Last Thursday, outgoing UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley announced his decision to allocate a $400,000 unrestricted university grant to help WSUM move into a new studio this summer. According to WSUM general manager Dave Black, that was more than the student radio station had originally requested from Wiley.
"We pitched $250,000 and held our breath," recalls Black. "He looked at us and said, 'Are you sure that's going to be enough?' We knew we needed $400,000 or more, so we swallowed hard and asked for $375,000. He rounded it off to $400,000."
Black says Wiley was convinced WSUM is serious about "alternative sources of quality music." But maybe the chancellor had been sold on indie culture by his rock-star stepson, Kai Kennedy, who plays guitar in the Brooklyn band Locksley.
When We the Living front man J.P. Roney called me last Friday, he was driving alone on Interstate 10 from Florida to Los Angeles. Roney, the Madison expat formerly of the Profits, lost his father to heart disease last month.
"I'm driving his MG convertible across the country," said Roney, who was passing through Houston when he called. "It's my way of making one last trip with my dad."
Roney also shared the news that We the Living has signed to Authentik Artists, a nontraditional label that emphasizes artist development through successive releases of digital singles.
Roney said he recently rebuffed offers from executives of J Records, owned by industry mogul Clive Davis. According to Roney, J Records wanted We the Living to perform songs written by Nickelback's Chad Kroeger. But Roney didn't want to abandon his commitment to his own songwriting. "I decided my music is more important to me than a big contract."
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