Radio’s Role in Supporting Artists

What is radio for? Depends on who you ask. For some people it is where they find local or national news. For others it is the source for sports or political talk. But for the majority of radio consumers it is the place they turn to for music & entertainment. Traditionally, radio has been a leading source for people to discover new artists and new songs and it has been an important tool for artists and record labels alike to find an audience. The changes in radio station ownership imageover the past several decades has subtly shifted the number of new artists who actually receive exposure through radio airplay.

A brief history…
Radio broadcasting is a regulated industry. In the nineteen-twenties when radio started to become a commercial medium, lawmakers understood that there was a threat from special interests who would desire to gain a monopoly on broadcasting that would serve their interests before serving the public good. Lawmakers of the time understood that radio & TV (although TV was still an experimental medium) could, and should, be used as a tool for expanded public education and exposure to the arts. Over time congress established the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and empowered it to oversee, and limit, the ownership and content of broadcasting companies. An easing of these regulations accompanied by some successful court challenges to FCC oversight has greatly changed the ownership landscape of broadcasting companies resulting in the reduction of independently owned stations. Today, five multinational corporations control over 80% of radio stations in the US. Their focus is on advertising not on taking the chances associated with breaking new artists or songs.

During the same period of the past several decades, deregulation in other sectors of the US economy, combined with pressures from ever expanding digital technologies, has vastly reduced the number of major recording labels or placed them under the control of conglomerates who’s focus is on quarterly returns rather than artist development.

Reclaiming radio’s roll in the arts…
WSCA, aka: Portsmouth Community Radio, was created in response to these historical developments. We are not only dedicated to ensuring that local voices and concerns are represented through our public affairs and sports programming but also that we provide the ways & means for artists, labels, and listeners to discover new music and preserve the rich heritage of radio’s role in education and the arts.

Our station takes pride in the fact that we broadcast a wide range of musical genres through our specialty shows. The music mix at WSCA is constantly updated to make room for emerging artists with the hope that listeners will be inspired to learn more about the artist, the genre, or the scene from which they originate. We work hard to inform people about the connectedness of all music from classical to modern rock.

imageDJs at WSCA take the time to report their musical playlists so that we can make sure that artists are recognized and compensated for their efforts. Our reporting is open to the public so that listeners, recording labels, artists, and others can connect with each other and expand their relationships. This interaction helps bands determine if they should place Portsmouth on their tour roster and it helps listeners discover more music by the band that “played that great song”.

We belong to the publishing rights organizations ASCAP / BMI and SESAC. This makes sure that performing artists, publishers, and songwriters are paid for their work. WSCA is a “reporting” station so that artists we play are recognized by the music industry charting system. We believe that maintaining organizational memberships, reporting, tracking, and personal interactions with artists, labels, industry groups, and listeners is our duty and the best way to serve the needs of artists and our community. We are the Seacoast source for new music discovery.

-Rick Dirck-
Programming Director / WSCA 106.1FM