Howdy from Nashville and the craziness of GMA. Right off the bat, big time thank you to Mr. Andy for covering the blog in stunning fashion. Many have expressed that they enjoyed it (though you aren’t brutally honest with me enough to say it beat the snot out of my lame postings.) and now that Andy is an “official contributor” and has proved his worth, he might be popping a post on here when something strikes him.
I don’t have much time (Internet cafe, 30 minute rule, etc.) but wanted to get a post up from GMA today, tomorrow, and Wednesday. If you are unfamiliar with the term GMA it stands for Gospel Music Association, and it’s something us “industry people” get to do every year under the pretense of learning how to make a better radio station. It is more likely an excuse to hobnob with artists, eat lots of free food, and shake lots of hands with strange people while smiling and saying things you don’t mean. That, and of course, not get up at 4 in the morning to do a morning show. (Note to boss: That’s all just blog talk, I learned so much this week, and think that doing this every year will ultimately result in The Fuse being the best radio station in the world.) I figured I’d give you an “insider’s view” of my week, so let’s rock it.
Right off the bat you will notice everything I do is at a meal time, and if it isn’t you can bet there is food there anyway. I didn’t exactly pick a lean man’s profession if you know what I’m saying. You will also notice that many of these events are with independent promoters. This is someone who labels pay (or independent artists pay) to beg me to play their music. They call every radio station that reports to the charts (Step 1 in getting lots of new friends, have your music impact the charts) and use phrases like, “the next -insert name of popular Christian artist-” and “with the feel of -insert name of popular mainstream artist-” I then in turn use phrases like, “I’ve been listening to that” and “I’m still thinking about that one.” The trick is that when you play one of their songs you must always, I repeat always, make them feel like it was their persuasive gifts that got you there. This develops what we call in “the biz” a “working relationship”. Like most of us, the promoter always claims that honesty is what they desire most, yet what they really want is for you to agree with them. That’s why when it does happen, you must embrace it like a tire swing. You must also never forget that these people are being paid to be your friend, something that adds an element of obvious cynicism, but is important to remember for that extra protective coat of weather resistance. Once I accepted that these were business relationships it’s much easier to build a somewhat genuine relationship with them on the side. Such is the relationship I have with all the promoters who I’m doing stuff with this week, one that is based on a false game of spins and charts, with a glimmer of hope of genuineness underneath.
Here’s my week so far:
Saturday Lunch – Top 5’s Fajita Fest, San Antonio Taco Company, independent promoter lunch.
– Learned that new artist Marie Miller might just faint if she meets Nichole Nordeman.
– Learned that the guys in Seven Glory still live and minister in Valpo, IN and know some of my friends in the area.
– Live performances from Ian Eskelin and Seven Glory, in the restaurant.
– SWAG, couple T-Shirts, (which I always snag in smaller sizes for my boys).
– Overall rating (B+)
Saturday Dinner – Donna Del Sesto, Old Spaghetti Factory, independent promoter dinner.
– No artists just radio friends at this one. (which is fine with me)
– Learned that the OSF doesn’t make great Alfredo and despite my pleas still thinks it needs Broccoli and Mushrooms.
– Learned that WNAZ in Nashville has started fazing out Hip Hop. (comments withheld)
– SWAG, nothing physical, but Donna’s pre meal speech was worth being there if for no other reason. (Donna was very sick this year and just to be there and be able to be with her was a pleasure, no cynicism needed).
– Overall rating (B)
Sunday Breakfast – CHR radio guys (and Kai), McDonald’s in the Hilton Lobby, hang out time with buddies.
– Learned that if you think you are 10 minutes late for a meeting that starts a half hour before you thought it did, you are actually 40 minutes late.
– Learned again that there are some pretty cool guys trying to make great radio, even if we do disagree on some things.
– Learned that George from “Union” (won our Battle of the Bands a few years back) is now working at Way in Grand Rapids and is doing solo stuff.
– Learned that Goerge’s solo stuff is actually pretty amazing, and can’t wait to get it on the air for you.
– SWAG, a few empty McMuffin wrappers, and OJ cups, the smell of DJs in the morning.
– Overall rating (C-), but that was my fault
Sunday Lunch – Focus on the Family, Plugged in Lunch, Commerce Street Grill, Radio Program Lunch.
– Learned that there are still stations that debate things like talking about American Idol on the air. Can’t imagine what they would think of my show.
– Learned that the Focus lady’s favorite movie is “When Harry Met Sally” but when I started doing the diner scene she seemed offended, look lady, you’re the one who brought it up. “I’ll have what he’s having.”
– Learned that when a waiter combines a thick southern accent with Paul Reuben voice, and then says everything with an abundance of unneeded decibels, you end up not wanting many refills.
– SWAG, Laptop light, Movie Book, Sampler CD.
– Overall rating (D)
Sunday Dinner – Chris Houser, Pirahna’s Grill, independent promoter dinner.
– Learned that some restaurants put French Fries and Cole Slaw on all their sandwiches.
– Learned that such restaurants may just have some amazing fries.
– Learned that I’m actually not that bad at darts.
– Learned that my friend Matt can actually throw three Triple 20s on one turn. (though I still won the match)
– Learned that a radio friend from Maine actually reads the blog. (Hey Morgan!)
– SWAG, none but I did get to give Mike Couchman another back rub. (Running gift to any radio programmer who embraces a diverse playlist)
– Overall Rating (A-)
Sunday Late Night – Club PLG, Provident’s Suite, Label Fun
– Learned that when Krystal Myers, Jars of Clay, Wavorly, Eleventy Seven, Pillar, Casting Crowns, and about 5 other bands all get into one hotel suite it gets a little crowded.
– Learned that I still haven’t figured out how to not eat Peanut M+Ms when they are within walking distance.
– Learned that though I’d never played Guitar Hero before in my life I’m actually pretty good at it.
– Good enough to beat Rob from Pillar.
– Good enough to win the entire Guitar Hero tournament.
– SWAG, lots of giveaways, including the XBOX 360, Guitar Hero Game and Guitar that I won for the tournament.
– Yes you heard that right, I won an XBOX 360, but being a Nintendo boy I will likely EBay it.
– Overall Rating (A+)
Well I’ve overstayed my 30 minutes, see ya’ tomorrow.