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Friday, March 26, 2010

FOR THE RECORD....WOXY

It's obviously been a long, hard week here around the FS headquarters with regards to the events that have transpired around WOXY. We've received some of the most severe hate mail and calls and we realize that everyone is rightfully upset, as are we, and we've spent most of our time this week trying to find a solution that will make this story have a different ending, so apologies for the slow response. This is an attempt to shed some light on things.

When we rewind the clock to over a year ago when Future Sounds purchased WOXY, the station was sitting on the very same doorstep as it's at now, and we took on the challenge of keeping this amazing station running and devised a strategy on how to take something and create a sustainable revenue source around it, so it could remain basically commercial free and free to the world. Future Sounds isn't some giant corporation with an agenda outside of believing in great music and trying to help artists. For almost seven years we've done nothing but find unknown and up-and-coming artists and do our part to promote and share their craft to the world, and the compensation for it has been minimal, but was never the reason behind our motivations. We have been fans of WOXY for years, fans/friends of the staff, and were thrilled the day the 'Future Sounds' radio show first aired on WOXY. When the opportunity to save it from extinction presented itself, we checked our heads and got on board. We then discussed the goals and plans with the WOXY staff and everyone was on board with the direction and the move to Austin.

Perhaps these plans were based too closely on the partnerships we were developing to help take a station full of FREE music and insert ways that it could support itself, the staff, rent and royalties for the songs playing 24-7. Stepping back and realizing that we're in time of banks getting bailed out and labels going under and brands pulling their marketing budgets from the music/entertainment sectors, we for 6-9 months took meetings with everyone that could help make WOXY the biggest online station and develop content that could generate it's own source of income. These meetings and deals were with companies that were massive, with deep pockets, etc, but one after another these huge corporations starting laying off the very people that were writing up our deals. Sometimes, no matter how great you think your business is, or how clever or incredible your offering is, if the people you are doing business with go down, so do your interests. We are all connected in this enormous game of dominoes, and the trickle-down hits even the little guys - WOXY, Future Sounds, etc.

I’d also like to address the timing and the suddenness of the decision to hopefully only temporarily take it off the air. It may seem like it was ‘out of nowhere’ but internally we’ve all known the challenges and necessary deadlines that needed to be met. Even into SXSW week we had two companies that looked completely on board to acquiring the station and keeping it running without a hitch. Each day felt like forever while we awaited the verdict, one that looked like the solution, until one parties’ cold feet surprised us all and forced us to act.

Excuses are excuses, but in the end there are some financial realities to radio that stations like Indie 103 in Los Angeles and countless others are experiencing, and those are stations with advertising running constantly. After numerous deals didn't close we also explored dozens of options for investors/buyers/partners and many times after weeks of due-diligence and term sheets flying, people starting backing out, mostly due to the financial landscape that we are all living in daily. The financial community doesn't want to touch the media/music business with a ten-foot pole these days. We also fought hard with every potential suitor to guard and protect the integrity of what WOXY stands for, to protect the staff, so that someone doesn't just show up and strip it of the parts that make it so great.

So the future of WOXY is unknown, but judging from the massive outpouring of support and interest in the station that has survived for 25 years now and has more lives than a cat, I think that this radio station we all love dearly will deliver quality indie rock music to listeners.

We would like to respond to all those that wrote with such anger that there are humans on the other side that do read this and take it personally, and to acknowledge that we are in the same place of mourning for not just a station that we've loved for years, but for the staff that we consider friends and family that we've traveled with and made plans with. In a time when people don't feel like paying for the artist's albums anymore, and love to stream and download for 'free', there are costs of doing business for everyone to provide such services and music. This came down to a considerable monthly financial position; one that was maintained for over a year, but that eventually needed an infusion that didn't arrive.

Future Sounds’ efforts to work towards keeping the promise of WOXY alive have not ended and I hope this truly is only a temporary goodbye.

Sincerely,
Larry

10 Comments:

Blogger Tom said...

Appreciated. But I need to be told how to support WOXY beyond just using a Twitter hashtag. Buying a tshirt? A subscription? Tell me what it is and I'll do it.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

I appreciate the answer. I do back up the position to maintain WOXY with it´s programming unaltered as opposed to changing it´s playlist to a more hit-like station. WOXY has it´s brilliance on it´s DJ´s and their knowledge of music. As soon as we start taking that away to more automated playlists we are losing the very essence of this station. No advertising is also great, but if I had to choose between WOXY with advertisement and no WOXY at all, I would go with the first option. There has to be alternatives: just check the site´s boards for the topic "there´s business and there´s WOXY" for tons of ideas about keeping the dream alive!!

8:11 PM  
Blogger drpernik said...

Thank you for your response. Sometimes it's easy to forget that you are as intimately connected with the station and the DJs as those who have been listening for 20 years. It's easy to bash a brand name and forget the people who make up the brand.

I do believe that some of this severe backlash could have been avoided had the station been kept on for even one more day to let the DJs say goodbye. I guess I don't know the situation, maybe that's something the DJs just weren't able to come to terms with given such short notice.

I trust that you're doing what you can to bringing Woxy back, and I dearly hope you can make it happen. Best of luck.

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about the backlash. It's not deserved. I never understood the business model, but loved the music and DJ's.

I do think you should have asked fans for suggestions on the business model. With so many loyalists at least you could have gotten a sense of the acceptable possibilities.

How about a non-profit/public radio model? "Sponsors" plus a few pledge drives a year? And possible syndication of some shows/air time? Some of the public radio stations play shows like World Cafe for a few hours a day. Why not WOXY?

Hopefully WOXY comes back in some form, but remember it never hurts to ask for help from the listeners either.

10:08 PM  
Anonymous the OCMD said...

There is no business as usual in the music industry today. Everyone has struggled and needed to reassess, rethink and reinvent. My fingers are crossed for WOXY. And hope that listeners are part of the solution. Artists are circumventing labels and going direct to fan. Why not radio too?

10:02 AM  
Blogger Estelle said...

Maybe if Future Sounds didn't keep all of this on the "down low" and listeners were aware of the situation, it would not have ended. Or at least ended like this. Why keep the very people who support WOXY in the dark? People consistently support the arts and usually step up when they know something they love is in danger of being lost. I'm upset that I was never given a chance to try to support WOXY staying on the air.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

I don't get the fascination with keeping WOXY 'free' (I also don't get self-identified music lovers with gigs of stolen music). Some choice sponsorship is in order and could work. I use Lala because of WOXY.

9:41 PM  
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3:28 AM  
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10:27 AM  
Anonymous viagra online said...

I need to support WOXY too please give us more details about how to do it!

8:57 AM  

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