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Questions and Answers for Prospective Homegrown Music Performers

What is Homegrown Music?

Homegrown Music, a part of the Mixed Bag program, is WVIA-FM's exclusive feature presenting regional musical talent in performances recorded in the station's studios. Homegrown Music is broadcast Tuesdays at 9:00 PM. Listings on upcoming Homegrown programs are promoted on-air, on the WVIA website and on this website.

Homegrown Music is not a free demo service, but an ongoing radio series. Although musicians have been able to use recordings of their radio appearance for demo purposes, such uses are secondary to the radio aspect, and are governed by certain restrictions. See below for further information.

What kind of music is featured?

Homegrown Music presents a wide range of rock, folk (including bluegrass), jazz, blues, reggae, World Music, New Age, fusion, etc., in short, all the types of music that Mixed Bag presents. (We do avoid heavy metal and grungy alternative rock, hip-hop, and commercial pop styles.) The emphasis is on all-original material, or highly original interpretations of old, obscure, or seldom-heard music. In the case of folk or jazz, original arrangements of traditional or jazz-standard material is acceptable. Homegrown Music does not include covers or performances of current popular songs, since radio listeners may easily find the original versions of such songs elsewhere on the airwaves.

Homegrown Music's purpose is to provide a unique opportunity for musicians to be as creative as possible, much more so than, for example in a club situation. Originality and quality of musicianship are the two most important criteria. So we are not interested in "clone" groups, that sound just like so-and-so, even though the performance may flawless. Likewise, highly original music is of no value if played badly. Being a professional musician is not an actual requirement, but playing on a professional level is.

Over the years, Homegrown Music has presented, in addition to regular working bands, many groups assembled specifically to showcase original music for the radio broadcast. We are pleased that some of these groups have stayed together and eventually gone on to album releases.

How many songs do you need for a Homegrown Music show?

Generally, no less than 20 minutes of completed music. The ideal length is about a half hour, with the maximum length of just under an hour. (Longer segments can be broken up and broadcast on two different programs.) The length of each song thus determines how many tunes would be involved.

How do I get to be on Homegrown Music?

Submit a physical demonstration recording on CD (or even cassette) to George Graham at the following address:

100 WVIA Way
Pittston, PA 18640-6197

The sound quality of the recording is not important, as long as all the instruments and vocals can be heard. Homemade recordings or recordings made from the mixing board at a live show are fine. Include what you feel is representative of the music you wish to perform on HGM, and the recording should preferably include all the personnel you hope to use during the studio recording session. You may include a large selection of songs, or just a few if you feel they accurately represent your style, level of musicianship and creativity.

Be sure to include an e-mail address or phone number at which you can be reached during the evening. If you wish to check on your demo's status, phone (570) 602-1165, during weekday evening hours.

Because of the huge proliferation of music and bands on the world wide web, there is no guarantee that sending a link to a website will result in an audition. To ensure that the music will get a fair hearing, please send a physical recording to the above address.

If I get to be on Homegrown Music, does it cost me anything?

Generally not.. The music performance you provide, and the recording and production services we provide are treated as an equal exchange. But financial circumstances may require that the station charge a fee for making a copy of the recording for the artist.

Exactly what are the details of the arrangement between WVIA-FM and the performers?

They are covered in the broadcast clearance agreement, a sample copy of which is available on request. You will be asked to sign a copy of this agreement at the recording session. Please read it over, and show it to your manager or agent, if you wish.

The important points of the agreement are that your songs remain entirely your own; that this particular RECORDING, produced by WVIA, may not be commercially exploited (sold for profit) either by you or by WVIA; and that the recording may NOT be broadcast by any other radio, TV or Internet station without WVIA's written permission.

Some questions about the actual recording sessions: When are they done?

The sessions are done weeknights starting at 10 PM, usually on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. This is the only time that both facilities and personnel are available. The sessions generally run up to about four hours. We suggest that you arrive at least an hour early to allow ample time for setup. We expect to complete all the recording in a single session. The remix and editing are done at a later date, usually during the week before the scheduled broadcast.

How soon can I expect to do the recording?

After approval of your group for Homegrown Music, the time when a recording session can be booked depends on how many other HGM projects have already been scheduled. The period can be anywhere from two weeks to two months. We shall make every effort to arrange a mutually convenient date, and usually offer several possible dates from which you can choose.

The airdate generally occurs between six weeks and two months after the session..

In order to prevent unscrupulous individuals from making use of Homegrown Music recordings before the official airdate, NO recordings are provided until AFTER the broadcast on WVIA. (If you want a recording sooner, ask about WVIA-FM's contract recording studio rates.)

What kind of recording facilities do you have?

WVIA operates a 32-track digital facility. Major equipment includes a Pro Tools HD 3 system; Mackie X.200 64-input digital recording console. Microphones include: 5 Neumann U-87 condensor, 6 Shure SM-81 and approximately 20 other AKG, Shure, Sony and E-V models. Outboard facilities include UREI limiters, Lexicon and ART digital reverb and multi-effects; MXR and Roland digital delays and other effects devices.

Depending on the size of the group, two studios are available. The larger, approximately 60 by 80 feet, can accomodate a full symphony orchestra. The smaller, used for most rock projects, measures about 20 by 35 feet, and includes a booth for drums (groups should bring their own drums). WVIA has a Steinway Model B, 7-foot concert grand piano, the use of which requires special advance arrangements.

How should I prepare for the recording session?

Be very well-rehearsed. This cannot be overstressed. A Homegrown Music project involves about an album's worth of music recorded in a four-hour session. This obviously leaves no room for arrangements to be worked out in the studio, or time to accomodate musicians who haven't done adequate preparations. Of course, we realize everyone makes mistakes in performance (especially when the tape is rolling), so doing a retake or two is no problem. We want your Homegrown Music performance to be a good as possible, but it is vital that all music be worked out before entering the studio.

If you feel as the date approaches for your session that you are not adequately rehearsed, then it would be better to call and reschedule the session, than to waste time on something that will sound unprofessional. (Short-notice non-emergency cancellations, however, greatly inconvenience the WVIA-FM staff, and jeopardize the rescheduling of a session.)

What about overdubbing, multi-tracking, etc?

The multi-track facilities provide flexibility for a fair amount of overdubbing. (We almost always record vocals after the instrumentation in an electric rock band situation.) But overdubbing is very time-consuming, so one really cannot expect to have time to overdub more than the vocals and a few instrumental solos, and still have enough completed music from the session to fill the program. Our advice is to plan to perform as much live as possible, by bringing in additional musicians if necessary, to keep overdubbing to a minimum.

Who makes the final decisions on the mix?

George Graham, as producer of the series, has the final say on mixing decisions, what songs will be included or cut, and song order. However, we encourage comments and suggestions from the musicians (who know their music better than anybody else) at each stage of the process. We also invite group members to be on hand for the remix session to point out parts that should be emphasized, etc. The aim to to combine our knowledge of studio technique and the medium of radio, with the artists' perspective on their own music to make the best possible presentation to the thousands of listeners who have become Homegrown Music fans.

What should be brought to the session?

Bring your instruments, including guitar amplifiers, if applicable. Electric basses and keyboards are almost always recorded direct so amplifiers for these instruments are not necessary, except, perhaps for tuning and warming up before the session begins. P.A. equipment is not necessary.

You may bring your regular equipment handler, but please bring no other guests. Absolutely no drugs or hard liquor are allowed. Consumption of beer on the premises is strongly discouraged. WVIA's building is a non-smoking environment.

Can I use copies of my Homegrown Music appearance as a demo?

Yes, as long as you do not sell copies of the CD or paid download, or allow any commercial radio or TV station to broadcast any part of the recording. (Homegrown Music recordings may NOT be used as entries in talent contests conducted by other radio stations.) Artists have found their Homegrown Music performances very useful in getting performance engagements, and several groups have gone on to record contracts on the basis of their HGM appearances.

(By reimbursing WVIA for the studio time involved in producing a Homegrown recording, an artist may then make any use of the recording, including release on a record.)

Would you consider broadcasting a recording made in a home studio?

Generally not. The whole premise of the Homegrown Music series is that is a performance from the the WVIA-FM studios, so a recording would have to be truly exceptional to be considered.

Why does WVIA-FM do Homegrown Music, especially when other stations seem uninterested in area musicians?

WVIA-FM is a non-commercial, non-profit, listener-supported station. Our goal is to serve our three-state coverage area with unique programming not found elsewhere. Homegrown Music has become very popular among our listeners and contributing members. We are pleased to provide a meeting ground between talented artists and discriminating music fans.

Does WVIA provide recording studio services apart from the Homegrown Music sessions?

Yes. If you are interested, contact the station about rates, we can also provide recommendations on getting your recording manufactured on CD or DVD.

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This page last updated August 03, 2014