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NonCOMM Recap: Making metrics matter

photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Analytics and metrics are one of the most bewildering, least understood and yet most crucial elements of media programming. For the second Friday morning panel at the 2017 NonCOMM-vention, a group of industry vets who deal with data day-in-day-out broke down what information is at our fingertips and how to use it.

“Everyone’s starting with the same pile of records,” said moderator John Rosenfelder, comparing song selection to analytics. “How you annotate and how you program around the music is what makes [your station] better or different or creative. It’s the same thing with data.” Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: How public radio stations navigate a digital landscape

photo by John Vettese for WXPN

As Jim McGuinn of Minneapolis station The Current observed, “It used to be we just did radio. Then we had the website used to support the radio. And now it’s back and forth. It’s one of the fascinating aspects of the job I think.”

As new media platforms continue to grow and evolve, public radio needs to be more on top of their multimedia game then ever — and more specifically, on top of their digital media game. That was the theme of the opening panel at the NonCOMM-vention on Friday, where McGuinn was joined by John Barth of Public Radio Exchange to talk about how stations can adapt what they do.

Barth says he loves seeing stations experiment with digital-exclusive content and podcasting. “They may not know what they’re doing, but they’re tying, and that’s the first step,” he says. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Ron Gallo rocks the socks off of day two

Ron Gallo | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

I should have known that Ron Gallo‘s set was going to be quite something when he walked out in a jumpsuit. Little did I know what shenanigan-filled jams would ensue from there on out.

This was my first time seeing the brilliance that is Ron Gallo live, and holy cannoli, it did not disappoint one bit. Starting the set off by carefully unfolding a piece of paper, Gallo prepared the crowd for his dry humor by meticulously reading and annunciating each and every word — thanking “Radio Shack employees” for being so supportive of them throughout the years.

Cannon-balling headfirst into their first tune (and one of my absolute favorite jams of the moment,) “Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me,” Gallo and crew gave every ounce of themselves into the performance, in which they performed tracks of their new album, Heavy Meta. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Gov’t Mule let loose with new material from Revolution Come… Revolution Go

Gov’t Mule | photo by Emma SIlverstone for WXPN

“I’m gonna apologize right now, we’re doing all new songs tonight,” Gov’t Mule frontman Warren Haynes said before the bluesy opening notes of “Sarah, Surrender.” That track, along with the rest of the Southern rock outfit’s six-song set, was pulled from this year’s Revolution Come… Revolution Go, their 10th studio LP set for a June 9th release via Fantasy Records.

Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Downbeat surfer vibes flood Real Estate’s set

Real Estate | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

“Hope everyone’s doing okay out there out in noncommercial radio land,” Real Estate bassist, Alex Bleeker offered out to the packed upstairs crowd.

And radio land was definitely doing okay. Much more than okay, thanks to Real Estate’s infectious, upbeat set, where the easy-going four-piece treated radio land goers to new tracks off their recently released album, In Mind. Which the tongue-in-cheek band more than a few times said was already certified platinum, in a jokingly forced-nonchalant tone. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM recap: Laura Marling delivers soothing, soulful performance

Laura goshdang Marling.

If I had one tiny bit of an even an ounce of her vocal talent, I’d be one happy soul. Or her songwriting skills, I’d take that too. Or her complete coolness would be nice also. Basically, what I’m saying is that I think I want to be Laura Marling.

Sadly, that cannot happen. But, seeing her perform live is a close second. After a hearty introduction from Bob Boilen, Marling and crew swan-dived right into debut single, “Soothing,” off of her latest album, Semper Femina. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Mondo Cozmo shine with hits and tributes

Mondo Cozmo | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

At last year’s NonCOMM Music Meeting, Songline’s Sean Coakley played a new track that turned out to be “Hold On To Me” by Mondo Cozmo — the west coast band of Bucks County native Josh Ostrander. It was well received by the usually critical crowd, with XPN Morning Show host Kristen Kurtis declaring Cozmo one of her favorite bands. A year and many radio plays later, Ostrander and his five bandmates filled the downstairs stage at World Cafe Live with an intoxicating string of rock songs.

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NonCOMM Recap: Baskery weaves intricate dreamscapes on the PRX stage

Baskery | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

Stockholm sisters Greta, Stella and Sunniva Bondesson make up Baskery, an eclectic trio that played a varied and high-energy set on the PRX Stage of NonCOMM Thursday night. The band crafted atmospheric, vibrant dreamscapes with a pick-up instrumental style — Greta alone rocked banjo, drums, guitar and harmonica — and their music recalled Tori Amos one moment, The Roches the next and Yeah Yeah Yeahs the next. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: Kyle Craft comes out larger than life

Kyle Craft | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

Living in a post-ironic, post-Portlandia world, it’s with good reason that many things coming out of Portland these days are met with skepticism. Even though Kyle Craft operates out of the rainy northwestern metropolis, his well-heeled Southern roots give him more than an ounce of sincerity that informs his fiery songwriting.  Continue reading →