Winston Edmondson is Using Apps and Corporations to Get Local Music Heard

Winston Edmondson has had his hands in local politics (he ran for Mayor of Lewisville a couple years ago), AM talk radio (on a couple different outlets) and, fortunately for us, is a big fan of unharvested local music talent. He's a big fan of Salim Nourallah, Chris Holt and Razim Quazi, and has been for several years.

Nowadays, when he hears a song or a voice from our backyard that inspires him, you can practically see the lightbulbs going off. He wants to help. And he'd prefer to be inventive and unique in the process. Nothing wrong with that.

See, Edmondson is a thinker. Alternately blessed and cursed by constantly-spinning, highly-calibrated wheels upstairs (that sometimes keep him working for days straight), he's an idea man...and unrealized local talent seems to be his muse. His latest project is called MicroMusic. It expands on the controversial idea catching fire in some parts (mainly in the Top 40 arena) of music customized to the 140-charachter, shorter-attention-span listening audience that, like it or not, is simply a reality of today's YouTube-on-the-tablet mainstream. It's so new it doesn't even have a name yet other than..*gulp* snippets!

Now, for those of us who love who an 11-minute prog song (your author is now raising his hand very high), this can be a tough pill to swallow. But it's undeniably a forward move (on behalf of new artists Edmondson is enthusiastic about, mind you) in a very confusing, ever-changing entertainment industry that, in its morphing shuffle, is leaving a lot of great talent otherwise unexposed. And Edmondson's latest concept is one that's very supportive.

No matter what your stance on, "music snippets" might be, it's worth a look, and sure to be a snowball-lobber of a debate on social media.

Bottom line: he's promoting by exposing a handful of new artists on a pretty high profile FM/Web platform...for starters.

See also: -Profiles of several hundred other all-stars behind DFW's music scene.

So, you say you're running 60-second talent spotlights of local youth music in commercial positions on KISS-FM? Whats the mission? is the concept I came up with to "hack" FM radio and get around the music industry's beauracracy. The requirements are simple. A track has to be exactly 60 seconds long. It has to be original music. Artists can't simply trim existing music down to the right length. Finally, it has to sound like a complete song, not just a song clip. I could take songs that fit that description and run them as sixty second commercial spots on FM radio, and they'd sound like just another song on the station's playlist.

For the debut, I decided to help young singer/songwriter's get their music on DFW's most listened to radio station, KISS-FM. I pitched my idea to Cipriano Robles, the man who upgraded me from a once-a-weekend guy to a daily talk radio host, when he brought my show over to Clear Channel's 1190 AM. He loved the idea, and he put together an amazing package that will give these kids some serious airplay during the April 15 to May 3rd contest window. Don't say that large corporations don't ever give back to the community, because this effort wouldn't have been possible if Clear Channel hadn't embraced the project.

Wow. How many contestants? How is the cost of the ad time being covered? I worked with Bridgette Hammers Music Studio to find some of the most talented, young singer/songwriters in the area for what I'm calling Season One of the contest. We have eleven contestants, this time around, as young as 11 years old, up to 15. Each family paid an entrance fee that covered their radio time, and studio time with a producer. I'm doing this because it's a worthwhile project, and I'm happy to say that I didn't take a penny of the entrance fee for myself. The contest is a fun way to introduce the concept, and encourage some social interaction by allowing listeners to vote for their favorite song. We'll crown the winner of the contest on May 11th, at a concert at the House of Blues. After that, I'd love to work with artists young and old, from multiple genres of music. If Clear Channel continues to support what we're doing, we can introduce the DFW listeners, the 4th largest radio market in the nation, to all kinds of unique, local music.

Where did your enthusiasm for budding music talent begin?
 Through envy. I love to sing. I can't play any instruments, though. I take that back. I can play the clarinet. First chair, all year long in 6h grade. Anyway, enjoy watching and listening to local music, and wishing I could be up on stage with them. Maybe one day they'll motivate me to learn how to play the guitar, or the piano.I got my first gig as a talk radio host in 2007, on 660 AM. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty good. The fact that I was only pretty good and on the air, but it was next to impossible for phenomenal, local musicians like Salim Nourallah, Rahim Quazi, and Chris Holt to get their music on the radio was extremely aggravating to me. I'd interview local artists on my AM station, and I'd promote local shows, but I wanted to figure out how to get local music played on FM radio.

I understand this isn't the only music-exposure iron you have in the fire right now. I have some exciting things in the pipeline. I'm working with Bryan Abrams, the lead singer of Color Me Badd, and his wife, on a top secret music app. I can't reveal too much, but I'll say that folks who love artists like Color Me Badd, Mint Condition, Jon B., All 4 One, and Shai, are going to get a kick out of what we're putting together. Until now, music has been a passive experience. You buy the music, kick back, and enjoy it. We're creating the first active music listening experience, and I'm not talking about sharing your playlist on Facebook. When the time comes, I'll let you break the news story, Ayo.

Weren't you considering running for local political office at one point? I ran for Mayor of Lewisville. I didn't quite win was close...but not close enough. I'll get him next time, though. Lewisville needs a bold leader. They just don't know it yet.

Who do you credit for shaping you? And what were you like as a kid? I can't imagine you were boring in the least. My father, definitely. He taught me how to be a self sufficient, God fearing, Conservative. You don't see too many black Conservatives around, these days. We're rare. But my Dad taught me to go after my dreams, and not to wait for others to hand them to me. That's how I became a pro wrestler at the Dallas Sportatorium before they tore it down. It's how I became the youngest Banking Center Manager at NationsBank. It's how I became a talk radio host. It's how I had the courage to run for Mayor. I owe my dad a lot, for instilling those values in me.

But you never took a crack at playing music, huh? Not even in school? 6th grade band. I joined band because Jenny Vodvarka, the girl of my dreams, was in band. I failed to notice when she dropped out and joined choir, until it was too late. So I decided to stick with it and be a bad ass clarinet player for the year.

So, you didn't make Lewisville Mayor. What if you were Mayor of the local arts community? Share some of your implementations. More tools to listen to, enjoy, and share local music. I think local governments can and should promote local music. There's so much we could do. In fact, we should have another talk about that single topic.

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Alan Ayo