|Jimi Palacios/Ted Branson/Woody Adkins|
Continuing my conversation with three men who shoulder the responsibility for bringing new country music to the airwaves I wondered how Jimi Palacios, Woody Adkins and Ted Branson first started in radio.
Both Ted and Woody found their entry into the business through volunteering in various capacities while Jimi was approached by the station and asked if he would be interested in hosting a show. Anyone who has worked in radio will confirm you can observe others, you can take advantage of all the formal training on offer but when you get behind the microphone for your own live show, that’s when the learning process really begins. One of the skills you can only pick up through doing it is the ability to interview; I asked the guys to reveal their most interesting interviewee.
For Woody the answer was Leona Williams because “she is such a warm woman, easy to talk to and has great stories to share”. Jimi named John Doe from Californian band X as one of his most interesting guests, “we talked about his move from the west coast to Austin, his Americana album “The Westerner”, and his Grammy nominated audio book about the punk scene. A real cool dude.” Ted estimates that over the years he has interviewed in excess of 400 studio guests and says the most experienced are the most interesting, “I recently spent 40 minutes talking to Dallas Wayne on air and because his whole life has been music I found him both interesting and fun to talk with.”
On the other side of that interview coin these gentlemen have either been very lucky or are impeccably tactful as nobody could name a “nightmare” interviewee. Ted observes that younger artists with little experience of the publicity role often need to have detailed answers drawn out of them, while Woody made the valid point that fellow DJs all like to talk which, at times, can make ending those conversations quite a tricky task. When I asked Jimi to name the least talkative person he had ever experienced in that interview situation, his very astute answer was – himself. Good advice for all aspiring interviewers.
My next line of enquiry concerned playlists, influences and listener requests. All three of these presenters have earned the respect necessary at their various radio stations to be allowed total freedom over the music they play.
Jimi told me “Breaking new music is one of my favourite things to do on the radio. I’m always receptive to new music suggestions from listeners, although it is rare for me not to have heard of the artist. I also play tracks from (relevant) artists coming to perform in New Orleans, so there isn’t a lot of time left for random requests but I will sometimes play them.”
Over the years Woody has built a rapport with his audience which means he understands who their favourites are and can make sure those artists are regularly featured but has also developed a level of trust from his listeners when it comes to his choices of new material. “My first priority is playing music that I feel fits the show. I will play some requests but I don’t emphasise asking for them; I used to do that and found the requests were bumping new tracks I wanted people to hear off the show.”
Ted spends a lot of time out and about at gigs and Festivals across three States, talking to his listeners and taking on board their thoughts on specific artists and styles. Naturally he gets handed a lot of pieces of paper with requests written on them and tells me he is happy to play what he can provided they fit the format of his shows.
It crossed my mind that there must be British country artists who fit the format of these guys’ shows and I asked how receptive they were to new material from these shores.
Take note British artists because the general consensus is that they are happy to receive more – always with that important proviso that the music must sit within the style of the show you are sending it to.
To get your release to Jimi Palacios send a link and a one sheet biography/media info to firstname.lastname@example.org
Woody Adkins prefers to receive an actual CD, along with all the relevant information – a numbered track list with song lengths, the label name and year of release plus any tracks which have explicit language should be clearly marked.
Woody Adkins, c/o KOPN , 915 E Broadway, Columbia, MO 65201, USA.
Ted Branson also prefers to receive a physical CD and a media sheet with all the information.
Ted Branson, KOOP Radio, PO Box 4089, Austin, TX 78756 -4089, USA.
You can also check out email@example.com
I would like to thank Jimi. Ted and Woody for their time spent putting their answers together – I know they are all busy men. If you are sending your music to any of these guys please do yourselves (and them) a favour by listening to their shows first; and if your music doesn’t fit, don’t expect the format of established and popular radio shows to change just for you.