Why aren’t we hearing more of this multi-format artist on radio?


Brad March is a former CEO of the Austereo Network

Up-front I need to make it clear that neither I, nor Radio Today, has any vested interest in – nor gains any benefit from – writing about this artist.

As a former Music Director and Program Director in several markets I’ve been on the side of defending radio bashers many times. Record companies, publicists, managers, promoters, and journalists – whinging about lack of airplay for local Australian talent. Which, of course, is almost always driven by self-interest.

However, while this article is not attacking radio, it does ask the question “Why aren't we hearing more of a multi format artist like Bernard Fanning on FM radio?”

Fanning's new album 'Departures' has been getting some airplay – but given the stature, history and strength of Fanning as an artist, there's a lot of radio stations not playing anything from his current album.

The former Powderfinger frontman, who is now regarded as a “heritage” artist, has proven with this album that he has joined the ranks of this country’s foremost songwriters: Paul Kelly, Don Walker, and Neil Finn.

The 'Departures' album is a masterpiece and is a feast for radio airplay. It is significantly stronger than the last Powderfinger album, 'Golden Rule', and builds on his last solo effort, 'Tea and Sympathy' (from almost 8 years ago). 'Departures' reached number 1 on the ARIA charts, now sits at #8, and should have plenty of longevity well into Christmas and next summer.

The first single, 'Battleships', received Triple M & triple j airplay. It’s surprising that to date Bernard hasn't received wider airplay on more stations given his strong 18-39 appeal and the pop/rock sound of most of the songs.

The current single, 'Tell me How it Ends', is the number 1 Rock airplay song on Aircheck at the moment. Other strong tracks include 'Grow around you', which will fit most formats when released as a single. The rock song, 'Inside Track', is reminiscent of classic Powderfinger with its strong melodies and great lyrics, and is an ideal singalong for radio. Rock formats like Triple M benefit when there is product like this around.

The song that could well be the biggest multi-format airplay song is the exquisitely beautiful, emotive track, 'Departures (Blue Toowong Skies)'. Possibly the next single, the song reminds me of when I first heard Crowded House’s 'Don't Dream It's Over' – which went on to become a worldwide number 1. It also has the qualities of another worldwide Number 1 – Gotye's 'Somebody that I used to know'. This song is a classic – right up there with Powderfinger's 'Passenger', 'These Days', and 'My Happiness' – and should receive airplay across all formats, fitting comfortably on Triple M, the Today Network, Mix, triple j, and Nova – and even smoothfm.  It’s a rare occurrence where a song has the potential to fit this many formats. 

Bernard Fanning is now Australia’s most relevant, contemporary “heritage” artist – and should end up as 2013's Most Played (Australian) artist on radio. As Bernard's lyric in the song 'Departures' says: "travel slow, enjoy the ride".

Brad March is a former CEO of the Austereo Network







** Note : Neither Brad nor Radio Today were paid to write this article

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