Odds & Ends

Ranking radio, Liz loves Sorta, and Swinging My Vote

The summer ratings for local radio are in, proving once again that hip-hop is king of the D-FW airwaves. In first place is 104.5 FM, with a healthy lead over second-place 97.9 The Beat. Latin radio made a splash as well, with 94.1 FM, "Estéreo Latino," coming in fifth, a leap from the spring, when it landed in an 11th-place tie. 102. 1 The Edge, perhaps picking up a few listeners after rock station the Eagle folded, inched up three spots to No. 11, where it tied with KLUV, which sank from fifth place to 11th.

From the "nice to have famous fans" department: At last year's SXSW Music Festival, Liz Phair gave a shout-out to locals Sorta during her set. She had seen the band play that afternoon at a Summer Break Records showcase and fell in love with their earnest Americana. So when Phair was asked by teens-with-'tude girl magazine Janeto help select bands for a compilation CD, whom did she select but her SXSW discovery? A Sorta song appears on the CD along with selections from nine other bands, culled from 1,000 applicants. Strangely, however, the track selected is "Sink or Swim" off this year's Little Bay--a gorgeous acoustic gem, to be sure, but featuring only one member of the band, vocalist-guitarist (and new father) Trey Johnson. Doesn't exactly show their range--but hey, who's complaining?

"You mean MTV plays music, too?" Well, kind of. The "video" channel has selected Brooklyn-by-way-of-Dallas band Secret Machines as its latest buzzworthy band, meaning you can catch 10 seconds of their video between marathons of Battle of the Sexes and Pimp My Ride. The channel is touting live sets on its Web site, MTV.com, including a performance from Dallas' own Bowling for Soup, who plays an acoustic, somewhat subdued version of its fabulously catchy "1985."

The Good Show recently celebrated its fourth anniversary with a concert at Fort Worth's Black Dog Tavern. If you still haven't heard Tom Urquhart's inspired and eclectic Sunday-night radio show, it's probably because you can't--reception for KTCU is notoriously bad. But we raise a glass (or seven) to Tom and his co-hosts, Chris Bellamy and Tony Diaz, on such a consistently entertaining show. You say "good"? We say great.

Swinging My Vote

I know November 2 is over and all, but I just can't stop voting. I miss all the hand-wringing and pontificating. Next up for me? The highly coveted T-Mobile Text-In Award, the readers award in the upcoming American Music Awards, airing on November 14.

You can imagine my conundrum: OutKast is everyone's favorite party band, but where do they stand on the issues? It's Usher's year, but have you heard Confessions? Kind of a flip-flopper. There's Kenny Chesney and Evanescence and Norah Jones--what will they do for me?

I was hoping someone in the office could help swing my vote.

"American Music Awards?" said Zac Crain, stuffing a cigarette in his mouth. "Are those still on?"

I pointed out they've been on for 32 years. Of course, the show has declined in prominence over the past two decades, shoved out of the spotlight by a glut of awards shows, including Billboard Awards and People's Choice, not to mention the Grammys and MTV's usually far superior VMAs. Plus, the winners are based on popularity, making it a predictable sweep by one artist (paging Usher Raymond).

"I'd watch the Source Awards before I watch the American Music Awards," said writer Sam Machkovech.

"When are the Source Awards on?" asked Zac, suddenly interested.

"Guys! I'm writing about the American Music Awards. It's an important show." They both stared at me. "OK, it's not important at all, but it's interesting." They kept staring. "OK, it's not interesting, but John Stamos will be there."

"I love that guy," said Zac.

"Me, too!" said Sam.

Sigh. Still not sure whom to vote for. Dear T-Mobile, any possibility of a write-in?

 
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