Minneapolis Star Tribune
February 28, 1997

Crowd Surfing

The Beat Goes On

By Jim Meyer

Considering all the hype about the infiltration of DJ art and dance rhythms in modern pop, it's a sad coincidence that Beat Radio 97.7, the little 20-watt dance station, was shut down by the FCC four months ago.

and other local DJs launched the station last summer in response to the Federal Communication Commission's refusal to license stations below 100 watts. Because the higer-power stations are also higher-priced, it left music specialists feeling they had no alternative but to flout the licensing laws.

"Investment bankers are running the broadcast business," mourns Freed. "We believe a dance music format can work in this town. But it may not perform as strongly [as other formats]....Right now, only the very top-performing formats can survive in this kind of environment."

Freed said that a similar format, "Groove Radio" in Los Angeles, took off about the same time Beat Radio hit the air. "In Chicago, WBBM-FM (B96) used to be known as Chicago's Party Station. While we were on, they changed to 'Chicago's Dance Beat.' It's interesting that they'd use the term 'beat.'"

Meanwhile, legal fees for Freed's upcoming court hearings are mounting. A series of monthly "First Sunday" benefit parties continues at South Beach to help the Beat Radio Defense Fund. 9 p.m. Sunday, South Beach, 325 1st Av. N., Mpls. $3. 391-BEAT.

Also, check out the site www.beatworld.com, which gives an overview of the Beat Radio issue, with news and articles, and sound clips. The site also provides local DJ lists, and a directory of local dance music outlets.

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