Promotion

KristinJune 2, 2021

7min0

The Best Show on WFMU

Comedy team Scharpling and Wurster release another compilation of staged radio call-ins and interview spoofs

Published: May 5th, 2007 | 10:10am

Since October 2000, the cult radio show appropriately titled The Best Show on WFMU has been making listeners laugh throughout New Jersey, New York City, and eastern Pennsylvania via radio stations 91.1 FM and 90.1 FM as well as throughout the world via wfmu.org and podcast. Every Tuesday evening from 8 to 11 p.m. Eastern, DJ Tom Scharpling hosts three hours of “mirth, music, and mayhem,” which mostly consists of Scharpling’s rants about various topics such as Kevin Smith, the new Killers album, and NYC grocery stores, interactive games like “Come On, Guys” and “I Don’t Get It,” and frequent call-ins from “celebrities,” including Ted Leo, Mr. Show‘s Paul F. Tompkins and Chunklet editor Henry Owings. Scharpling has also interviewed comedians Zach Galifianakis, Matt Walsh and Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim of Tom Goes to the Mayor and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!

While many diehard fans, dubbed “Friends of Tom,” are devoted to Scharpling, religiously tuning in each week and discussing the show in an online chat, the main attraction often comes in the form of audio sketches involving Superchunk drummer–turned–comedy writer Jon Wurster. He and Scharpling first became friends in 1993 when they bonded over their love for the TV series Get a Life, and in 1997, the duo debuted “Rock, Rot, and Rule” during Scharpling’s first WFMU radio show. The call featured Wurster as Ronald Thomas Clontle, a terribly misinformed music critic who had written a book dividing bands into three categories: those that rock, those that rot, and those that rule.

“We’d been talking on the phone for months, and eventually it was decided that we should probably try to do something on the air,” Wurster recalls from his home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. “And it went fantastically, and people were calling in to argue with me. And so from there on out we just kept doing it.”

Over time, the duo have developed a structure for its comedy bits that basically goes like this: Wurster calls into Scharpling’s show as a new or recurring character, and the initially innocuous conversation devolves into a tale of utter absurdity, culminating in the “caller” either threatening to physically harm Scharpling or getting harmed himself. The natural rapport between the two comedians would lead any unsuspecting listener to believe the call is real … at first. But after while, one learns to discern Wurster’s casual tenor from that of the average caller, no matter how it’s disguised.

Amazingly, the pair never rehearses beforehand. “We’ll kind of talk on the phone and one of us will have an idea,” Wurster explains. “[Then Scharpling] gets kind of the layout and I’ll actually write a lot of it down, how it’s gonna flow, some actual lines here and there. And then I’ll send Tom some notes on it, and we’ll discuss it a little more the day of the call, and then we’ll do it.”

“When we go into the calls, we know the spots that we have to hit to tell the story,” Scharpling adds. “Sometimes there’s 15 things to hit, and the calls are pretty much scripted out beat for beat. Other times we can keep them pretty loose just as long as we get to those spots, and the rest can be improvised and filled in and that keeps it really exciting.”

The fifth and latest release on Scharpling and Wurster’s own label, Stereolaffs, guarantees plenty of laughs for new and longtime listeners alike. Titled The Art of the Slap, this three-disc, super-sized compilation features some of the best bits the duo has performed on-air since October 2005. Scharpling does a follow-up interview with a man who got sucked up into a tornado and uses his second chance at life to start his own version of Girls Gone Wild. Regular character Philly Boy Roy talks about “The Running of the Cheese Steaks” and the psychic abilities of his chain-smoking 15-year-old son. And Corey Harris from major label alternative rock band Mother 13 calls in to gives a two-part account of his band’s trip to the top of Mt. Everest with the Polyphonic Spree and Buddy Guy, who all suffer terrible fates.

Scharpling and Wurster’s progressive, somewhat nerdy humor seems perfect for a listener-funded, freeform radio station, but both comedians have expanded into other media. In 2002, Scharpling was the first writer hired for the TBS television series Monk, having previously worked as a writer’s assistant to the show’s creator, fellow WFMU DJ and feature film writer Andy Breckman. Wurster is currently working on an episode for Cartoon Network’s Squibillies, and both helped write episodes for the next season of Tom Goes to the Mayor. Wurster also contributes to Modern Drummer magazine and plays with the likes of Robert Pollard, Rocket from the Crypt, and Jay Farrar.

But they’re not ready to stop doing The Best Show on WFMU … yet. “We’re planning on doing some visual stuff for later in this year, and it would be nice to see what we could do with that, but I wouldn’t want to end it right now,” Scharpling says. “I still think we have stuff to do. I’m not trying to toot my own horn, [but] I think we have worked it up to being something that’s kind of special, and we’re at full-strength right now.”

 


KristinAugust 1, 2020
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9min1046

Music is something that is enjoyed by many. People love listening to music online, on CDs’ or go to concerts. However, it is quite easier for the audience to find good music through various sources. But, it may not be that easy for the musicians. They tend to face a lot of competition these days, as there are a lot many budding musicians and bands today than before.

This is the reason why there is a need for proper marketing techniques and strategies to be in place. Proper marketing channels will help to reach out to a larger crowd effectively.

Some of how an independent band or musician can promote their work is discussed below:

Professional website and logo

These days a lot is going on in the entertainment and digital market. New talents are rising, older ones are already there: all this is making it more competitive. Therefore, a musician must build a presence in the field.

A good professional website is the first step to build an online presence. It can be used to reach to give good content to the fans and followers. Also, make sure to have an exciting logo of the music band or one music brand. The visual element of a pogo makes it more appealing and identifiable for the fans.

Make only great music

One of the biggest mistakes that many musicians tend to do is that they release even a subpar album or music. Yes, a musician tends to spend a lot of time developing and creating a piece of an album. But, more important that increasing fans is to not lose the already existing ones.

Bad music can do bigger harm musicians when early in the career. Be a self-critic and only release that music which one has full belief in. if a track is bad, then do no release. It can ruin the growth of a new budding musician.

Social media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and many more. All these are the best platforms for a new and rising musician or band to engage with their fans. People like engagement and they want to know what their favorite musician is doing. Also, this generation is busy finding new things on social media channels.

Therefore, this is the best chance for a musician to make their social media pages more active and exciting. Utilize social media pages to talk to fans, make an album track viral, have a live session, or premier the new album on social media.

Keep gigging

One of the golden rules for any musician is to connect to the audience through live acts. So, if one wants to bring in more fans and followers, they must take up live gigs every time there is an option.

Play in clubs, open mics, street fests, events, other musician’s events, and venues, etc. Choose those places where there will be more fans and listeners of the same genre which one plays. Also, be regular with gigs in the same places. This will make the audience more aware of the band.

E-mail marketing

Yes, musicians too can make use of this very effective digital marketing tool. Collect as many email addresses as possible. Make use of the website, and give out chances for the visitors to give their email ids. Tell them to sign up for newsletters, offer them freebies, etc. to take their email ids.

Now using these emails ids, one can reach out to the fans more effectively. Create emailers that can attract the reader’s attention almost immediately. Through these emailers inform the fans and subscribers about new events, gigs, concerts, albums, etc.

Promotional gifts

Another very effective marketing strategy that is been used for years now; is promotional gifts. Get some promotional gifts created for the audience. These can be anything like drinkware, pens, t-shirts, caps, etc. add the music bands or the albums name and logo on it.

One can distribute these gifts to the fans in the audience. This can help in promoting the band to the larger crowd. Also, who does not like gifts! At times, these gifts make the fans connect to the band on a more personal level.

Start blogging

Blogging has time and again proved to be a very effective way to make some loyal fans and followers of a brand. Therefore, every new and bidding need to invest in a good blog of theirs.

An informative blog is very helpful because it shows that musicians have a huge knowledge of the field. This makes the visitors more intrigued by the band and their music. One can use the blog to post reviews, news, and happening of the music industry, some basic info about the music world, etc.

Get a publicist

Sometimes working alone may not be enough and one might require help from a professional. This is where it can be quite helpful to hire a publicist. They will help in bringing the music brand the kind of attention they deem fit.

They will help with press releases, in getting into print media, get interviews, and get more popular venues for live gigs.

Collab with other music businesses

One of the very popular ways to tap the larger audience base and get noticed is by working with other music businesses. Make the marketing more prolific by reaching out to other businesses like radios, DJs, Music websites, and other musicians.

As these businesses tend to have a larger fan base, it can be a great opportunity for one to increase their fan base.

Albums covers, posters and flyers

Well, many tend to only keep their efforts in marketing to digital media. But, many are not on social media or are not very hands-on with the internet. But, the latter group is also a potential fan base, and it is important not to ignore them.

Work with some designers and get catchy posters to be put up on various parts of the city. Distribute flyers as well, as one may not know when they catch a curious follower. Also, if one is planning to release their CD’s then it better to give it an attractive and catchy album cover. This will attract shoppers’ attention at the store.

Final words

Being a musician is not easy these days. One needs to start working on their marketing strategies from the very start. This will give them a boost in the market, and, will help in reaching out to the audience much faster and is a more organic way. The marketing strategy should be a good mix of digital media, print media, live gigs, and lots of thoughtfulness.



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