Monday, August 13, 2007



The XMX Channel two is on the air and it is off the charts. For example, To REALLY hear Bob Dylan and Tom Petty do their shows…tell their stories…play an eclectic mix that only guys of this musical caliber can play is mind blowing…then you hear Quincy Jones’s shows—My God! Then to REALLY hear the Artist Confidentials…and Bill Anderson talking one on one with Country masters. THIS is what XM is all about. THIS is radio magic. THIS is brilliance. The programs on XMX have historically gotten played, but in a fleeting way. On XMX you can LIVE these shows. They DEFINE 21st century radio.

Many Artist Confidential tapings recently.

KORN: Loud. The most ragged band we’ve had in the famous and luxurious Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center. THE most beautiful venue in the land with a three story glass wall overlooking Central Park. Usually a place where Tony Bennett types play, though we’ve also had Sting and Andrea Bocelli there. Korn were great…hilariously out of place…but great. The venue was all freaked out that they’d be a bunch of rowdy glue sniffers with guns. In reality the crowd was a totally cool, albeit dangerous looking to the ultra straight briefcase crowd as they were all adorned in heavy tattoo, chains and black t-shirts…but they were Rockers. That’s cool. Host Lou Brutus did a good job as the band was a bit “laid back”...but they warmed up and delivered a great show…the first five minutes were tense though. Lou: So—how’s the new CD? Band: crickets. Went like that for a few minutes. Funny enough was that in the same venue, a few hours later, we had Derek Jeter doing a Baseball Confidentail hosted by our Buck Martinez. Jeter was great. Buck was brilliant. The crowd ranging from cute kids to hard core fans. The best questions were from little kids asking questions like “Mr. Jeter—who’s your favorite best friend on the team”? Randy Ezratty, Rob Macomber, Jayme Karp, Megan Boggia and their respective teams were unbelievable in handling two high profile/high maintainence events with grace and perfection. It helped that Korn asked for oxygen…Megan found a tank of medical Ox from some underground dealer who didn’t require a Doctors notice. After Korn, there was a full tank left and she tried it. Got a huge buzz…reminded me of a 15 year old after her first drink. Giddy. Then everyone else started sucking the mask. I avoided it because I had to fly that night and something told me it might not be a good idea…but everyone else was buzzed on pure oxygen.

MANDY MOORE: I was a little worried about this one. Artist Confidential is about artists with a story to tell. Eric Logan is pressing me to get younger “pop” artists—I tend to draw in the grizzled veterans…I figured Mandy might be one of these airhead DUI types with deep answers like” Yeahh, like Paris is soo cool”. Man was I wrong. She was intelligent, focused and a joy. Extremely professional and smart. If there was a Culture Stock Market—I’d buy shares of Mandy.

MOODY BLUES: Hey—these guys are the goods. Plus they’ve been on the Simpsons. Justin Hayward is an old friend and it was great to see him again. I recall many meetings with him—always found him delightfully smart, passionate and a genuine No BS “artist” of the highest caliber. Odd thing is that he looks EXACTLY as he has since about ’69, and his voice is actually BETTER than ever. We packed the room in exactly 9 seconds after the invites went out. They are SO British. You really appreciate the soaring timelessness of their music and particually the lyrics that take you to a special place if you let hem. A wonderful event. George Taylor Morris proved that his is a master at engaging artists of this level.

…Korn…Mandy Moore…Moody Blues—Then we also had a fantastic live set with Pearl Jam at Lollapalooza…and Michelle from 20 on 20 scored Hillary Duff doing a show from her bus. Can you say diversity? Speaking of diversity—again, check XMX Channel 2. It’s amazing.

A perk of working at XM is baseball. The night before the “Double Header” of confidential (Korn/Jeter) at Jazz at Lincoln Center, I flew Baseball programmer Chuck Dickemann, his son and Jayme Karp to New York. That night we had field passes to see the Yankees play my beloved but pathetic White Sox. Unreal. Walked through the catacombs…past the Sox and Yankees club house, THROUGH the Sox dugout and then hung out ON the field during batting practice. Now I know how it feels for a civilian to go backstage at a concert. The one thing I noticed is that for the fans—it’s a big game—for the players, it’s a job. These guys are at work. Another day...another game. I found it fascinating. Yankee reliever Mike Meyers as well as a lot of players and coaches know Chuck. Myers was especially loose and fun to talk to…took Chuck’s kid into the clubhouse to get some hats. Unfortunately he was released two days later! The Sox went on to lose miserably.

Then—on Saturday flew two silent auction winners back to New York and back to Yankee Stadium. A-Rod hit #500. Pretty exciting…but damn it was 107 degrees…I am OVER day baseball when it’s over 100 degrees.

I really don’t like most politicians and tabloid celebrities. Most of them seem to have severe emotional issues. Think about it—to be of the mindset make it in politics being extremely sleezy or even criminal helps—there are of course exceptions, but even many of the exceptions are lowering to the junk culture mentality—maybe that helps get votes, but it’s SO bad for our National health. Does Hilary REALLY need a contest to find a campaign song? I thought these were the people that are supposed to lead with something on a slightly higher level. Newt Gingrich has some interesting comments on CNN:

Potential presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich on Tuesday blasted the modern-day road to the White House as too long, too expensive and verging on "insane."
The former House speaker from Georgia said he will decide whether to enter the GOP presidential field in October. But in a wide-ranging speech at the National Press Club in Washington, he ridiculed campaign consultants and spin doctors who he said are extending the 2008 campaign. He said presidential debates have become "almost unendurable."
"These aren't debates," the former Georgia congressman said. "This is a cross between [TV shows] 'The Bachelor,' 'American Idol' and 'Who's Smarter than a Fifth-Grader.'"
"What's the job of the candidate in this world?" asked
Gingrich. "The job of the candidate is to raise the money to hire the consultants to do the focus groups to figure out the 30-second answers to be memorized by the candidate. This is stunningly dangerous

…then---to be a tabloid celebrity, you need to have severe insecurity. Yes—there are once again exceptions…well, a few anyways. The American public is hip to the politicians…but still enamored with celebrity. THAT is the problem with our culture—revering people who are mentally unstable. I’m not kidding—it’s poison. I’m NOT referring to the brilliant creative artists that live in the deep end (they went off it when they were ten)—I’m talking about the mindless celebrity trash. Gotta separate talent from mindless celebrity. I’m not sure the public does. Pure Celebrity worship Rips the soul apart…feeds bad information into the DNA…Incidentally---the celebrities I refer to are the ones who are celebrities who’s main talent is getting noticed or working the tabloid circuit without really delivering anything more memorable than six months. The politicians I’m talking about are a large portion of them. There still are brilliant and honorable ones, but it’s too easy for the most corrupt, wealthy and scheming---top enter and market themselves high profile politics. Once the American public sheds junk culture celebrity attraction and sees through the pure marketing of politicians, will we heal. But now—it’s evil stuff. Fed by media’s attraction to the instant dollar with zero long term investment in short circuiting the soul of our Nation. Once again it’s unfortunately about marketing bites and bullshit rather than substance---Substance WLL win but the substance people need to wage a war against the dumb-down marketers...or better yet, both sides need to come together and deliver substance and kill the hype and let the substance flourish without the bullshit. Our culture is based on BULLSHIT—that’s bad. I remain optimistic that it’s fixable. Especially since people timelessly engage and respect "real". The slow way is that the BS artists who are being bought into eventually become non factors as the public catches on. I hope for more to FIGHT the Junk Culture/BS and speed up the smartening of our culture. When Europeans think we’re dumb…maybe they’re right. But we're being taught to be dumb. Smarteners that smarten in a way that's in sync with the North American mindset will prevail.

..and then there’s Sean Penn hanging with that lunatic in Venezuela…a real “lead story” Media is the bad guy---Misusing power to feed the junk culture. Fight it!

New York Times is cutting the page sizes to save money. Saving money is important. So is looking into the deeper problem. Newspapers are thrashing about to help their next quarter instead of looking at WHY they are increasingly irrelevant and FIXING it. It’s fixable---but ain’t gonna happen with quarter to quarter band aids…needs some dramatic change. The public perception of the newspaper is that its on life support—all you hear about is the cuts. What if a newspaper re-tooled itself..It’s resources...It’s multi media platform and fucking dramatically changed the paradigm? They’d be a renaissance instead of buzzards.

Remember in 1953, radio was dead. Why listen to the Lone Ranger when you could WATCH it. THEN—Guys like Mc Lendon and Storz created Top 40…and radio instantly went into a golden age. Top 40 was DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT and in sync…and it saved radio. There’s a Top 40 that newspapers can evolbve to—on 21st century terms. Print isn’t dead (look at Maxim, Us or AARP)…news isn’t dead (look at Fox, Drudge and WINS)…It’s the NewsPAPER concept that is still rooted firmly in EIGHTEEN hundreds thinking that is dead.

XM signs Ferrarri for radio. That’s kinda cool. Probably only about ten built a year…but at least they have XM.

LOST HERO: A name that you rarely hear is Jim Schulke. He was one of the godfathers of FM Radio. His stations DOMINATED FM in the 60s and early 70s. His format was “Beautiful Music”—He was an audiophile who had an amazing studio up in New Jersey. He had incredible standards of quality and commanded FM stations who bought his service to meet the standards. Musically it was schmaltz…but brilliantly done. Had massive ratings—mostly geriatric, but massive. He invited me to his Studio way back when I was with Burkhart/Abrams. Wanted me to join him to create an automated AOR format. Had to pass…couldn’t see that working then as AOR was dependant on having a character., but it was a cool experience…opened my eyes to sonic quality as a critical ingredient in success on FM….and beyond


At 12:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may have passed on Jim Shullke's offer. But someone took him up on it. Because I remember hearing his format on WKFM near Syracuse NY in the late 70s, and it was a Top 5 station, beating nearby WOUR.

At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


XM has killed yet another great and unique channel; Hear Music.

The new channle is merely a renamed XM cafe, and doesn't even come close to capturing the hip, fresh, and unique feel of Hear Music.

Bill Evans does a good job with Cafe--but it is NOT Hear Music, and to say the new cahnnel is a combined channel is disingenuous at best.

We love your blog, but it seems to be preaching something that cannot be found in the FM think of tighter, more focused playlists that has overtaken the vibe at XM.

Oh, and Ethel is beyond repetitive--You do realize that 10 songs make up 15% of Kingtson's playlist--and the overall song count hovers around the standard FM 800.

I jave gone from lovuing XM to just kind of "having it." It's a shame--you have always talked about XM growing gracefully, and this is anything but...

At 11:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great post -- I don't know most of the players or the world and have no idea why I happened upon this, exactly, but really enjoyed the writing. I kinda remember WBUS from growing up in Miami. I had no idea they were trying out such crazy shit -- hilarious.

At 1:32 PM, Blogger pselby said...

My two favorite shows in all of XM are Bill Anderson and Bob Dylan, so XMX is great - that being said, I would rather hear one show after another rather than day long blocks of the same show -- I would rather hear Bill Anderson then Tom Petty then Bob Dylan then John McCuen then Eddie Trunk etc. A step in the right direction, though.


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