Monday, August 05, 2013

Becky Brenner

She had already done traffic, middays, production director and promotion director duties by the time I arrived at KMPS and I subsequently worked, first as her boss and then later as her consultant, with her for most of the 25 years she was there, spending 16 winning literally every radio programming accolade possible.

So, there are innumerable things I have learned from her.

Let me highlight one that just happened today.

Some of us, after numerous years of listening to new music and being pushed to add things that don't sound bad on the air by aggressive promotion, many of us become somewhat jaded and adopt the point of view that since almost anyone can be auto-tuned, Pro-Tooled, reverbed with those great Nashville backup musicians and singers to the point that even a mediocre song can "test" well enough and a vocalist can sound good enough that you develop a "heck, it won't hurt me that much" attitude.

Maybe they'll beg and plead, catching you on a good day.

Maybe the artist will do a free show for your listeners.

Maybe you overlook on "just this one" that performance and star power matter.  What rings the bell for all elements of the business is to reserve radio airplay for potential stars who understand "performance," who release only amazing songs that resonate to the point that in a year or two the artist has four or five songs plus a reputation for delighting in-person audiences so that they can pack a large arena.

Keeping your standards that high requires a passion for and understanding of all aspects of the music business.

It means recognizing that you go to showcases and live shows not to get your ego stroked, but to see how an act commands the stage, moves the listener.

That takes time and effort.

This morning Becky was a four hour drive from our Seattle offices in Central Washington where A&O&B clients and listeners had attended Watershed Music Festival

The event's three day passes had been long-since sold out.  No one day tickets were ever available, due to the three-day-pass sell out.  Becky felt that it was her duty to spend at least one day at the event and yet wasn't able to spend more time than that due to other professional commitments.

I told her to skip it.  Our clients could fill us in on how it all went on the phone, but that's not Becky  Brenner.  She wanted to experience as much of it as possible.  A music FAN, she sees it as part of her duties.  She paid for a three day pass so that she could go for at least the final day.

I've learned how to be a passionate country music fan, even after four decades in the business, thanks to the example of Becky Brenner.

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