City Pages
August 27, 1997


Dead Air

Simon Peter Groebner's cover story on the Twin Cities nightclub scene ("Trouble In Clubland," 8/20) was an eloquent, timely expose on a topic near and dear to any music-lover's heart. And it highlighted an additional, related concern: the trickle-down effects of a mainstream, conservative radio dial.

The problem cuts across musical tastes. With minor radio outlets--or none at all--for true alternative rock, blues, dance (including house, techno, drum'n'bass and more), and R&B/hip hop, and with few stations willing to play more than token amounts of quality local music, our venues are pressured on two fronts: little, if any audience development for these genres and no effective radio advertising source. If people are conditioned to believe that the musical spectrum is limited to Eric Clapton, the Eagles, Mariah Carey, Garth Brooks, Bob James, Pantera, Oasis, and Hammer, why should a decent-sized turnout be expected or risked for much else? What promoter is willing to risk booking a national show in Minneapolis/St. Paul for which there is no effective radio means to advertise to its appropriate fans? How can a club afford radio advertising, given the exorbitant rates charged by the conglomerates who now control our airwaves?

Alan Freed
Beat Radio (the low-power station on FCC-forced vacation)

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