Tag Archives: soul

WCLK-FM changes format, replaces ‘S.O.U.L.’ with smooth jazz in ‘survival’ move

28 Aug

OTL-Jamal Ahmad

WCLK-FM (91.9) adjusted the formatting of just about all of its shows starting Monday, Aug. 26, in an effort to save the station, according to assistant general manager Tammy Nobles. The most painful of these adjustments is to Jamal Ahmad’s “S.O.U.L. of Jazz” show. It seems the soul has been sucked out of the 2-6 p.m. weekday time slot and replaced with smooth jazz.

Ahmad has consistently offered quality soul music to WCLK listeners and beyond. He’s known for playing rare grooves — you probably know the hip-hop track featuring a sample from one of these gems — and breaking new music from local and international artists.

His show provided a welcome reprieve from the nationally syndicated talk fests occasionally interrupted by your uncle’s favorite song from back in the day, or your little niece’s latest R&B infatuation.

Ahmad was voted Best Drive Time DJ by Creative Loafing for a couple of years, and his show on WCLK was one of the legs upon which the table of Atlanta’s music scene has been built — the others being our venues, retail outlets such as Moods Music, and the people (both artists and patrons).

Nobles acknowledged Ahmad’s strong following, but insisted that the Arbitron ratings for his show — and the overall decrease in station listenership — justified a change. She said that focus groups were conducted, including a 900-song survey with many tunes and artists listeners said they weren’t familiar with.

In short, the station needs more money. Over the past year, the station went from having two fund drives to three, but still fell short of its fundraising goals. This is amid less support from the Clark Atlanta University, the station’s primary source of funding and where it is housed. In 2012, the station pulled in $250,000 less from CAU than it did in 2011, according to its 2012 financial statement.

Continue reading

Slo Mo Magazine gives a voice to Atlanta’s soul scene

26 Jun

Front cover of Slo Mo, a magazine dedicated to soul music and culture

Launching a print publication is a risk these days. But when you’re as passionate about soul music and culture as co-publishers Carlton Hargro and Larmarrous Shirley, it’s a risk worth taking. And it’s calculated.

Slo Mo is a monthly print publication highlighting “soul. music. culture.” as the cover tagline states.

With the professional experience to back up this new project, the odds are good. Hargro is the former editor of Creative Loafing-Charlotte, and Shirley is an award-winning graphic designer for publications such as Atlanta Magazine.

Hargro serves as the publication’s editor (and author of all the first edition’s articles), and Shirley is its designer. For future editions, they’ll be working with various freelancers to cover Atlanta’s soul music scene, from singers and musicians to DJs and promoters, visual artists, scenesters and more.

SloMo publishers

Add to the mix the sustainability of the magazine’s unconventional format. It’s a poster-sized fold-up that the two can bankroll on their own.

That said, ad spots are available — and priced to suit the small-business budget.

Shirley came up with the Slo Mo idea years ago, and in recent years picked up a similarly sized zine and knew that would be the way to go. It complements the overall concept of the publication, which is to fight against the dumbing down of music and culture by providing worthwhile content built within a dynamic design, Shirley says. It’s like moving things forward by forcing people to slow down and pay attention to what’s real.

Moods Music is the publication’s primary point of distribution for now, says Hargro. With Moods being the go-to retailer for soul music and hard-to-find imports, it makes sense. Hargro said they’re deliberate about the pick-up points because the magazine is meant to be niche. In later months, distribution will max out at 25 spots where lovers of soul music and culture are likely to gather, he says.

Plus, it’s more cost-effective that way.

A crowd of more than 50 people showed their support at Moods on Sunday, June 23, as the duo officially launched and passed out copies of the publication.

A few in attendance — including producer Daz-I-Kue and vocalist Kameron Corvet — are mentioned in the inaugural issue. Others, including Ron Smith of Harmony in Life, Aishah Rashied Hyman of Spread Love (and Mrs. DJ Kemit), and Aalyah Duncan of A-List Events Marketing are sure to have their events and artists mentioned in future editions.

The duo is open to story ideas, and both Hargro and Shirley are big on making sure they stay accessible. Part of the reason the publication was founded, Hargro said, is so that soul music promoters, artists and lovers of the culture won’t have to hurdle the barriers often found when pitching to traditional media outlets. So hit them up at slomomedia@gmail.com.

Not only is this a risk worth taking, should Slo Mo succeed, all of Atlanta’s soul scene will win.

Full disclosure: Yours truly is on tap to write an August 2013 feature on House in the Park. If you have ideas for an angle, leave me a comment!