10 Questions with ... Eric Gottlieb
January 4, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started my career in high school playing in and booking local shows before attending Five Towns College in Dix Hills, NY (class '06), where I received a bachelor's of music and minored in music business. My college summers were spent managing independent rock bands from tours to promo to everything in between ... sleeping in vans and on people's couches, hanging out in college radio stations, learning about different markets, how to write a proper press release and how to handle myself in a professional manner.
From '07 to '08, I was an intern for AAM Promo and then Beggars Group; later that year I became assistant radio promoter for Organic Entertainment, a boutique artist management, marketing and promotion company. In 2010, I started as an assistant programmer for Music Choice working under Pop PD Mike Herald and Adult Alternative MD Tiffany McPherson; in 2011 I took over Adult Alternative programming, as well as many other channels; in 2014 my position grew to include Video On Demand programming. Now I handle music and Video On Demand programming across our cable TV channels, website and app.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
I grew up listening to 90.1 WUSB (Stonybrook University radio) and various specialty shows on commercial radio, which opened the whole music spectrum to me. Specialty and non-commercial radio played a big part in music discovery for me and still does.
2. Who are your mentors?
Matt Harmon, President of Beggars USA, is a terrific guy and was super-informative and influential for me as an intern. He helped me understand the day-to-day of a label and how every department integrates; I couldn't be thankful enough.
Mike Herald, former Pop PD at Music Choice, really took me under his wing and mentored me, showing me how to program efficiently, retain and grow TSL, and know when to go with your gut in music and in life. His advice and guidance have helped me out of many a jam!
Karen Durkot at Concord Music Group is also a mentor of mine. She always has a few pearls of wisdom ready to go in her pocket and I strive to have the same tenacity and chutzpah that she has on a regular basis. So I'd say I've been pretty lucky!
3. How would you describe the music on your channel?
Music Choice's Adult Alternative is a fun and diverse mixtape. It has something for everyone, but keeps you on your toes with a surprise or two.
4. How sensitive are you to artists being played on other Music Choice channels?
Very sensitive ... while we strive to maintain our core artist library, cross-overs do happen. I try to look at our channels holistically and understand that listeners can bounce around. I also keep in mind Triple A's promise to not always play what's "expected" when programming.
5. Due to your unique situation, how do you stay in tune with your audience?
We have data from several proprietary sources that are very helpful. I also check our social media comments regularly in addition to the typical consumption of magazines, music sites, charts, etc.
6. What new bands are you most excited about?
I'm very happy to see Houndmouth's big impact this year and I can't wait to see what's next from them. Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats had a tremendous breakout which was really great to witness. Hiss Golden Messenger, Meg Mac, and Liz Vice have put out some really cool new music that needs to be heard. I'm also really looking forward to Lake Street Dive's debut on Nonesuch next year!
7. What type of features - if any -- do you run on the channel?
Music Choice currently has a program called 'Brand New This Week' aka #BNTW where we choose new artists to showcase on our audio channels and promote our selections on our social media platforms. 2016 will see us move into the space of album and track premieres and capturing content for our online and app products.
8. What is your typical day like?
Busy ... ha ha. With so many products on different platforms and in different formats, it's kind of all over the place, but you learn to keep your eye on the ball and provide consumers a unique curated music experience. We're in 53 million homes, so no pressure.
A typical day could go from taking music calls to programming our new Alt R&B station, to meeting with our social media team on a Rich Homie Quan takeover, back to working on our Video On Demand product or even checking in on many of the blogs and 'social influencers' I follow to learn about new artists bubbling up. Right now, I'm working on some of the strategies Music Choice will be implementing in the New Year and I'm very excited!
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ...
... a good laugh.
10. If you wanted to completely change careers today, what would you do?
I love so many aspects of music and the music business that I'd rather explore other lanes within it; but if I had to, I'd open a little hole in the wall bar and pretend I'm Sam Malone.
Last Non-Industry Job:
I think I hold the record for shortest amount of time in the NYPD.
First Record Ever Purchased:
Fugazi End Hits.
Fugazi; Spring of 2000, Congress Hotel, Tucson AZ.
Favorite Band Of All-Time:
Booker T and the MG's or Creedence Clearwater Revival.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from work?
I play drums in an R&B group called Brandi & the Alexanders. I also enjoy reading; my tastes vary between history, music history and wonky political policy stuff. I really enjoy throwing dinner/cocktail parties and also take recreational cooking courses on weekends.