KCRW, the tastemaker described by the L.A. Times as “the most influential noncommercial radio station in the country,” has been dishing up a steady diet of Australian tunes in recent months.
Jack River, Ruby Gill and Mindy Meng Wang are the latest in a cast of Aussie artists spotlighted for a music discovery spot on KCRW, the Los Angeles-based public broadcaster.
They join a growing line-up that includes Liz Stringer, Ngaiire, Telenova, Miiesha, Jack Ladder and Joelistics, who’ve all cruised the SoCal airwaves and beyond via Global Beat Australia, part of the broadcaster’s Global Beat series.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has chimed in with support for the series, a weekly injection of homegrown artists and scenes into one of the world’s most important, and affluent, music centres.
GBA is initiative of L.A.-based The Australian Music Alliance and the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap), whose Manager Andrew Khedoori has played host on each deep-dive episode alongside KCRW DJ Raul Campos.
The quarter-hour special explores three contemporary, and diverse, artists from the land Down Under, with background, cheat notes and glorious detail.
Since April 29, listeners have been exposed to the “Afrobeat-influenced hip-hop” of Kwame, the “tropical funk” of Avalanches collaborator CLYPSO, an “Indigenous folk gut-punch” from Alice Skye and much more, with each special carried on KCRW’s flagship program, Morning Becomes Eclectic.
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Stream Telenova’s ‘Bones’:
“What a beautifully curated line up of Australian artists,” comments Telenova’s Angeline Armstrong. “As a proud Asian Australian, it makes me so happy to see such widespread international support for the diversity of our artists.”
Telenova’s ‘Bones’ was introduced by Khedoori as “really super stylish” with a “sweeping cinematic feel”. Baker Boy and Music Yared had similarly grand intros.
The showcased acts are sourced from Amrap, with several graduating to airplay across the station after the initial play on GBA.
According to those behind the project, a handful have been crowned to KCRW’s prestigious daily Top Tune, some have entered into the KCRW Top 30 and an Australian music database now exists for the station DJs to dip into.
Who listens to the radio? Well, roughly 552,000 listeners tune into KCRW each week, according to the station, with more than 50,000 subscribers.
Their listeners are educated (50% have at least one college degree) and high earners (55% are professionals or executives and half of KCRW listeners earn over $100,000 per household income each year).
International interest in Australian music has never been greater.
The Kid Laroi has led both main U.S. charts this year, while the likes of Masked Wolf, Vassy and many others have been big, recent impressions.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Sydneysiders Pnau sit at No. 2 on the U.K. singles chart with their remix of Elton John and Dua Lipa’s ‘Cold Heart,’ while Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Firebird’ is at No. 10 on the U.K. albums chart.
GBA is a “great cross-cultural collaboration,” explains Khedoori, “arriving at a time of continually surging interest in Australian music from the U.S. and when Australian artists can and should look to expand their pathways to recognition.”
The U.S. radio market is so diverse that an artist can get some traction there, he continues.
This project “marks the start of a stronger exchange between U.S. public radio and community radio in Australia,” he continues, “and highlights the great work community radio does here to expose and promote new and emerging Australian artists no matter what kind of music they make.”
KCRW has committed to 32 GBA episodes, taking the series to year’s end.
Stream all episodes of Global Beat Australia here.