Radio Station Dude: Come off that dumb hillbilly act!
Doolittle: If you knew Loretta, you’d know that ain’t no act.
Loretta: Thank you, honey.
I was a weird little kid so in a lot of aspects it makes perfect sense that I am as um…as eccentric as I am today. I didnâ€™t go outside and play much because honestly the neighborhood kids thought I was a freakâ€¦because I was. I was so much younger than all the kids in my school classes so we were on different maturity and social levels. (Plus they were all fucking stupid…yes Nikki Leppard where ever you are today, I am talking about you.) I loved to hang out with Momma Ballou while she listened to her records, read as many library books as they would let me check out at one time, and watch hours and hours of television. Records, books, and music have always been my best friends. I was obsessed with television and to tell you the truth I still am. Back in the day we didnâ€™t have as many mind numbingly fantastic reality shows and cable channels as we do now but we did have a VCR! I have written in the past about how much of an impact the movie Urban Cowboy had on my life but another video tape that I remember watching 3849382492389 times as a kid was Coal Minerâ€™s Daughter.
I know you peeps are thinking what the hell is Rita rambling about today, but stay with me here…it will all come back around, I swear.
I have always tried to be a good â€œfanâ€ in the past and I canâ€™t help but be passionate about doing everything I could to support my favorite artists. Looking back now I can see how people could and DID look at this behavior just like Nikki Leppard did when I was 10 and think what a freak! To be honest, looking back I might even be a little embarrassed about my enthusiasm but no matter HOW jaded I am becoming about the â€œbusinessâ€ or the fans of this scene, I still think that as a fan when a particular song, album, or artist touches you it is almost your obligation to do whatever you can do to thank them. I always thought the best way to do that was to spread the word as much as possible about their music and hope that people get it as much as you did and do the same. Donâ€™t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that everyone should be a wackadoodle like I am, but I have always been a person to do things to the extreme or do nothing at all. I am an â€œall or nothingâ€ kinda gal and that is just my nature. (I think the mental health professionals have a name for that, just ask Patty Duke but I AINâ€™T that bad!)
I have joined Fan Clubs and Street Teams for a few Nashville artists in the past and as a member of those groups the whole purpose was to be active on message boards and websites by doing the mass email mail outs, the calling of the radio stations request lines, writing music publications. The point was to â€œspread the wordâ€ via MySpace, etc. to promote the singles, records, and artists in general.
(PLEASE remind me do to a blog one day about the REAL fucking CRAZY people out there in those circles! I may be insane but I ainâ€™t mentally unstable!)
I did this because it was kinda fun, because it made me feel like I belonged to something bigger, and because I guess deep down I felt like it would or could make a difference. Since I have long left the â€œNashvilleâ€ realm for the Red Dirt scene, I havenâ€™t really done any of these things on that type of organized level. If I love a song or an artist I just make copies of their cdâ€™s and mail them to my friends or rattle on about a show on my Facebook page.
I know, I know this isnâ€™t some busted up episode of â€œThis is Your Life Ritaâ€, so seriously STAY WITH ME…
Loretta: I’m gettin’ so sick of baloney.
Doolittle: You are? Well, you know what they say about eatin’ baloney, don’t you?
Loretta: No, what?
Doolittle: Makes you horny.
Loretta: What does that mean?
Doolittle: Are you so dadburn ignorant you don’t know what horny means?
Please tell me this dialogue rings a bell because itâ€™s from Coal Miners Daughter. Long story short…Loretta was the shit and her husband Doo believed in her and her abilities. She recorded a song she wrote herself and Doo stayed up night and day mailing shit tons of her record to every radio station in the country. When that didnâ€™t seem to work, Doo and Lorettie left their 128 kids at her mommaâ€™s house and they hit the road. They personally walked up into these radio stations, met the DJâ€™s, told them their story and basically pitched a walleyed hissy fit until the DJs agreed to play the song on the radio.
Loretta: Shoot, we’ve been driving so much, I don’t know where I am half the time. But it’s fun. We sing, and talk, and Doo – that’s my husband – he’ll get to acting horny.
Loretta: And the more I laugh, the hornier he gets, and then he’ll say, “Loretta, spread me up another one of them baloney sandwiches!”
The song was so good that people loved it and started to call and request to hear it again and again and again. Doo and Loretta didnâ€™t have a clue what they were doing until one day after enough baloney sammaches, Lorettaâ€™s song was #14 on the Billboard Chart and she were invited to play on the Grand Old Opry.
Pffft people…donâ€™t you see how easy it is? Quit all the crying and whining? Just write a good song, send it to a radio station, ask the DJ to play it, people love it, and all of a sudden you are a big famous star! How friggin hard can that be? It worked for Loretta!
Wait, what do you mean it doesnâ€™t really work that way? Apparently not so much.
Last week I was in my car being force fed endless shitty fucking music from Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift and I had a little Fan Club/Street Team flashback. I thought to myself, self you love the new Sunny Sweeney song â€œFrom a Table Awayâ€ and think it really needs to be played on the radio…call and request it! So I did. (Please realize again that, I am naive and the radio station I called doesnâ€™t play Texas Country Music because I donâ€™t really have one of those stations around my area, but that shouldnâ€™t matter because a good song is a good song, right?)
The kid that answered the request line basically laughed at me when I refused to take â€œwe donâ€™t have that song and if we did we couldnâ€™t play itâ€ for an answer and trust me, I argue with people for a living and I LOVE to argue. I had the poor kid on the phone for over a half hour. The situation at this radio station was different because of their â€œcompanyâ€ but I did luck out because he was a Texas Country Music fan and he gave me quite an earful of how â€œthingsâ€ work…
Now, do I know if this dude knew what he was talking about? Nope. Not one bit, but Iâ€™m just telling you what I was told. In a nutshell â€œourâ€ artists that can afford to do it hire a â€œradio promoterâ€…and they donâ€™t come cheap! These promoters know their shit and have longstanding relationships with these radio peeps so they send the songs to all the stations and ask them to play it on the radio. The more the songs are played the higher they place on the charts. (I reckon that explains the mystery as to why so many people I have never heard of in my life are on the Texas Music Charts!)
I am positive there is much MORE to this scenario because there has to be other ways to get songs played, right? I know none of this shit is a secret, but I just gotta know for my own piece of mind if fans calling the radio stations over and over to request a song really makes a difference or does it just annoy the fuck out of radio djs?
I ainâ€™t trying to Woodward and Bernstein up any type of shitstorm, but I just gotta know if all those Facebook and Twitter â€œCall your radio station and request our new song blah blah blahâ€ updates are really necessary? Should we even bother to call and request the songs we want to hear or are the paid radio promoters basically deciding what it is we get to hear on Texas radio? I ainâ€™t accusing, I am just asking because now I am curious.
If you are in the Texas Music scene and donâ€™t suck, can you promote yourself like Doolittle and Loretta did and actually be successful or is it like The Hag sang…â€Itâ€™s all in the moviesâ€?
Loretta: “I may be ignorant, but I ain’t stupid!”