The advances of audio technology has made it possible for local musicians to make quality recordings on home studio equipment, manufacture multiple copies via a CD burner and even market them via an array of musical Web sites on the Internet .
With musical artists now creating such a large body of new music on a day-to-day basis, there became a need for more media outlets to expose this wealth of new sounds. While gaining traditional radio play for one's music is still important, radio is no longer the only outlet available to artists.
New options include international "Web radio" broadcasts and regional cable programs.
Here are outlets of that kind available to hometown artists:
Veteran R&B musician Johnny Ross has been hosting his "Johnny Ross Show" for seven years now and has featured a bevy of guests ranging from extended members of the city's famous Jackson family (as in "The Jackson Five") to local country artists and even Gary Mayor Scott King, who slapped bass in clubs years back.
Ross' weekly show features not only colorful guests from the local music community, but also offers viewers instructional information that ranges from basic things such as properly tuning an instrument and choosing guitar strings, to marketing and career tips to help an artist succeed in the music business.
Ross program is carried via AT&T can be found on Channel 16 every Monday (9 p.m.) and Thursday (9:30 p.m. in Merrillville; on Channel 21 every Tuesday (8 p.m. and Friday (5 p.m.) in the Gary viewing area; and on Channel 4 in Portage on Monday (7 p.m.). The show was also picked up in the Richmond/Indianapolis market by Whitewater Community TV, where it airs on Thursday evenings.
While Ross is the kingpin in this local cable market, others are fast coming on board to help promote local music.
Among them are local musician/producer Bill Hayden and local actor/illustrator, Jason Elkins.
Cedar Lake's Hayden hosts a new program, "Regional Music Underground," which airs on Channel 16 every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. for Calumet Region viewers residing south of I-80/94. It airs on Friday in the same time slot for viewers in Hammond and East Chicago. Hayden's first musical guest was the popular area blues act, The Steepwater Band. Artists interested in soliciting exposure for themselves, can contact Hayden via e-mail email@example.com.
Whereas both Ross and Hayden embrace all styles of music, heavy metal bands have an exclusive new champion in Hammond native, Jason Elkins, who is preparing to debut an all-metal show, "Crazy J's Metal Mayhem." The show will launch via AT&T on Sept. 14. The weekly show will air on Channel 16 on Friday nights between 7 and 9 p.m. "At present it will be seen only in Hammond and East Chicago," said Elkins, "but I hope that we can expand the viewing base once we get it out there and people see it." Among the shows first guests will be the bands Gravelbone and Shadowlord.
Cable television is not the only avenue artists can tap to get their music to the public's ears.
"With so many local artists releasing their own CDs these days, there's a real need for a vehicle to expose the music to the public," believed local music fan, Eric J. Olsen. The die-hard region rock supporter decided to walk the walk along with talking the talk. Olsen now operates a new 24-hour online radio program dedicated to regional music. Tune in the sound of Chicago by pointing your browser to: www.chicagolocalradio.com.
Olsen has an open invitation to all regional musicians to tap into his Web casts to promote their original music. The show only accepts music on a CD format (no vinyl, DAT tapes, etc.). For more information, log on to the site or call Olsen at (847) 452-7243.
Music Notes ...
Crown Point-based band, The Same Difference, has signed a management deal with Tommy Boy Entertainment and completed recording a 10-song set of original music at Speak Easy Production Studio in Bloomington. The sessions were produced by Dave Cocalis (who did the same for The Why Store). The band's self-titled album will be available to fans by the end of this month at shows and on its Web site www.thesamedifference.com.
* Southern rockers, Eat A Peach (who opened for The Wallflowers at the Star Plaza), have announced the addition of Mike Lubecke to its lineup. Lubecke is known to region rockers for his years of playing with Wicked City and Hyper-Tribe, has slipped into the groove as the group's new bassist. He replaces Roger Anders.
* Heavy metal fans who dream of banging their heads in a music video will have the chance to live that dream next week. Chicago's Dark Ritual will be filming a music video for its song "Frayed," at Superior Street Studios in Chicago on Aug. 25. Those interested in being in the video can contact the band via its Web site at www.darkritual.com.
* E-mail Tom Lounges at firstname.lastname@example.org.