By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
For Sam Machkovech: Your debut article slamming 102.1 The Edge for not supporting the music community in Dallas is off the mark (That Infernal Racket, by Sam Machkovech, June 23). In fact, they're responsible for many of the stories that have come out of our great city over the last decade. The Edge has taken more chances and had way more impact on the careers of bands from North Texas than any other media outlet in our community.
If you take a look back over the last decade, you will see that more bands from the Dallas area have been signed to major-label deals because of airplay they received on KDGE than in any other city in the Southwest and perhaps the entire country. This includes Austin.
Thank God for community-minded people like Duane Doherty. He's taken chances and invested in his community when he hasn't had to. Besides adding local records into regular rotation to the disdain of major labels, you can also look back at every Edge Fest or Edge Christmas show over the last decade and see a local band or two being given the opportunity to make a statement and connect with a wider audience. I can promise you that the radio departments of major labels on each coast were calling him and trying to bump these local bands off The Edge shows and off the KDGE playlist. He has protected these local artists from the bigger record labels and treated them with the same respect of other major-label-supported bands. For you to even mention Jessie in a negative slant is really disappointing. This lady is a goddess in the eyes of the music scene. She has championed many local bands on the air week after week, year after year, and if you really listen to her show, you will see that she brings a tremendous amount of creativity and passion to her gig each and every day. She's been a breath of fresh air since the minute she hit town.
When you think about it, local bands have it pretty good here. Try being an unsigned band living in L.A., New York, Chicago or Boston and see if your band or indie label stands the slightest chance at ever getting a song on the air with enough spins to connect with an audience.
But let's look at even more facts. Below is a list of bands that have developed their audiences on the streets of Dallas and went on to sign major-label deals because the KDGE and KEGL listeners reacted to what they heard. I'm sure I missed a few bands. It's hard to remember them all when there's been so many: Drowning Pool, Blue October, Tripping Daisy, SouthFM, Hagfish, Edgewater, Bowling for Soup, The Nixons, Deep Blue Something, SugarBomb, Soak, Element Eighty.
Other bands that have been formally added into regular rotation on KDGE: Chomsky, Burden Brothers, Eisley, The Vanished, Grand Street Cryers, Dollybraid, Supercell, Pop Poppins, Radish (now Ben Kweller).
You might want to consider more than three weeks of research the next time you decide to fire off a cannon shot. Find a band that you like and champion that band in your column. Try to make a difference. Let's see if the DO has the juice to break a band from this community and connect them with a major-label deal and on to a nationwide audience. Then we'll know what you're made of.
Sam Machkovech responds: Thanks for the history lesson. It's a fantastic reminder of how far 102.1 has fallen since unique bands like Radish actually had a chance. For example, The Edge has already given up on Eisley, a local band you mention in your letter, after the group's debut album came out only months ago. I'm assuming the decision was made so we could hear Toadies' "Possum Kingdom" a few billion more times.
Say it again, Sam: THANK YOU SAM!!! I am so happy that someone in the media finally wrote about the sad state of "rock" music in Dallas. Clear Channel obviously cares nothing about what the people in their listening area want to hear. Did we really need another oldies station so bad that Robert Miguel, Cindy Skull and everyone else at The Eagle had to lose their jobs? I am with you--my CD player has a better playlist.
Jessie's Girl: Sam Machkovech probably would have felt a whole lot better about himself if he'd written something like "Jessie Jessup is a hometown hero. In the trenches of corporate blah blah blah radio, she is still fighting for the local yokels and holding her ground"--as is the case with many radio DJs. Who will step up and be brave enough to say thank you to DJs like Jessie and everyone still on the radio who are doing their best to keep it real within the grip of corporate ownership?
I hope next time Sam will find comfort in telling the WHOLE truth.
Lost its Edge: I have been a regular listener of The Edge for about 10 years now. I think you are right on with this. It was like you had been reading my mind over the last couple of months.You hit the nail right on the head. Ever since the fall of The Eagle, The Edge has turned to shit! Do they not care about the listener anymore? Or is this just another way for money-hungry Clear Channel to make more money with bad radio? Who knows? Who cares? What's next, Cindy Skull in the afternoon? Thanks for stepping up for people who believe in good radio.