published Friday, May 11th, 2012

Courter: Riverbend programs offer something rare

Sometimes you just want to keep things on the down low.

Not telling people about a super-secret free parking place that is always available is smart. Not telling people about a really good restaurant that no one knows about is not as smart since it will eventually go away.

Riverbend has introduced a couple of programs in recent years that not a lot of people seem to know about, and I do worry that if they become too popular, they might get axed.

I'm talking about the Artist of the Day @ Noon, Bend on the Run and Unplugged programs. Each is designed to take an act that will be performing that night at the festival out into the community for an intimate show at a location around town.

It was originally designed to get festivalgoers to visit businesses near the site during the day, and it does that. But it also gives music fans a rare opportunity to see, and shake hands with, a favorite act or to discover a new favorite.

Sometimes the artists will do a few acoustic numbers, and they almost always tell stories about themselves, the music or the band. Sometimes only one or two members of a larger group will do these appearances.

Commander Cody will be at Market Street Tavern at noon June 9, for example, and Futurebirds will be at the Terminal Brewhouse on June 8 at 1 p.m. You can find the full schedule in the brochure or online.

The atmosphere is very relaxed, and it's free, though it is good form to buy something to eat or drink if the event is at a restaurant.

It really is a rare opportunity. Just don't tell too many people about it.

• • •

The winter Arbitron book is out, and the big, though not surprising, news, is that US101 again won the all-inclusive 12+ category.

That makes 88 straight books, which amounts to about 23 years of being the top-rated station in town. That means a good many of the people who graduated from college this past weekend were not even born when the streak started. Heck, most of us had never even heard of the Internet, much less conceived of digital music or even iTunes when it started.

Consider for a moment how much our music listening habits have changed since 1989, and then the streak becomes even more impressive.

• • •

In other radio news, WUTC-FM 88.1 finished up its spring membership drive and brought in $141,000, which will go toward the station's programming costs, according to a news release.

The station put heavy emphasis on promoting its new WUTC-HD2 digital station during the campaign, giving away HD car radios and AV receivers. You can listen to the station online at wutc.org or via digital radio.

• • •

We are covered up in festivals this time of year -- and that's a good thing -- so it maybe gets overlooked a bit, but JFest is celebrating its 14th year June 2 at Camp Jordan.

Presented by WBDX-FM 102.7 and WLLJ-FM 103.1, this year's lineup features Christian acts Kutless, Building 429, Dara Maclean, Chris August and Sidewalk Prophets. Tickets are $10 in advance.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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