|March 2, 2007
Vol 4, Issue 8
Toots and the Maytals On Tour!|
photo by Kaati
3/9 Jannus Landing Saint Petersburg, FL
3/11 Langerado Festival Sunrise, FL
3/13 Mercy Lounge Nashville, TN
3/14 The Blue Note Columbia, MO
3/15 Fine Line Music Cafe Minneapolis, MN
3/16 The Rave II (Downstairs) Milwaukee, WI
3/17 Barrymore Theatre Madison, WI
3/20 Bluebird Nightclub Bloomington, IN
3/21 Al Rosa Villa Columbus, OH
3/22 Madison Theater Covington, KY
3/23 House of Blues Cleveland, OH
3/24 Mr. Smalls Theater Pittsburgh, PA
3/25 Phoenix Concert Center Toronto, ON
3/27 Le Spectrum Montreal, QC
3/28 Avalon Ballroom Boston, MA
3/29 Manhattan Center New York, NY
3/30 7 Willow Street Portchester, NY
4/1 Theatre of the Living Arts Philadelphia, PA
4/3 State Theatre Falls Church, VA
4/4 The Orange Peel Asheville, NC
4/5 Bijou Theatre Knoxville, TN
4/6 Pop's Sauget, IL
4/8 Fox Theatre and Cafe Boulder, CO
4/11 House of Blues Los Angeles, CA
4/12 Belly Up Tavern San Diego, CA
4/15 The Catalyst Santa Cruz, CA
4/17 McDonald Theatre Eugene, OR
4/18 Commodore Ballroom Vancouver, BC
4/20 Whistler Village Whistler, BC
4/21 Roseland Theatre Portland, OR
4/22 Showbox Seattle, WA
4/24 Suede Park City, UT
4/25 Belly Up Aspen, CO
4/26 Fillmore Auditorium Denver, CO
5/2 Meridian Houston, TX
5/3 House of Blues New Orleans, LA
IRIE FM RADIO ON THE CUTTING EDGE|
pictured in photo: Brian Schmidt
Brian Schmidt - Why Everthing is Irie
By Al Edwards
(Reprinted from the Jamaica Observer)
Irie FM's Marketing Manager Brian Schmidt has managed to steer Irie FM into pole position as Jamaica's foremost reggae radio station. Irie is now looking for opportunities to expand its operations and increase its market share.
Reggae music is popular throughout the Caribbean, spelling opportunities for Irie. So has the station considered a Caribbean franchise and expanding beyond Jamaican shores?
"We have been looking at the possibilities of franchising for a while now and how to do it properly. I think we have developed a model that can work but we are taking our time.
We'd rather do it right rather than rush out there and have the brand fail. But to answer your question there are plans afoot to make a move in that direction," explained Schmidt.
With as many Jamaicans living outside the country as within it, Schmidt sees other avenues to spread the reggae radio message. One way which is being presently considered is via the Internet. Already Irie TV has been registered, but whether the company will go that route is another matter.
"We have 30.3 per cent of the market and the next closest has 12 per cent which means you have to take us seriously.
"Right now in terms of radio in Jamaica we are at a saturation point. In fact with 17 stations I am expecting to see some fallout. The market is simply not dynamic enough to keep everybody afloat."
Last year saw Reggae Sunsplash and Sumfest making great strides in the promotion of reggae music. It also reminded many people of just what a galvanising effect these events can have. Irie was one of the first media outlets to use events to showcase artists.
Irie used to put on Reggae Bash in order to showcase artistes at a time when there were not too many outlets for them. Now Schmidt is of the view that there are too many shows. He says that Irie had issues with venues and opted out of roadshows. Today Irie works in conjunction with promoters and chooses not to compete with them.
Reggae music in the 21st century
In the early '90s a worldwide renaissance of reggae took off, spearheaded by Shabba Ranks, Shaggy and Super Cat. Schmidt recalls a time when if a reggae artiste didn't get airplay on Irie, then the artiste was not considered good enough by the A&R representatives to be signed. It was a prerequisite that an artiste had to perform on Reggae Bash before he or she could get that coveted record deal.
"Since then reggae music has become more international. The most fascinating observation I have made is that reggae is becoming more of a playground for the middle classes. If you look at Sean Paul, Shaggy, Tammy Chin, Tessanne Chin, Damian Marley, even Beenie Man - they all have middle-class values. Even at the back end, sound, lighting, and engineers all have a middle-class background and values, and this is becoming more prominent over the years. This has to some extent aided the propulsion of reggae music.
"One of the complaints that overseas promoters and executives had was that they couldn't deal with Jamaican artistes and that they displayed a lack of professionalism.
Today the middle-class artiste is articulate and comes across well in interviews, switching between standard English and patois, thereby showing versatility. You don't see them destroying property and acting like hooligans, because they have a disciplined approach to the business. This is perhaps the most significant shift in reggae music today," said Schmidt.
He added that reggae still does not attract significant investors but despite that, has done well.
"Many people want to knock both the dancehall and reggae acts but I could never do that in good conscience because in many cases they have been the ambassadors for Jamaica and have been carrying the flag. The most significant thing to happen last year was Sean Paul winning that American Music Award. The public decided that award and he won that for the pop-rock category. What America is saying is that he is the man putting him up there with Jay-Z and Diddy. A lot of people in Jamaica do not fully understand the impact of the music. What we have to do is transform the popularity of the music into units sold across the world."
Schmidt is of the opinion that the big record companies do not market reggae effectively, choosing to promote it as alternative black music.
"The artistes that truly succeed are those who are true to the music and true to themselves. Think about it - Shabba, Bob Marley, Shaggy, Super Cat - these guys have done their own thing being distinctly Jamaican and succeeded. We need to understand that what people like about us is our Jamaicanness."
Can a media professional be a successful media proprietor?
There is a growing trend which sees media professionals, more particularly journalists becoming owners of media operations. Gone are the days when that was the sole preserve of the rich and powerful and for that matter the likes of William Randolph Hurst, or closer to home Oliver Clarke and 'Butch' Stewart.
One of Jamaica's leading broadcast journalists Cliff Hughes fulfilled his dream of running his own media outlet and is now a force both behind and in front of the microphone.
But is it possible to combine both roles and does one inhibit the other?
"Being a media proprietor as well as being active as a journalist or media professional is very difficult to say the least. The roles by their very nature are diametrically opposed. Sooner or later a choice has to be made," said Schmidt.
Commenting on Nationwide's decision to find a home on the AM band, Irie FM's marketing manager said, "I wish Nationwide well but I am very sceptical of the decision to go the AM route because the consumer has to make two steps to access the programming. Think about it. If I am on the FM band and can get 17 stations that sound very crisp and clear then why would I want to switch bands just to find one station. Now it may work for Nationwide but it could prove to be a problem.
"When a programme moves from one station to another there is a natural attrition that takes place. Now let's say you had 10 per cent market share and then you shift to another station, that entire 10 per cent may not move with you. There are some people who are loyal to that station and may not move with you. Everytime you move there is attrition.
"It's one thing to manage a programe for a few hours another to manage 24 hours worth of programming. It's a daunting prospect. Maybe Cliff would have been better off brokering more air time from Kool."
Talk Radio has redefined the radio landscape in Jamaica and to some extent dominated it. The DJ is not a star on radio, rather the likes of Mutty Perkins, Tony Abrahams and Ronny Thwaites are.
"Talk radio in Jamaica definitely has its place. We are a society that loves to talk. Everybody is an expert, everybody is an authority and everybody wants to have their voice heard. However, if you look at the statistics over the last 15 years, Talk radio has consistently declined year on year.
Talk radio by its very nature has a perception that is far larger than it is in reality. Why? Because it has agenda-setting and a water cooler effect. For instance, if talk radio has 5 per cent listenership it may get 50 per cent of the water cooler talk. So intuitively it may seem that talk radio, is the giant of Jamaican airwaves, but if you look at the numbers objectively, it is not. No one is going to go into a water cooler situation and say, 'Bwoy, you hear that tune so and so play?'"
Schmidt believes that the way talk radio is done today in Jamaica is tired and that it needs new personalities and a different direction.
"If we were to do talk radio I guarantee that Irie FM would put it back on the map," proclaimed Schmidt.
So what does the future hold for Irie FM?
"Irie FM will never be a very corporate-type institution. It will remain true to its core value of being a creative house. Irie is not a radio station first - it is a champion of the reggae industry and a communicator first. We may well extend our thinking and approach to other media.
Bob Marley Movement Festival Saturday March 3|
The Marley family produces their own events each year to commemorate the life of Bob Marley. The 14th Annual Caribbean Festival Bob Marley Movement "Jump Dem" takes place at Bayfront Park in Miami Saturday, March 3 and has some heavyweights on the lineup including:
Damian Jr. Gong Marley
Mr. Cheeks and more
For further information check out www.bobmarleymovement.com
RFG My Space to feature Gyptian Live In Long Beach|
photo of Gyptian by Justine Ketola
We are steadily picking up speed on the viral marketing super cyber space highway. Check out our 650+ friends My Space page and add us, we welcome you to our "space" to check out new exclusive festival photos, concert footage (soon come) and numerous irie friends from around the globe as the Reggae Festival Guide reggae room evolves. Post your message at www.myspace.com/reggaefestivalguide
Reggae Festival E-Guide Music and Story Submissions|
Each week the eguide is sent to a list that is now 10,000 people strong and counting with representatives from around the world.
We welcome you to send press releases, Mp3's photos fliers and other information to: firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration and possible inclusion in the weekly e-guide.
Make Great Strides Worldwide with the Reggae Festival Guide|
The time is NOW TO ADVERTISE in the 2007 Reggae Festival Guide which comes out at the end of May. We print 100,000 copies and distribute them for FREE throughout North America and beyond. Our network of festival promoters, advertisers, street team members and reggae enthusiasts get the magazines circulated by the end of June.
Here are the prices for non-glossy pages. This is a great value for the level of circulation it provides. For available glossy pages, please give us a call at (775)337-8344 or email to ad.
Featured Festival Section
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Full & 1/2 Page Color: Add $375
1/3 Page and smaller: Add $225
For more detail concerning, dimensions and other design information please visit our website at www.reggaefestivalguide.com or call 775-337-8344. We can provide a report of the market demographics of our readers from last year's reader's survey statistics. We also have sponsorship and contest package opportunities to consider.
Reggae Festival Guide can provide excellent exposure through banner advertising in this enewsletter which reaches 10,000 people or our popular website which receives thousands of hits each week.
For more information email to email@example.com
Winston "Burning Spear" Rodney born, March 1, 1945
Jackie Mittoo born, March 3, 1948
The weekly E-Guide is a wonderful resource for those who live, love and enjoy reggae and its vibrant culture. It encompasses the music, energy and spirituality that define this unique and diverse community worldwide. You can expect CD releases and industry news, band tours, inspirational pieces, reggae trivia and of course, upcoming reggae festivals.
The Reggae Festival Guide Magazine is an annual publication which comes out in May. RBA Publishing (also home of sister publication Blues Festival Guide) prints 100,000 copies of the magazine which spotlights festivals throughout the year, feature stories on festivals around the world, radio DJ listings and stories with messages of upliftment.
For years, the Reggae Festival Guide Magazine received numerous requests for updates on festivals via email, and on May 2, 2004, the webmaster of ReggaeFestivalGuide.com, Kristine Cummins partnered with the magazine (RBA Publishing), and published the first emailed issue of the E-Guide E-Newsletter.
The readership is now over 10,000 reggae fans and counting. Each week, The Reggae Festival E-Guide reaches members of the Reggae community around the world.
The E-Guide is currently edited by Reggae Festival Guide's Marketing Director, Justine Ketola. Click here to email Justine.
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