Tuned in: Country music acts woo radio airplay

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Making it more maddening is no one can really quantify what makes a hit or why certain acts resonate with program directors. The Randy Rogers Band tours relentlessly, just earned its third Academy of Country Music Awards nomination for top vocal group and recently played on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”. They have some supporters in radio, but have mostly gotten a lukewarm response despite a reputation as one of country’s best live acts.

Rogers has spent a lot of time trying to figure out what causes that disconnect.

“There is a magic formula,” Rogers said. “I just don’t know what it is.”

Fellow Texan Hayes Carll has been through it all before with little to show for it. He’s built a following on the strength of his live show and the quality of his music. But he marches on with a kind of quixotic optimism in pursuit of a few spins.

“It’s kind of like going to a job interview where you know you’re not going to get the job,” Carll said with a wry smile. “But why not?”

He knows plenty of acts who have given up and doesn’t think that’s the answer either. So he got on a plane at 7:15 a.m. Wednesday after a late-night gig in Houston, played his new song “Chances Are” for the radio executives at the Ryman and hotfooted it back to the airport for a 2:50 p.m. flight to Texas for a show that night.

“I keep thinking the wheels are going to turn and tastes are going to shift, and at some point there’s this whole seedy underworld of country musicians that I like that will get on there some day,” Carll said. “I figured I’d come up, do the deal, at least introduce myself if they don’t know me yet and go home, go back to my life. Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll get the call that some radio station somewhere took a chance and played it.”




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