Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Goodbye AMN, Hello M+E

After 11 years of red-headed stepchild existence, the Austin Music Network will go off the air September 1. Time Warner Cable Channel 15 will be taken over by M+E Television, a new for-profit channel run by Austin Music Partners, a private consortium headed by Connie Wodlinger. I haven't been able to find out whether Grande will pick up M+E, but since Time Warner is one of the investors, I wouldn't count on it.

Seeing AMN go dark (except possibly as an online stream) is sad but hardly a surprise. While it never managed to become what most people envisioned, AMN helped out a lot more artists than it ever got credit for. Several regimes tried and failed to make the channel survive on its own, but there's just not a lot of money to be made in showing music videos by local artists most people have never heard of. Anyone who thought AMN could be a cash cow was either painfully naive or writing a grant.

Last year, Wodlinger boldly projected her new channel would be $3.3 million in the black by 2009. Unless she's planning to air some horse porn alongside those Robert Earl Keen videos, I don't see it happening. That said, Wodlinger has lined up some solid staffers so far, including KGSR morning man Kevin Connor, Houston hip hop authority Matt Sonzala and former Show With No Name host Charlie Sotelo. With talent like that, perhaps there's hope for M+E Television after all.


fantomrecords said...

Greg - Is there any way to find contact info for Connie Wodlinger? I would like to write her a letter stating that I'm in a local band in Austin. And AMN was an outlet for our homemade videos. And has helped us in getting our music to the public. Helping us grow as a small business.
We are afraid that after the transition, the station's support for local independent bands will be lost. Therefore making even harder to make a living playing music.
We are bummed about this...
We can't find any way to contact her through our internet searches. Can you help? - adrian

Greg said...

I don't know Connie Wodlinger and don't have any contact info for her off hand, but I'll keep looking.

I think it'll be really important for local bands that gained exposure through AMN to push the new channel toward doing this as well.

Take care, Adrian