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The Adventure Club, 102.1 The Edge
Best Radio Show That Plays Local Music

It's a miracle the Adventure Club is still airing on 102.1 The Edge, a station whose format has otherwise dumbed down so steadily you'd think it had been eating paint chips since birth. Josh Venable has made a 12-year career of playing good music and saying whatever's on his mind, even holding his own in playlist cool-factor against his fellow music snobs on college, public and community radio. His DOMA competitors are all great tastemakers but without the broadcast radius and Josh's mixture of enthusiasm and ironic detachment that somehow never fails to entertain. Perhaps nostalgic voters see it as the last vestige of The Edge's alternative roots. Or maybe local music supporters see the value of a Clear Channel employee with good taste in their corner. Whatever the case, it's still fun to listen to Josh. He's still the perennial smartass older brother riding along with you on a Sunday night controlling your stereo. He's just as happy turning you onto good bands, making fun of bad ones (and we agree, Josh, Four Day Hombre's a terrible band name) or recounting his most recent meal--usually Dr Pepper and Muchacos. Local bands from Hagfish to the Happy Bullets, from Radish to Radiant, can thank him for some of their earliest Dallas airplay sandwiched between hip indie and not-so-indie national acts. The rest of us can thank him for making Sunday nights less depressing. --Jesse Hughey

Texas Gigs (www.texasgigs.com)
Best Web Site/Blog

Feel like bitching about how your work in a local band is tiring and thankless? You might want to make sure Cindy Chaffin isn't within earshot...then again, you might want to clue her in. On one hand, Chaffin's years of labor at texasgigs.com would shame any whiny kid with a guitar. This music-loving mom's countless posts about concerts, albums and news are unpaid labors of love, as are the many concert bootlegs and interviews she puts on her site for all to download for free. But Chaffin's a sympathetic one as well, giving voice and advertising to more bands and genres than any Web site around town. It's a stance that has drawn criticism from other local sites, but that trait is part of what helps Texas Gigs rack up the hits--all are welcome on Chaffin's turf, which means even the whiny, tired, thankless rocker can get a little attention as he/she trudges along in the metroplex. In the past year, the site has seen a huge overhaul after merging with Pegasus News, and the added content is already grabbing headlines with big-deal promotions like the Dallas Mavericks Playoff Anthem competition. The site's breadth and scope make it a nominee, but Chaffin's dedication makes it a lock for the first-ever DOMA for Best Web Site. --S.M.

Idol Records
Best Record Label

Over the past year, Idol Records' competition has gotten feistier. Labels like Undeniable and Spune have stepped up to battle for the chance to say, "We have more headliners than you." Or, "Our bands are more indie than yours." Quantity and oddity of acts is all well and good, but it's what Erv Karwelis and his little-label-that-can provides for bands that keeps Idol winning votes year after year.

Take distribution. "Most of the stuff that comes out on Idol comes out worldwide," Karvelis says, as Idol has licensing deals in Europe, Australia and Japan. That's basic business, though--Karvelis has better proven himself on the up-and-up. "Idol was one of the first indie labels to sign with iTunes," he says, explaining that much of last year was spent forming close relationships with digital distributors and building an online presence for Idol bands. The plan seems to be working; according to Karvelis, when Flickerstick and Black Tie Dynasty songs were iTunes' "Free Single of the Week" last year, the bands received 150,000 to 250,000 hits.

Then there are the little things. Looking out from the stage and seeing Papa Erv in the audience more often than not. Knowing that he sends out mail orders twice a day even if only one order came in, because it bugs him that some kid in Oklahoma City is waiting to rock out to [DARYL]'s Ohio. Hearing your song on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Entourage or Room Raiders, or between bands on that little thing last year called Live 8. All of those things take time, effort and care. "There's a lot of people that come and go in the record business," Karvelis says. "You have to have a passion first and foremost. And you have to love music." It helps, then, that people love Idol right back. --M.M.

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