Monday, May 03, 2010

The Most Unique, Special Hotels Are Seldom Near The Airport

Vacationing in Central Mexico and pondering Seg’s view of history and the future referenced in my last post, which is based on his worry that the lack of adventuresome music discovery by cheerleading air personalities is a good portion of what’s making radio less interesting (to music pros like him) made me realize: I vacation a lot like he listens to music.

Great spots like Valle de Bravo, Taxco and Malinalco are off the beaten track. To get to them you must fly into Toluca (the home of my favorite Top 40 station in Mexico, btw), Cuernevaca or Mexico City and put a few miles on a speedometer.

Conveniently located hear airports: Cancun, Acapulco and all the beachfront resorts with all of the major brand name hotels.

I’d much prefer to find my destinations in Lonely Planet, written for travelers like myself who disdain the crowded and the commercial.

If you’re into hearing music that no one else knows, being the first to turn your friends onto country music they’ve never heard before, I am willing to be your personal guidebook to "Cancon country," songs and artists (like the amazing Emerson Drive, who Americans think is a one-hit act, but Canadians know is incredible live and are prolific hitmakers.

Same with Paul Brandt.

Americans wonder what happened to him. He continues to own his own work, very much a superstar at home.

Terri Clark is also very active, as her amazing new duet with Johnny Reid - “You Tell Me” - indicates.

Deric Ruttan’s “Up All Night” is a big hit in Canada, and it certainly might be one in the USA too. George Canyon is a lot more than a former Nashville Star contestant as his latest “I Believe In Angels” proves.

Those artists and their great songs are like boutique hotels in locations few tourists will ever visit, amazing discoveries that will make you want to come back again and again.

In Canada, Jason Aldean is relatively unheard on the radio and Chris Young and Luke Bryan are also largely missing, at least so far.

You won’t hear them on most country music radio stations for the same reason that I happened to be the lone gringo booked for a night at Malinalco’s Casa Limon, while the Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton et al right at the beaches and next to the airports are filled to capacity.

Most country stations can play between ten and 14 songs an hour.

There are only so many slots at a time when our listener on both side of the 49th has “A-D-D” and expects to hear “the hits” (aka their favorite songs)

Folks, in general, pick the safe, the comfortable, the familiar when given a choice between those things and greater risk of the unknown, even when paired with a possibility of a higher reward.

That’s why, according to the second annual CMA “Fan Tracking Study,” released at the 2010 CRS, 93% of country music fans listen to the radio, UP from 79% one year ago.

Yes, I stay at airport hotels myself and enjoy their convenience on almost a daily basis - even though I do search out the unique and special during vacation periods when I have time to spare.

Maybe that is why I feel much more bullish on radio and music’s future than Segarini appears to be.

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