One of AOR radio's most popular ongoing promotions has been presenting live music by well-known and liked artists to station listeners at a budget price (usually matching the station's frequency). Often these concert performances ( not to be confused with superstar, high-priced shows that the station cosponsors with a promoter) are fed back to the station studios where they are aired live for those listeners who couldn't make it to the concert site. In the past year WOUR/Utica has presented thirty-plus shows of this type for its listeners from the Four Acres club locally, charging 96 cents admission to see such acts as Eddie Money, Pat Travers, Elvis Costello, Dixie Dregs, City Boy, Fandango, Head East, and many others. PD Jeff Chard, who has coordinated the station's activities along these lines graciously consented to outlining the basic steps necessary to run the promotion successfully.
"The first thing you need is the place or places to work depending on how you want to set up. We work with only one location at this time because of its proximity to the station, which comes in handy for the phone lines for the radio broadcast (details later). We prefer club broadcasts to studio ones because they generate enough income to pay part or most of the artists' expenses Also, we feel you'll get a better performance from an audience of three hundred than you will one of fifty. The club agrees to take on the concerts because it helps their image. Often you'll ask a club to take on an act they won't make money on, but if they know there's an Elvis Costello coming up, for instance, they'll do it. They take in the 96 cents door admission which only brings in a gross potential of about $384, which won't even pay for the group and the lighting. So they have an open bar, which of course limits entrants to those over 18 (New York's legal drinking age). And we always have an opening act, local people whose music is not on the radio broadcast, to extend the bar time and bring in more capital to pay expenses.
"Also helping with expenses are the record companies, with whom we work about 50% of the time. When we bring in a better known act the company will underwrite some of the increased costs. Otherwise the bands make union scale (around $200). By the way, any station that does live broadcasts that is getting money either from the club, the record companies or anyone else to pay for the cost of the broadcasts should run promotional consideration announcements at the beginning and end of that broadcast. And all our promos that mention the club's name must be logged as commercial time.