WASHINGTON, DC – The promotional value of free radio airplay received yet another endorsement this week when two of Country Music's biggest stars offered up some career advice to contestants of NBC's 'Nashville Star' music competition.
"I love a strong radio hit. All of us. That's what our job is, to have a radio hit. Without radio, we couldn't do what we do, but the job is to have a radio hit that sounds unique, and like you," said 'Nashville Star' judge Jewel, a Grammy-nominated artist who has sold more than 27 million albums.
Backing up Jewel's advice were comments made by fellow judge John Rich, who makes up half of the famed Country duo "Big and Rich."
"Alright, let's talk about the nuts and bolts," Rich told another contestant. "If you win 'Nashville Star', you have to get on 200 major market radio stations. You have to."
The artists' testimonials for the promotional power of free radio airplay come at a time when the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a trade group that represents the major record label conglomerates, is seeking legislation to charge America's hometown radio stations for playing music.
Countering the RIAA-backed legislation is the Local Radio Freedom Act, which has been co-sponsored by a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives who oppose an RIAA tax on local radio stations. To date, 222 House members and 13 Senators are on record in opposition to the label-led effort.
"Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over the air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings," reads the Local Radio Freedom Act.
On numerous occasions, both record label executives and artists have recognized the promotional value of free radio airplay. Such statements include:
"I have to thank... every DJ, every radio guy, every promotions guy, everybody who ever put up a poster for me and spread the word."
-- Alicia Keys, recording artist and Grammy winner, 2008 Grammy Awards, February 2008
"[R]adio remains the best way to get new music into the listeners' lives."
--Sony BMG Executive VP Butch Waugh as quoted in Radio & Records, January 11
"[R]adio is the conduit to the people, the voice of the format and the lifestyle's soundtrack."
--Sony BMG Nashville VP of Marketing Tom Baldrica, as quoted in Radio & Records, January 11
"Obviously, radio is probably the most important thing for a new rock band coming out. If you don't get yourself on the radio, then you won't draw bodies at the clubs and you won't sell records."
-- 'Another Animal' drummer Shannon Larkin, Drum Magazine, 2008
"Country radio, thank you so much for being our mouthpiece. You know what we do means nothing if it never gets played, and no one gets to hear it."
-- 'Rascal Flatts,' Vocal Group of the Year, Country Music Awards, 2007
"I can't even believe that this is real... I want to thank country radio. I'll never forget the chance you took on me."
-- Taylor Swift, Horizon Award (for best new artist), Country Music Awards, 2007
"I have yet to see the big reaction you want to see to a hit until it goes on the radio. I'm a big, big fan of radio."
-- Richard Palmese, Executive Vice President of Promotion, RCA, 2007
"Radio has proven itself time and time again to be the biggest vehicle to expose new music."
-- Ken Lane, Senior Vice President for Promotion, Island Def Jam Music Group, 2005
"It is clearly the number one way that we're getting our music exposed. Nothing else affects retail sales the way terrestrial radio does."
--Tom Biery, Senior Vice President for Promotion, Warner Bros. Records, 2005
"That's the most important thing for a label, getting your records played."
-- Eddie Daye, recording artist, 2003
"Radio helped me a lot. That's the audience. I can't see them, but I know they're there. I can't reach out and touch them with my hand, but I know they're there."
-- B.B. King, recording artist, 2002
"If a song's not on the radio, it'll never sell."
-- Mark Wright, Senior Vice President, MCA Records, 2001
"Air play is king. They play the record, it sells. If they don't, it's dead in the water."
-- Jim Mazza, President, Dreamcatcher Entertainment, 1999
"I am so grateful to radio. Their support has truly changed my life, and I hope they know how appreciative I am for that."
-- Jo Dee Messina, recording artist, 1999
The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association that advocates on behalf of more than 8,300 free, local radio and television stations and also broadcast networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Courts. Information about NAB can be found at www.nab.org.