10 Questions with ... Timothy Binder
July 10, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 1999-2005 - Victory Records: Dir./Radio Promotions
- 2006-2010 - Century Media Records: Dir./Radio Promotions
- 2010-Present - New Ocean Media: Dir./Radio Promotions
- On-Air: 106-VIC Ithaca, NY (1995-1999), WCKG Chicago, IL (2000), WLUW (2000-2005), Century Media Podcast (2006-Present)
1. What made you want to get into the music business? Early mentors? First job?
I always had a love for music. Around six or seven years old, I was making custom mix tapes and recording all my favorite songs off the radio. In high school I was going to as many concerts as I could and had co-founded a heavy metal fanzine with a friend of mine. By college I discovered my college radio station (106-VIC) and shortly thereafter become the its Metal Director. It was then when I started talking to record label promotions reps that I realized that I know exactly what I wanted to do. That rest we shall say is history. My first professional job came from Victory Records in 1999 and I could not have asked for more. The label was blessed to have some of the most amazing talent and some of the most amazing people and I learned a lot from them all!
2. Too many records, too few slots. What data seems to be most important to you when jockeying for an open slot on a radio station and why? Ticket sales? Tour info? Prior success? Retail? Other stations?
All of these tools are important and if you have them, they need to be used. I find that many times, as far as what is more important by a particular radio station really depends on the station. Some stations are very active with their local clubs and go out of their way to find the time for bands when they come through town, while some are not as active on that front. In fact, many times if the band is playing the wrong club you may be out of luck. There are also many stations that watch what other specific stations do, so when you have that information and you can connect the dots, it can be very helpful. Of course, sales information (ticket, album or single sales) and prior success stories especially with the station we are targeting is very important as well!
3. It seems that set-up is more important now than ever. What do you do to inspire your staff for success in the field on a daily basis with the amount of material that recording companies are releasing in today's market place?
It is all about taking project to radio that you and your staff believe in. There is always going to be big name competition in the market place but if you and your staff believe in what they are working it really makes the difference. It is also about being there for the long haul and being committed to a project over time. We may not get the slot right away, but if we continue to develop the story and fight for that slot, you will find that it can be very rewarding and motivating when you get it.
4. Who do you consider the current tastemakers in the Rock world?
To be honest, without the few stations that actually give new and developing artists those early slots, a lot of the stations tend to sometimes get credit for being tastemakers would probably have never come on board. It is important for stations to know that you can all be tastemakers. If you believe in an artist or you have that gut feeling, step up an own the band. Radio should be exciting; radio needs to believe in bands, too. If not, how can you connect with your audience? It does not matter what station you are; big market or small market, if you are willing get behind one of our artists at New Ocean Media, we will get behind you. It is all about working together so that both the station and the band get the most out of every spin.
5. It has become apparent that in this research-driven time, records are taking much longer to "test." How do you go about making sure that your record will be given a fair shot?
It all comes down to using all the information you have at your disposal so that radio knows, every step of the way, how an artist is developing. If an artist has yet to test, maybe they are starting to get requests or winning cage matches ... Maybe they are selling albums or concert tickets, gathering press or releasing videos ... or maybe just out there on the road ... all that needs to be shared with radio! We need to make sure that there are reasons for stations to take that next step to bump up rotations or just keep the track in rotation for enough to gather the level of spins needed to get real research.
6. Every promotion person has a record close to their heart that for one reason or another never broke through, "The One That Got Away"..... What is your "One That Got Away" -- and what did you learn from that record?
There have been so many that you believe, in your heart, had the song, but for one reason or another it just did not come together and achieve the success you are striving for. One that comes to mind for me was the single from Swedish rock band the Hellacopters called "Everything's On T.V." I can't even begin to express how much I loved this track and this album, but nothing lined up right. The band had only one U.S. tour that came too early in the campaign and did not do much to help push the single. The single had a great vibe, but many Active Rock outlets and Alternative outlets did not know what to do with it, and while the band could sell-out wherever they played here in the U.S., they were relatively unknown to the commercial world. It is a tough pill to swallow when you realize that despite however much you may love a single, it does not always mean that everyone is going to react the same way. More importantly, you realize how important it is to have a band on the road and at radio's door, and for a band from Sweden who had no further plans to tour the States it really hindered how far I believed that single should go.
7. When you're not rockin' out what other music do you enjoy outside your "format"?
I absolutely love political hip-hop acts that are not afraid to speak out on the issues and do so without compromise, especially today with artists like Immortal Technique & Lowkey. I have also always been a bit of a pop fan, especially the pop music I grew up with in the '80s.
8. The lost art of artist development. What do you do to ensure your artist is building a career as opposed to just breaking a song? And does it even matter anymore?
When you're dealing directly with your artists on a daily basis, it better matter. For artists it is about so much more than just any one particular single. At New Ocean Media we only work with artists we believe in and when we do work with an artist, we are 100% committed to give them all the tools we can to succeed. Breaking a song at radio is a big part of that, but working hard to find other opportunities are important, too. Apart from radio, New Ocean Media has a PR department that is second to none, a music placement department for TV and film that are consistently placing music, great relationships in the touring world that has landed our bands many great touring opportunities and so much more. When are artists are out on the road we do all we can to connect them with radio and other music professionals to build relationships that can often times last long after any one single.
9. Are you finding that today's "baby" bands are getting a fair shot at radio and, more importantly, are they being given the airplay they need to break through to the masses and be recognized?
Some are and some are not; it is our job to do everything we can to use all the tools we have at our disposal to properly educate radio on the artist's story as it develops. The best thing you can do is to be passionate about your artists and persistent!
10. What is the strangest record you ever worked and what ended up happening to the band?
Wow with well over 300 albums under my belt, I have worked bands that have run the spectrum of Rock, Alternative, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Everything from Hardcore Vegan Straight-Edge bands to Party Rock bands, Extreme Metal bands to Indie Rock & Emo bandsm but I don't know if I would say any of them were necessarily "strange."
That being said, I did work a few albums through Victory Records back around 2001-2002 on their world music label called Victory World. Now while these albums not strange in themselves, they were for sure outside of my typical Rock & Roll world. Some of the titles included "Calypso Heat," "Hot Caribbean Hits" and "Hardcore Dancehall." What I found was that no matter what you may be working, good music is good music. I also found out there was a great group of World Music radio hosts who I truly enjoyed working with! Their love and respect for these albums and the artists featured on them truly shined through. When I look back to those albums, I think back to them and hope they are all still have that same passion and are doing well. As for the artists featured on these albums, I wish I could say, but I certainly wish them all the best as well.
What are your 5 all-time favorite albums?
- Mother Love Bone - Mother Love Bone
- Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA
- Rocky Votolato - Makers
- Goo Goo Dolls - A Boy Named Goo
- Def Leppard - Hysteria
What are your 5 all-time favorite movies?
- How Green Was My Valley
- American Beauty
- Taxi Driver
- Almost Famous
- Betty Blue
What was your first concert?
First concert was Ricky Nelson when I was super-young, but unfortunately I don't remember much of it. Now, the first concert I attended without my parents in attendance was Bad Company, Damn Yankees & Tattoo Rodeo at the local amphitheater, and my first big club show was a sold-out Ramones show on the Acid Eaters tour. All these shows were great, but the Ramones show changed my life! One of the best concerts I have and I am sure will ever attended!
What was the first album or single you purchased on your own?
A killer record from The Romantics entitled "In Heat." Despite it having the hits like "Talkin' In Your Sleep" and "What I Like About You," I bought it for their single, "One In A Million." I loved that album and I still do!