the Direct Buzz - September 2009

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DOLLY PARTON Artist, Visionary, and Entrepreneur

Robert Williams Interview with the President of WBA Entertainment, Inc.

Plus: Songwriter profile with Johnny Cooper How to find stations that will play your music Global Radio Charts Featured Artists & Reviews September 2009

6 Cover Dolly Parton was one of the first Country artists to cross genres – from Country to pop and even into rock, starting a trend that continues today. A true visionary, she has expanded her world to include several entrepreneurial projects, such as a Management Company, Dolly Records, Velvet Apple Music, Everything Dolly Merchandise, Dolly Parton Tours and, of course, Dollywood.

10 Behind the Desk Robert Williams forged a long and diversified career across multiple platforms in the entertainment industry. He led one of the largest and most successful booking agencies in the business; managed some of the biggest stars in comedy, music and television; and produced projects for television, film and stage.

22 The Indie Way Read quick tips on how to find radio stations that will play your music and discover opportunities amidst a changing music business.

4 The Broken Poem

Johnny Cooper’s songwriting and vocal style incorporates a very diverse range of influences that include Red Dirt Country, Blues, Pop, Jazz and Soul.

12 Global Radio Charts

The AirPlay Direct Global Radio Charts display the top tracks downloaded for airplay by radio programmers around the world.

20 Featured Artists

The AirPlay Direct Global Radio Charts display the top tracks downloaded for airplay by radio programmers internationally.

---------------------------------------------------------------Publisher & Founder: Robert Weingartz Managing Editor: Bernard Baur Contributing Writers: Clif Doyal, Dr. T. Roberts, Hans Fink, Tom Laurie, Jeanie Cunningham ART DIRECTION: Aleven Creatives ( VIDEOS: The Composers Corner, Jeanie Cunnigham


FROM THE PUBLISHER AirPlay Direct is pleased and excited to announce the launch of our new digital / interactive publication, the Direct Buzz. Our mission is to entertain, enlighten and inform. We see the Direct Buzz as a “Destination” for anyone interested in general entertainment. And, although it will be music oriented, we will be bold in our exploration of pop culture, life issues and commonly shared interests. Most of all, we want to help and encourage those creative individuals who are striving to succeed in a changing world. We already have plans to introduce columns that will provide advice for those who may need help with their writing, recording or producing. Other sections will address the various needs of artists, reps and industry professionals, with videos supplying a large part of our message. We will always be a “work in progress,” because that’s life and, most certainly, it’s life in the field of entertainment. It’s a tough gig, but not an impossible one. And we think you’ll enjoy watching us grow. As the Direct Buzz evolves, it will become more interactive with every issue. In fact, we’ll be encouraging our readers to contribute content. For members of AirPlay Direct, the Direct Buzz will not only add value to their membership services, it will also give them the opportunity to let the world know about their art. We look forward to your comments, suggestions and thoughts. So, feel free to contact us at any time.

Robert Weingartz Publisher and Founder, Direct Buzz CEO, AirPlay Direct Bernard Baur Managing Editor, Direct Buzz

The Broken Poem

a songwriter profile by Dr. T. Roberts



“Don’t Feel Like That Anymore” Written by Johnny Cooper/Dexter Green/Glenn Rosenstein/Cody Shaw ©Johnny Bob Music, BMI


ohnny Cooper’s songwriting and vocal style incorporates a very diverse range of influences that include Red Dirt Country, Blues, Pop, Jazz and Soul. A unique and unexpected combination for an artist of his age… Cooper is only 20 years old. “Don’t Feel Like That Anymore” is a song about change and evolution. You automatically start tapping your toes as soon as the song hits your ears. This track is uplifting and just leaves you feeling better about yourself. The simple, clean and understated production on this track really allows the song to breathe, and stand out in a world of over-produced and glossy mediocrity. BROKEN POEM: Where did this song originate from, and what is it about? COOPER: “It is about being ready to step out of the box. I was trying to branch out. It’s like putting on your new gear, trying to do

something new… something that I am always working towards. It is like letting go of previous baggage and things that bring you down. I like to keep looking towards what is yet to come; trying to bring out a side of myself that I didn’t even know was there.” BROKEN POEM: In general, how do you approach songwriting? COOPER: “It changes every day. Sometimes it starts out as a melody on an instrument, or it could be a vocal melody. It just kind of gets locked in your head. You just start to go over it and over it letting it marinate until somebody says something that triggers a word or a thought that is just perfect for the song. Sometimes a great song can come in 5 minutes, sometimes it can take 3 years. My songwriting is a work in progress and kind of follows the timeline of me growing up. By the time I am 70 years old I am hoping to have an audio auto-biography.”


“Don’t Feel Like That Anymore”


ot my new shoes, my new coat on/See I’m done with them blues, got this new thing goin’ on/And I don’t need to worry, even though my vision is blurry/Cause I don’t feel like that anymore. Ha, you see me shining everywhere that I go, there aint much you can do to mess with my flow…hay!/Ha…Got a little swagger in my band new step…I take ‘em to the hook ‘cause we aint done yet. Good bye to that stormy weather…looks like you needed a change/If I’m right, it can only get better… ‘cause I don’t feel like that anymore/Got my tie straight, everything good… just chillin’ in the neighborhood/It feels good to be home and it just feels so right/And so you keep contemplating how you lost your way/But don’t it sound good when you can finally say/That I don’t feel like that anymore. A tick tock at the tip of the clock…there ain’t enough time so I just can’t stop/Got a little swagger in my brand new step …hey, I take ‘em to the hook ‘cause we ain’t done yet. Good bye to that stormy weather…looks like you needed a change/If I’m right, it can only get better… ‘cause I don’t feel like that anymore/No I don’t feel like that…no I don’t feel like that any mo, any mo/ You keep tryin’ ta tell me you were honest, but I know you were lying/So I’m leaving you behind for my brand new life… GOODBYE!

Dolly Parton Artist, Visionary, and Entrepreneur By: Bernard Baur


olly Parton has always been ahead of the curve… She was one of the first country artists to cross genres – from country to pop and even into rock, starting a trend that continues today. A true visionary, she has expanded her world to include several entrepreneurial projects, such as a Management Company, Dolly Records, Velvet Apple Music, Everything Dolly Merchandise, Dolly Parton Tours and, of course, Dollywood. This force of nature was also one of the first major artists to use AirPlay Direct, exclusively, as her digital distributor to service radio. Her songs, including her latest single, “Change It,” have consistently resided at the top of AirPlay Direct’s charts. In fact, Mike Hagler, head of New Media for Dolly Parton Management and Dolly Records notes, “AirPlay Direct has been a great tool for us. With their

they certainly don’t prevent her from exploring new territories. Indeed, there seems to be no end to her vision or stamina. In fact, today, she’s as busy as ever as she approaches her fifth decade in entertainment. Nonetheless, she took the time to talk exclusively with The Direct Buzz about her life, goals and dreams. And we believe you’ll find her insights and straight talk, not only enlightening but also refreshing. The Direct Buzz (TDB): Your career has evolved dramatically. You write in several different genres and work in every field of entertainment. What gave you the courage to do all that? Dolly Parton (DP): I’ve been doing it that way my whole life. Most of my early music was mountain, country and gospel flavored; but over the years I’ve done pure country, acoustic, and crossover records,

“There’s no limit to what I plan to do.” system, we can instantly see the demand for Dolly’s music at formats all over the world.” Even with such a wide reach into so many divergent areas, Dolly is still considered, first and foremost, “The Queen of Country Music.” But, though her roots may be country,

which were considered pop. I’ve done a few rock things as well. In recent years, I’ve even gone back to some of the early songs with a more traditional sound. There’s no limit to what I plan to do. I even have some dance records in the can. I don’t like to be pigeonholed and do just one

style. I love all music. TDB: Females often have a tough time in the music business. They may not be respected as much as the men in the old boys network. How have you managed to survive and succeed? DP: Being a female has served me well. I was brought up in a family of brothers (six brothers) and was close to all my uncles and male cousins. I’ve always thought I had an advantage because I look like a woman and think like a man. Whether you’re male or female, to survive and succeed you have to believe in who you are, stay true to your art and be willing to sacrifice whatever you have to - to get to your destination. It’s also important to have a strong faith (as I do) and belief in things that you hold near and dear, as far as principles and values. TDB: You’ve written so many hit songs over the years, it seems inconceivable. Do you know when you’ve written a hit? DP: Well, if knew the formula to writing hits I’d be richer than I am today! Some people do have a formula, and tap into it, resulting in more

hits than others. Myself, I’ve always written from my heart, my head and from my own experiences. I’ve been fortunate to have a few hits under my belt, the biggest one being “I Will Always Love You” that I wrote in the early 70’s. Whitney Houston sang it in the “Bodyguard” and it was the main song in the soundtrack. That one allowed me the money to take some time off and write more songs. With songs like “I Will Always Love You”, “9 to 5”, “Coat of Many Colors” and “Jolene”; I didn’t know I was writing a hit when I wrote them. Some, I know, sound better than others, but I wouldn’t know a hit if it jumped up and bit me! TDB: You seem to have a very independent, entrepreneurial approach to the business. How do you account for that? DP: I try to keep up with the times and refuse to be left behind. I know what I don’t know and, therefore, try to hire people that are smarter than I am in certain areas, especially nowadays in the new high tech world. Of course, I’ve always basically managed myself, even when I’ve been involved with so-called professional management companies. I call the shots because I know what I’m willing to do and won’t do. And when I’ve ever gone against my gut feeling about anything, it’s always wrong. I started my own record label (Blue Eye Records) years ago when I saw the business changing. As new people came into my organization, I started another record label called Dolly Records to take care of my own product, like “Backwoods Barbie.” Of course, I’ve always had my own publishing company, Velvet Apple Music, to house the songs I’ve written. There are also people who come into your life like Danny Nozell, our tour manager. He had a great idea of using merchandise as a

moneymaker. So we started a merchandise company. It’s great to have people like Danny involved in your career. He put together a wonderful, innovative team that has taken us into the 21st century. TDB: What’s you primary motivation? DP: I’m motivated by life in general. I’ve always been motivated mainly by my “gift”, my ability to write and to sing. I figure God must have given me that talent for a reason. And, I’ve always felt it was my job to try to cultivate it, develop it and use it to its greatest potential. I don’t want God to be mad at me for not trying. TDB: You’ve crossed over from music to acting. Was that an easy transition for you? DP: I am very fortunate that I came from a family of musicians. My mother’s people were all talented as far as playing instruments, and singing and writing. Some of my daddy’s people were musical too, so it came naturally to me. I played on just about every instrument. I can’t say I’m great at anything, though the guitar is my favorite instrument. But I can hammer out songs on several other instruments as well. I’ve also had the chance to be in movies and be an “actress” (I’m using the term loosely). I don’t know a thing about real acting. I just try to be myself and take parts that that I can handle. I’ve been very successful with a few movies like 9 to 5, The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, Straight Talk and some made for TV movies. And, I’d love to do more films if I get some good parts. TDB: Do you have any specific plans? Is there anything you would like to do but haven’t done yet DP: I just try to let God speak to me. I pray every day that I’ll be in-

spired, get good ideas, know how to act on them and be given the things I need to make them happen. I definitely want to be involved in some children’s projects. I’d love to have a children’s show, or do some children’s CD’s, DVD’s, specials, and maybe cartoons using my voice with an animated character. Not that I ain’t already. (HA!) I have new plans

“Every single day I work at what I believe in.” all the time. I just wait to hear from that little inner voice inside me. TDB: Do you have any advice for up and coming artists? DP: I don’t like to give advice. I don’t like people giving me advice. I tell them to just give me information and I’ll take it and apply it to what I’m doing, what I want to do, and what my thoughts and plans are. (With that said) Based on what has worked for me over the years, I’ve learned that you need to have talent. I know that all things are possible; but I think that also means that they’re possible if you’ve got the talent. So, you should be wise about what your talent really is. Then, be willing to sacrifice for your dreams. You have to stick with it and stay motivated. You can’t let up and take months off and expect the momentum to pick back up overnight. It’s really hard to get it back once you’ve lost your place. TDB: What does it take to achieve the kind of success you have? DP: When people ask me how I’ve done it, I thought really hard on that… and realized I never stopped. I have never even slowed up. Every single day I work at what I dream on and believe in. You’ve got to stick with it. And, if you’ve got the talent and are willing to work for it, chances are you can make it.

Robert Williams The Restless Maverick By: Clif Doyal


obert Williams has always marched to the beat of his own drum... And, in doing so, he has forged a long and diversified career across multiple platforms in the entertainment industry. He led one of the largest and most successful booking agencies in the business; managed some of the biggest stars in comedy, music and television; and produced projects for television, film and stage. It seems that no challenge is too great for this executive. In fact, Williams’ positive attitude and “yes” approach behind the desk allowed him to reach the highest levels of success in an industry he loves.

“Persistence is the basic formula for greatness.” As president of WBA Entertainment, Inc., a Nashville-based, globally reaching, talent management and production company, Williams is a restless maverick. He’s always on the move, searching for his next challenge. “I have a great love of talent,” he proclaims. “I’ve always found creative individuals to be uniquely interesting.” But Williams didn’t start out in the world of entertainment. He began his career as Chairman of the Board at one of the world’s largest employment agencies, with offices

in 47 states and nearly 2000 employees. There, he saw a parallel between the two worlds, explaining, “I found that there was a great deal of interchangeable ideas between employment agencies and the entertainment industry. In the end, both an agent’s and a manager’s job is the same: to get work for their clients.” (Editor’s Note: In California and New York, it is illegal for talent managers to secure employment for their clients.) Eventually, Williams followed a new dream. He sold the employment company and founded Spotlight

Enterprises, Ltd., a Virginia-based booking agency. In a short time, it grew into a national powerhouse. So much so, that in 1976 he opened an office in New York City near the theater district. “It was love at first sight,” he recalls. “My grandmother lived there, and as a child I visited her often. I loved that city passionately.” Once settled in, his company signed several major artists, including the group, Blood, Sweat and Tears; Woodstock favorite, Ritchie Havens; and television star, Jimmy

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“J.J.” Walker. “They were the first big-names we signed, and they elevated our stature significantly.” Williams’ proximity to the theater also opened up new horizons for the budding entrepreneur, and he soon became the exclusive representative and touring director for the Bolshoi Drama Theater of Russia, the touring director of the Leningrad Film Studios, and the agent/ television packager for the world renowned Montreal Comedy Festival “Just For Laughs.” The firm additionally took on theatrical events, including Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Harry Blackstone’s Broadway Magic Show, and Beatlemania, which was recognized as “Theatrical Production of the Year” by Performance Magazine in 1980. During this time, Williams expanded his reach, opening new offices in Beverly Hills, Tulsa, and Nashville. He cultivated and signed comedic icons: Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Dennis Miller, Yakov Smirnoff, and Damon Wayans. He coupled that with network clients in television and film, such as HBO and Showtime; and also entered the world of events booking. “We were blessed,” he states. “From 1983 through the 90’s we repped the largest roster of clients in the business. The comedians wanted it so badly they took abuse. Leno lived out of his Buick and wrote for “J.J.” Walker. When he went out on the road, he worked more shows that there are days in the week.” Williams also recalls that Seinfeld would set a stopwatch and, wherever he was, he would excuse himself to write his routines. “He and Leno were very determined.” Based on his experience with a variety of talent, Williams formed a core credo, which he believes all artists should follow if they hope to succeed: “Success (in this business) is about how well you can take

a punch. You’re gonna get knocked down and it’s going to hurt. But you have to dust yourself off and go back in again.” Williams believes, “Artists have to be able to take it. Because that punch is the word, No!’ And, they’re going to hear it somewhere all along the way. The world doesn’t always hear the best talent - it hears the most persistent. And, persistence is the basic formula for greatness.” Today, his rule may remain the same, but the playing field has changed considerably. Williams notes that the Internet has created more opportunities and options for artists. But, it also demands more attention and personal responsibility from them. And Williams, for his part, is excited by the new challenges it poses, especially in the music business. “The Internet is like a gift from heaven,“ he says, “It’s a revolution. It has changed the world like the first printed book did…and the first recordings and films after that.” Williams contends that companies based on new technology, like AirPlay Direct, are an exciting part of that revolution. “In the simplest form,” he notes, “they offer artists opportunities that they never had before.” In fact, Williams believes that it’s the ultimate opportunity. “A company like AirPlay Direct offers them the chance to make their dream a reality.” Reflecting upon his years in the entertainment business, Williams sums it up. “For all of the success in my career, and all of the awards and accolades, it’s important to know that there were failures along the way.” Indeed, Williams concludes, “The house of success is built on failures. That is the foundation. You can’t be afraid to fail – it leads to success.” Clif Doyal is a Nashville-based artist manager, publicist, independent record label manager and contributing writer for the “Direct Buzz.”

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SAVE THE DATE! Registration opens Monday, November 2, 2009!

APRIL 22-24, 2010 Los Angeles, CA

Register early for the biggest discounts. To find more information along with videos, photos and attendee feedback from this year’s EXPO go to





VIEW MORE CHARTS AT: The AirPlay Direct Global Radio Charts display the top tracks downloaded for airplay by radio programmers internationally. The charts are accurate as of the date published. You can view “real-time” charts at We take pride in having built a transparent charting system that accurately reports the hot artists and tracks available within the AirPlay Direct community.




VIEW MORE CHARTS AT: The AirPlay Direct Global Radio Charts display the top tracks downloaded for airplay by radio programmers internationally. The charts are accurate as of the date published. You can view “real-time” charts at We take pride in having built a transparent charting system that accurately reports the hot artists and tracks available within the AirPlay Direct community.


Kevin Fowler Kevin Fowler’s latest single – “Beer Season” – will be available for digital download to radio, EXCLUSIVELY through AirPlay Direct. “Beer Season” is now hitting the airwaves globally and Kevin anticipates a stamp of approval from the Fanatics. “It’s kind of a throwback to “Beer, Bait & Ammo” and “The Lord Loves the Drinkin’ Man”; the funny stuff that I’ve always been known for,” he adds. “My inability to take life too seriously definitely shows up in the music.” Though Kevin has seen successes that most can only dream of (like duets with Willie Nelson and George Jones), he insists that he has yet to – and won’t – let fame jade him. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Listen here: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John McLeod John McLeod is a Northern Canadian Metis Indian from the Ojibwa tribe born in The Pas, Manitoba. For the last thirty years John has been writing and performing his unique style of country blues, crossover, and country rock music. John is a world traveler and his original songs reflect his experiences with different cultures and ethnicities. John is also a bush pilot who now happily makes his home in the wilds of Palm Springs, California. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

Molten Mike “Molten Mike” is always pushing the boundaries of the music he writes and produces. He is currently in production with a new album which will be a Country Music/Blues crossover, featuring a Wedding Waltz “One Little Love” and a Patriotic Song “Thank a Soldier”, which recognizes the courage and service our men and women in the military give to our Country. The downloads you are hearing, are a few of the many songs Mike writes and Produces. His entire discography now numbers over 50 projects. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

Darren Ockert

young age.

Darren Ockert began his obsession with pop music when his parents bought him a synthesizer at a very

He was raised on a diet of Stock, Aitken and Waterman and BBC Radio One in the UK. He wrote his 80s inspired debut album in an apartment in Queens NYC, which was nominated for an OutMusic Award in 2006 in the category “Outstanding New Recording - Debut Male”. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------


Steel String Session

Buck T. Edwards


Steel String Session plays a tapestry of modern acoustic Americana music with an emphasis on bluegrass-gypsy-jazz. The Steel String Session sound is rich with swing and passion – and sometimes blues, mystery and heartache. Each member of Steel String Session is a talented vocalist and multiinstrumentalist. With their harmonic blending, gorgeous arrangements and sensational songwriting, the group is a power hitter in a live audience settings whether intimate or grand. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

A charismatic entertainer whose live shows have become a staple of the beerhall, fair and festival circuit, Buckley T. Edwards is a multi-talented singer/songwriter with over 400 titles to his credit, his new album If You Don’t Get it by Midnite is a landmark piece of original country/roots music that borrows from diverse influences. The sounds and lyrics on this disc take you to a raucous place somewhere outside of ordinary where cowboys are cowboys and it’s still ok to belly up to the bar and have a cold one! -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

Temposhark, led by Robert Diament, is a UK electro rock band blends synth-pop, electronica and angsty rock. Diament began Temposhark inspired by his love of electronic sounds and pop music growing up, and his fascination with London’s electro club scene.

S B Reeves

Richie Fields

Jim Boyd

After a career in the background as a writer, poet and creative force. S B Reeves has emerged as a dynamic performing artist.

Richie Fields’ earthy country baritone has already given this up-and-coming singer/songwriter three well-received singles and a #1 video (Y’all Wire). He’s toured along the Eastern Seaboard and beyond for several years and is known for his energetic live shows.

Through the years Jim Boyd’s soulful voice and reflections have won him an international following. Many compare his style of music to an early Bob Dylan while others compare his rock-n-roll to that of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Marshall Tucker. He first began performing with many cover bands before performing with original music groups XIT, Greywolf and Winterhawk before branching out on his own. His new release Harley High is a main stream recording portraying Jim’s love for riding Harley Davidson motorcycles. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

Over the past decade he has impressed audiences with his mesmerizing presentations by himself or with his band everywhere from the street corner to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The album “If You Ignore the Truth” has steadily gained a worldwide recognition as one of the great lyrically driven storytelling style recordings in a generation. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

Now, with well-known producer, J. Gary Smith (Andy Griggs, Lonestar), associate producer, Clif Doyal, and respected Nashville management and publicity teams guiding him, Richie is ready to take his career to the next level. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

Temposhark’s new single “The World Does Not Revolve Around You” is released worldwide on 14th September 2009 on Paper and Glue. Their 2nd album will be out in early 2010 called Threads. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

Quick Tips M

any artists and labels have asked for a “Step by Step Guide” to success. Unfortunately, there is no map that suits everyone. What works for one artist or label may not work for another. But, there are some things that generally translate to positive results --- for everyone. THE INDIE WAY - QUICK TIPS will explore those tricks of the trade and give our readers “easy to follow” tips regarding a variety of areas in the music business.

Finding Radio Stations That Will Play Your Music 1. Determine the right FORMAT for the music. Radio Formats are defined by: (a) Style of Music and (b) Age of listener 2. Start with a GENERAL SEARCH via Google / Yahoo, etc e.g. Country, Blues, Rock (or other Genre/Format)) Radio Stations / College Radio / NPR Radio / Net Radio 3. REFINE the Search to specific AREAS. e.g. Rock Radio California / College Radio (per County) 4. Keep refining and narrowing the TARGET stations. 5. Go to the Station’s Website & LISTEN to it. 6. Determine if the Station plays NEW MUSIC – or has SPECIALTY PROGRAM 7. If the Station suits your music – Get CONTACT INFORMATION and refer them to you AirPlay Direct DPK


This website is a search engine for finding radio stations around the world (including Net Radio). RadioLocator uses a unique search engine to find all the radio stations that can be heard in specific areas of the United States. The locator search engine takes into account each station’s transmitter power, antenna height, frequency, and pattern, as well as the topography of the surrounding area. To find stations in your area, type your city name or zip code (U.S. only) in the appropriate boxes.

OTHER RESOURCES For Los Angeles acts: Go to MEDIA – then click FM / AM Radio Stations in Los Angeles Note: Most major cities have a similar site Music Connection Magazine (Radio Directory) Indie Bible Net Radio: com,



You may wonder how popular a Net Radio Station is… Though our experts state that even if a station has a only few listeners, that could lead to more if they like your music.

Most artists know that the music business is enduring changes. The major labels are strip-mining personnel and talent; and, aren’t as competitive as they used to be. Indeed, everyone is dealing with the pains that form the new world of music – including radio with its own consolidation dance. But, for every crisis there is an equal – or even greater - opportunity. Today, that opportunity is opening doors for indie artists and labels.

To determine the popularity of Net Radio Stations, visit ALEXA.COM, a website “ranking” service: www. Click “Traffic Rankings” – Type in the Station’s URL – and hit GO



1. Secondary Commercial Markets: Major Labels are not pushing radio as hard as they used to. They have less acts to promote and less patience with the process. That makes it a good time for independent projects – especially in secondary markets, which major labels tend to ignore. In fact, secondary markets are where independents artists and labels get the most airplay. They’re located outside of major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and New York. They’re not small college stations or net radio. Instead, they are commercial stations in the heartland and southern part of America. And, they’re so hungry for songs they’ll give an unknown artist the same number of spins as top stars. Focus on those secondary regions, and you won’t have to go head to head with a major label promotion department. 2. College Markets: The college market traditionally plays unknown and new artists. But, you should know that college stations are as interested in the artist as they are in the

music. They want to know what’s happening in an artist’s career. Many will actually cultivate an act and help with career development. For acts that are trying to develop a fan base region by region, college radio can be like having an extra member on your team. 3. NPR Radio: You cannot overlook NPR stations – National Public Radio. These stations are known for breaking new music and unknown acts. 4. Specialty Programs: Before hitting up any broadcasters, many artists and radio promoters will test market the material. Specialty programs that focus on unknown artists and local acts are the most popular in this regard. Usually, on the air once a week (or an hour a day), they showcase 3 to 4 songs per act, and can lead to airplay elsewhere. Almost every city has its own version that unsigned and independent artists can tap.


Next time we will explore “How You Can Make Airplay Count” The biggest knock on radio play is that it does not translate to sales, or tangible results. In order to make airplay count, you’ve got to do more….


he Direct Buzz offers reviews by a team of professional music critics. Any AirPlay Direct artist or label interested in being considered for a review, should contact us. Choose three songs from your DPK, and we’ll give you our opinion of them. We can’t guarantee a rave review, but we can assure you that it will be honest and constructive. We will try to honor all requests, but it might take a while. As such, your patience is appreciated.

Buckwheat Zydeco

Tommy Castro

Buckwheat Zydeco holds true to his name, blending modern styles of music with traditional southern folk, delivering a catchy, party time sound - like no one else can. “When The Levee Breaks” bursts with musicianship that pulsates with electrifying riffs and edges like a cliff. It keeps listeners on their toes as it takes a journey around some blind corners, and ends in a surprisingly rare find. If you really like excellent songwriting, look no further than “Don’t Leave Me,” which is superb with all the classical zydeco instruments you would expect. A modern blues feel, with a hint of Cajun and Creole, it’s so satisfying and whimsical that if you closed your eyes you’d swear you were on a tropical island sipping a Mai Tai. The whole production is crisp, clear and highly evident on “Back In Your Arms.” Slower paced, this tune is tight and powerful with a taste of Bob Marley. The lyrics are insightful and filled with meaning. Everything from the accordion to the high-hat can be heard as if they had their own speaker. Buckwheat Zydeco fans, old and new, should enjoy these songs as well as others in his well-established catalog. Tom Laurie

Bay Area blues performer and recording artist, Tommy Castro has set expectations rather high for himself in winning the 2008 Blues Music Award for “Entertainer of The Year.” Fortunately, his Alligator Records’ debut Hard Believer, is a strong musical offering that deftly navigates the entire blues spectrum. The opening track, “Definition of Insanity,” is evocative of John Lee Hooker with its bluesy, soulful guitar, as well as War with its underlying funk rhythm and tasteful punctuation of the horn section. The lyrical concept is clear and makes the impetus for a great song, even meriting a chuckle here and there. The title track is an absolutely stunning and soulful affair, reminiscent of the slower and more dramatic side of the Motown and Stax catalogs, with its soulful refrain complimenting the swagger of a familiar 12/8 rhythm. Castro’s cover of Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” is exceptional. The message rings clear and true, that no matter who you are, you ultimately serve some sort of master. Be it a call of equality or a snide humbling of the arrogant, this track is solid, and has a contrastingly upbeat feel for a blues song. Tommy Castro demonstrates, beyond a doubt, that the blues is every bit as relevant and powerful today as it ever was, and the album Hard Believer is his offering of proof. Hans Fink

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats There’s nothing new under the Blues sun — unless you’re Rick Estrin & The Nightcats. How do you create a new twist to the ol’ 1-4-5 progressions that have been strummed and pounded for over a century? Well, native San Franciscan, Rick Estrin and his band use catchy rhythms, wellcrafted lyrics, and stellar musicianship to bring a new flavor to an old style of music. The band’s new release, Twisted, is a fine assortment of original bluesbased material with a wide range of stories. Estrin writes about a near death experience in his song “Near Death”: “I had the strangest feeling I was floating by the ceiling I was looking down on me but I guess it wasn’t meant to be ‘cuz I’m back, back from the dead”... an interesting tale for a blues song. With lip blistering finesse, Estrin plays the harmonica like nobody’s business. The opening strains of “Take It Slow” give listeners a mournful wail one minute, then a conversational flow the next. As a singer, his voice can best be characterized as being so unique that once you’ve heard him, you’d recognize his voice instantly. Estrin’s band mates, J. Hansen, (drums), Lorenzo Farrell, (bass), & Kid Anderson, (guitar) provide a perfect foundation with a clean and snappy production. Jeanie Cunningham


A tour of music, lifestyles and pop culture

By: Bernard Baur



This maudlin piece of melodramatic pabulum was the precursor to “emo,” and made whining high art. Obviously written by a person in deep denial, it approaches outright psychosis. Lyrically, it reveals a state of mind so troubling; someone should have called the authorities. “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away…” indicates a complete break from reality. The follow-up lines, “There’s a shadow hanging over me…”and, “Now I need a place to hide…” are empirical evidence that the writer is prone to psychotic, or possibly drug induced, hallucinations and paranoia. Desperate and delusional, the song closes with the cliché, “I long for yesterday.” Pathetic. But, as juvenile and sophomoric as that is, it doesn’t come close to the most senseless lyric, “Yesterday came suddenly…” That’s utter nonsense. Yesterday’s gone, dude --and it’s not coming back, much less “suddenly.” Unfortunately, the melody doesn’t shore up the deficiencies. It’s simply a vapid tune and, consequently, has become a favorite in elevators and department stores where old ladies shop. The most telling thing about it is that only one Beatle (Paul McCartney – who wrote it) performed it. His bros wanted no part of it. In fact, John, George and Ringo refused to release it as a single in their homeland (the UK). It’s amazing that John Lennon even allowed his name on it. But, publishing royalties can be compelling. Without a doubt, this song is a mediocre effort by a hack who lucked out… most likely by riding on the coattails of his world famous band.

ith a section titled “On The Road,” it seems only fitting that Jack Kerouac should be part of our first foray. Although, most people don’t usually think of him and music in the same thought, according to Kerouac’s cousin, Brian “Dino” Dean, “I hear Jack in almost every piece of music.” A surprising statement, considering that Kerouac was best known as the author of On The Road and the voice of the Beatnik Generation. Dino grew up with Kerouac in Lowell, MA. They became very close during the author’s declining years when Dino frequently visited and took care of him. He recalls, “We used to talk for hours about life, philosophy, music and art. In fact, we became so close it felt as if we were surgically attached.” That intimacy gave Dino tremendous insight into Kerouac’s mind. “Jack loved jazz, blues and classical music, and many of his friends were musicians.” He also influenced more than a few of them. Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Tom Waits are obvious Kerouac apprentices. While many others reference him and his language as well – even today, like indie rock bands Death Cab for Cutie and 10,000 Maniacs. “You can hear it in the lyrics,” Dino contends. “Jack just had a musical way with words.” Indeed, Dino was so aware of Jack’s influence over lyrics in particular that when he attended a Doors’ concert, he called his cousin and told him, “You’ve got see this guy. He’s ripping you off.” That night Jack Kerouac and Jim Morrison met for the first time and threw back more than a few.


L-R: Brian “Dino” Dean and his partner in Brave New Network, David Maxwell

As for Dino, Jack’s influence is part of his life and gave him the courage to form a new venture called Brave New Network. It’s flagship program, Brave New Radio gives college students the chance to discover exciting, new music from up and coming artists. It’s a two-hour broadcast that includes live performances by indie artists in a studio. But, no studio tricks or engineering magic are involved. It’s simply live nude music. “Jack taught me to follow my dreams, no matter where they led,” Dino reflects. “I remember asking him how I would find my road. He had traveled so many in his life, and I wanted to know where mine was. Well,” Dino laughs, “he told me, ‘your road hasn’t been built yet, but you’ll know it when you see it.’” That may seem silly now, but to an impressionable teenager it formed words to live by. And that’s exactly what Dino did. “When I thought of the concept for Brave New Radio, I thought of Jack. He would have liked it, because it’s spontaneous and unique. And that’s the way he lived his life.” To find out more about Brave New Network, visit

A video-window into gadgets, gear and the world of music creation.

Rhythm Instruments & Unusual Vibraslaps at NAMM NAMM is the largest music trade show in the United States. It focuses exclusively on music products, like instruments, gear, and equipment. Held twice a year, the exhibition attracts people from all over the world. Unfortunately, the show is not open to the general public, but The Composers Corner was there to report on the latest and coolest items you could imagine. Click here to view the video.

Barry Goldberg & The United States of Consciousness Legendary keyboardist, hit songwriter, and producer Barry Goldberg, best known for his work with Bob Dylan, Gerry Goffin, and Electric Flag.... talks about a musician’s role in society today. Click here to view the video.


AirPay Direct members, Starving for Gravity were offered an opportunity to work with a musical icon. Michael Lloyd, a producer, hit songwriter, and partner in Curb Records, contacted the band. He suggested that they work together in his Beverly Hills studio. As a result, SFG is recording five songs with Lloyd. Pictured L-R are: Josh Weesner, manager, Brad Kovar, guitar, Alex Kravetsky, manager, Michael Lloyd, producer, and seated, Caleb Fritel, drums, and Lucas Holter, vocals. Keyboardist, Richard Nash and bassist, Dee Castro are absent.

Architects and Designers of the AirPlay Direct Website

Marketing consulting, brand development, graphic and web design for the entertainment industry 404-848-7999 WWW.ALEVEN.COM

The Best in Blues & Roots from Alligator Records Tinsley Ellis Speak No Evil featuring “Sunlight Of Love” Add it October 5th! A phenomenal guitarist of heart-stopping intensity, Tinsley Ellis has built a huge fan base for his guitar-driven blend of hard-edged Southern rock and roadhouse blues. Speak No Evil features Tinsley’s most groove-laden playing to date, on twelve hard-hitting, soul-baring songs. A milestone album from an iconic Southern blues-rocker. “Powerful, spine-tingling guitar and gritty, soulful vocals…an inspired and passionate fusion of blues and southern rock” – Relix

Eric Lindell Gulf Coast Highway featuring “This Love Is Gonna Last” Add it September 21st! Regional cult artist turned rising national star Eric Lindell plays soul-infused, instantly memorable roots music anthems in the tradition of Van Morrison and Delbert McClinton. His infectious blend of R&B rave-ups, heartfelt ballads, New Orleans rhythms and frisky honky tonk have become a staple on AAA and Americana radio. “Passionate blue-eyed soul smothered with New Orleans funk... you’ll feel like dancing all the way down Canal Street” –Los Angeles Daily News

JJ Grey & Mofro The Choice Cuts featuring “Tupelo Honey” Add it November 2nd! “Tupelo Honey” is a newly-recorded track featuring JJ Grey on all instruments and vocals. It appears on The Choice Cuts, a vinyl-only collection of fan favorites from funky Southern rock ‘n’ soul masters JJ Grey & Mofro’s first four records. Mainstays on AAA and Americana and total road warriors who play in excess of 150 dates a year and will be on the road with Shooter Jennings through October and November. “Rich, funky swamp grooves...Celebrates life’s most fundamental joys with unforced talent and deep feeling” –New York Times

Search for more great blues and roots from Alligator artists on Airplay Direct or visit