March 13, 2007

Do you like music? Do you like freedom?

I do. On both counts. BOTH, however, are being squandered by "the man", and it's a little disturbing. We're talking governmental profiteering, big-radio lobbying, and general unfairness happening here.

I have been "off the grid" with regards to commercial radio for years now. It all started many moons ago with the format change at 105.9FM, KLZR, broadcast out of Lawrence, Kansas. A *FANTASTIC* college radio station gone big, with a huge transmitter and a tower up on a hill, you could listen to The Lazer anywhere in the metro with good reception. We're talking serious radio play for artists like Radiohead (not just "Creep"), 7-Seconds, The Cramps, Pavement, Helmet, and many long-since departed local acts like PAW, Kill Whitey, Trip Shakespeare, ALL, Green Card, Two Car Family, and more. The Lazer, as it USED to be, was the SOURCE for cool, edgy, new music that was decidedly NOT mainstream. Then someone bought them out, and the format has never been the same sense. For the longest time, I didn't have a home on the FM dial. The came 96.5 The Buzz, and they've done, honestly, a really good job - but in my opinion in the last two years they've kinda gone soft, and the corporate blur is showing. To that effect, much of the decent talent that used to man the microphone - DJ's that used to know the difference between Archers of Loaf and Meatloaf, for example, have left for bigger markets -- or have been disenamoured and have left the microphone for good.

Since then, I have left the commercial bands, and have delved into the realm of NPR-land, because there are slowly emerging a couple of stations that actually play MUSIC, instead of jsut classical, jazz, or re-runs of Prairie Home Companion. All god stuff, mind you -- I'm just a fan of MUSIC, and I can't wallow in stuff that was written 150 years ago, or radio theater, etc. I need MUSIC. I need modern artists honing their craft far outside the reach of giant labels with bottomless cheque books, and spin-men that aim to redesign a band's sound to "appeal to a larger audience".

To that end, I have since discovered internet radio.
Specifically, , out of Paradise, California. Not only do I hear a LOT of good music, it's all in the guise of a good NPR station, in the sense that you get commercial-free music, all day long, and it's all listener-supported - and I contribute often.

Let's be clear about a few things: there are a LOT of internet radio stations out there. A TON....some of which are NOT legit. Radio Paradise, to be VERY clear, is NOT a pirate radio station. Since this latest set of events, prompted by a royalty decision made by the U.S. Copyright Office, has brought to light many internet radio stations that aren't legit - and I get the impression that was their intent. However, LEGITIMATE internet radio stations that have already been paying royalities and licensing fees to artists and record labels to rebroadcast their music, like Radio Paradise, are set up to fail and suffer by this new decision that I'll link you to below. So, again, to be clear: Radio Paradise is NOT a pirate station. Furthermore, I do NOT steal music - I'm not a party to it. Personally, but unofficially, I think if a GIANT artist like .... uhhh, let's just say Christina Agulera, has a bunch of teenagers ripping and copying her tracks and she's not getting a cent from it - too bad. She, and her record label, already make so MUCH freaking cash, it's not really an issue worth discussing. It's a loss-leader, at best. What REALLLLY erks me are the indie artists working out of a garage or basement getting THEIR rightful due stolen by pirate stations and Napster-esc operations. Stop it, guys.
Bands like The New Pornographers, Guster, Stereophonics, Porcupine Tree, The Wreckers, the Be-Good Tanyas, The Eels, Tragically Hip (yep, still together), The Doves, and many, many more (just scratching the surface here) that NEED that money to simply EAT, legit internet stations like Radio Paradise provide a SERVICE to these artists, and their listeners, by paying-for and playing their music to a HUGE audience that - thanks to corporate make-a-buck radio - might otherwise NEVER even know they exist. I'm all for it, and this latest move by the gov seems to threaten to take that all away.
To be clear on another point, Radio Paradise has prompted me to buy MORE music, not less, and has not been some outlet to circumvent copyright law or record label's bottom-line's. Far from it. Whether it be a trip to the local CD store, or iTunes, I pay for my music. I sleep well at night. Stations like Radio Paradise should be able to continue to thrive and prosper, so I bring this issue to all of my reader's attentions:

PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK, and read up. If you are inspired, like *I* was, please write, post, Digg, sign the online petition, write your congressman, etc. Get this reversed, so we can all benefit from the true artist's out there, whom we might otherwise not have an outlet for.
Thank you for reading!

Here you go: <- It's free to listen, but I encourge you to contribute. These fine folks are worth every cent. <- the Radio Paradise blog, outlining the entire sorted story of the U.S. Copyright Office's decision, how it affects us ALL, and what we can do. READ IT.

I know this gets away from cycling for a little bit here, but I feel it's worth it.
For me, personally, it would represent a HUGE hole in my life -- I give Radio Paradise my ears 8-hours a day at work, and most of my weekends - and when I'm not streaming live I'm listening to MP3s that I've purchased or ripped from my purchased CD's of music that Radio Paradise has inspired me to buy.

Yeah, seems a little weird for me to keep inserting that word "purchased", etc. -- but it's to reiterate a strong point. The U.S. Copyright Office seeks to punish those that would obtain music illegally, and clearly it's a decision that adversely effects those that ARE NOT doing anything illegal. It's an unjust, uninformed, unrealistic decision. I urge your support!

Thanks again for reading ---- now, back to our regular programming....


amidnightrider said...

I found this station from Martha's Vinyard a few years ago. When they went online, I followed.

Like your station, the selection is one not heard on mainsteam, although some of the acts do end up there.

I also really love to listen to music. And my taste covers almost all genres.

I hope this new extortion will be overturned soon. We may have to wait till 2008 though.

Anonymous said...

I used to love listening to The Lazer too, do you have any old tapes of it? my email is if you do.

kG said...

I wish I did still have some on-air tapes from the Lazer, honestly, but sadly I don't. I can, however, still conjure up "Jason" from the afternoon show waxing about some new band, or some old band... this isn't the same Jason that currently does a FABULOUS job at the Buzz... but an older, less refined Jason. All I can think of right now is how "$7.99 puts a delicious Pizza Shuttle pizza in yo bawday.... MMMMM-thazzzGOOOD."