Saturday, September 03, 2005

Stars Shine in Katrina Benefit

Hats off to Tim & Faith and the NBC-TV folks.

They did almost everything perfectly (including bleeping some no doubt heart-felt, but uncalled-for in this setting, political sentiments), except for involving radio in the pre-promotion on Thursday. It made me sad to see all the TV sppearances listed Thursday to promote the NBC special on Tim McGraw's website and no effort at all to speak to the 40 million + country radio listeners in advance of the show.

Curb Records and A&O made the attempt/requests, along with hundreds of other radio people and heard absolutely no response. Kudos to Curb Records National Promo guy Carson James for coming to bat for us and working until late Thursday night trying to make something happen.

A personal aside, that may or may not be true, but it's the impression I was left with after making this effort to help:

Ironically, Tim was performing on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Ontario at Casino Rama, which works very productively with our clients Larche Communications KICX in Barrie and Kitchener, so when they told me that Tim was "somewhere, 70 miles from nowhere in Canada out of cell phone reach," (nowhere = Toronto?) that's when I realized that there was a credibility gap in what I was being told.

Finally, at about 11 am Friday, someone woke up and offered radio the simulcast free. Hopefully, lots of country stations took them up on the offer and someone in Tim McGraw's or Scott Simon's office noticed. We are proud to support Tim and Faith's efforts. Hopefully, it's not unrequited love.

SUGGESTION FOR SUPERSTARS: Take a lesson from Reba and hire someone in your office whose only job is to improve and sustain your relationship with country radio.

"Be nice to people on your way up because you'll meet them on your way down."
-Wilson Mizner

1 comment:

Rick Young, Warner Brothers Records ( said...

In a message dated 9/5/2005 6:43:13 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, writes:

Can't help but be curious> Are you disappointed in Tim, his management, or Curb?

What really happened? (and thanks for seemingly holding Faith & WB harmless. We literally found out at the last second Faith was taking part in the show.)

Hope you're having a good holiday weekend.

-- Rick

JA replies:

Rick, I guess some folks might say that it's a case of 'no good deed goes unpunished,' since the start of it was Carson James at Curb being the most responsive person among all labels when Mike and I started asking folks for items that might be used to encourage Katrina donations.

Given that response, we wanted to see if Tim or Faith, given their roots in the stricken areas, would be available to do an open-ended interview that radio could have used on Friday morning radio programs about the fund-raiser.

Our intention, knowing that they were being besieged by requests, was to do something that could be made available to all country radio stations in the US and Canada.

There was talk of, perhaps, a signed photo or maybe a ("thanks for caring") poster that radio could have auctioned to help.

And, no one ever said "NO" to those requests, so Mike and I really got our hopes up.

Hearing nothing all day Thursday or even Friday morning .. and then learning on Friday morning that during that same day Thursday Tim had been doing TV interviews with literally every entertainment and video channel but still hadn't done anything like it for radio, which I assume was organized by the NBC-TV publicity department, and knowing that all of that was happening just a few miles away from our client stations KICX 106.5/104.1 in Barrie-Midland-Orillia, who would have been delighted to help, I felt sad and frustrated.

I was listening to Blair Garner's After Midnight at the time early Friday morning and heard him using Tim's interview with CNN Entertainment.

Blair's smarts are always impressive, and I salute him for grabbing the audio (probably some other morning guys did the same thing), but wouldn't it have been great if Tim's people had put some of those interviews on his website, or a private site for radio, so that Tim's fans and ALL country stations that wanted to air them on Friday to promote the TV special could have done so?

My awareness that Carson at Curb was trying hard to get something going for radio made me feel like the silence in response to our requests Thursday left me feeling like someone had made the conscious decision to do the TV stuff and leave radio out. At that time, I wasn't aware that later in the day, due to his efforts, they would make the benefit available for free simulcast to radio.

Obviously, radio needs to be involved in everything listeners care about, and I suppose that Tim's people knew that we'd find a way to be involved whether they did anything for us or not.

And, since I am writing this and still stewing about the missed opportunities to build audience for the TV special using radio on Thursday and Friday morning, I suppose that would have been right.

Your thoughts?

-- Jaye Albright