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Published on May 19th, 2012 | by RLn Staff

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The New Frontier FM vs. the Internet

Sheldon Snow Eclectic Max HotMix106.com
By B. Noel Barr, Music Writer Dude

Originally published in the print edition of Random Lengths News May 2, 2012.

In the wild world of broadcasting, it is always about the bottom line: How to cut expenses and not lose listeners? What will the radio listening public accept?

The recording and broadcast industry whose leaders come from the ranks of accountants and business managers have been in control for a very long time. Both industries are grasping for straws in order increase the bottom line.

Long gone are the days of the freewheeling musician turn-entrepreneur company head. The same goes with the independent radio stations. Most are a part of entities like Clear Channel, replaced by the bean counters, the people who knew good music were no longer a part of the equation of success. What awaits us is on the periphery of commercial radio (whether it is standard broadcasting or satellite) is the Internet.

Sheldon Snow is an online radio personality on HOTMIX106.com’s Eclectic Max, which airs every Monday night at 8p.m. Pacific Time. Snow produces a show that encompasses music and interviews by independent artists. He mixes music of all stripes, from jazz to hip hop. This is basically old school FM radio when the mix was left to the deejay rather than the disembodied program director from Mars.

Residing in Medford, Ore., Snow is a part of a network of on-air hosts spread across the United States, who feed into a central point in Sacramento at the studios of HOTMIX106.com.

In a phone interview from his Oregon home, Snow explained that he had done a lot of video projects and post-production work, Snow even worked on some music videos.

“I wanted to do more of that,” he said. “I was on Facebook when I met station manager Cory Marcus. I talked to her about what it takes to become a DJ.”

After this discussion took place Sheldon thought he would give it a try.

Now after a few short months, Snow premiered, in September 2011 on Eclectic Max. The Monday show is smokin’ with blistering sets from artists like Voodoo Fix, Fiest, Queen Electric,  and Lykke Li (Whose 2011 CD was one of this critic’s favorites). Then there’s the spectacular voice of 13 year old Canadian, Sophia Radisch, plus ripping blues belted out by Al Stone, and our own Jill Sharpe.

Snow also interviews some of the artists whose music he plays, like Queen Electric’s, Scott Sax. Snow’s interviewing style is engaging and funny when artists like Sax is on. Sax was picked up by Robert Plant, Allison Krauss and T-Bone Burnett to front their Raising Sand tour.

“The music I play is (from) unsigned and independent artists,” Snow said.

It is because of shows like Eclectic Max that HotMix106 and is taking off like a rocket.

“Cory Marcus has done an extraordinary job of putting this together,” Snow commented. “She is in Sacramento while the deejays are all around the country.”

Snow shares time with DJs as far away as Australia and Florida.

“That is the beauty of Internet radio is you can have this variety in music and the personalities who present this music,” Snow explained. “These people who are coming at it from different view points as well different experiences, they have to draw from [that] when talking about the music.”

With the advent of the media applications available today, broadcasting has become a Wild West show.

“I think it is a godsend,” Snow said. “When I was kid growing up, I’d listen to the radio.”

Snow remember listening to all kinds of musical genres on radio station. Today terrestrial radio stations  have broken down music genres into particular demographics, Snow critiques.

“What I like about my show, Eclectic Max, is that I can play all genres of music. With my show, you’re going to get a feel and a taste of everything that is out there,” Snow explained. “I’m not playing Lady Gaga, Metallica or Justin Bieber.”

Snow believes that mainstream artists like Gaga and Bieber should leave Internet radio to artists that want to be heard.

“The acts like Gaga and Bieber, they want these laws enacted,” Snow argued. “It is these independent artists that want to get their music out there and heard. They are the ones like me, (who) don’t want these regulations.

“If you don’t want your music being played through other mediums, then don’t put it out.”

Since the music industry is a mere shell of its former self, the only way any artist can make it is to promote like crazy. That means getting airplay where ever and whenever possible.

In the end, it is all about getting heard. It’s about the performance and the magic that happens between listener and player. On a weekly basis, Snow is the one who is playing for the future and the new good music to come — which is not necessarily available, unless you hit the Internet.

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