Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Now it’s getting interesting. The actual launch show is in its final production stages. We give Bob along with his team complete freedom. Why would we want it any other way? The last thing we want is a Bob Dylan show sanitized or compromised to radio standards. The magic is hearing what Bob Dylan can do with a radio show. No doubt it will be different from any other show…ever.

However, there is a lot that we at XM need to do to support the show, particularly in promoting it. It’s a learning experience. At first a bunch of our more adventurous “audio animators” as we cal them wanted to take a crack at the thirty and sixty second promotional announcements. In a sonic array that is a bit like a merger of Rocky Squirrel and Frank Zappa, they created some pretty incredible pieces. WAY out there. His team has the right to approve these and we knew they’d either hate them or love them. He hated them. Actually they liked them, but thought they were way too crazed for Bob Dylan. Or maybe the wrong kind of crazed. No problem…we kind of knew that. It’s a good feeling that our guys can create something that brilliantly insane, even if the got thumbs down from the Dylan camp.

OK—this time we’ll produce some things with some guidance. We did. They were close. But they didn’t like these either. Too over-produced. Now I’m getting a feel for the style that Bob’s team wants. I took a crack at writing something. They liked it. Jim Mc Bean one of our animation aces recorded it---I just sent the MP3 to them. I think he’ll like it. Very informational…not too dense with sound. Stay tuned.

This project is refreshing. Painful at times…but refreshing. The Dylan camp doesn’t operate off the radio handbook. They operate via the Dylan handbook which is probably more relevant today to listeners than the radio handbook is. Even the drastically re-written XM handbook. These guys know no rules…it’s all about sound. They have this keen and powerful Point of View that has absolutely nothing to do with radio. THAT in itself is a learning experience. I always prided myself on thinking beyond what the radio sheep were thinking…but these guys are SO far away from “radio thinking” that it really gets you realizing how engrained we radio people are in a certain style of thinking and creating.

Just received the show’s graphic logo. Again—there ain’t nothin’ like it in radio. Zero “corporate” look. Very camp. Very earthly. As good as our graphic guys are, we would have never come up with this very cool retro look. Again, they aint thinking radio graphics…they’re thinking Bob graphics. This is all liberating. This won’t be another radio show. This is different. And it’s different by design, but spontaneously. No one is thinking “this has to be different’, it’s just happening that way. Not too many radio thinkers to screw it up. Keeps us on our toes.

The web design was another area. We have some brilliant web people working on this, but in going through the web plan with them, there were dozens of little details. Lines. Looks. Attitudes that weren’t quite right. I talked it through with them. They got it. Still---Bob’s guys found more “flaws”—though they were pretty minor. I felt pretty good that I’m starting to learn how this thing needs to look and smell. An education in cool.

Had to send Eddie some sound. He wanted some sound effects and strange vintage “classic” radio bits. Got ‘em sent. Mc Bean and John Keith, two of our guys doing a ton of work on this put a nice package together. Hmmm…I wish more of our own Programmers asked for this stuff. I’m confident that this Dylan adventure will inspire us all. In radio! His show will obviously open up some music voids in our heads…but who woulda thunk that this show would inspire in radio. I thought WE were the experts. Guess not. Can’t stop learning. That’s the problem at FM. They learn about systems and research, but stopped learning about the soul of radio.

One thing I can help these guys on is the classic radio thing. I understand that. So do they. Together I think this thing will morph into something more like a radio variety show from the early 50’s than anything else. Now that is good.

We really have our A team plugged into the production. Randy Ezratty and Rob Macomber from XM Productions in NYC are on the scene up there. Going beyond the call…on a taxi shuttle schedule to and from the production office. Here it’s McBean and Keith…and a lot of other people. Then there’s George Taylor Morris who runs Deep Tracks, the show’s home channel. George is experienced in this as he’s closely involved in Tom Petty’s show…and George is helping immensely with the music. We have millions of songs in our library, but even then Bob and his team are finding some real gems, that even we don’t have. But we’re getting them. I think some might be on 78’s. But this ain’t gonna be no oldies show. It’s about MUSIC. The dates are irrelevant. It’s all over the road—for the right reasons. I’m Kissinger. Keeping the XM and Dylan camps on the same page. Feels pretty good. This thing might actually happen! And LISTENERS are the ones who will really benefit from this.

We moved the press announcement back a week. No big deal. Nathaniel Brown and Anne Taylor Griffith need some extra time to organize. Actually we ALL need the extra time as the premier date is creeping up.

Feels like the days before the moon launch must of felt to NASA. The countdown continues…

* THE DYLAN DIARY PART 4 (The Launch is Real)


At 5:00 PM, Blogger rwellsrwells said...

So, Part 4 - we're waiting.

At 7:21 PM, Blogger mytake said...

Folks I'm from the land of mighty lakes, Duluth country not really range country but close enough.
KFAI.org has my music when I have the time. Can't You do the same for BOB. ARCHIVE his SHOW

At 8:33 PM, Blogger couleegirl said...

I thought the first show was great. Bob's eclectic taste in music is like my own, which made the show especially enjoyable. This is a wonderful listening experience.

At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Susan said...

I've really enjoyed both shows, thank you for getting this on the air.

Any chance of having a repeat at 5 pm on Thursday or Wednesday? I think you did on Thursday, but now that time is gone. My XM radio is in my car and I have to work around my work schedule.

Thanks again for a wonderful program.

At 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part 4? It's Friday as the crow flies...we'd love to read your conclusion. We are in suspense.

At 10:09 AM, Blogger Japester said...

Dylan is really setting the pace. Only a small percentage of the Drinking show were on either iTunes or Napster.

At 4:57 PM, Blogger don-o said...

Thanks for pulling the curtain back on this amazing ride. I also bought XM when you got Bob. Bubye Netflix, for a while at least.

Keep the budget in balance and who has time for movies with all this great music out there?

Congratulations on this wonderful achievement.

Stern or Dylan? That cracked me up!

At 7:38 PM, Blogger whoo-ee said...


At 9:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob and the Freemasons!
Some songs you don't have to talk about, they just say it all!
Praise Bob!

At 4:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a wonderful show! The great music, Mr. Dylan's humor, and the incredible background information he provides for each selection makes listening a pleasure.

Thank you!

P.S. I must admit, I'm a little afraid to try Bob's mint julep recipe...

At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard all five Dylan shows and this is definitely a high point in Dylan's entire career which means it is of MEGA proportions. The music selection and of course especially his banter is truly amazing. I only got an XM subscription for this, and it is so worthwhile...plus it has turned me on to other programs. Keep up the good work doesn't say nearly enough...49Days.

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Ron said...

I love Theme Time Radio Hour! I caught most of the marathon while going for a walk on Memorial day. (love my portable XM radio also!) Please keep up the good work. I can't get enough of XM!

At 12:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the music is old, I'm getting older and proud of it. Don't change a thing. This is the first radio show I've ever looked forward to listening to each week!

At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fab radio like you want it ...

At 10:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the keen insights of how Lee landed the Dylan radio show.
Keith - Atlanta

At 7:50 PM, Blogger Theresa said...

Not in any particular order of importance.

1)Love the show for a lot of reasons.

2)Enjoying other xm programs too.

3)Thank you for this blog. Very fun reading.

4)I save each new show to memory. Because of my schedule I listen at night, in bed, lights out. Couldn't believe when Bob referred to that. He is right it is the best way to listen.

5)Tell Bob not to blow off the children of the 60's too much because it was a 55 yr. old guy who introduced me to his music. Check your audience Bob. People bring their kids to see you.

At 1:12 PM, Blogger Japester said...

How come Theme Time Radio hasn't done any shows about birds?

There's lots of good songs about birds, but the best one is "Ducks on the Wall" by the Kinks.

Anyway I've heard that song and Surfn' Bird too. Still, if anybody can find cool songs about birds that lots of people haven't heard too much yet, it's probably that Mr. Dylan.

At 3:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is out of left field, but wouldn't Bob and Jessie Coulter be great together? (Don't know the marital status of either one but I recently heard Jessie Coulter's cover of "Rainy Day Woman..." when the idea hit me!)They would be perfect for each other!

At 7:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Wallterdog said...

Thanks XM. This was this show was the value add that convinced me to give XM a try and I haven't been dissapointed.

At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i've been in radio since 1975 and i feel totally vindicated by this show. Bob this is really great. this is show is why i got XM and i really look forward to it every week.

At 1:11 PM, Blogger RWB said...

Thank you to XM for getting Dylan to do this and for allowing him to do it right.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger Theresa said...

Theme Time Radio Hour has gone beyond simple enjoyment to impressive for me. I can get pretty lost in the program and always feel sad when it is over. I'm listening to music that I've never heard before and probably wouldn't have sought out on my own. On top of that I'm learning about all kinds of interesting things along with some good humor. I wasn't expecting Bob's voice to be so smooth. Intoxicating and soothing at the same time.

Thanks for the show and this blog Lee!


At 4:54 PM, Blogger Theresa said...

Theme Time Radio Hour has gone beyond simple enjoyment to impressive for me. I can get pretty lost in the program and always feel sad when it is over. I'm listening to music that I've never heard before and probably wouldn't have sought out on my own. On top of that I'm learning about all kinds of interesting things along with some good humor. I wasn't expecting Bob's voice to be so smooth. Intoxicating and soothing at the same time.

Thanks for the show and this blog Lee!


At 9:34 AM, Anonymous MargoX said...

keep reading your blogs on
the Bob Dylan show but the reception here in Cornwall U.K. is really bad, any chance of getting a recording of the shows,I am soo!grieved,need to hear THE MAN
and his music. He is my poet laureate!

At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Nancy said...

McBeans wry, dry sense of humor is spectacular! He was a steady force in south FloriDUH for many years. We miss him! You all are quite lucky to have such a talented and dedicated, creative individual amongst you. He's the best!


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