THE DESIRE TO CHANGE…HARRY CONNICK AND MY FIRST PLATINUM VOCAL
THE DESIRE TO CHANGE…HARRY CONNICK AND MY FIRST PLATINUM VOCAL
My Blackberry had officially crapped out. Reason is too many undeleted E-mails. So I went back and started deleting. You find some crazy stuff. This was a memo to the staff---or the staff that was actually on board at this early date. Six years ago today.
2001 is the beginning of the future of radio.......it's just a matter of AFDI.
In terrestrial radio you gotta "get special permission" to do something new, different and unusual
At XM, you gotta get "special permission" to do anything normal and accepted
If WE don't do it....it ain't going to happen......WE are the Army that can liberate and CHANGE the sound of radio
Artists and visionaries change things. To be an artist and a visionary...it starts by thinking acting and living like one. There is no room
for the average, the tired, the stagnant thinkers or the boring....not at XM Programming.
High Standards. If you balance insanity with detail, you will be effective in your creative work. All insane and people won't get it...all detail and
It’ll be robotic.......it's all in the balance.
Where are we at now???? Pretty damn good start....lots of momentum.....old thinking starting to break down...new ideas starting to blossom
What's next???? The preparations for the battle.
.....after everyone catches up with boot camps, we will go into "BOOTCAMP PART V: Preparing for War"........If you think CES preparation has been exciting.....
that's been the "band working up songs in the rehearsal hall"......coming soon, we're "going into the studio"....now that is going to be our Abbey Road .
We must do to radio what the Beatles did to music or 2001 did to film or Millionaire did to game shows or Jets did to Travel or Mc Donald’s did to Howard Johnson or what Microsoft did to PCs. I'm not joking...our mission is on that level. There is no excuse for sounding like terrestrial radio. Our job is to invent the XM sound that America loves.
It's a pleasure working with all of you......please continue to unstrap your mind, re-think, change, revolutionize everything from sweepers to on-air names.
Ideas, problems, mental blocks, difficulty inventing? No problem.....the doors are always open to work through these issues with you
Ladies and Gentlemen------this is our year.
I DO wonder if we’ve maintained this spirit. I think we have on most channels. It would be very hard on ALL channels just because there are so many of them. What is IT we’re after? Things like:
*Being the Soundtrack to North America
*The voice of the NEW mainstream
*Creating the next sound for those in their musically formulative years
*Bringing back the sound that made radio an icon in days past.
*Balancing Soul with Science
…having a profound impact on listeners. A positive one that radio hasn’t created in a LONG time. Life beyond the morning shows and ubiquitous Talk shows…
Gets down to a WAY of thinking. A way that you see in other media, but haven’t seen widespread in radio for eons. A DESIRE to do things better…to re-think EVERYthing…a DESIRE to think about the listeners needs instead of going with the radio flow which clearly isn’t what North America really wants. IF they did, there’d be no use for Satellite or Internet radio…but guess what, the radio CREATIVE model ain’t workin…..Then there’s the DESIRE to dis-associate from old radio thinking…a DESIRE to seek new songs that will turn a listener ON. And I mean in EVERY genre…even hits focused channels…instead of going with the radio flow—often the blind
Leading the blind….a DESIRE to actually LISTEN to music. To be the filter for the masses. THAT is a critical ting radio has lost in it’s greed to out hit the competition at the expense of the listeners…the DESIRE to create produced pieces that are more akin to the cool sonics you hear on TV ads and less in line with the bullshit 80’s sound that radio tends to deliver…the DESIRE to be a student of the genre instead of a student of the format. This is critical stuff that not everyone “gets”---but is SO bloody important to XM’s future. Key word: DESIRE!!!! It’s gotta be in your genes. When we hired the original XM Staff, track record was a non-issue, it was all about WHO HAD THE DESIRE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. ANY creator that makes a difference through re-thinking and changing has the DESIRE built into their DNA. You can’t force it---you end up with cheese. It’s gotta be instinctive…an instinctive DESIRE to make a difference.
One thing that I wish we’d do better is supporting new important CD’s across the platform. New Norah Jones came out—broke every sales record at Amazon. Sure, we’re all over it, but I just don’t hear the excitement that XM has it on our air….Something I sent around to our guys:
I noticed this blurb (see below). I don’t have any “answers”, but I think its REEEEEEAAAAAAL important to embrace important releases like this. We used to do this better. I doubt if there’s an organized way to talk up the fact that XM has these important new releases—or at least we haven’t figured that out yet. But I think we need to be aware of releases like this and say the LOFT and CAFÉ are on it, OTHER channels should have the DJ’s saying things like “New Norah Jones is out—check XM Café & Loft..Bla bla bla...” This is an element that makes us the music authorities via ACTION not slogans. No-one else does this...in fact I doubt if anyone else will play anything but the “single”—Supporting new releases by channeling on air raps to INFORMING listeners about things like this should be in our DNA.
Norah Jones Sets Amazon.com RecordNorah Jones' third album, "Not too late" has become the most pre-ordered album of all time on Amazon.com, according to the online retailer
Harry Connick Junior: After years of trying, we finally booked Harry Connick Jr. to do Artist Confidential. Our Lincoln Center facility was booked so Randy Ezratty found this AMAZINGLY nice room at Right Track studios on 38th Street in New York. Great vibe. Great everything. This was one complicated deal. Harry has a 14 piece orchestra…all Union guys. Ann Marie Wilkins and her group at her management firm are super pro. Tough…but pro. Not “easy” to deal with, but if I were an artist, they’d be the type I’d want to represent me. All of this was done on FIVE days notice! It was nuts. The day arrives. Harry and his army of an orchestra and crew. Randy and his team, Jay Krugman and Harvey Leeds from Sony, throngs of fans and even a few XM Executives like Blair Kutrow, My-Chau Ngyuen and Hugh Panero’s MOM. The show was absolutely brilliant. Harry was the loosest most personable guy you’d want to meet. Totally cool. Lou Brutus handled the hosting duties this tome around in place of regular host George Taylor Morris who was recovering from surgery (He’s fine). The show goes on without a hitch and we are high fiving all day. Then---OH NO! An urgent email from Ann Marie that Harry did not like the way his band played. Initially it was “What the fuck”??!! Up until midnight exchanging emails with our shocked team and Ann Marie. In reality—Harry understands that this show can reach 44 million listeners and he IS a perfectionist—can’t blame him. After three days of depression over this, we found a fix. Randy and super engineer John Harris re-recorded the parts Harry didn’t like. Rush the sounds to Aaron Lee our resident editor and assembly maven and get it in the system! So the whole thing will come off as planned...and everyone is happy. These events are magical…but at a price. They can be REAL crazy. I credit our team and the professionalism of Wilkins management for saving a historically great day for Harry’s music. The Artist Confidential recording season is starting to heat up. The team here that co-ordinates, records and produces these events is spectacular.
I really appreciate professional managers. They balance protecting the artists with being efficient to deal with. Low Bullshit factor is especially nice
One band I did a ton of work with was the Alan Parsons Project which was really Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson. Talk about two different kinda guys. Alan is a sporty guy with a golden ear. Eric is a kind of hulking Scotsman, follower of Freud and world class gourmand. Together they were ying and yang, but for several years it worked. They had an ugly divorce I hear, though I still talk to Alan quiet a bit. It’s a lot like me and Eric Logan where the two totally opposite points of view and lifestyles work in harmony…except no divorce planned. Anyways, one night we and our spouses were having a dinner at an Italian joint in London’s Hampstead area. In the middle of the dinner, under influence of a 1966 Chateau Lafite (not Italian, but Eric Woolfson was paying) we were talking about their next Album. They needed someone to talk complete nonsense. I can do that. So I launched into this absurd bullshit rap about everything from fake play by play baseball to insurance sales. Alan said “that’s it”! And ran back to Abbey Road for remote recording equipment. Armed with his equipment and a good French wine buzz, I went nuts. They loved it and it ended up on their song “Lets Talk about Me”. I was credited as Laser Beam. An anagram for my name that Eric came up with. Nursing a hangover the next morning at the Carlton Towers Hotel (then kind of a media hang) I called Eric to replay the night. He did and I had my first vocal credit…..sorta.
For fans of 60’s Top 40, check out www.560.com An extremely cool site celebrating WQAM in Miami. Not for everyone—you had to be there…but if you were, spend awhile on it—very cool stuff from a golden era. WQAM was one of if not the first Top 40 Stations. I understand it stands for We Quit at Midnight”. It was a Todd Storz station. Storz big error was not buying into FM. Kind of like Rock Island would probably be a major transportation company today if in 1955 they bought an airline. Live and learn…