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Old 06-13-2018, 11:36 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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Why did local radio and tv give up playing live music?

I saw a local band perform on The Good Morning Arkansas show. They got about six mins and did a great job.

It used to be common for radio stations to feature live music. I think some tv did it too. It doesn't require a big studio for a trio or quartet to perform.

The Carter Family for example performed daily on XERA, Villa Acuña, Mexico. A high power border station heard across America. WSM started the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. I've read that the majority of radio stations had studio space for small groups to perform.

Local bands don't get paid much gigging. It wouldn't cost much at all for a radio station to put them on for a couple hours every week. Or even record them performing at local clubs. The promotional opportunity for local bands would be tremendous.

Local tv could offer a show with live music too. They already have the cameras and recording equipment.

There's something about live music that makes it stand out from the slickly polished recordings the record labels churn out. Live music is authentic and unpredictable. Mistakes happen but overall a lot of local bands are really good.

Are any radio stations still offering live music?

WSM still broadcasts the Opry on Saturday nights. That's only one example.

I know there's a vibrant music scene in Austin Texas. Do those stations run live shows?

Last edited by aceplace57; 06-13-2018 at 11:41 AM.
  #2  
Old 06-13-2018, 11:45 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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btw, I'd love to find links for the history of live radio. Especially the small town stations with a small studio.

It's hard to google. I'm overwhelmed with hits and ads for internet radio.

Last edited by aceplace57; 06-13-2018 at 11:47 AM.
  #3  
Old 06-13-2018, 11:54 AM
drad dog drad dog is offline
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You got to focus on the college and public/fundraising type stations. WMBR has Pipeline for Boston music and a band plays. WFMU is NY/NJ and has local and nationally touring acts play on any of a dozen shows.

I have done searches on filesharing sites, for radio station call letters, and found old airchecks, live shows bands taped, etc from the 80s and 90s. WERS had a local music show in Boston and I think you will get hits on a search of them. I heard the pixies play on ERS in prehistory.

Do searches for the call letters of stations of your youth and see what you get.

Last edited by drad dog; 06-13-2018 at 11:55 AM.
  #4  
Old 06-13-2018, 11:59 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is online now
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I know NPR has "tiny desk concerts", but I don't know whether they or anything like them are actually broadcast on the radio.
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:44 PM
Jim's Son Jim's Son is offline
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Just guessing but 1) radio stations may have found that playing one group for a long period turns off many listeners who want to hear someone else. 2) bands may realize that they are giving away their product without seeing much money from it because of home taping equipment.
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Old 06-13-2018, 12:52 PM
kopek kopek is offline
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Not totally live but ----- you do have some stuff like the Bob & Tom Show that include live (there is a slight broadcast delay I believe) music. I think some of the reason is that musicians sometimes tended to go off in directions the host wasn't ready for and sometimes that short delay wasn't enough. I remember a few over the ages that almost had to go dead air because the lead singer went off on a rant or someone from the band was on the drunk/stoned side and had their own performance going in their brain.
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:03 PM
Paintcharge Paintcharge is online now
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The local public radio station has a show where touring bands come in and play a song or two, have a little conversation with the host. Then he'll go back to playing music from CD's.
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:20 PM
BeeGee BeeGee is offline
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The sound quality on live performances on site is nearly always a nightmare. One of our local stations does a Wednesday evening live performance and I never listen to it more than a song or two because it’s generally mixed with too much lead vocal and no drums. If you mike the drums, they tend to drown out everything else. To really get the sound right, you need a rehearsal and these shows are 3 set fund raisers. No time or money for rehearsals for unpaid performances.

Having live shows also means you’ve got to be prepared for the random curse words or photo bombers. I’ve seen local acts on the early morning tv show and seen more than one hung over musician trying to pull it together for the 7am set. Hard to do when you’ve been up and out past 2am. And you don’t want to be live when Skippy starts in on some strong political opinions.

Also on live shows, the timing is a constant worry. Got to keep everyone on schedule and if someone starts to ramble in the intro or improvise an extra chorus or two.
  #9  
Old 06-13-2018, 01:58 PM
zimaane zimaane is online now
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Quote:
Live music is authentic and unpredictable. Mistakes happen but overall a lot of local bands are really good.
The people who run local TV and radio stations tend not to like "unpredictable" and "Mistakes".

Having said that, one of our local TV stations (DC50) has a few minutes of live local music during Friday 10 pm news.
  #10  
Old 06-13-2018, 02:03 PM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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Public and community stations will, commercial stations can barely be bothered to do any local programming, let alone live programming.

As for mixes, the problem in most stations is that they have radio station mixing boards rather than live sound or recording ones. Completely different beasts. Station board are generally ultra-simple, to provide the minimum number of things the on-air talent can screw up. I have good friends who are radio DJs, and I wouldn't trust a one of them with a parametric equalizer. So they don't have effects busses, only one preview bus, only headphone and cue monitor busses, etc.
  #11  
Old 06-13-2018, 02:11 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Radio started with live music because the musicians' unions demanded it and befcause the technology for recorded music was still primitive. No classical piece could be contained on a 78 rpm disk. (They required several disks that needed to be swapped out or stacked, and were sold sleeved in an album; hence the name record album.)

But live bands were expensive, variable in quality, unreliable, and amateurish. Radio executives knew from the earliest days that recorded music made more sense in almost every way. The two sides battled from the 1920s until after WWII.

In 1948, Columbia introduced the 33 1/3 rpm long-playing album and RCA the 45 rpm single, both with far higher quality than the 78s ever achieved. They transformed the industry overnight. People wanted the latest hits played by the best musicians and singers. They still do.

Live shows still have a small place and always will. But they're the equivalent of a roadside stand selling a basket of apples compared to a supermarket. You can't scale the former up to satisfy the needs met by the latter.
  #12  
Old 06-13-2018, 02:15 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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There are far fewer "local" radio shows than most people realize. A lot of it is pre-recorded pap selected for the widest possible audience, occasionally hosted by prerecorded personalities picked for having voices that appeal to the largest audiences and trained not to make references to any local people, places, or events so that you can assume that they are broadcasting from your town or city.
  #13  
Old 06-13-2018, 02:33 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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It's a shame radio and tv has reduced their locally produced content. That's what's gives the station a unique identity. They are a reflection of the community.

That was definitely true of my small hometown radio station. The owner was often on air. His wife had an hour talk show. Some of the DJ's were seniors at the local high school. There were classifieds ads. Jack Brown has a Ford tractor to sell.

I wish there was a better way to give local bands exposure. We had a local paper called Nightflying that focused on the local arts and music. I used to read it regularly and went to see bands that interested me.

It is a trade off. I love live music. But some of the local bars get pretty rough. I try to go to the nicer events and music festivals.

Last edited by aceplace57; 06-13-2018 at 02:37 PM.
  #14  
Old 06-13-2018, 03:09 PM
Skywatcher Skywatcher is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
I know there's a vibrant music scene in Austin Texas. Do those stations run live shows?
Austin City Limits is still a thing. There's also Song of the Mountains out of Marion, VA.

Last edited by Skywatcher; 06-13-2018 at 03:11 PM.
  #15  
Old 06-13-2018, 03:25 PM
actualliberalnotoneofthose actualliberalnotoneofthose is offline
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I live in Columbus, OH. At least for alternative (which is increasingly mainstream/crossover, it seems) we have the CD1025 (formerly CD101) Big Room (which is not necessarily local acts, but acts who are in town for a concert or traveling through) and Front Stage Live (http://cd1025.com/about/shows). We also have a thing, which is not live but replays local concerts from Promowest Productions, that has aired after SNL every Saturday night for at least 7-8 years. It's mostly national acts, but includes shows from small venues like The Basement (which is a basement of a bar) and the A&R bar. So, since that (outside of underground hip-hop, which I don't expect to hear on the radio, though they do play local rappers in the local rotation) is my personal genre interest, I can say in my local bubble I hear a great deal of support for local/indy music and live performances.
  #16  
Old 06-13-2018, 04:42 PM
DavidwithanR DavidwithanR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kopek View Post
... I think some of the reason is that musicians sometimes tended to go off in directions the host wasn't ready for and sometimes that short delay wasn't enough. I remember a few over the ages that almost had to go dead air because the lead singer went off on a rant or someone from the band was on the drunk/stoned side and had their own performance going in their brain.
When Robin Williams was like this, TV stations didn't respond by cancelling all talk shows. (Not just him, lots of others too, just an obvious example.)
  #17  
Old 06-13-2018, 04:47 PM
DavidwithanR DavidwithanR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
It's a shame radio and tv has reduced their locally produced content. That's what's gives the station a unique identity. They are a reflection of the community.
I think you might have found part of the answer here.

Maybe stations don't want to be a reflection of the community. Maybe they want something else.
  #18  
Old 06-13-2018, 05:06 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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Originally Posted by DavidwithanR View Post
I think you might have found part of the answer here.

Maybe stations don't want to be a reflection of the community. Maybe they want something else.
Yes. They want to make money.
  #19  
Old 06-13-2018, 05:24 PM
DavidwithanR DavidwithanR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidwithanR View Post
Maybe stations don't want to be a reflection of the community. Maybe they want something else.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase View Post
Yes. They want to make money.
Are the two mutually exclusive?
  #20  
Old 06-13-2018, 06:01 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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Innovative programming could bring a bigger audience to local radio and tv stations.

That brings more $$$$$.

Maybe it works. Maybe not. They'll never know if they don't even try.

The ABC affliate in Little Rock started a local talk show at 3. Called Good Afternoon Arkansas. So far it's doing ok.

Last edited by aceplace57; 06-13-2018 at 06:05 PM.
  #21  
Old 06-13-2018, 06:24 PM
DavidwithanR DavidwithanR is offline
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Talk shows are quite a bit less work to put on than live music.

I guess one thing Exapno Mapcase might have meant was - how much do the advertisers love being next to a live-music spot? Maybe not much. They'd probably rather be beside a known hit.
  #22  
Old 06-13-2018, 06:35 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Innovative programming could bring a bigger audience to local radio and tv stations.

That brings more $$$$$.

Maybe it works. Maybe not. They'll never know if they don't even try.

The ABC affliate in Little Rock started a local talk show at 3. Called Good Afternoon Arkansas. So far it's doing ok.
I'm betting there isn't a radio format that hasn't been analyzed to death.
  #23  
Old 06-13-2018, 07:53 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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I'm betting there isn't a radio format that hasn't been analyzed to death.
This. Probably nothing in the economy is as well-studied as radio formats. Have been for decades.
  #24  
Old 06-13-2018, 10:44 PM
blondebear blondebear is online now
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KSAN used to broadcast some great live shows back in the 70s, including the The Sex Pistols' infamous final gig at Winterland. Luckily for classic rock fans, a lot of people recorded those shows and have posted them on youtube.
  #25  
Old 06-14-2018, 04:53 AM
JacobSwan JacobSwan is offline
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Here in the UK we have loads of live music.
TV:
The BBC will cover most music festivals, usually with coverage on multiple channels if there's several stages.
Later with Jools Holland has an ecletic mix of live performers.
There's the Proms every year. 6 weeks of classical concerts.
BBC Four usually shows opera once a month or so.
Graham Norton will have some band miming at the end of his show. So that doesn't really count.
Andrew Marr will usually have some odd classical performance at the end of his politics show for no logical reason.
Channel Four used to have a live band broadcasting from the staff canteen on a Friday afternoon. Not sure if they still do that, but it was cool when I worked there. Dido performed with a really bad head cold and sounded dreadful. She also sneezed on me in the lift and passed on her bug!

Radio:
The BBC have the Radio 1 sessions.
Most local stations will have a weekly live session, normally late at night but accessible from their website for a week or two after broadcast.
Music festivals will be covered by either the BBC or a local station.
  #26  
Old 06-14-2018, 05:27 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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I'm a bit jealous.

The BBC knows how the arts should be broadcast.

I'd love watching those shows.

Last edited by aceplace57; 06-14-2018 at 05:28 AM.
  #27  
Old 06-14-2018, 08:34 AM
kopek kopek is offline
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Originally Posted by DavidwithanR View Post
When Robin Williams was like this, TV stations didn't respond by cancelling all talk shows. (Not just him, lots of others too, just an obvious example.)
The difference, to me, is that with spoken/speaking comedians you expect a certain level of "pushing the envelope for the sake of laughter" that you don't with musicians and it is a little more acceptable there. We're friends with one of the people involved with B&T and his opinion has always been that since they are "comedy" they get away with some things a straight music program would never be able to fly. It doesn't mean an open field (look at the flak over "Camel Toe") but it does give them some latitude.
  #28  
Old 06-15-2018, 01:05 PM
BeeGee BeeGee is offline
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ACL is taped live, but not broadcast live. KUTX is the PBS music station affiliated with KRLU which is the PBS station that records and produces ACL. There are lots of live performances taped at Studio 1A, the Cactus Cafe, Paramount, etc. Not many that air live. During SXSW, they have a live feed for their breakfast shows.

We also have Sun Radio which has their Wednesday night fund raiser that airs live (and sounds like crap).

Those two stations plus KOOP play a lot of local bands and rebroadcasts of live performances. But not so many live on the air radio shows.

Last edited by BeeGee; 06-15-2018 at 01:06 PM.
  #29  
Old 06-16-2018, 11:04 PM
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KEXP (https://www.kexp.org/) does a lot of live sessions with bands. I usually watch on youtube but I think if you're in the Seattle area you can listen to it live.
Recent example with Frankie Cosmos (Kevin Kline/Phoebe Cates kid! --- jeez I feel old!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ncFuIP0Q3k&t=0s
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