Thursday, January 3, 2008

KRCL ... WTF?

[Radio] The stupidest move KRCL 90.9 FM has ever made, besides giving me my own show for a year and a half? Instructing volunteer DJs to not give the names of local venues where the bands and artists they're spinning on their shows are performing.

It's been going on for a few months now; according to some volunteers, they've been told that it's an FCC regulation--every other radio station across the country, commercial or not, does it, but now it's suddenly "illegal." It's ridiculous to hear a DJ on the air say "And that was Galactic--you can see them ... somewhere in west Salt Lake in February." What's next? Don't hint at the date? What other station is going to give out such info on bands actually worth hearing? If you can name another station that plays music worth hearing, I'd love to know about it. Ditto if you can find that bullshit FCC regulation.

Other volunteers have speculated that KRCL just wants to punish venues that don't underwrite the station--which sounds vaguely evil and not at all what a "community" radio station should be doing, so I'd rather not believe that one.

Fact: KRCL is the best music station in the market, period. Another fact: The masses don't like good music, so the station isn't exactly a ratings juggernaut--but its audience is fiercely loyal. This "Nix the Venue" practice is testing that loyalty, which is always a dumb-ass move. Plus, most of the indie artists KRCL plays survive on touring, not album sales. Why cut them off, too?

If you agree, let the station know--call 'em, e-mail, drop by the studios: KRCL, 1971 West North Temple; 801-363-1818; Contact@krcl.org. But, if I'm alone in this thinking, go ahead and let it slide--you can still find free concert info in City Weekly, after all. (Bill Frost)

7 comments:

  1. The policy was spelled out on the KRCL blog back around Halloween in two posts: post 1 and post 2.

    Apparently, they can announce the name of the performer and the date of their upcoming show, but not the name of the venue, the ticket price, or where to buy tickets.

    The Program Director mentions that they need to avoid such language because it might be construed as an "inducement to buy", or it could lead to payola accusations, all of which could possibly jeopardize KRCL's non-commercial status.

    And there is also this little stab at the venues:

    "KRCL is looking for some financial reciprocation from the local venues, who rarely underwrite or support us. For the past twenty-seven years, KRCL has included venue information which has been a huge support to these businesses. It has also created a dynamic where many venues do not feel it necessary to underwrite or support KRCL. Honestly, why should they when KRCL hosts announce their concerts and shows for free."

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  2. Cut 'em some goddamn slack. Never having worked for KRCL, I can't speak to the internal political environment, but considering that they probably get next to no compensation from the public in comparison to what they give us (due to their hipster audience base), I think they're an incredibly valuable resource and need a lot of help to stay alive.

    I can't find anything among the FCC regulations to prohibit them from doing this, but there's a lot of muck to wade through. Anyone interested in trying might start in section 73.1212 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_06/47cfr73_06.html)

    But why shouldn't local venues pay a little out of their profits for some great advertising? God knows they do here in the City Weekly. (Count how many times a non-advertising business gets mentioned in the Best of SLC issue.)

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  3. Screw the venues. After this long, if they don't want to support KRCL with a little cash, they can continue to do their own advertising via crummy little posters on telephone poles, or in the back of the Weekly with the rent-a-whore ads. I am a KRCL fan and have donated to this station for years. My biggest beef with them is the shitty Sunday programing. Unless you're a fan, one can only take so much bluegrass.

    By the way, Frosty. Your show kicked ass.

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  4. Bill who are the real bad guys here? The radio station wanting a little support for years of free publicity or the bar for charging $8 for an ounce of Jim Beam which just happens to be in a bottle of Crown Royal?

    Yes its a bit on an inconvenience for everyone involved, but its so much deeper then this. If I happen to announce a band is playing at lets say Bar X, and an underage music lover hears the band and wants to see them. The young child's mind is set in motion, they now must get a fake ID or sneak into said bar. I've now contributed to the delinquency of a minor. You see Dr. Frost, this really comes down to children. Can't you for just one moment think about the children?

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  5. This issue shouldn't be about whether the venues kick in money to KRCL (and I WOULD like to see that happen). But I'd scream about it MORE if KRCL let us announce a venue after it became an underwriter. Uh, that's pretty direct payolla, no? And hypocritical.

    It's gotta be about whether the FCC allows it or doesn't allow it. As for the "appearance" of payolla... gather evidence and indict me for a crime. Otherwise, you might as well nail me for all the other things I "appear" to do. (Ala King George.)

    Many of the shows I publicize on the air are for non-profits like arts festivals, arts councils/organizations. But the live bands we have on the Fret and Fiddle DO play gigs at restaurants and bars. It's the regular weekly gigs I'd like to publicize. That's what helps the bands. Can I publicize the show if the restaurant or bar is an underwriter? That's selling advertising. How different is it when underwriters go on and on with a wordy speech about what their business offers? Hmm... advertising. Inducement to buy. Lots of that going on in the world of non-commercial radio (and TV).

    It used to be ok to plug the shows at for-profit venues as long as you listed a bunch of shows at the same time instead of singling anybody out. So what happened to that?

    And why not help the bands? They give us cd's and live performances for free (local and national acts). Ah, but they get free exposure. Musicians can die of exposure.

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  6. safelyfromthefringeJanuary 21, 2008 at 10:30 AM

    i gotta agree with Frost - the volunteer djs should be able to properly direct people to a show of their liking - if it becomes a problem where someone is continually pimping some club too much the station should deal with it on a case by case basis - bottom line is the station should do a better job selling the venues and promoters underwriting

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  7. I am an INDEPENDENT film maker . I am working on a documentary about KRCL. I would love to have a dialog with anyone regarding the changes to KRCL. please feel free to email me directly at krcl.film @yahoo.com. Thanks. Chris Czech

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