The announcement that R&R was closing shop shocked the radio world. Let’s face it- many of us never thought we would see the day that would happen. But these are very unusual economic times. Our government is now in the automobile industry. Medical care for all Americans could change permanently as we’ve come to know it. There’s talk of developing a currency for the countries of North America. Looking for the silver lining in the clouds? If you’re a musician that has hit the proverbial brick wall trying to get your material noticed and earn airplay from program directors and decision makers in the industry, the time to strike is now. For several reasons, the iron is hot And this New Music Weekly edition is dedicated to the independent artist and label that has been knocked down time and time again against the big boys. A natural occurrence has happened because of the R&R fallout. Many R&R reporting stations lost faith, or lost their reporting status, in the restructuring that is now part of the Billboard charts. Program and music directors that have been in the industry for awhile know that reporting to as many trades as possible gives your station an edge as you battle for market share in your particular market and format. There are stations that don’t report, get their weekly service from a vendor, and call it good. And I guess thee’s nothing wrong with that, except that they’re missing out on a ton of great music that can only enhance what they do and how their listener enjoys that station. Check NMW’s charts out in any format, and you’ll notice a difference. One night say, “that can’t be right” when they see a name they don’t recognize. But it is. We play independent artists, as do many other stations around the country. By and large, the number one reason a person purchases a satellite radio receiver for their personal vehicle, or listens at home, is that they can find any kind of music they want on the bird. They can hear new and fresh music that flows nicely with the mainstream hits of the day. It’s made radio much more interesting, fun, and challenging to program again. Today, talent can form their own label, record in their home studio, and with a little promotion help, get their product in the hands of hundreds of stations at a fraction of the cost as compared to buying studio time, musicians, and finding a label and promotions department that will support you. I encourage you to take the free sampler CD on a road trip and listen to it. Imagine some of the songs you hear being played on your radio station. Just like the major label releases, every song you receive- mainstream or indy- won’t be a top 10 hit. But it doesn’t need to be to earmark your signal as one that is unique and fresh in your market. It’s a weapon you have at your disposal to help you win. And in these crazy economic times, any advantage can be a deal breaker.