Today is the special Thanksgiving Edition of the show. I’m going to give you 10 Things that I’m most thankful for as they relate to Dance Music. We’ll also check out this week’s Top Dance Music news. And of course, I’ll be giving you my Pick Hit of the week. All that is coming up on this, Episode 9 of the Dance Music Consultant Podcast.
This Weeks New Stories:
Kerli inks a deal with Ultra
Forbes releases its annual list of the “World’s Highest Paid Musicians
We take a look at the year to date sales picture for both Albums and Singles
David Guetta teams up with United Nations for ‘The World Needs More’ campaign, in supporting relief efforts in the Philippines and around the world
This weeks feature topic: 10 Reasons that I’m Thankful as it relates to Dance Music
I wanted to do something a little bit different this week since its Thanksgiving week, so I’ve decided to give you 10 Reasons that I’m thankful. Don’t worry; these are all things that relate to the music industry so hopefully it won’t bore you too much!
These are not in the order of importance, since they are all important to me, but rather in order of time as it relates to my career. All with the exception of one that is because that one will be the Number 1 reason that I’m thankful.
So I’ll start it off with Reason #10 that I’m thankful and that’s for getting involved in the broadcasting program at Kingsborough Community College. I had absolutely no interest in going into radio and was a business major. Then one day a friend of mine, Joseph Iovelli, was asked to go up and watch one of his friends that had a show because he was thinking about being a co-host with his friend. I went up there and it really changes things for me. I caught the Broadcasting bug. I went and changed my major and started over again. While in the broadcasting program I had a chance to work with a lot of people that went on to great careers in the radio/music biz. People like Kid Kelly, Andy Shane, Geronimo, Tracy Cloherty, Ralphie Marino, Steve Kastenbaum, Karen Stewart, Mickey Garcia, Mike Abrams, and Speedy, to name a few but my biggest influences were Gil Bassetti, Bobby Bee and Cliff Hesse.
Gil, who unfortunately is no longer with us after passing away a couple of years ago, was an amazing friend that loved radio and knew more about it than anyone that I knew. He taught me how to be an on air jock, supported me when it came time to move into the programming department and just a larger than life personality. And was someone that I really enjoyed listening to on our station. He never really had the desire to move into Professional radio but he easily could have.
Now Bobby Bee is probably the best radio dj that you’ve never heard of. Another guy that taught me a lot about programming and being on air. He was never at a loss for words. Every show he did was just filled with so much personality. He’s another guy that I just never understood why he wasn’t on air in NYC. I haven’t heard many jocks in my lifetime that were better than him. He moved down to Florida and watches the industry from a distance now but he has started to put up some YouTube videos of airchecks from back in the day. You should listen to them and try to tell me this guy wasn’t a great jock. I’ll leave a link to an aircheck in the show notes.
Bobby Bee airchecks: http://youtu.be/yRWFemko8BY
And then there’s the grand professor, Cliff Hesse. Learned a lot from his broadcasting classes. He really left the station for the students to run as they saw fit and that kind of experience was worth its weight in gold. To actually be able to run a 10 watt FM station that had a CUME of 250,000 is just crazy.
He allowed the students to develop into amazing talents as you can see from just some of the names I listed before. I’m thankful for the lessons learned there that I’m able to carry through to my day to day today.
The #9 reason that I’m thankful is for the people that allowed me to carry on my dream of working in the music biz. After leaving WKRB, I went to work for an agency that sold commercials to ad agencies for comparative study. And while I was setting sales records for them, the work wasn’t what I wanted to really do. So I started to go back to reading the trade publications to see what kind of work was out there and then one day I came across an ad for a job in a mail room at a record label. I thought about it for a second and said maybe that’s my way into the world of earning a paycheck in the music biz. The first person that I’m thankful for in that quest was Hilary Putnam. She was Cory Robbins assistant and did the initial interview. I remember the room smelling like bananas, I guess someone was using the office for a break room, and walking out of there and her saying that I was exactly was Cory was looking for.
She set up the next interview with Cory. So the days before the interview, I broke out every magazine that I could to see what kind of information I could find out about Profile Records. I didn’t know much outside of the fact that they had Run-DMC, Judy Torres and a couple of other acts. This was before the internet so I broke out the old magazines that I saved like Dance Music Report and learned what I could about the label and Cory himself. I went into the interview with Cory confident that my career was finally going to get going and when I got the call that Cory wanted to hire me I was ecstatic.
I worked the mailroom for a little less than a year and was then given a chance to move into Dance Promotion as Sharon White was leaving the company. Manny Bella taught me all about doing promotion. It was eye opening getting to go on the road to conventions and learning from him in the Promo meetings.
I was there for 5 years when Cory sold his half of the company and left, the guy that brought it wanted to bring his own guy in to do promotion so I was let go. Never being one to network for jobs, since I loved where I was, I knew I was in trouble. It was also during this time that I learned that people in the
Music biz is only interested if you can do something for them. If you can’t, they don’t know who you are.
I continued to make calls and 2 things opened up for me. One was a sales position at HMV and I was going to have to take that after being unemployed for 5 months, but then Ed Simek, the head of production at Profile, called me and said he thinks he has a position for me at Select Records if I wanted it. The position, the mailroom. I meet with Fred Munao and am offered the job. There wasn’t a choice for me. I was going back to the mailroom at Select Records and starting from the bottom again.
After a couple of months there, they let me do some retail promotion but I wasn’t really feeling the atmosphere of the place. Most people were nice enough but there was also things that I didn’t agree with so I knew I needed to find a place to move on.
In the fall of 1995, I’d heard that Cory Robbins was getting back into the record biz thru a mutual friend. She encouraged me to reach out to him after she’d talked to him. Cory hired me over the phone making me the first employee of Robbins Entertainment and we were going to start January 2, 1996. Again, I’m super excited to be back in the record biz.
Fast forward to the fall of 2008. I’m told that I’ll no longer be employed by Robbins sometime in the next couple of months. Devastated, having to leave a business that I worked so hard to make a success, I start to desperately look for a job. After talks with a couple of labels, no one is interested even after the success I’ve had. Now, I’m feeling that the dream is over. I’ve spent so much time building up a company that I never built up myself. Never tried to look for another job while employed. Never thinking I’d be without work after showing that I could be a part of a team that accomplished amazing things. Time was running out and I had to start looking for work outside the industry.
But then 2 people came to my rescue and kept me in the music biz. Cary Vance told me don’t worry, we’ll find something. And we did, March 2nd 2009 I started at Promo Only Promotions. He couldn’t pay me anything near what I needed to make but I’d be able to stay in the music biz.
Now while doing promotion is great, I was missing that feeling of discovering music for a label. Eddie O’Loughlin stepped in and offered me a label deal that would go through Next Plateau. That allowed me to do what I loved to do, discover new talent. So thank you to all of you. You’ve been major influences in my career and I wanted to acknowledge that and say thank you.
The #8 Reason I’m thankful has a little to do with my industry mentors and that is for being able to do A&R for those years. They gave me the opportunity to find, discover and help new talent find a way in the very crowded waters of the music business. I’m so proud of the results that the teams I was on for
Being able to deliver hit records from acts that no major label cared about. We created our own path and while nobody will say it, and instead they’ll give the credit to David Guetta, it was us that opened the door for dance music at CHR again in the 90’s and 2000’s. We proved the concept that dance music wasn’t’ something that radio should be afraid of and that it was something that people wanted to hear. From those that made it onto the radio like Cascada, Lasgo, Ian Van Dahl and Rockell to those that didn’t, it was an honor to work with you all.
Reason #7 that I’m thankful this Thanksgiving. Back in the early 2000′s, I had an idea to create the Dance Music Hall of Fame. Our music has never gotten the critical respect that it deserves and I wanted to do something about it. So I reached out to what became the initial board of directors, Eddie
O’Loughlin, Tom Silverman, Daniel Glass and Brian Chin. And they were all on board. In the end, there really wasn’t the kind of support that we needed to keep it running after 2 years of events but I’m thankful that we were able to have some of the early pioneers of the music recognized.
Reason #6 I’m thankful is for learning about Internet Radio by being a part of Live365. Back in 2006, KTU started a strange bit of programming of not repeating songs during the daytime. That left me listening to less dance music than I wanted to, so I decided to start my own station. It’s been a remarkable experience and one that gave birth to getting more recognition to other dance stations via the FMQB Internet Radio Dance Chart, which I help put together each week. So thanks Live365 for allowing me to once again be a radio programmer.
Reason #5 that I’m thankful is for podcasting and those that have taught me what makes a great podcast by example. Before getting into Internet Radio, I seriously thought about starting up in this new medium known as podcasting. After deciding to go the Internet Radio route, podcasting took a back seat until earlier this year. I’ve always listened to podcasts because I find it a great way to learn about things in an entertaining manner. Some of my favorite podcasters have shown me by example what a great podcast is. From Lou Mongello’s WDW Radio podcast to Learning about actual podcasting from Dave Jackson’s School of Podcasting and Daniel J Lewis’s “Audacity to Podcast” shows, I’m having a fun time bringing you these weekly shows. So thank you Lou, Dave and Daniel for leading by example as to what I good show should be. I’m working hard to get it to that level.
Reason #4, I’m thankful for the stations that continue to show the world that pure dance formats do work. So thank you to all the FM, Satellite, Cable and Internet stations that not only keep the music alive but also show the Pop world what the formats next big hits are going to be. Some people will deny it but the fact is that when a record goes top 10 on the FMQB Dance Radio Charts, people start to watch it. The dance music format has had as many million selling singles as any other genre this year. Dance Radio, you are making a difference.
Reason #3, I’m thankful for Social media in general. I’m thankful because it allows an extremely shy introvert like me the chance to express myself to the world. Yes, it’s true. I’m socially awkward and extremely shy when it comes to being around people that I don’t know. I’ve always been a better writer than speaker so Social Media is a great outlet for me to express myself. It also allows me to stay in touch with friends and family from around the world.
So thanks Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and all the others.
Reason #2 that I’m thankful for on this Thanksgiving show is for all of my supporters out there. From my internet stations to the people that I’ve met from my days at the record labels to the podcast listeners, thank you. Whether you know me from any of those outlets or you just like or comment on a post of mine because you found me on social media, I’m greatly appreciative of all of you for your support.
Reason #1 thing that I’m grateful for? That’s easy. It’s my family. They have always allowed me to pursue my dream. They’ve always done what need to be done in the tough times. I’m grateful for everything they do, day in and day out and am glad that they’ve been there every step of the way and I love you all.
And that my friends are 10 reasons that I am thankful this Thanksgiving.
Here is my Pick Hit of the Week:
Topher Jones featuring Katie Sky – Talk About It
And that’s going to do it for this episode of the Dance Music Consultant, Hopefully, liked this special Thanksgiving show. I’d love to know what you’re thankful for so if you want to share, just go to the shownotes on Dance Music Consultant.com and leave it in the show notes.
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Thank you so much for listening.
Until next time my friends, my name is John Parker and I am your Dance Music Consultant signing off. Have a fantastic week and an amazing Thanksgiving.