10 Questions with ... Ann Delisi
September 9, 2013
1. How did you become interested in radio?
It was an accident. I was studying music at Wayne State University and working at a health spa, making smoothies (before they were called smoothies) and I met WDET's PD. We talked and by the end of the conversation, I agreed to be a volunteer, re-filing albums at WDET. That's how my radio career began. I have been at WDET ever since!
2. How would you describe the music on your Essential Music show?
Essential Music plays everything from the latest Triple A artists to looking back at the history of music with interview clips from artists and historical information about how songs were created. Album features on landmark albums, live music and interviews; I play the Top 5 Essential Songs picked by listeners and artists; and I include music by bands from Detroit. There are a lot of moving parts in this show.
3. What new bands are you most excited about?
There is a Detroit hip-hop artist, Mike Ellison, who I think has the goods. As a matter of fact, Don Was came to Detroit to produce some tracks with him for an upcoming edition of The World Café dedicated to Detroit.
4. Even though WDET is mostly News/Talk now, do find that folks still consider the station a destination to discover music?
Absolutely. There are listeners who look back on WDET's music days with great reverence and returned when WDET put some music back on the air.
5. How much interaction do you have with record labels?
Given the WDET is not a music station, I actually have regular contact with record labels, which is so gratifying. I realize that stations dedicated to playing music are at the top of the list for label attention, but there have been many label reps who have been great about keeping what I'm doing on their radar.
6. How do you stay in tune with your audience?
Social media has been instrumental in keeping me connected with the audience. It has been a great way to share ideas and music. I try to answer every e-mail and Facebook post that I get. The fact that they listen, write and interact is wonderful. I am very mindful that they have countless options when it comes to what they listen to and where they get their music.
7. Are you involved in other music related activities in Detroit?
I host live listening parties once a month at a club in Detroit called The Majestic Café. Basically, I pull together a list of 20 songs for each party and while the audience eats dinner, we listen to clips from those songs, and then we all talk about what we liked and what we didn't. It's a great group discussion about music, which is very enlightening for me. They rate every song and then on a future show, I play back their top-5 picks. After we listen, a local band plays a 30-minute set. This is an opportunity to support local music, expose them to a new audience and promote them on the air. The entire night lasts two hours. We are about to do our 39th party! The audience loves coming out, getting exposed to new music and talking about it, plus our client loves having a packed club on a Tuesday night.
8. What's the best piece of advice anyone's ever given you? The worst?
The best advice was to not underestimate the audience and to be mindful that just when you think you know who they are and what they think, they will surprise you. Worse advice? I seem to have heard a lot of that, which I tried to forget in short order. Ha!
9. What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
A good song holds up with a voice and one instrument. Not much else is needed. On the other hand, studio tricks and production can rarely turn a bad song into a good one.
10. If you wanted to completely change careers today, what would you do?
Since my work isn't tangible, I would do something that I can see or touch. Photography, most likely, although I am now starting to work with concrete, of all things. I'm Italian, so it must be in my DNA.
Last Non-Industry Job:
Working for a Detroit production company.
First Record Ever Purchased:
The Beatles "Abbey Road"
The Bee Gees
Favorite Band Of All-Time:
I just can't answer this one. It hurts my head.
What Do You Enjoy Doing In Your Spare Time Away From Work?
I dabble in photography and work with an organization called The Greening of Detroit , which is working tirelessly to beautify the Motor City. That's the short list!