...is on the air!

My blog is of anything that pops into this brain of mine as well as what pops into other bloggers brains! If I read something I find interesting, I'll add it to mine and give credit, where credit is due!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Demand For Radio Leadership Now

A passionate message from Eric Rhoads, Radio Ink magazine

"Abraham Lincoln did not go to Gettysburg having commissioned a poll to find out what would sell in Gettysburg. There were no people with percentages for him, cautioning him about this group or that group or what they found in exit polls a year earlier. When will we have the courage of Lincoln?"-- Robert Coles

Where Are Radio's Leaders?
The answer lies in this quote from my friend Roy Williams:
"Leadership and management, in my experience, are virtually opposite skill sets. Management requires wisdom, patience and strength. Basically, it's parenting, bringing forward the best of the past, enforcing the status quo. Leadership requires independence, audacity, and courage. It's inherently defiant, questioning the past, challenging the status quo. True leaders require no authority. They think their own thoughts, make their own decisions, carry out their own plans. They say, 'This is what I've decided to do.' And then they do it. Others see them doing it and decide to follow. Leaders lead from the front. Managers manage from behind."

Radio has mistaken management for leadership. We have bred an industry of great managers, but how many risk-takers, how many rebels, how many people willing to challenge the status quo?
Where are the dashing swashbucklers with swords drawn, engaged in a spirited fight to conquer new lands for radio?

Radio used to be filled with rebels. Where are they now?
How many people feel secure even suggesting something new or different, let alone taking bold action at their radio station or company?

Every ship needs a captain. Who is determining radio's strategy? Who is leading radio into uncharted territory? Who is boldly speaking out to engage the troops? Though some individual companies have bold, risk-taking captains, there appears to be a void in radio as an industry. We are being led by a committee of managers.

I just re-read Sun Tsu's Art of War. He states that the most critical component of wining a war is having soldiers who believe so strongly in a cause they are willing to lay their lives on the line and follow their leader into battle. A defeated brigade must avoid battle at all costs until they can be rested, fed, and re-energized.

Dying for radio is probably not in the cards for any of us, but we have committed our entire careers to this medium. Many of our troops are tired, in need of nourishment and encouragement. Many have been spent, worn to the bone, abused, paperworked, systemized, and made to operate under battle conditions for months or years at a time. How can radio make strides with worn soldiers?
Sadly, words I hear all too frequently are, "When will it be fun again?" And, of course, some self-assured company leader will respond with, "We're not here to have fun, we're here to make a profit."

But if you believe in Raymond Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, you'll understand that radio soldiers who feel they have a bigger purpose and who feel great joy and satisfaction in their work are more likely to make a profit.

Leaders don't make decisions by committee. Leaders don't fire people who disagree. Leaders don't threaten careers if paperwork isn't done. Leaders don't await marching orders from their boards. Leaders don't fly their jets across the country for a five-minute meeting to fire someone and then argue over severance that's a fraction of the cost of the flight. Leaders don't look to find everything that is wrong with radio.

Leaders challenge the status quo and take risks. Leaders burn the bridges behind them and make an all-out commitment to change. Leaders frequently engage their troops, present grand visions, and are willing to break every rule if it means potential success in the future.

These are challenging days for radio. The outcome of decisions we face today on Capitol Hill, in the advertising community, and on many other fronts will determine whether this industry thrives or stumbles.

Are you a leader or a manager? We need both, but we need leaders at every radio station in America willing to lead and spit in the eye of conformity. We need leaders willing to risk their jobs and willing to stand up to those who manage them, and we don't need those who wimp out and kiss up.

We need leaders in programming willing to stop the homogenization and formulaic approach to radio. Sure, it works, but I don't see Americans having a love affair with radio. You can change that. You can make them want to tune in to hear what they've missed. You can entertain and engage them. This is the mark of good programmer, not someone who is a sheep following 30 years of tired and worn science.

We need a true leader at the NAB. We cannot get behind non-industry managers who read speeches written by some novice speechwriter who has never worked in broadcasting and invents lame slogans like "We're the greatest industry in the world" for a leader who never set foot in a radio station before getting the job. The NAB executive board needs to exhibit leadership and have the guts to hire a true leader.

NAB needs a courageous rebel willing to challenge everything, not a good soldier implementing orders. We need a leader who has spent time behind a microphone, who has attended countless radio promotions, and who has had to make a payroll and has had to call on advertisers. We need someone willing to fight to the death for free speech. Yes we need a lobbyist, too, but we can hire a great lobbyist to follow a great leader.

Everyone, it seems, is lukewarm.
Where is the passion?
Where is the emotion?
Where is the excitement?
Where is the communication?
Where is the guiding star?

I'm tired of calling for change and seeing the status quo maintained. I'm tired of launching conferences with dozens of innovative and groundbreaking speakers and seeing only a few hundred forward-thinking people show up instead of those who need it most. I'm tired of harping about the need to return to important localism, community, and entertainment values and hearing hundreds of radio stations using the same formats, the same liners, the same voices. I'm not living in the past, but I'm tired of CEOs who say, "Eric, those days are gone. You need to face the reality that radio can no longer be about entertainment."

That's like saying the movies can no longer be about entertainment.
Yet I am invigorated when I drive into a small town and hear a young, squeaky-voiced talent learning and growing live on the air. It gives me hope, it's authentic, and in my mind it's more listenable than some slick, golden-throated pro talking about "10 in a row" or "The greatest hits." That may be pretty, but it no longer stands out.

Radio needs a leader willing to stand up against all odds and make change happen. Who is Mrs. or Mr. Radio? We need to find you. We need to hire you. Our future depends on it.

Eric RhoadsPublisher, Radio Ink Magazine

On the air until six tonight.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Black Crowes Album August 31 2009!

THE BLACK CROWES will release their new studio CD, Before the Frost... on 31st August 2009.

A second album, titled …Until The Freeze, will be given away for free exclusively through a unique download code which is included in Before The Frost… as a “thank you” to their fans for two decades of continued support.

Before the Frost..., and its corresponding free album …Until The Freeze, were recorded over a series of five nights at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY. Although both are studio albums, all the new material was performed and recorded in front of an intimate audience of the band’s fans, making them a part of The Black Crowes musical history.

The innovative technique of inviting fans into the studio to become part of the process during recording is a rare experience.

Before the Frost... features eleven new and previously unreleased Black Crowes songs including Good Morning Captain, I Ain’t Hiding, Been a Long Time (Waiting on Love), and other original songs that will serve to spotlight the bands ability to make emotional connections through their music. The free album …Until The Freeze is a nine-song collection featuring eight new original Black Crowes songs plus a cover version of the Stephen Stills classic So Many Times.

A limited edition vinyl release of Before The Frost…Until The Freeze, featuring all 20 tracks, will also be available on 31st August 2009.

(courtesy of Robert Benson collectingvinylrecords.blogspot.com)

KISS Announce North American TourAs they celebrate 35 years of rockin',

KISS today announced the dates of the KISS ALIVE 35 North American tour. The tour kicks off with a rapidly-selling, special multiple-show engagement in Detroit Rock City beginning September 25th, where KISS will be playing the classic album that started it all: KISS ALIVE! The tour leg will then hit more than 40 additional cities before concluding in December.

This incredible show will feature a new stage set, pyro effects that only the "hottest band in the world" could deliver, and all new costumes. Fans will be treated to a 2½ hour set of some of rock's greatest hits, including "Rock and Roll All Nite," "I Was Made for Lovin' You," "Detroit Rock City," "God Gave Rock & Roll to You" and "Shout It Out Loud," as well as songs from the band's new album SONIC BOOM. Buckcherry will be main support on all of the KISS ALIVE 35 North American dates.

Said Gene Simmons, "For 35 years, KISS raised the bar for what a rock concert should really be. This year is no different - all new, all killer... all KISS! The master's class in rock is in session! KISS rules. Oh yeah!"

"Bigger IS better!" said Paul Stanley. "SONIC BOOM is our future and KISS Alive is our proud past. On this tour you get KISS Alive plus a slew of other classics and soon to be classics. New stage, new battle gear and a pyro arsenal that will again show everyone that there is only one KISS!"

After completing their biggest tour ever of South America, selling out stadiums once again in Europe, and leaving fans clamoring for more in Australia, KISS is excited to give North America its due. KISS ALIVE 35 North America marks the first leg of the world's first fan-routed tour -- more than 10,000 individual cities across Canada and the U.S. mounted their own unique campaigns to bring KISS to their towns.

(courtesy of Robert Benson collectingvinylrecords.blogspot.com)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

KISS and Walmart announced today that SONIC BOOM--the bands highly anticipated CD, and its first new material in 11 years--will be sold in the U.S. and Canada exclusively at Walmart and Sams Club retail locations beginning October 6. SONIC BOOM, produced by the bands Paul Stanley in Los Angeles, is the centerpiece of a three-disc set that also features a completely re-recorded greatest hits CD as well as a live DVD shot in Argentina during the bands recent, record-breaking KISS ALIVE 35 South American tour. The CD set will retail for $12, with pre-orders starting in September on Walmart.com.

KISS' Gene Simmons says, "SONIC BOOM" may be the best new record we've done since Destroyer! It is Rock And Roll Over meets Love Gun. The worlds biggest retailer had better get ready for the hottest band in the world and hire more cashiers before October 6th!

Stanley continues, "Through all of the albums that are considered our classics, we tried to always find ways to give our fans extras that went beyond just the music. Besides our making the best KISS album in decades, Walmart has made it possible for us to include a bonus CD with 15 of our most famous songs and an additional live DVD, shot during our recent concert in Buenos Aires. So in every sense, SONIC BOOM is the ultimate return to classic KISS form. You wanted the best, you got the best!"

In celebration of the albums release, KISS announced today a special KISS ALIVE 35 show at Detroit Rock City's legendary concert venue, Cobo Arena, on September 25. This historic structure, which is slated for closure, has hosted KISS concerts on numerous occasions, not the least of which was the series of shows that were recorded to become the KISS ALIVE! album. Tracks made famous on KISS ALIVE!--including "Rock and Roll All Nite", "Deuce", "Black Diamond", and "Hotter Than Hell"--are well represented on the greatest hits disc included with SONIC BOOM. The Detroit show, which will live another 35 years in KISStory, features opening act Buckcherry and goes on sale to the public at 5 pm EDT on August 21 at Ticketmaster.com.

Walmart, one of Americas largest music retailers, is finalizing its exciting plans now for its in-store and online destinations for KISS fans surrounding the launch of the new album and tour, and will host various KISS products in addition to their music in its stores this fall. More details on Walmart KISS activity, announcements regarding album pre-sales, sweepstakes and KISS appearances will be shared shortly.

Courtesy of www.sleazeroxx.com and www.eventful.com

KISS: Behind the New 'SONIC BOOM' Cover ART

The cover art for the new KISS album, "Sonic Boom," was created by Michael Doret, who also designed the band's classic "Rock And Roll Over" album cover. Doret explains the process of how the new artwork came to be and writes on his blog:"When Paul Stanley [KISS guitarist/vocalist] came by my studio to discuss how to proceed on the art for the cover of their upcoming CD/DVD package, 'Sonic Boom', I had no idea what to expect. I hadn't met with him since working on 'Rock And Roll Over', and had very little memory of what that had been like. "Any anxiety I had melted away when we started talking. Paul is a 'gentlemen's gentleman' and I immediately felt at ease talking with him — as if all those years had not intervened since the last time we had spoken. "After some small talk, he explained what he was after with the new cover art. His vision for this album was to make it as vital and raw as it had been when they did 'Rock And Roll Over'. He felt that that had been some of the best work that they had ever done, and wanted the new album to recreate that energy both musically and visually. While he didn't want me to reprise what I had done with my art for the earlier cover, he did want me to try to capture some of the same spirit, attitude, energy, and look that I had instilled in that piece. Also, one of his stipulations was that unlike 'Rock And Roll Over' (where I had created abstract, graphic versions of the KISS personas), this time he wanted photographic representations of the four group members in full makeup."When I did 'Rock And Roll Over', I had a 12" canvas to work on. Now with CD covers and digital booklets, that canvas had been reduced to less than 40% of its original size. Designing in a 4¾" space poses some very different problems from what I faced while working on covers for vinyl releases. In fact, the older cover design would not have worked at that size; its many elements would have felt crowded into a small space. So the elements of 'Sonic Boom' had to be bigger, bolder — and fewer. I made the decision to make the title the main focus of the graphics, moving the other elements (faces, KISS logo) into prominent — but subordinate—roles."So I set about putting pencil to paper and trying to solve this the way I solve any other design problem. I did not want to get psyched-out by thinking too much about how the new design would compare with 'Rock And Roll Over'. That cover had taken on a life of its own and had become a pop culture icon. Creating an iconic cover could not have been one of my goals. All I was capable of doing was to try to create the most compelling graphics possible within the parameters and limitations that had been set out for me. So I started out at the core of this design by creating what I call a 'word constellation' out of the title. I tried to make it communicate its meaning visually by not only making it angular and 'explosive,' but also by creating a shape that was somewhat suggestive of flight — a 'flying wing,' if you will. Bearing in mind the symmetrical, mandala-like layout of 'Rock And Roll Over', I started designing the new piece as a field growing out of the center of the square, with the four members faces moving outwards from the center, and capped with my version of the ubiquitous KISS logo.

"This is the rough pencil [see below] I first presented to Paul. I held my breath as he first took it in, and then was able to exhale when I saw a big smile appear on his face."

"It took about a week for me to develop my sketch to the point where I felt confident in what I had come up with. As I had done with 'Rock And Roll Over', I felt so strongly about this cover design that I decided to not present any other options — I wanted this to be the ONE.

(courtesy of Robert Benson www.collectingvinylrecords.blogspot.com)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

No sooner than I put the fish back he gets this.... A catfish, about 15 inches, and 3lbs...

Max just caught this large blue gill
Shawn Schroeder

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Circus Magazine

Running Away With the Circus An Oral History of Circus Magazine
Steven Ward (courtesy of rockcritics.com)
Rolling Stone is not the only rock magazine still publishing today that was founded in the late '60s; (UPDATE: It folded in 2006) believe it or not, Circus magazine has appeared on newsstands, unabated, since 1968. And like Jann Wenner at Rolling Stone, Circus Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Gerald Rothberg is still at the helm. Rothberg actually started Circus in 1966, under the title, Hullabaloo. In the almost 40 years since, Circus has been many different kinds of music publication. It started out as a general interest rock magazine, running stories on classic rockers such as the Doors, Genesis, and Grand Funk Railroad. Later, Rothberg realized that his target audience--teen boys--loved to read about their favorite rock stars over and over, month after month. So when a band like Kiss hit, they were one of Circus's biggest cover stars. Circus covered all kinds of rock and pop music but always featured a large number of heavy metal and hard rock bands in its pages.
Following an unpopular move to a pop culture weekly in the mold of People in the late '70s, Rothberg went back to a monthly format and started to get back to the hard rock and heavy metal stars that made his magazine sales soar. Rothberg's lean toward those kind of acts paid off big time in the '80s when the hair metal explosion hit. Month in and month out, it was Def Leppard, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi on the covers. The hair metal years in the '80s were Rothberg's most profitable for Circus. When grunge hit in the '90s, Circus got confused and lost its focus (even putting rappers Arrested Development on the cover one month--and getting tons of hate mail in the process).
After Rothberg changed the longtime design and logo of the magazine in the mid to late '90s, he pared his staff down to a bare minimum and fielded out stories to freelancers. Today, Circus covers the world of contemporary heavy metal, competing with the Hit Paraders and Metal Edges of the world. With the exception of Rothberg, a couple of NYU students work in the office to put out the magazine each month, which is largely written by freelancers. Still, there was a time--the mid '70s to the mid '80s--when Circus had a full-time editorial staff that included some of the biggest names in rock journalism, including Paul Nelson, Fred Schruers, Daisann McLane, Jim Farber, David Fricke, and Kurt Loder.
I will post an interview with Gerald Rothberg I conducted this past spring about the Magazine and the accomplishments along with the downfall of the mag.

Top 100 Psychedelic Albums

1. Electric Music For The Mind & Body - Country Joe & The Fish
2. Piper at The Gates of Dawn - Pink Floyd
3. Strange Days - The Doors
4. Anthem Of The Sun - Grateful Dead
5. United States of America - United States of America
6. Electric Ladyland - Jimi Hendrix Experience
7. After Bathing At Baxter's - Jefferson Airplane
8. Velvet Underground & Nico - Velvet Underground
9. Surrealistic Pillow - Jefferson Airplane
10. Easter Everywhere - 13th Floor Elevators
11. H.P. Lovecraft - H.P. Lovecraft
12. The American Metaphysical Circus - Joseph Byrd & The Field Hippies
13. Beacon From Mars - Kaleidoscope
14. Spirit - Spirit
15. Fifth Dimension - The Byrds
16. DeCapo - Love
17. Balaklava - Pearls Before Swine
18. Clear Light - Clear Light
19. I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die - Country Joe and The Fish
20. Aoxomoxoa - Grateful Dead
21. Volume 2 - West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
22. Angel's Egg - Gong
23. Tomorrow - Tomorrow
24. Are You Experienced - Jimi Hendrix Experience
25. Behold and See - Ultimate Spinach
26. S F Sorrow - The Pretty Things
27. Quicksilver Messenger Service - Quicksilver Messenger Service
28. Forever Changes - Love
29. 12 Dreams of Dr Sardonicus -Spirit
30. Parable of Arable Land - The Red Crayola
31. The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter - The Incredible String Band
32. In Search of The Lost Chord - The Moody Blues
33. Dear Mr Fantasy - Traffic
34. Roger The Engineer - Yardbirds
35. Begin - The Millenium
36. The Amazing Charlatans - The Charlatans
37. L - Steve Hillage
38. A Child's Guide To Good & Evil - West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
39. Present Tense - Sagittarius
40. H.P. Lovecraft II - H.P. Lovecraft
41. Captain Beyond - Captain Beyond
42. Flash - Moving Sidewalks
43. Earth Opera - Earth Opera
44. A Saucerful Of Secrets - Pink Floyd
45. Music In A Doll's House - Family
46. Crown Of Creation - Jefferson Airplane
47. Camenbert Electrique - Gong
48. Atom Heart Mother - Pink Floyd
49. Hurdy Gurdy Man - Donavan
50. Side Trips - Kaleidoscope
51. Inner Mystique - The Chocolate Watch Band
52. The Twain Shall Meet - Eric Burdon & The Animals
53. The 5000 Spirits/Layers of The Onion - The Incredible String Band
54. Barrett - Syd Barrett
55. Volume One - The Soft Machine
56. Freak Out - Mothers of Invention
57. Younger Than Yesterday - The Byrds
58. Steppenwolf the Second - Steppenwolf
59. It's A Beautiful Day - It's a Beautiful Day
60. Sunshine Superman - Donavan
61. Monster Movie - Can
62. Caravan - Caravan
63. The Madcap Laughs - Syd Barrett
64. The Cycle Is Complete - Bruce Palmer
65. Jet Propelled Photograph - The Soft Machine
66. Hawkwind - Hawkwind
67. Fever Tree - Fever Tree
68. Space Ritual - Hawkwind
69. Use of Ashes - Pearls Before Swine
70. Space Hymn - Lothar & The Hand People
71. A Web of Sound - The Seeds
72. Their Satanic Majesties Request - Rolling Stones
73. The Great Conspiracy - Peanut Butter Conspiracy
74. Psychedelic Lollipop - Blues Magoos
75. Ogden's Nut Gone Flake - Small Faces
76. Transmissions From The Satellite Heart - The Flaming Lips
77. Wow - Moby Grape
78. Oar - Alexander 'Skip' Spence
79. These Things Too - Pearls Before Swine
80. Before The Dream Faded - The Misunderstood
81. Gandalf - Gandalf82. Underground - The Electric Prunes
83. Crazy World Of Arthur Brown - Arthur Brown
84. Magical Mystery Tour - The Beatles
85. Contact - Silver Apples
86. Cauldron - Fifty Foot Hose
87. Everybody's Here - Lost & Found
88. Long Years in Space - Neighb'hood Childr'n
89. Strictly Personal - Captain Beefheart
90. Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera - Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera
91. Outsideinside - Blue Cheer
92. The Yellow Balloon - The Yellow Balloon
93. Truth - D.R. Hooker
94. Renaissance - Vanilla Fudge
95. Journey To The Center Of The Mind - The Amboy Dukes
96. SRC - SRC
97. Vanilla Fudge - Vanilla Fudge
98. Another Time/Another Place - Fever Tree
99. Mad River - Mad River
100. We Are Ever So Clean - The Blossom Toes

Album Cover of the week!

Toulouse Street is the second studio album by American rock band The Doobie Brothers, released in 1972.
To this day, it's still my favorite Doobie album. It's so organic, earthy. the cover conveys the same message. Open it up and you get what is called TMI these days.... Don't mind the naked chics, but guys, c'mon! Never, EVER, did I need to see Tom Johnston, half naked!

About me....

How many years in radio: In total 5 years but was out of radio for 11 years….sheesh!

Family: Wife, Karna, and 4 kids, Anna, David, Stephen and Max

Interests/hobbies: Anything having to do with music. I collect CD’s, vinyl (that’s another word for the old 33 1/3 records) 45 rpm’s, etc. Also a HUGE Beatles fan and collector! See my myspace for pics!

Favorite Cool 105.7 artist(s): I gotta say, I love listening to the Gin Blossoms, HEY JEALOUSY and FOUND OUT ABOUT YOU. Never get tired of hearing or playing those. Love playing any John Lennon. Stevie Wonder.

Best Cool memory: MCing at My Waterloo Days '09. I also had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Lardie and Mark Kendall of Great White on my show on Saturday, May 30th. I then MC'd again that night and got to hang with Great White back stage before and after the show. It was very cool to bring Great White to the stage.

If you weren’t in radio, you would be working where/what: I would LOVE to own my own music store. I would carry not only CD's but vinyl (records) and sheet music, Music DVD's, games, instruments, etc. No such thing as a good music store anymore, y'know. One where you can find the WHOLE catalog from an artist or band, not just the greatest hits or the top seller. That would be great!

Pet Peeves: People who say “OFF-TEN” for the word “often”. C’mon people! The “T” is silent! Don’t ask why. Check Webster’s Dictionary.

Top 5 movies: High Fidelity (I honestly believe it was written about me) – A Hard Day’s Night (Beatles) – The Matrix (all of them) – Any James Bond (I know there’s more than 5, so I cheated) – Across the Universe.

Five CDs/albums you can’t live without: Toy Matinee (the most underrated, unknown album and band of all-time – look for it used or in cut out bins. You won’t be disappointed!) – Abbey Road (Beatles) – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Beatles) – I Robot (Alan Parson’s Project) – Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd)

Why radio: I have a mind full of completely useless knowledge and trivia for music that does me no good anywhere else except a music store (save the independent music stores, please!!!!!!!) and radio.

What is your sign: Capricorn, baby…..What’s yours?

How do you relieve stress: Hug my kids, listen to music, talk to my wife, not always in that order. Who is the person you admire most and why: John Lennon for having the guts to stand up and say what needed to be heard, whether you liked it or not.

Who has influenced you most and why: My dad for being in tune with cutting edge music. As a kid I learned what was good and what wasn't... It was he that opened my mind to the passion (and sometimes obsession) of music and what it does to the human soul and in turn, the world.

Where would you go if money was no object: Liverpool, England to walk the streets that the Beatles walked.

Organizations/charities close to you: Wide Smiles - WIDE SMILES was formed to ensure that parents of cleft lip and palate-affected children do not have to feel alone. We offer support, inspiration, information and networking for families everywhere who may be dealing with the challenges associated with clefting.

What are you reading right now: Old issues of CIRCUS magazine! I loved these as a teen...The magazine went belly up in 2006....so sad....

Parting words: “It’s better to burn out, than fade away.” Rock of Ages – Def Leppard, Pyromania, and the Kurgan (Clancy Brown, voice of Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants) in the movie "Highlander"

Please check out my blog and Album Cover of the Week! Have an idea for a category for my Top 100 list? Shoot me an email! sfoxx@cool1057.com