Someone once told me the key to a successful business is to find a hole and fill it. The LA hip hop community has certainly expressed their frustrations over not being able to get airplay for quite some time now, even staging protests in front of one-time LA hip hop supporter Power 106. I think internet radio is going to pose a real threat to commercial radio but I also suspect commercial radio will sit idly by and wait to see what happens instead of taking action to compete now. I like stories like where people see the brighter side of darkness and make lemon-aid out of lemons.
Radio personality Mr. R talks about his internet radio show on KYHY in Burbank on Wednesday. Mr. R plays independent and unsigned hip hop and rap artists.
In a city internationally known for its on-air talent, Mr. R regards his radio persona as a music kingmaker, hurling undiscovered hip-hop and R&B artists into the national focus.
“As an artist, I was a Will Smith type, you know, clean lyrics,” said Mr. R, a.k.a. Robert Rickenbacker. “But at that time, people weren’t trying to hear that because the gangster thing was real popular.”
He returned to radio after starring as an actor on the Web series “After Hours” and then hosted a show based on the “Fresh Music Series,” soliciting tracks from unsigned musicians before moving from New York to Burbank.
His show, which airs four days a week on the city’s Internet radio station the Why, is a mix of local artists and musicians from Los Angeles and as far away as Nigeria, the United Kingdom and Germany.
“To be honest with you, I wasn’t even listening to a lot of this music in the beginning,” said the Long Island native. “I try to do everything now because I don’t want to pigeonhole myself.”
The goal is to give exposure to artists trying to break through “who wouldn’t have a shot at top 30, top 40 radio,” station coordinator Jerry Dailey said.
“The thing is a lot of stations aren’t giving those artists airtime, and that’s why I say there’s really no happy medium,” said Mr. R, 41. “In the economy, either you’re rich or you’re poor. There’s no in between in music, too. Either you’re mainstream or you’re not.”
He likened the budding musicians to college athletes.
“At this stage, they’re hungry, and they’re going to work hard to get noticed,” he said. “Artists who want to get on my show are putting together their best material as opposed to someone who’s already signed and making millions.”
via [read more here].