10 Questions with ... Ron Platzer
September 3, 2013
1.What made you want to get into the music business?
I grew up in Port Huron, MI which is about 50 miles from Detroit, and a childhood obsession with KISS led me to discover the depth of rock at an early age. Fortunately there was WRIF and WLLZ to point me in the right direction. Guys like Arthur Penhallow and Doug Podell instilled an early fascination with Rock radio. But it was my hometown community college radio station (WSGR), which was directed by a guy named Mark Morden, who really inspired me to follow a path toward Rock/Metal radio and the marketing of music.
2. This is your second g- round with Victory Records. You worked there in the formative years from 1995 to 2000. Care to elaborate on any great early Victory stories from those years?
I am blessed to be in this position again after all these years. But the real thrill is to be surrounded by so many creative and passionate people, and our artists who are creating equally innovative music. When I look back at my first tenure at Victory, I think most fondly of how this small group of driven individuals (many are still here today) took a passion for aggressive music to the world. That hunger and drive remains at Victory today.
3. After leaving Victory the first time, you did a Promotion stint with JMA (Jeff McClusky Associates). Give us the highlights of those years.
For nearly seven years, my function was to assist PDs and Marketing Directors with their promotions, events and concerts. I was booking talent and producing events for stations across all formats. Eventually my ability to navigate relationships and my passion to expose and develop artists led me to a promotion role in Rock and Alternative. I had the pleasure of working with some amazing people at JMA, and I am proud of those relationships today.
4. You also did Marketing for ESPN 1000 In Chicago. How was the transition from record promotion to radio and what were the highlights of your time at ESPN 1000?
I'll say this, being a Detroit sports fan at a Chicago Sports Talk radio station, I was an easy target for abuse! The transition to Marketing Director was actually very easy. I'd been servicing radio promotions and marketing for many years. I actually brought in some "music" ideas to the station. For example, when the Cubs were in the playoffs against the Diamondbacks, I took ESPN1000's marquee afternoon show to Alice Cooper's Cooperstown venue for a week of live broadcasts. Sports and music are quite harmonious and I enjoyed the partnership of the two.
5. Now that you're back at Victory Records, can you give us an overview of the label today?
The environment at Victory Records is absolutely electric. As I said earlier, I am surrounded by passionate and creative people and they bring out the best in me. Victory Records is a lifestyle brand and we're providing an escape for people through the power of music. We are thrilled to be exposing developing artists like Seeker, Counterparts, The Bunny The Bear, and Neurotic November -- alongside our more established artists like Reverend Horton Heat, Sister Sin, and Ill Nino.
6. Tear Out The Heart and Ill Nino are two Rock projects that are impacting this month for Victory. Tell us about these artists and your plans to roll them out to radio?
I couldn't be more excited. When I arrived just two months ago, I heard this track "Coffin Eyes" from Tear Out The Heart and I was absolutely blown away. It's aggressive and contemporary metalcore, but equally melodic and hooky. There's something about remaining aggro and heavy, but when there's an element of melody in there too -- that's something special. That's Tear Out The Heart. Ill Nino, on the other hand, is more established and has a solid history at Active Rock. This new track, "Forgive Me Father," coincides with the band's month-long run of tour dates honoring our heroes in the U.S. Military. The band and our friends at TKO Agency have made special arrangements for free admission to these shows for U.S. Military personnel. My goal is to expose these artists as broadly as possible. Both bands share the Victory Records work ethic, and they want to engage with radio as much I as want to.
7. Can you tell us what other bands (new or established) and projects your label has in store for Rock Radio in the future?
Aside from Ill Nino and Tear Out The Heart, we're setting up our first record from Reverend Horton Heat, and the next Close Your Eyes release. We've got some others in the pipeline that can't be discussed yet, but rest assured we're going to continue to set the standards for independent rock music.
8. Let's talk about the Active Rock format as a whole. What's your take on the music at the format and why do you see such a division between the Active Rock and Alternative formats today?
First and foremost, I love Rock radio and I am passionate about the whole pallet of rock music. That being said, I don't so much like the muddying of the waters. Let's remember that we listen to the radio to escape the stress of our daily existence. If "rock" is your preferred choice in music, then you should feel confident that your local Rock station is gonna ROCK!
9. As a Record Promotion Executive in 2013, what are the most important tools/resources you use to stay on top of the Rock formats' growth and constant daily changes?
Besides being at the frontline listening to and observing the needs of programmers, it's of course, ALL ACCESS!
10. Being a big Chicago guy, what is it about the city and its people that makes you proud to call that city home?
There's something about calling the Midwest homel there's a work ethic and drive that unites us in this part of the country. Additionally, Chicago is an epicenter of music and being a music guy, there's not a better place to live!