By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
No sol no más: As of 6 a.m. Thursday morning, Clear Channel says "adios" to 97.1's "Sunny" format and "hola, ¿ que tal?" to "La Preciosa." The station is switching formats for the second time in 16 months, which proves that switching from The Eagle's hard rock format to soft, light pop was a bad idea. Total shocker.
To find out how the station will compete with four other Latin FM stations in Dallas, we spoke to J.D. Freeman, regional vice president at Clear Channel in Dallas, who clarified that 97.1 will focus on regional Latin music from the '70s, '80s and early '90s. "Spanish is a language, not a format," Freeman says, but when I noticed that the regional selection he described for La Preciosa is similar to that of La Que Buena 107.9, the highest-rated station in all of Dallas, he confirmed that "some songs will be the same, and some won't. But it's a personality-driven station, and we're a lot more family-driven." The station's current morning show will be replaced by a program run out of another La Preciosa station in Santa Barbara, while the station's news, traffic and afternoon drive DJs will be local to Dallas.
We can't help but think CC's entry to Dallas' Latin music market is piddling--traditional and Norteña genres are both represented quite well here already--but CC's topped the charts at multiple California stations with this format, so what the hell do we know? We'll wait 16 months for the result.
This didn't sit well--after all, isn't this supposed to be the good local music festival? The one that doesn't determine a band's timeslot based on freaking ticket sales? (Dallas Music Festival, we're looking in your direction.) We had to make sure that the NTNMF wasn't melting down behind everyone's back, and luckily, it's not.
"We received 975 submissions this year," executive festival director Teresa Hale says. "Way more than we've ever received. Needless to say, it's taken us quite a while to get through them." But the light is nearing--in fact, as musicians pick up their copies of the Observer, Hale says they should also check their e-mail, as confirmation/rejection letters will allegedly be sent by Wednesday, August 24, with schedule information for the 225 selected bands following soon after.
In addition, Hale has all but confirmed headliners for each of the fest's three days (September 29-October 1). Unfortunately, we can't leak the names just yet, but for now, we can say that 1) they're all local rock bands that have broken big, and 2) they won't be a surprise. Schedule information will hit the site "very soon," Hale says, and the Observer will have more information, including our picks for bands worth watching, as the NTNMF approaches. In the meantime, Hale and crew promise a fest that won't leave a bad taste in local music's mouth.
"We absolutely refuse to take money from struggling bands," Hale says. "We strive to assemble a diverse lineup of some of the best talent in this area, and we do everything we can to promote and celebrate that talent."
The very next night is an even more ambitious fundraiser, targeting its charity to help battle famine in Niger. The Happy Bullets' Rhett Jones, who also helped organize the Granada's successful tsunami benefit concert in January, has set his sights on a much less publicized--but just as devastating--tragedy, as more than 3 million in Niger are suffering from a drastic food shortage. His band plays alongside Fishing For Comets, Envoy, Joint Method and Rusty Brothers, and proceeds go to UNICEF.