Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Country music is my FAVORITE music. Superstar Country singer Martina McBride is a woman I'd make an absolute fool of myself over if I ever saw her in a bar. With Country music being the music that the seven remaining contestants on "American Idol" were going to have to sing and the fact they were being coached by Martina McBride, made the night "must-see TV for me last night as opposed to taping it and watching it later.

I felt sorry for Martina McBride. She was/is gorgeous, she was very supportive, she gave great advice to the seven finalists and then darn near every ONE of the seven went on stage and laid a giant egg.

There were a couple of exceptions. Most notably, Jordin Sparks, about whom Simon Cowell said (in essence) that he now believed that Jordin could end up BEING this year's "American Idol".

Finalist Chris Richardson responded with a bit of a "hissy" attitude regarding Simon's criticism of Richardson sounding too "nasally", by saying that "nasally" was a form of singing. Without debating the merits of that assertion, let me, the long time country fan that I am simply say, Chris, whatever you want to refer to your singing as and definitions regarding wordplay with a word like "nasally", let me make it simple for you. COUNTRY, you ain't!

And then there was Sanjaya's performance. It was sooo bad, I don't remember the name of the song he "sang". How bad was it? Butt-ugly awful was how bad it was. Randy was critical, Paula was critical and when Simon said Sanjaya's performance was "Utterly Horrendous", Ryan Seacrest jumped in (perhaps to ease the sting for Sanjaya), but what we ended up seeing was what we thought might be a catfight between Ryan and Simon. It made for good television, Ryan took another shot or two at Simon while Simon barked back, but here's the bottom line; Simon's criticism was sooo right! If Sanjaya isn't eliminated tonight, instead of pursuing a singing career, he might want to consider magic, because we'd then have to believe he might be our next "Houdini".

Meanwhile, this message for Chris Richardson. Listen to the tape.

Martina McBride will sing tonight. That ought to be what we're looking forward to, right? Well it is, but we'll also be looking for something else, won't we? Will we GET it?

Speaking of things related to music, I call your attention to a music programmer who "gets it".

Rich "Brother" Robbin.

For those of you who aren't familiar with that name, the short bio would be that he's a long time music programmer and d.j. who lives in San Diego. Rich has worked with and for some of the biggest names in the business. Before publisher Don Barrett decided to become a writer/publisher, Barrett was a radio GM who hired Robbin to work in Detroit, Dallas and here in Los Angeles.

Like a lot of us who grew up with music that isn't played on the radio anymore, Rich "Brother" Robbin was frustrated. What most of us do (who miss our music) is play CD's or maybe try that channel Howard Stern moved to. Neither of those options have been particularly appealing to me, so I've tended to listen to games or other music, like Country, when I can find a good Country station, which is an ongoing process.

Rich "Brother" Robbin decided to (in essence) build his own station and play his own music and put it on the internet. It is playing in my home office while I'm writing this.
You can do the same thing. You don't have to buy any special equipment. It's free. And if you want to hear songs you haven't heard in a long time, you WILL hear them on Rock 'n roll oldies, what we used to call MOR oldies that were crossover hits and Country crossover hits that are virtually ignored by every oldies station in America. Elvis? HAS your Elvis. When's the last time you heard, "U.S. Male"? You'll hear it on How about "Love's Been Good To Me", by Frank Sinatra? Robbin's got you covered.

How does Rich PAY for this? Well, it's been out of his own pocket, but he takes donations. If you LIKE it, why not SUPPORT it? I do. I sent a check for $93. You send checks to help KCET stay alive, don't you?

In closing, let me tell you how good I think Rich Robbin's REALLY is. I think he should be programming KRTH here in Los Angeles.

I know. He'd have to deal with COMMERCIALS if he was hired there. Wouldn't that remove a lot of the luster from what he's doing NOW? I don't think so and I'll tell you why. Rich "Brother" Robbin is playing oldies for the masses. I can hear your next question. "As opposed to WHAT, Scott?" As opposed to music that has constantly been "washed" and "re-washed" by consultants conducting politically correct focus groups.

Oldies radio needs a swashbuckling programmer with the courage to go back to the basics. Playing music for the masses. Not imagined masses. The REAL masses.

Country radio needs that too, but that's another topic for another time.

Meanwhile, if you like the oldies, I heartily recommend it.


Bill Maher


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