10 Questions with ... Geronimo
June 17, 2014
1) How did you get the name Geronimo?
The legendary Dennis Reese hired me from B97 in New Orleans to do nights at his station, WABB/Mobile. Apparently another Geronimo didn't take the job, but he liked the name and alas, Geronimo was christened. Sometimes I'll embellish that story to make it more exciting.
2) In your career, you've programmed Rhythmic and Top 40 stations, what do you see as the big difference between programming those formats and Dance?
There's not much difference at all as it's really all about the passion for each format. I see many similarities between today's EDM and hip-hop in the '80s and '90s. Both started out as one format and then splintered off into several sub-genres, each with its own incredibly passionate and knowledgeable fan base.
3) Do you find listeners of BPM more passionate about the music you play then when you programmed Rhythm & Top 40 stations?
They are not only passionate but as paying SiriusXM customers/subscribers, they have a vested interest in hearing Dance music that's uncensored, commercial-free and they let us know clearly and boldly when they are dissatisfied. Traveling and broadcasting many of the major dance festivals around the country, its easy to see that the BPM EDM fans stand united in wanting a BS-free dance music station.
4) Social media is such a big part of what we do today, how do you utilize social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook when making decisions for BPM?
I preach to the people who I work with that social media has become almost as important as the product we put on the air. Being able to directly reach every single listener at anytime to let them know about an important event, a contest, etc. is something that marketers dreamed about.
5) You mentioned recently that more and more, you are looking at Shazam to see how songs are doing not just around the country, but around the world. Do you use this information to determine if a song could or would work for BPM?
Across the entire music platform on SiriusXM, SVP Steve Blatter constantly speaks about finding unique ways to find and break new music and new artists, and with dance music being so international, I wouldn't be doing my job if I was not aware of what was blowing up in the U.K., The Netherlands, France, Germany and beyond. Shazam simply gives you important real time data
6) Since BPM is national outlet and not just specific to one market, what's a typical music meeting like for you?
It's a group effort. Austin Kramer, who programs Electric Area and our branded channel, Tiesto's Club Life Radio, and dance and social media programmer Dre Nieto. There's never been a time where either of these guys was not familiar with a track or who produced it or even what club played it first in what country.
7) Is there a sound or style of music that works better for BPM? And do you see a sound that is working today, that has not typically in the past?
I know what you're getting at here! The U.K. House music scene is coming on strong and it is futile to resist. Records from artists such as Duke Dumont, Chris Malinchak, Disclosure, Kilgande and Mr. Probz are not only performing well for BPM, they are selling like crazy. Check out the retail stories on any of these and you'll see what I'm talking about. For the last three years, Big Room Electro House has dominated the EDM scene and it has made stars out of Avicii and Afrojack. These records are still strong, but as I mentioned earlier, the scene is growing and evolving much like early hip-hop.
8) Do you use traditional research when judging how songs are doing for BPM?
We are both traditional and very non-traditional. Weekly research is a great tool; rarely are our results inconsistent from week to week. However, there are many other factors to take into account and many other tools for programmers to use, including Shazam and Soundscan.
9) BPM has the biggest and best DJs in the world doing mix shows. How do you use these shows; to break new music or to showcase the talent?
BPM actually has very few DJ shows. The great thing about the SXM service is the variety we offer, which is always programmed by real live people and not a carefully constructed algorithm. We reserve most mix shows for Electric Area, where we have weekly shows with Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, Hardwell, Avicii and about 50 other DJs. These DJs are in a different corner of the world every day and truly offer the best form of research any programmer could need.
10) BPM broadcasts a lot of DJ sets from the major festivals such as EDC, Ultra and Electric Zoo. What's the benefit to the artists and the labels in having these sets aired?
I and my team have amazing relationships with not only the biggest Djs, but their labels, managers and booking agents. I communicate with all of them constantly as our goals are the same. If we launch a show with an emerging DJ like we did five years ago with Avicii, we have a large interest in making sure that he gets the exposure he deserves. We don't view these relationships as just DJ shows; they are partnerships that are far reaching and most, if not all, see this as mutually beneficial. From music, marketing and promotion to live festivals broadcast to North America, most see the impact of national exposure, immediately.
You work on a few channels for SiriusXM. Most people know you for BPM & Electric Area. What's the big difference between these two channels and are there any other channels you are working with?
I work with several other channels, including Studio 54 Radio, which is a DJ's dream come true. This channel was created by SiriusXM Pres. Scott Greenstein and original Studio 54 co-creator Ian Schrager. It's not your typical disco station. The library is deep as we focus on artists, music and history equally. I also oversee Chill, which is programmed by BPM midday host Ben Harvey. Ben is not only a great on-air personality, but a young, brilliant programmer who also programs one of our new channels, Utopia - '90s and 2000s dance music.
If you could go and visit any club in the world and hear any DJ in the world spin, what club would you visit and who would be the DJ?
After this winter in New York, I would not mind going to Ibiza to see the amazing Armin van Buuren perform or slip away to see some House legends like Toddy Terry or Kenny Dope.
If you were to recommend one restaurant to eat at, what would it be and why?
As a born-and-bred Brooklyn guy, the easy answer is Roll & Roster in Sheepshead Bay, but my true favorite place is the most authentic Italian restaurant in Brentwood, west L.A., called Peppone. You have never had a meatball like a Peppone's sirloin meatball.