Randy Matthews’ Nashville Music Guide already does a great deal to support country radio stations, both in the USA and Canada, and beginning in July the NMG will add to that excitement when it launches its own unique Internet station, NMGRadio.com.
“We’ll be launching tentatively July 15th,” executive editor Randy Matthews said in a conversation at NMG offices in late June. “Every day there’s CDs being mailed in here, wanting to be reviewed. We don’t have the resources here yet to get ‘em all reviewed or heard. Each time I walk into the office and see a handwritten mailed CD, or look over at the shelf on the wall and see the CDs that we have never had time to listen to, I think about the millions of dollars spent on those albums from hard working men and women, or from the saving accounts of moms and dads, or quite often a singer-songwriter was scammed and I think of those dreams and unanswered prayers. I think to myself, “How can we make a difference in these people’s lives?”
Thank God for social networks like Facebook and Twitter where a person can work and promote themselves, but as a magazine with our own radio station we can take them one step further with airplay and working the social network with our resources. With their help we can help get these people heard.”
“But what we do have the resources to do,” Randy continued, “is to take the time to rip at least a single into the playlist and put ‘em in the rotation for NMGRadio.com. It’s gonna be called NMGRadio.com, but mainly it’s going to be a promotional tool like Nashville Music Guide.”
This is a very exciting opportunity for new or unknown artists, whose music is currently not being heard on mainstream country radio or along Music Row, to get some much-needed exposure for their songs and their artistry.
“It gives us a chance to play stuff that’s sent here so it’s not wasted,” said Randy. “So the artists will feel they’re not wasting the $1.74 to mail their CD, and they know that we’re going to help ‘em.”
For Randy, this ability to support the independent musicians and encourage new talent to break through on Music Row and at country radio is a major part of their commitment at Nashville Music Guide.
But what if a song is so new that it’s just a work tape or a demo?
“We’re not scared to play the songs on demos,” Randy says. “Whatever they send us, if that’s what they want us to play, it’s fine. Once put into rotation we are going to notify the artists and let them know, ‘We opened your package, we listened to your CD, we ripped your song, and it’s being played.”
The DJ booth is right inside the NMG offices, and Bob Coan of New Media Edge, an expert in Social Media and tech who has been a major business partner of NMG for the last year, will be assisting with filming, photos and LIVE Webcasts for in studio and live events, and at a later date will take NMG to the streets.
How exciting is this for the Randy Matthews, who has long admired and listened to country radio both in Oklahoma and Tennessee, to be starting his own station?
“Remember when 96.1 KXY went on the air in Oklahoma City? They played `You’re The Reason God Made Oklahoma’ for the first 24 hours on-air, I’m thinking about doing the same thing,” Randy said of the beloved David Frizzell/Shelly West classic that was a No. 1 Billboard country single in 1981.
But as Randy points out, Nashville Music Guide’s new Internet radio station will in no way reduce the magazine and the booming Web site’s major support of broadcast country radio.
“We’ve always loved radio, and we’re not here to compete with radio stations. We’re continuing our Radio Spotlight every month in the NMG which features stories about on air personalities and station features from around the country,” Matthews says. “We want this to be a place where programmers can go listen and pick up these songs if they like them—sort of a delivery service.”
Randy Matthews, the Executive Editor of Nashville Music Guide, will be the new station’s Program Director, while NMG Director of Marketing & Artist Relations Bradley Drake will serve as Music Director. Drake’s years of major-label experience on Music Row make him an ideal fit for this new post, and Randy Matthews brings to this new endeavor the vision of the Nashville Music Guide.
The concept of NMGRadio.com also differs from mainstream radio in that the new station’s playlists will be much, much larger and more diverse than the tiny, skin-tight lists so many large country stations have today.
“We’re gonna give the people that actually take the time to send their CDs in here a chance,” Randy says. “We can’t possibly handle the volume of reviewing all of them now.”
He says that at present, NMG receives about 40 online albums or songs each week, along with 50 more that arrive in the mail. That’s nearly 100 submissions each and every week of the year.
Many listeners got used to hearing Nashville Music Guide managing editor Joe Matthew’s Big Joe’s Big Radio Show weekly radio show on NixaCountry.com on his regular 8 p.m. Tuesday night broadcasts this spring. After parting ways with the station in June, the show will continue on the new station with even more excitement.
“That show will go on and hopefully be even better, because we’ve got some big guests lined up,” he said. “I can’t say the names of the artists yet, but they’ll be playing right here in our studio. New Media Edge and Bob Coan will be assisting in filming and handling the audio, and everything’s going to be saved and archived and made available on the Internet.”
There will also be sponsor spots available, just like at a broadcast station. Advertisers should contact Bradley Drake at NMG.
Starting in July, Nashville Music Guide will be on the air, which is extremely good news for musicians, songwriters, and fans, not just in the USA and Canada, but all over the music world.
By Phil Sweetland