Back in the day when I was playing music full time and working part time the one thing that was always a crux in my craw was that there was no local radio show in our area. The Lazer in Des Moines had Local Licks and it seemed like every market I played in had a home grown show of local bands and musicians that got regular play. I tried for years along with many other members of the Cedar Valley music community to get this to happen. We were never successful but we had little bits of success here and there. First, Rock 108 did a battle of the bands for a few years. Cory Ford did some stuff with local bands once in awhile, but it never took off. Nothing ever happened. Then awhile ago my buddy Brian Marshall over at Rock 108 clued me into what he had cooking and boy was I interested. But like many big ideas I never thought it would be anything more than a Myspace page or a Facebook group. Well ladies and gentlemen that is about to change. Brian along with a cast and crew of bands, venues and other people have finally brought the Cedar Valley their own local music show on Rock 108! It’s with very proud and excited fingers that I write this blog today. I needed to ask Brian a few questions to help get the word out on the street on his new show. So folks, take a gander below at the exchange between Brian and myself about Unsigned & Unleashed only on Rock 108!
1. Explain a little bit about what you’ve been doing with Unsigned and Online?
For the last year we have featured local, unsigned, original acts on our website at Rock 108.com Each month, we would interview a band in the studio. We would separate the interview into three segments and end them with a track from their latest work. We started with Illegal Smile from Cedar Falls. We just finished the UNSIGNED & ONLINE portion of this month by speaking with Marcato from Des Moines.
2. How were you able to get something to happen that many local musicians have been trying to do for years by getting a local music program on Rock 108?
I am not going to take credit for something that is a combined effort by all. I’m just the point man.
The real story is this: We began to play Destrophy’s “Way Of Your World” in regular rotation on ROCK 108. Destrophy has a history with ROCK 108 as a winner of a Battle Of The Bands, along with opening on several of our ROCK 108 Presents shows.
I knew that by playing Destrophy, some other local acts would immediately ask, “why can’t I get my song on the air?” So I went to Michael Cross (program director) and presented this idea to him. He agreed to the idea of featuring local acts on our website. We coordinated with our legal department to get the proper paperwork to feature bands online. Then the process began of telling the bands about this opportunity.
We have had tremendous response and help along the way. First off, the bands have been great in spreading the word about this show on their Myspace pages or by word of mouth. Also some local bookers / club owners have helped out a bunch. We were able to have our first UNSIGNED & ONLINE concert at 1stAve.Live in Cedar Rapids. Rocky Wicher at 1stAve. Live, always has helped out local bands by giving them opportunities to play at his clubs. He books local acts on national shows. He gives local acts the opportunity to shine on a large stage, literally. Tony Cassidy at Tornado’s in Cedar Rapids, along with Mike Trousdale from LMR Promotions put together 3 days of live music at Houby Days in Cedar Rapids. One of those days was an UNSIGNED & ONLINE Showcase that was a rare all-ages show in Cedar Rapids. Another individual who has been helping out the local scene for a very long time in the Waterloo / Cedar Falls area is Cody Winther, the booker of Spicolis-Reverb in Waterloo.
Without these individuals providing a stage to local bands, no one would know who they are and this program would be useless.
With all of this assistance and the growing response from the listening public, we are able together to make this show possible.
3. What criteria are you looking for in local bands to be a part of Unsigned and Unleashed?
I am looking for bands that fit into the mold that we are doing right now.
You need to not be on a record label or have national distribution of your CD into stores.
I consider both of those to be the “next step.” I am trying to help bands move to another level with this show by providing exposure. It always helps to tell a promoter or club owner, “I am getting radio airplay.”
It also helps your cause if you send a bio with your CD or press kit. If you just send a handwritten CD in a Media Mailer, that shows me that you don’t care enough to present a great package to me. I will treat it accordingly. Usually it will end up at the bottom of the “Listen-To Pile.” If you send me a great presentation, with professionally produced CD, or look like you put some effort into it…guess what you move up in that Pile. Think of it like a resume to a prospective employer.
4. What type of music are you going to focus on with Unsigned and Unleashed?
Everything that fits in the realm of what we are playing on ROCK 108. But there might be a few surprises….
5. How would a band go about submitting their songs to be considered to be apart of this radio show?
I am asking that any unsigned, original act locally or within the United States, send me a CD with a bio or press kit. The address is:
ROCK 108’s UNSIGNED & UNLEASHED
c/o Brian Marshall
514 Jefferson St.
Waterloo, IA 50701
Bands that are international or are based overseas, I will work something out. Email the show at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please don’t ask me to go check out your Myspace page and rate your music. Quite frankly, I do not have the time to do that. If you spend the money to send me a CD, I know you are serious and actually care what I think. I will review your music and perhaps put you on the show!
6. Will you be focusing on only local bands or will there be regional, national and global acts as well?
The MAIN focus will be unsigned acts from Iowa. Secondary focus on bands from the region and United States. We may sprinkle in some worldwide bands from time to time.
7. What do you hope to accomplish with your show Unsigned and Unleashed?
I want to help unsigned bands get some exposure on our airwaves. If this begins to take off, I have a few other ideas for projects surrounding this show.
8. Can you tell me at all about how the show will run?
In the first few months of the show, it will be music-intensive. We only have 30 minutes, lets use it. In the future, we may have segments inside the show that take things in a different direction. We have to see how it works out in the first few months.
9. Will you be interviewing local artist in the studio for Unsigned and Unleashed?
The short answer is: YES. The long answer is that it has to make sense for the program. We have to have something to highlight. If we have something to promote specifically. I am not just going to interview a local artist because they are bugging me to do so.
10. Any advice for local bands that you’d like to give to help them access this great tool for getting their music heard on the local airwaves?
PROMOTE YOURSELF! I have a hard time understanding why some bands don’t utilize free or low-cost tools that are available to them right now! Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, flyers, street teams, stickers, single promotional CD to hand out after national shows, or any number of local individuals who will review your concert / your CD (including Gabe*) / or promote your event locally via the internet.
Ask questions of those in the business. Get advice. Use that advice to your advantage.
11. Will you put my song on the radio? J
Get me your CD and bio, and then we’ll talk…
12. Last question, what do you think is important to get across to the audience about Unsigned and Unleashed and perhaps Rock 108 as a whole?
This is a new project that will grow over time. Be patient when you send in your materials.
If you are not hearing your songs on the air, there may be a reason. It may be something simple.
This is an opportunity for unsigned, original bands to be heard here in Eastern Iowa. Not many stations are offering this type of opportunity. If they do, they are not doing it on as broad of a scale as we are planning to do this on.
Please visit Rock 108.com on the UNSIGNED & UNLEASHED Page.
We are also on Myspace at Unsigned & Unleashed
We also have a group on Facebook. Just search for UNSIGNED & UNLEASHED.
Lastly, thank you Gabe for this forum to speak about this show. I hope that with your help, it takes off like never before. Get me your CD…J
BRIAN MARSHALL-Host of UNSIGNED & UNLEASHED
Saturday Nights at midnight on ROCK 108
I just want to give a big thank you to everyone involved with getting this off the ground and running. While I’m not as much apart of the music scene as I used to be I see this as a great opportunity for local bands to get their stuff on the airwaves and maybe actually make a few fans. I personally think this is a great thing and with a little bit of hard work on the bands part you could really make some things happen for you localy and perhaps beyond? Thanks Brian for being the point man on this and I’ll get you that CD one of these days
*Local bands, if you would like your CD reviewed on KWWL.com too, send it my way.
500 East 4th Street
Waterloo, Iowa 50703