The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #134321 Message #3055306
Posted By: WFDU - Ron Olesko
16-Dec-10 - 11:50 PM
Thread Name: Why do folk music radio programs fail?
Subject: RE: Why do folk music radio programs fail?
Not quite sure what is happening in England, but the situation in the U.S. certainly has rough spots, but there are HUNDREDS of folk shows around the country.
Public radio has undergone change however. "Consultants" come in and tell managment that they need to sweep away their specialty programs because the individual shows do not build consistent audiences. Folk shows tend to build "appointment" audiences who tune in for that show and then go elsewhere for a week until their show returns. These public radio stations adopt a more MOR sound that blends Americana with aging rock artists who no longer have an outlent, and the folk shows on these stations tend to be used as filler - if they remain.
Community radio stations fair a bit better as they adhere more to the goals of the original Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 and offer programs that are geared for a "fringe" audience that cannot be served by the commercial interests.
Let's face reality. FOLK MUSIC, either traditional or contemporary, is really a "fringe" format. I'm convinced that the audience is bigger than most people give it credit for, but it is not as large - or as recognizable for spending on product - as some of the other genres tend to be. Commercial stations go with advertisers, and advertistes cater to a different demographic than what constitutes the "folk" audience.
Still, with all the adversity and the multitude of entertainment options that are out there, folk music is holding strong on radio for the most part. Sirius XM Satellite offers a wonderful 24/7 channel that I think does an amazing job of blending the diverse styles of folk.
Folk music on the radio is alive and well, it must may not sound like Grandpa's folk music used to sound - it continues to live and be vibrant to the community that creates it - the true definition of what folk music should be. It is not a museum piece.