An American Looks at Canadian Music Making It America

Sean Ross may be radio consultant who operates out of an office New Jersey, but don’t try to engage him in a trivia contest involving Canadian music. The man may be American, but he knows–loves–his Canadiana. (He was once stopped by customs in Edmonton who didn’t believe that he was in the city on vacation, hoping to soak up some music.)

In this week’s Broadcast Dialogue (a weekly newsletter for the Canadian broadcast industry), he has this to say about Canadian music making it in the US.

In the late summer of 2001, as a trade magazine editor, I was listening to Z103.5 (CIDC-FM) Toronto, a station I liked not only because I could keep up with Canadian dance records, but also international dance music not heard anywhere else. Soon after turning the station on, I called my former A&R boss, Cory Robbins, about a song they were playing. The song was the DJ Sammy version of “Heaven” and it finally gave me my “hit” as an A&R person, nearly a decade after a short-lived attempt at A&R.

In 2009, when I had made the transition to the research business, I called a client, Mike Kaplan, at The End (KNDD-FM) Seattle, about a song I had heard on Curve 94.3 (CHIQ-FM) Winnipeg. It was the perfect song for Curve 94.3, then doing a mix of CHR and Alternative. Soon thereafter, The End became the first American station to play “Help, I’m Alive” by Metric.

As with anybody in the business who loves music, a far greater number of my predictions vanish into the ether. It’s not that they’re ever proven wrong, per se. They just never get a chance to get their hearing and get any sustained exposure. Listeners never get the chance to vote in the first place.

I don’t do much music advocacy in Ross On Radio, the newsletter I write for the broadcast and music industries. But last week, I recommended four records to readers, the four Canadian songs which, nearly two weeks ago, were comprising four out of the top five positions on Canada’s Alternative chart, the fifth being Twenty One Pilots, “Heathens”—songs by July Talk, U.S.S., Arkells, and Sam Roberts Band.

Read the whole article here (you’ll have to scroll down quite a bit).

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.