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North Country Public Radio, based at St. Lawrence University, is the recipient of a $330,000 grant from The New York State Music Fund for UpNorth Music, a project to spotlight and promote regional musicians. Over the next two years, a team from NCPR will travel around the North Country to record a wide variety of musical acts, and will present performances through on-air broadcast, podcasts, CDs, and concerts. The New York State Music Fund was created when the New York State attorney general's office resolved investigations against major record companies that had violated state and federal laws prohibiting "pay-for-play," also called "payola."

The settlement agreement stipulated that funds paid by music businesses would support music education and appreciation for the benefit of New York State residents. The attorney general's office enlisted the services of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, one of the nation's largest and most experienced philanthropy services, to develop and manage the grant program.,br>

NCPR station manager Ellen Rocco stated, "We are very pleased to have this opportunity to expand and deepen our relationship with musicians in our service area, and to foster connections between skilled performers and new audiences." UpNorth Music will cover all genres of music including, but not limited to, jazz, blues, bluegrass, traditional, classical, folk and world beat.

The New York State Music Fund published guidelines and criteria and accepted grant applications in a number of categories, including music education and public performances of music by artists working in hip-hop, reggae, fusion, jazz, classical and folk music of all cultures. Applications related to recording, distribution, or broadcast through traditional or new media were also eligible. Special emphasis was placed on reaching underserved populations and broadening awareness of artists, genres or styles with limited access to commercial broadcast or other mass distribution vehicles.

An Advisory Panel comprised of recognized leaders from a cross-section of the music world evaluated and recommended 153 of the 304 applications the fund received for its first cycle.

Awards to the 153 grantees represent every region of New York State and range from $15,000 to $750,000. Diverse forms of popular or experimental music, including hip-hop, indie rock, fusion and reggae account for about 37 percent of grants and more than 13 percent celebrate a spectrum of jazz; 30 percent include new classical music. The state's ethnic or racial minority communities are served by 45 percent of the programs, while 47 percent target low-income communities. The fund's size and emphasis on music of our time set it apart from other arts grant programs.

More information: North Country Public Radio Web Site

Posted: July 27, 2006

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