10 Questions with ... Jon "Fatguy" Marte
March 18, 2014
1) Before we get into your new gig doing Rock radio promotion, give us a rundown of your radio career.
Started in 1996 as an intern in Sacramento, and have worked in .arkets such as Memphis, Little Rock, Salt Lake City, Jacksonville, Biloxi, Anchorage and Reno. I've worked mostly in Active and Alternative Rock. I have been on-air, production, promotions, web/social media, MD and PD. I also know how to change the ink cartage in a copy machine and am very skilled at rolling over and playing dead.
2) Who have been some of your mentors in the radio business?
Brian Rickman, who is not the Supreme Overlord Of Programming for Urban Radio (Not his real title, but I can never remember exactly what it is cause I'm fat). I've always said that I'd clean toilets for that dude (and I literally have). He has taught me a ton and most of it I actually listen to (he will tell you that is not the case).
Jave Patterson at KDOT and I go way back. He's pretty rad and has pretty pants. He should have hired me like 10 years ago but his GM wouldn't let him because I was a bit of a wild child and also he was worried I would eat all the Taco trade.
3) Congrats on your new position as director of radio promotion for Major Label Entertainment. How did this position come about for you?
Honestly, I fell into it thanks to Brett Greenburg of Epitaph. I moved from Reno to Nashville because I really wanted to be closer to my daughter. I hated to move, but I couldn't stand being so far away and just needed her in my life more than anything else. So I came out here and started looking for work. Brett called me and said "Hey mannnn, I think I got you a job, man (please read that in the most Brett Greenburg way possible)." He told me that I needed to get in touch with Erik Baker in Nashville, who needed someone to head up his Radio Promotion department at Major Label Entertainment. I met up with Erik and the dude is legit. He wanted someone that thought like a programmer ... kinda outside the box. Brett also lied to him and told him that I would work for video games and tacos, so he hired me. (Still waiting for my copy of South Park Stick Of Truth)
4) Let's talk about some of the bands you're working with for Major Label Entertainment. How are these projects progressing?
I'll be honest with you when I say that this world is really new to me and it is scary. But these bands I've been given are super rad. Righteous Vendetta was a band that I was playing on my Metal show at KDOT already and these kids are AMAZEBALLS live. If you get a chance to see this band you really should or you are dumb. Cathercist is another great band who just killed it on the Loudwire Reloaded poll. Lullwater is bringing that old school "Toadies Meets Foo Fighters Meets Silverchair" feel with their song "Albatross." And we have this band that we are going to start working to radio soon called Letters From The Fire that is going to tear it up and make the ladies scream.
5) You guys are also working with Righteous Vendetta. Tell us about your promotion strategy for this band at Rock radio.
The cool thing about "This Pain" From Righteous Vendetta is that it is a great -- and I do mean GREAT -- Active Rock song, so programmers who I've talked to are into it. It's just finding the room to squeeze it in there with the Linkin Parks and Halestorms. It's not easy for smaller bands to get play anymore and I know that because I was on the other side of the phone. Our strategy is to pound the pavement every day and just let everyone know about this band. On top of that this band is a bunch of road dogs who work just as hard as we do to get their message out by playing one of the most energetic shows I've ever seen. Bottom line is I've always felt that if you write a good song and can put it out the same way or better on stage than on tape ... then 95% of the job is done for us. We are also going to buy beer cozies and give them away cause radio people love beer cozies, right?
6) How has the transition from radio to record promotion been for you so far? What's the biggest initial challenge you have to deal with in doing Record Promotion?
One week down and it's scary, but I worry a lot about everything. It's what makes me, me, though ...When I worry, I work hard to make sure everything is awesome. This is all new to me and I'm learning. Guys such as Erik Baker, Brett Greenberg and Ad-Rock (Adam Lebensfield) are giving me great advice. Friends who I've meet at The Radio Contraband Conference, Sunset Sessions, Rock On The Range on the radio programming side have all been really, really nice about taking my calls (EXCEPT WES STYLES CAUSE HE'S MEAN ... JK).
7) What does the future hold for Major Label Entertainment? Any new bands or projects in the works you can talk about?
I wish I could tell you what the future of Major Label Entertainment is, but I don't think I'm allowed to spill the beans. Erik Baker is a machine, though, and has some stuff in the fire that I'm sure he would love to tell you about. I can say that I'm loving what I'm doing and Erik is listening to me about some bands I'd like to work with in the future with this company.
In terms of bands, I can't wait to release the first single from Letters From The Fire ... IT IS SO RAD! We are also working on some stuff with Veer Union and Trapt soon and then maybe the company will pick up my unreleased project, "Your Mom With A Banana" (We're a Bollywood/Trip-Hop/Folk/Ska/Wiggles cover band).
8) I know you've been in the record promotion business for a short time, but what do you think are the most important tools/resources you use to stay on top of the Rock formats' growth and constant daily changes?
ALL ACCESS (CHEEZEY PLUG), Mediabase and Radio Contraband's new Under The Radar chart are all daily tools. I have all of them up. Also it seems a lot easier to talk to people on the Faceplace thing then on the phone so I've been doing that a lot. I also get out to a show a week and talk to people (remember those things?) about musical tastes. I want to know what the consumer cares about and not just what Mediabase says they care about.
9) Let's talk about the Rock format as a whole. What's your take on the State of Rock radio today?
It really makes me sad that like three or four dudes control SO MUCH AIRPLAY. It would be really nice to see the power go back to the local level. As a programmer, I am on the ground floor and can tell what fits my station. As a record promoter, now you can't even get an e-mail reply from those dudes unless you are a major label, and even then I hear it's really tough. Also I can't even begin to tell you how sad it makes me to hear "I've got 10 slots for currents." Why have some great records out there (NOT JUST MINE) that aren't getting played because nobody has any room and everyone is looking at Mediabase to see what the three or four dudes are playing and unless they are on it we won't risk it ... THAT IS NOT ROCK AND ROLL. I love rock music because it has so much more meaning and soul than a lot of other genres, but at some point it is going to have to be unleashed because when you cage a lion, it just becomes lazy.
10) Finally, and you knew I had to ask ... why the nickname Fatguy?
When I was young I was super-fat and all the kids would make fun of me for it, so I decided that I was much better at making fun of myself then they would ever be ... so Fatguy was born. When I got into radio it seemed to make sense and it is also a name that people would remember so it turned into a marketing/branding thing for me and it always helped my ratings I believe. I still use it now because, again, people remember it.
What do you like to do for fun and relaxation when you're not in "work" mode??
I love to play with my daughter when I'm not working. Also finding new music is important to me. A good song (I.E. NOTHING MORE - THIS IS THE TIME) can take you to another place and help you feel special. There is no pain, there is no worry, but just this beautiful piece of music that can make you laugh and cry and be a part of something bigger then yourself.
Music is magic and I wish more people thought about that sometimes instead of just the money. Our listeners don't care about the money ... they care about the music.