"The music (and I'd add radio too) business is walking backwards into the future, looking at the past."
It was an honor to be on the Country Music Radio panel, put together for the Tejano Music Seminar by Country Radio Seminar Exec Director Ed Salamon with KSCS' MD Chris Huff, the multi-talented, multi-lingual artist Rick Trevino (he will have an announcement about a new LP very soon and perhaps a new label as well), Edison Media Research's Sean Ross and moderated by independent journalist Ramiro Burr, who also very expertly led that SOTI panel as well and drew that quote out of the very knowledgeable Monahan, who noted that a challenge for all forms of Latino music is the fact that only 29% of Hispanic households have access to broadband in the latest national census stats, slowing the move to downloads when compared to both African-American and non-ethnic homes, thus the music which targets them.
Burr got some pretty good quotes off too, for example:
"Don't complain, campaign."
I came away from the event confident that these two music forms whose pasts have intertwined many times over the last three decades are going to go into the future more together than we have recently.
Tejano musicians are worried about the viability of their business as Tejano radio is targeting 45+ and playing almost no new music (hard to believe standing at the convention which drew almost 7,000 fans of the music of all ages).
At the same time, there are weeks when I review all of the new Country music coming across my desk and feel like simply moving all the obviously great stuff to power rotation, just dropping all the rest of the sound-alike perennial mid-chart clones.
In order to grow in an increasingly diverse America, both Country and Tejano will require all the fresh, exciting, talented artists we can find. I left Dallas confident that they continue to be very deep wells, flowing with them.
Let's hope Country and Tejano radio find a way to give our listeners a refreshing drink from the musical melting pot, and soon.