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Let the Music and Radio Conference Frenzy Begin: First Up- SXSW

Experience Music Project in Seattle

Last week’s Intercollegiate Broadcasting System conference (IBS for short) kicked off the music and radio convention season and there appears to be no end in sight for broadcasters and music lovers over the course of the next few weeks.

If you’re hoping to immerse yourself in music, bond with broadcasters, or geek out about the intricacies of specific music genres; then there’s at least one conference or festival for you in the next 4 weeks.

Here are some options:

SXSW in Austin, Texas (3/12-3/21/10):

This massive music festival in Austin has expanded in recent years to include a film festival and interactive conference. If you want to see tons of bands, sessions about music, and hear about the latest in technology, then you’ve got to get to Austin. Radio stations from all over the country also flock to Austin to do live broadcasts and to host showcases, including college station Radio K (Minneapolis) and community radio station WFMU (New Jersey).

From March 17-20th, 7 different college/public radio stations (KCRW, The Current, KEXP, KPFT, KUT, KXT, and WXPN) will be participating in live daytime music showcases at The Day Stage Cafe. You can even catch a short film, Peter in Radioland, in which old-school radios have a starring role.

College Broadcasters, Inc. (CBI) Convention in NYC (3/14-3/16/10):

If you are working in any form of college media, from radio to television to journalism, then this is the convention for you. It’s held in conjunction with College Media Advisers (CMA). To get the full scoop about what’s in store, take a look at my interview with the folks behind CBI and the conference.

International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) Conference in New Orleans (4/9-4/11/10):

This is THE conference to hit if you are a music academic or simply enjoy dissecting the intricacies of music, musicians, or genres. Over the years I’ve seen fascinating presentations about Japanese noise, the history of turntablism, and the connections between metal and classical music. Usually there is a paper or two related to radio.

The NAB Show in Las Vegas (4/10-4/15/10):

The big National Association of Broadcasters event in Las Vegas includes a number of mini-conferences as well as an exhibition floor. There’s a Broadcast Management Conference, radio luncheon, as well as sessions geared towards digital media professionals. If you want to be a fly on the wall for free, take a look at Spinning Indie for a complimentary pass to the exhibition floor.

Experience Music Project (EMP) Pop Conference in Seattle (4/15-4/18/10):

This annual conference (which is FREE) is a chance for academics and music journalists to bond over their love of popular music. This year’s theme, “The Pop Machine: Music and Technology” lends itself to discussions of radio; with far more papers about radio (including a few topics related to radio history, a paper on Mexican radio, one on radio as an instrument, another about radio commercials) being presented this year than I’ve ever seen at this conference. There will also be presentations about Lady Gaga, girls’ rock camps, cassettes, vinyl, Pandora, auto-tune, and the Vocoder (to name a few).

Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Convention in Las Vegas (4/15-4/17/10):

A conference for broadcast media educators and practitioners, this definitely has an academic slant to it. This year’s research symposium focuses on papers about the intersections between sports and media. They also have a Festival of Media Arts, which includes a student media competition. Here are some of the winners in the “audio” category. There are also panels related to student radio, sessions geared towards careers in radio, and some that look at specific stations both in the U.S. and abroad.



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