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A New Connection Between Radio Programmers And Artists
ListenerStation.com
We created ListenerStation as a win/win for both radio programmers and artists. Radio programmers have a convenient way to review more new music and give feedback to the artists. The artists get unprecedented access to the radio programmers and stations of their choice. - Paul Sacksman of ListenerStation.com
by Josh Davidson
 [Chorus and Verse] ListenerStation.com
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The "Reviews" page of ListenerStation.com, with the program and music director ("Influencer") reviews, is only available to the band, allowing them to see valuable feedback about their music. (Courtsey of ListenerStation.com / InterTech Media)

Any musician in search of airplay has most likely run across one major challenge: getting their foot in the door. As portable, multi-track digital recorders have entered the marketplace, the task of making a CD is not as tough as it used to be. In addition to that, exposing one's music to the public is also not as difficult, as the Internet has become available to just about everyone.

That being said, the odds still seem to be stacked against a local musician or band looking to reach the masses. However, radio programmers, a few years back, played a role in developing a high-tech method designed to make it easier for them to receive music.

With that invention, ListenerStation.com, radio representatives are now able to review more music than ever before. Rather than sifting through piles of CDs, they now can click a button to bring up a band's bio and a link to their music onto a computer screen.

The service gives musicians a connection to have their music heard by radio representatives, something some may consider to be impossible for an independent artist.

The Connecticut-based InterTech Media, which created the software, has added a new executive to its management team. Paul Sacksman has joined the company as an executive vice president of programming and talent relations for ListenerStation.com.

Sacksman spent 17 years in publishing at Musician Magazine, which is owned by Billboard Publications and created The Musician’s Atlas and The Musician’s Guide to Touring and Promotion. Sacksman has also worked with a rather impressive list of artists, which includes Richard Thompson, Buddy Guy, Aimee Mann, Chick Corea, John Hiatt, Taj Mahal, Los Lobos, Roseanne Cash, Gov’t Mule, Ricky Skaggs and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Chorus and Verse recently asked Sacksman about his latest career move and received a lesson on how ListenerStation.com works from the InterTech Media’s newest exec.

When and how was ListenerStation founded?

ListenerStation was founded in 2004 by software company InterTech Media, which provides Web sites, music testing and other services to over 230 radio stations across North America. The company started testing the service in August 2004, and rolled it out to a wider audience in February 2005.

ListenerStation was created based on feedback from radio programmers InterTech worked with. These radio programmers were looking for new and vibrant music for their formats, but were faced with a stack of promo CDs that rivaled the Leaning Tower of Pisa. They asked us if there was a way to make it easier and faster to listen to music submitted by artists and bands.

We created ListenerStation as a win/win for both radio programmers and artists. Radio programmers have a convenient way to review more new music and give feedback to the artists. The artists get unprecedented access to the radio programmers and stations of their choice.

What does it provide to radio stations?

ListenerStation provides radio with the ability to review more new music than they did before. Radio program directors can listen to songs submitted by an artist through ListenerStation.com and at the click of a button, review the artist’s bio, hear other songs by that artist and see how the songs were rated by regular listeners on ListenerStation.com.

What types of stations does it help? Does ListenerStation work with local stations, national stations or both?

ListenerStation is a huge plus for stations looking for new music and with an interest in breaking artists. Stations with oldies or talk formats even benefit from association with ListenerStation, because it shows they care about local bands and indie musicians. ListenerStation works with mostly U.S. stations, and a few international stations.

How does ListenerStation help local bands? Who are some of the artists you have dealt with?

ListenerStation helps local bands by giving them direct access to radio programmers. In the past, artists spent a lot of money on postage to send out a stack of CDs to stations with little or no response. With ListenerStation, the artist can submit a song directly to the program director of their choice for roughly the same amount that they would in package and postage for a single CD " only with ListenerStation, they are guaranteed a response or they do not pay.

In addition, top-rated artists or bands in each format, as chosen by the radio programmers on ListenerStation, earn a spot in our Limelight " where they are awarded broadcast radio advertising spots worth thousands of dollars and radio website banners on stations across the country.

The ListenerStation photo page for Confliction allows easy access to all of the relevant information about the band and its music. (Courtsey of ListenerStation.com / InterTech Media)
The ListenerStation photo page for Confliction allows easy access to all of the relevant information about the band and its music. (Courtsey of ListenerStation.com / InterTech Media)

Confliction, a rock band from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and a Limelight winner, said their CD sold out on CDBaby.com with the additional exposure. A rapper from Houston, Chris P, had his music heard by 2,000 new people. We’re getting great feedback from the artists on ListenerStation.com.

The music on ListenerStation.com is also available to the general public to hear and rate, which helps artists build their fan base. Artists have exclusive access to valuable statistics on the age range and sex of their listeners and how they rated their song, which helps them, know their audience and target their marketing.

Why did you decide to join the ListenerStation team? What type of background do you have and what do you think you can contribute?

I spent 17 years publishing Musician Magazine for Billboard Publications and have created two professional industry resources; The Musician’s Atlas and The Musician’s Guide To Touring and Promotion, both highly-regarded publications by the artist and music business communities that continue to be published today.

Throughout my 25-year career, I worked closely with record, music instrument and pro audio companies to develop a variety of products and events that promoted new artists and recordings to both music fans and music professionals, so I have always been interested in providing artists with the opportunities, feedback, recognition and access that they deserve.

At ListenerStation, I believe we can accomplish all of the above while addressing the growing concerns of both the music and radio industries. New talent will always be their lifeblood, so we believe it behooves them to become vested early, just like music fans, in the best-developing talent they can find in their respective markets and formats.

[ Website: www.listenerstation.com ]

Josh Davidson
Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and njcoast.com. He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.
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