Festival Christmas is back on the air

For all your Yuletide music needs from Aimee Mann to Zydeco Crayz.

Listen Here

Celtapalooza is back!

Online Folk Festival’s freeform salute to all things Celtic is back on the air.

Listen here

BBC Folk Awards

The BBC Folk Awards were presented last night, with a list of winners available on the BBC site.

Among the winners and those nominated, you can generally hear Eliza Carthy, Lau, Bellowhead, Karine Polwart, John McCusker, and Martin Simpson on Festival Radio.

Hey Indie Folkies – Promote Those Who Promote You!

Live 365 has come out with a super spiffy cool widget that you can post on your website or blog that can be edited to include only those stations which you specify (i.e., those which are currently playing your music). This widget will list the stations playing your music and then launch the station of the visitor’s choice in a separate window (so they don’t leave your website).  Here’s how to create your own:

For my example, I’ll use Ithaca-based singer-songwriter Patti Witten.  First, go to http://www.live365.com/index.live

Enter your name, or the name of your band in quotation marks in the search box:

Step 1 - Live365 Home Page

After you hit enter, you’ll go to a page like this that lists all the stations playing your music:

Step 2 - Search Results

After this page loads, and you look for your name, to be sure that the search results are returning you and your muic, click on the green “Get Widget” button.  You’ll be taken to a page that looks like this:

Almost there!

From here, all you have to do is set your background color/display preferences, or find a background image that you like.  Click the button that generates your code, copy it to your clipboard and then add it to your website or blog.  Simple, effective and targeted. In addition, because it is based on a database query, the widget should keep itself automatically updated – every time it loads, it searches the live365 database and pulls only those stations with your music currently in rotation.  Just for fun, I’ve posted the widget I just created below:

Folk DJ Needs Help

Debra Cowan is an accomplished folk singer that I play regularly on Festival Radio.  Today, she posted this to the Folk DJ List:

Laurel Paulson-Pierce hosts “Crossroads” on KRBS out of
Oroville, CA.  Whilst helping to fight fires in the Concow area
of Butte County (where she also lives) her own house was totally
destroyed in these fires. Thankfully, she was able to save her
CDs and some other possessions, but the house itself is a total

The Mudcat Cafe <http://www.mudcat.org/threads.cfm> hosts
auctions to raise funds and several of us have donated items on
which you can bid. Please take a look at these items and
consider helping out Laurel. The link to the Mudcat Auction is
at <http://www.mudcat.org/auction/threads.cfm>

I have known Laurel for almost 25 years and not only does she
volunteer at KRBS, but is also involved in the Butte Folk Music
Society in Chico. She gives and has given pretty selflessly over
the years to helping put on folk music events in Butte County.
If anyone would like to make a straight donation to help out,
you can do this by sending a check or postal money order to:

Mike Doellman
PO Box 4905
Pocatello, ID 83205-4905

Whether check or PMO, please make it out to Mike and perhaps
attach a post-it note with the name Laurel on it so Mike knows
what it’s for.

Thanks for helping if you can.

Debra Cowan

New Adds – July 17, 2008

New Adds – Festival Radio – Since July 1, 2008

Artist – Album

  • The Hayburners – The Hayburners
  • Jonathan Byrd – The Law and the Lonesome
  • Jenny Goodspeed – Under the Ash Tree
  • Chuck Brodsky – Two Sets
  • Nels Andrews – Off Track Betting
  • Great Big Sea – Fortune’s Favor
  • Tiller’s Folly – A River So Wide
  • Carrie Elkin – The Jeopardy of Circumstances
  • The Gordons – Our Time

Top 32 – Festival Radio, June 2008

Top 32 rated songs by listeners to Festival Radio, June 2008.  Why 32?  Listeners only rated 32 songs.

Rank – Artist – Song – Album

1.    Kris Delmhorst – Sea Fever – Strange Conversation
2.    Ian & Sylvia – Early Morning Rain – Vanguard – Roots of Folk
3.    Lauren Lapointe – Here Comes The Rain Again – Butterfly
4.    The Horse Flies – Rafting (From My Front Door) – Until the Ocean
5.    Rachael Davis – Lonely When You’re Gone – Antebellum Queens
6.    Johnny Cash – Big River – Live From Austin, TX
7.    Railroad Earth – Hard Livin’ – Amen Corner
8.    The Chambers Brothers – People Get Ready – Vanguard – Roots of Folk
9.    Caren Armstrong – Savasana – Everything
10.    Traveling Wilburys – Last Night – Vol 1
11.    T-Bone Burnett – River of Love – Twenty Twenty
12.    Blind Boys of Alabama – I Shall not Walk Alone – Higher Ground
13.    Jethro Tull – Jack-In-The-Green – Songs From The Wood
14.    The Byrds – Wasn’t Born To Follow – There Is A Season
15.    Jason Wilber – Northern Lights Over Lewisburg Tennessee – Lazy Afternoon
16.    Bob Franke – Acid Polka – The Other Evening in Chicago
17.    Zoe Mulford – The American Wake – Roadside Saints
18.    Willy Porter – Big Yellow Pine – Willy Porter
19.    Tracy Grammer – Shadows of Evangeline – Flower of Avalon
20.    Paul Robeson – Don’t You Cry, My Honey – The Voice Of The Mississippi
21.    Buddy Mondlock – Poetic Justice – Poetic Justice
22.    Bruce Springsteen with the Sessions Band – My Oklahoma Home – Live In Dublin
23.    Pierce Pettis – Appalachian Bloodlines – Chase The Buffalo
24.    Johnsmith – Work In Progress – Kickin’ This Stone
25.    Over the Rhine – If a Song Could Be President – The Trumpet Child
26.    Maura O’Connell – Down Where the Drunkards Roll – Wandering Home
27.    Friction Farm – Reluctant Soldier – 34 degrees, 32 minutes
28.    Spook Handy – Heading For the Hague – Whatcha Gonna Do?
29.    Pine Leaf Boys – La Belle Josette – La Musique
30.    Junction Pool – William’s Waltz – Junction Pool
31.    John Denver – Rocky Mountain High – The Wildlife Concert
32.    The Kennedys – Give Me Back My Country – Better Dreams

Top 41 – April 2008

Top 41 songs, as rated by listeners of Festival Radio.  Why 41?  There’s a tie at #40.

Artist – “Track” – Album
1.    Joe Crookston – “Hands Metal and Wood” – Able Baker Charlie and Dog
2.    The Hooters – “Time Stand Still” – Time Stand Still
4.    Terri Hendrix – “Jim Thorpe’s Blues” – The Spiritual Kind
5.    Emmylou Harris – “Goodbye” – Wrecking Ball
6.    California Guitar Trio – “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Fly on the Wall-Lost Tracks from Studio A
7.    Andrew McKnight – “Safe Home” – Something Worth Standing For
8.    Leo Kottke – “Too Fast” – One Guitar, No Vocals
9.    Greg Brown – “Downtown” – If I Had Known: Essential Recordings, 1980-1996
10.    Patty Larkin – “Good Thing” – Angels Running
11.    Juluka – “Ibhola Lethu” – The Best Of Juluka
12.    John McCutcheon – “Mrs. Clara Sullivan’s Letter” – Seeds: The Songs Of Pete Seeger, Volume 3
13.    Bob Franke – “Love Bravely, Elizabeth” – The Other Evening in Chicago
14.    Patrick Woods – “Morning Wind” – Woodchopper’s Ball
15.    Kim and Reggie Harris – “Down By The Riverside” – Get on Board: Underground Railroad and Civil Rights Freedom Songs Volume 2
16.    Karen Matheson – “O Mhairi’s tu mo Mhairi” – downriver
17.    Jack Williams – “Laughing in the Face of the Blues” – Laughing in the Face of the Blues
18.    Todd Snider – “Betty Was Black (and Willie was White)” – Happy To Be Here
19.    Robinella and the CC String Band – “I Can’t Believe You’re In Love With Me” – Blanket For My Soul
20.    Mark Heard – “Waiting For A Reason” – Dry Bones Dance
21.    John Gorka – “Unblindfold the Referee” – Writing in the Margins
22.    Andrew McKnight – “Wind Whispers Your Name” – Something Worth Standing For
23.    Tom Paxton – “How Beautiful Upon The Mountain” – Comedians & Angels
24.    Paul Simon – “Born At The Right Time” – Concert in the Park
25.    Kate Campbell – “Wrought Iron Fences” – The Portable Kate Campbell
26.    David Bromberg – “East virginia” – Try Me One More Time
27.    Cowboy Junkies – “Bea’s Song (River Song Trilogy: Part 2)” – Lay It Down
28.    The Clumsy Lovers – “Save For You” – Smart Kid
29.    John Prine – “Space Monkey” – Live On Tour
30.    Jeff Talmadge – “Photograph” – Gravity Grace and the Moon
31.    The Bobs – “The Tight Pants Tango” – Get Your Monkey Off My Dog
32.    Patrick Fitzsimmons – “Beautiful Jane” – Live: The Birthday Shows
33.    The Otters – “Come On In My Kitchen” – Nature of the Beat
34.    Johnny Clegg & Savuka – “The Crossing (Osiyeza)” – Heat, Dust & Dreams
35.    James Keelaghan – “Sweetgrass Moon” – A Recent Future
36.    Charlotte Kendrick – “Best of Me” – North of New York
37.    Bruce Cockburn – “All the Diamonds in the World” – Circles In The Stream
38.    Alastair Moock – “Cloudsplitter” – Fortune Street
39.    Carla Ulbrich – “Corny Schlocky Sappy Songs” – Professional Smart Aleck
40.    Ruthie Foster – “Hole In My Pocket” – Runaway Soul
40.    The Byrds – “Hickory Wind” – There Is A Season

Festival Radio in Higher Fidelity

St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, and so has Celtapalooza 2008. Thanks to all who listened – my listenership high for the day was 31 simultaneous listeners, which is much higher than I usually get.

After clearing out all the Celtic music, I’ve restarted the station in spiffy 96K mp3Pro, a step-up from 64K mp3Pro. The station will sound even better for those of you with high bandwidth. If you haven’t listened for awhile, stop by and tune in – I’m sure you’ll notice a difference in sound quailty.

How Not to Get Airplay on Folk Radio

I am amazed by the number of artists who contact me who have no idea that they are sabotaging their own chances to get airplay on my station, or on folk radio in general. Here are some mistakes I see artists making all the time.

  1. Failure to do research or read submission guidelines. Every station has a different submission policy. Mine is very clearly stated on my website at http://www.onlinefolkfestival.com/submissions.html. If you follow the guidelines, I will follow through by listening to your CD. If not, I won’t, and to be honest, I’ve stopped feeling bad about that.
  2. Failure to provide professional level product. The folk radio world is very competitive because it is a relatively limited format. Most radio hosts have only two or three hours a week to fill, and unless you give them reason to include you, they will fill those slots with professionally produced, high-quality records they get from labels such as Rounder, Compass, Appleseed, and Signature Sounds. You may be able to connect with a local DJ in your area, but DJs in other areas won’t give you the time of day unless your record sounds professional. You might be able to send a demo you cut in your basement to your local DJ whom you know from hanging out at the local folk club, but the vast majority of DJs with which you have not established a relationship are going to use it as a coaster. The wide availability of home recording equipment has led to the rise of people recording who are, frankly, getting a lot of bad advice regarding their talent level.
  3. Believing that an e-mail referring a DJ to a website where they can download a track will entice the DJ to play your music. Since most folk DJs do it as a side gig (in other words, they have a day job), many barely have time to keep up with the actual CDs they get in the mail from established labels who have good quality control standards and sign excellent, talented acts. I wish I had the time to visit every artist website and preview their tracks online. I don’t. Some DJs do, and more power to them. If Christine Lavin or Tom Paxton puts a topical mp3 on their website, I might download that, if I read about it on the Folk DJ list. But, chances are, you’re not Christine Lavin or Tom Paxton, and don’t merit the same consideration. I know that sending out CDs can be expensive, but hey, if you don’t believe in yourself that much, then I won’t either.
  4. Failure to remember that you need us more than we need you. I recently sent an address change to the Indie Bible people, who have graciously listed my radio station, and then was overwhelmed by emails from artists asking me to check out their website. I replied, graciously, I thought, to each one pointing out my submissions guidelines page and asking them to send me a CD for consideration. One artist responded to me, quite rudely, I thought, that if I didn’t go to his website and listen to his samples, then I wasn’t going to get a CD. You know what? That’s fine with me. I don’t need his CD. I have plenty of quality programming that I can put on it its place. I’ll be happy to add another Woody Guthrie tune to the playlist if you don’t want to play by my rules. If you can’t be polite to me, I’m not going to give your CD the time of day.
  5. Failure to provide a quality one-sheet. Tell me something about yourself that will make me want to really listen to your music. Where do you come from? Who have you opened for? Who produced your album? Send your CD to every name artist you every opened for and solicit their comments and then add their quote prominently to your one-sheet. You may think it crass, but it separates you from the artists recording bad demos in their basement. If you don’t “hitch your wagon to the stars,” nobody else will.
  6. Failure to remove the shrink wrap. All the major folk labels do. It’s a courtesy, really. Just one more hassle that must be overcome to get to your disk.
  7. Failure to submit the CD to freedb. Internet radio stations use ripping software to generate the files for airplay. I use CDex, which uses the freedb lookup to generate track information. If you’ve not submitted your CD to freedb, then I need to type in the information myself. It’s another hassle. If your CD is good enough, I’m happy to do it, but sometimes, I’ll let a CD sit in the ripping pile for a week or two because I don’t have enough time to input the tracks. It’s in your best interest to submit to freedb and cddb (Gracenote) as soon as you have a physical copy of your CD so you can control what it looks like when people put that CD in their computer to play or rip, and then you can add all the pertinent track and label information. Otherwise, someone else will do it for you and the information may be incomplete or inaccurate.

To summarize – Play by the rules and provide professional-level product on CD, be polite, and promote yourself and most folk DJs will give your CD consideration. If you are rude, amateurish, and unable to follow the rules, even if your talent is massive then your CD will likely end up as somebody’s coaster and your mp3s will go undownloaded and unplayed on the radio.