume a lot of cassette tapes (back when that was the way to listen to music as opposed to vinyl records), and yet I can’t recall for the life of me what a cassette tape cost in terms of albums. I don’t remember if they ran $8 or $10. Maybe more. I know cds ranged from $15-$20 brand new unless you got them on sale for $10. Then the Internet became the place where consumers went to for music because you could just grab a single track without having to buy the whole album. You could dictate the market for music instead of it making the rules (in terms of you buying music).
Still, $10 buys albums. That’s a cool thing, especially with all the speculation that inflation is going to drive the prices up on our lifestyle as Americans and as free thinkers. That’s wild. Just about everything else I buy, whether online or in a store, costs much more than it did 10 years ago, 5 years ago, or even 2 years ago. Especially food. My favorite restaurants have changed their menus repeatedly in the last 5 years. Yeah they have new dishes, new pictures, and of course new prices. It’s not a huge difference, but there used to be stuff on the Chili’s menu that cost $4.99 that wasn’t a side salad or bread. You used to be able to get something at Red Lobster that wasn’t on the Starters menu for $4-5. It’s not that way anymore. But music has stayed consistent in that realm, at least on iTunes, which is probably the main place most of us are consuming the music we listen to. We all (or most of us) have an iPod or mp3 player that we link to our iTunes or computer for music and that’s what we are connected to. I know I buy gift cards to iTunes to budget my music consumption, and in that $10 goes a long way.
Why am I making this big deal about $10 and music and iTunes? If you’re asking if I’m going to start running iTunes ads because The Appetizer is now sponsored there or has a deal, the answer to that is no. I wish I had a sponsorship with iTunes or a music retailer. That would be a great thing to partner with a store in what I do. No, the reason I bring this up is to actually ask you as a reader and consumer of music and The Appetizer to take what you’d spend on 1 iTunes album, and put it towards another outlet that contributes to the music realm, the indie music world in particular. And that is public radio. Yeah, public radio has been in the news a lot in the past few weeks with the controversial stuff involving ex-CEOs and members of the executive staff and remarks made to people posing as other people. Personally I feel the backlash against NPR and public radio is politically motivated more than anything. But that’s a different conversation. I’m not plugging NPR.
I am trying to raise support of public radio, in particular the stations that carry my show The Appetizer. Those great stations include KACU in Abilene, Tx, KVLU-1 in Beaumont, Tx, and KTRL in Stephenville, Tx. These stations are GIANT contributors to music, and to people searching for something off the beaten path. Artists that are becoming well-known across the country like Iron & Wine, Ray LaMontagne, Bon Iver, The Civil Wars, and others have grown in audience because public radio has done so much to showcase them. Public radio (KACU, KTRL, and KVLU-1 in particular) have been huge resources for Texans who connect with indie artists, attend concerts and more. Because of these contributions to music, support them with $10 in the name of indie music. If you did it in the name of The Appetizer, even better. But $10 helps stations in big ways.
I know that this week and this month is fundraising season for most public radio stations. Your $10 helps these stations continue to play the music that you want to hear, not something that Billboard or a major label exec says to play. That’s how public radio works. I worked for a little while at a station that was told by Billboard how many times each day they had to play certain songs. It drove me nuts, for a few reasons. First, I was already sick of hearing these same songs over and over every day and having to repeat that without any control was more than annoying. Plus, not being able to decide for yourself when you run a station as to what you can and can’t play is debilitating, to the radio industry as well as the music industry. Public radio operates by different rules. As a program co-director, only my station manager tells us what to play. He and I collaborate on what we’re broadcasting. That’s why you get such cool guests on the air as well as amazing talents in indie music on public radio. We have that kind of freedom. But it comes at a cost. The listenership contributes to the lifeblood of this endeavor.
I implore you to invest $10 (or more) in these stations, in the name of The Appetizer and indie music. Trust me, that President Hamilton (or Franklin if you’re more generous) will go a long way. Thank you.
Click on these links to contribute to these stations. Let them know you’re giving in the name of The Appetizer and indie music.
89.7 KACU FM