Dave Chaney, editor and publisher of the music news blog TripleARadio.com called me last Monday and left a voice mail message. I put his message into a stack of similar ones. Now I wish I’d called him back.
Then Wednesday morning I went to TripleARadio.com, one of a number of sites I visit frequently, and was greeted by these words:
TO ALL OUR FRIENDS IN TRIPLE A RADIO:
THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT!
THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT!
This is the end of an era that Dave Chaney helped make possible.
TRIPLEARADIO.COM’s ROLE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF NONCOM TRIPLE A
I first got involved with noncommercial Triple A format in 2003. Dave started TripleARadio.com in late 2001. Things were different then.
Triple A was not thought of as a visable public radio format in most markets. There were exceptions such as WXPN’s pioneering work in 1990s (with financial help from CPB), WFPK in Louisville and KCRW was using its perch in West LA.
At that time nobody could imagine Bill Kling at American Public Media investing several million dollars for a station that became The Current or Neil Best at KUNC in Colorado basing the business plan for a new station (105.5 The Colorado Sound) on the proven track record of other Triple A stations.
Now Triple A is one of public radio’s four established formats along with NPR News, Classical and Jazz.
Two factors made noncom Triple A visible and viable: The annual NONCOMM-vention and TripleARadio.com. Both were so effective because they were based on a sense community, common ground and the belief that the music matters.
TripleARadio.com offered a new platform for stations, artists and labels to get the word out about what they were doing. “The Panel” – TripleARadio.com’s airplay reporting vehicle – included noncom stations of all shapes and sizes. It was a list where WSYC in Shippensburg PA had the same status as WXPN. This made folks in places like WSYC feel they had a stake in the success of music.
In the early years of the NONCOMM-vention, TripleARadio.com “welcomed” the conference in the way stations welcome a concert, with passion, inclusiveness and a bit of hype. I went to my first NONCOMM-vention in 2003 because Dave Chaney invited me. When I attend I felt like I was at home with folks who had a common sense of purpose and sensibility.
“IT IS TOUGH TO MAKE A LIVING IN NONCOM TRIPLE A”
TripleARadio.com brought in much of its revenue from banner ads purchased by music labels, artists and promoters. As you know the music industry is a shadow of what it was in pre-Napster days. In 2001 an independent music publication could count on label support. Not so now.
I spoke to Chaney Wednesday afternoon. He is doing fine, thank you.
What happened to TripleARadio.com was that it ceased to be financially sustainable. Chaney said the downturn started with the 2008-2009 recession:
“Promotional spending by the music industry never recovered after the recession. As an indie with no other major revenue source, our existence was always on the edge. I am proud of what TripleARadio.com accomplished. We had lots of fun and heard great music. I have no regrets and wish continued success to all of our many friends at Triple A radio and in the music business."
PRAISE FROM THE COMMUNITY
Here is a sample of praise for Dave Chaney and TripleARadio.com from folks in the biz:
• From Paul Marszalek, publisher of a competing site The Top 22 [link]:
Dave's done a considerable amount of great work over the years, with an unquestionable amount of passion and a collaborative attitude. His decision is completely understandable. TheTop22.com is far from being my day job, instead a passion side project -- which is the sole reason it still exists. In our collective current state, it's virtually impossible for more than one or two people to make a full-time job out of writing/reporting on the format.
• From Bruce Warren, head guru at WXPN:
Dave and his site was a super super advocate for the format and provided a lot of useful information for our part of the music industry. We are grateful for his work.
• From consultant Mike Henry of Paragon Media Strategies:
Dave Chaney is a great champion of our format and his website will be missed. It provided a place for those in our format to virtually meet and to follow its evolution. I hope Dave finds ways to stay involved.
• From Mark Abuzzahab of VuHaus:
For over a decade I've depended on Triplearadio.com to know what's going on in the format, especially with smaller market stations. First we started to lose trade magazines, then commercial stations, and now websites. What's next?