10 Questions with ... Joe "J" Dodd
June 10, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Received my B.A. in Radio-Television from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Received my M.S. in Media Studies from Brooklyn College (CUNY).
I worked/Interned for numerous record labels and studios including Hustle Period, SMT Studios, and Tuff City Records.
I have been working for Music Choice since 2011.
1) Why do you love what you do?
Growing up I always wanted to work in the music industry and I always been a fan of Music Choice. I get to program audio channels that are in 57 million homes and Video On Demand content that gets over a billion views yearly. There has never been a day where I did not want to go to work. I am working my dream job for my dream company.
2) Can you give us a glimpse of what a typical work day is like for you?
A typical work day for me may include scheduling one of my audio channels: MC Rap, MC Hip-Hop and R&B, MC R&B Classics, and/or MC Gospel. In addition to scheduling the audio channels, I also may be scheduling our Video On Demand content for MC Rap, MC Hip-Hop and R&B, or our multicultural offering. On a daily basis I look at various research data to help assist in informed programming decisions. Depending on the day, I may also have to do presentations for senior management on something specific to the channels I oversee or attend meetings with research, marketing, engineering, production, content, or video operations. A typical day also includes listening to new music, watching new videos, and fielding calls from promoters. I also make time to work on a various projects and help assistants and coordinators with theirs. One project that has had my attention lately is the Essence Music Festival that is currently up on our Video On Demand platform. A lot of work went into to that project. Lastly my day may include an artist visit or two.
3) How does Music Choice measure its success?
We look at various metrics that help drive the business from distribution, usage of various products to customer satisfaction. We have Nielsen for Video On Demand and quarterly data that measure the performance of our audio channels. As a programmer, the goal is to keep consumers engaged with our various products and satisfied where they spend more time with our products and keep coming back.
4) What are your views on music research and how it can or should be used?
I received my M.S. in Media Studies focusing on research. I also like to create my own personal studies using the scientific method formula. Not all research is usable; you have to look at different factors such as methodologies, sample size and data, etc. to see if that research is applicable to what you are doing.
5) What are the differences between working for Music Choice versus working in traditional radio?
Music Choice has a different business model compared to traditional radio stations. In regards to programming we play more music since we do not have commercial interruptions. This allows us to strategically position new music in our clocks to expose it to consumers since we do play more songs hourly. Also we are not subject to programming around PPM data.
6) What are you most proud of career or otherwise?
I would have to say, having musical legends or industry legends ask me for my opinion on songs ... people such as Ann Nesby, Joe, Calvin Richardson, etc . Some of the questions I get asked are: What should the next single be off the album? Is there anything that I should change about this song? Who should I add to this song? How do I make this song work for Music Choice? Does this upcoming artist have what it takes to make it? I always felt that I had an ear for good quality music, and it's an honor to even think that legendary artists and industry figures feel the same way as well. Oh, and of course, this interview is definitely a proud moment for me. I have my own spot on All Access 10 Questions!
7) Who are some of the people who have influenced the way you approach your job and how you think?
There are so many people that have influenced the way that I approach my job. First I have to list Music Choice CEO Dave Del Beccarro and COO Christina Tancredi. They both helped me look at the business from a micro to a macro level. Having the opportunity to work with them, I learned how to turn programming decisions into goals that can help drive the overall business. VP/Programming Damon Williams has always been influential when it comes to programming basics from, clocks, rotations, overall philosophies and etc. Programming Managers Tiffany McPherson and Luis Rivera have been influential as well. Both have been hands on in my development as a programmer. No question is ever too big or too small for them. Without them, I would not be where I am today and I am forever grateful to them for that.
8) Can you give us your top-five songs of all time and the reason why each is a favorite?
If you have never heard any of the songs I listed, please check them out. You will be happy that you did. In no particular order:
Notorious B.I.G "Notorious Thugs" --This song singlehandedly made me want to work in the music industry in some capacity. The melodic harmonies by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are phenomenal and the production by Puffy and Stevie J is incredible. Both the harmonies and productions build off each other in a satisfying pace. Oh yeah, if you are able to make it past the first minute of the song, you will hear one of the greatest verses of all time by Notorious B.I.G. done in Bone Thugs-N-Harmony fashion.
Funkadelic "I'll Stay" -- I was always a huge fan of Crucial Conflict's "Hay" and De La Soul "Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa." When I was younger I had no idea that both of those songs sampled Funkadelic's "I'll Stay." After stumbling onto Funkadelic's "I'll Stay" (days before websites were devoted to samples), I joined the rest of the Children of Production. I never heard a song as funky as this! Eddie Hazel and Boogie Mosson laid down the funk on this one.
George Clinton "Mothership Connection Starchild (The Second Coming)" -- P-Funk did numerous versions of this song and this one is the front-runner for me. My favorite male singer Glenn Goins summons the Mothership with a voice rooted in Gospel. He takes us to church at the end.
Temptations "Cloud Nine" -- This is around the time that the Temptations switched up their style. This is a song where you can hear the pain that is being expressed at the beginning of the song and the ecstasy once reaching cloud nine. This song also spotlighted one of the most underrated abilities of the Temptations, their all-star cast where they could rotate the microphone. I can think of numerous groups from that time that did not pass the mic around like they did (for good reasons).
The Clark Sisters "You Brought The Sunshine" -- This song changed the landscape of Gospel. The sisters voices, melodies, harmonies, and lyrics flows with the sound so effortlessly. This is a Gospel song that anyone can jam with.
2Pac "So Many Tears" -- One can really feel Pac's passion in this song. The lyrics and wordplay that he displayed over that beat is amazing. The Stevie Wonder samples helps takes that song to another level as well.
I know, I listed six, sorry! Math was never one of my strong suits.
9) Now, would you please list your current favorite songs and why they stand out for you?
In no particular order:
DJ Mustard "Vato" -- The production on this track is insane. DJ Mustard is the hottest producer out right now and this track helps you see why. YG and DJ Mustard always bring the heat. When you add Jeezy and Que, it only adds more fire to the flame.
Pharrell "Gust Of Wind" -- I hear the perfect combination of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Daft Punk, mixed with Pharrell. Pharrell shows his musical versatility on this track with beautiful string accompaniment.
Migos "New Atlanta" -- The Music Mayor of Atlanta Jermaine Dupri welcomes our ears to the newest offering from Atlanta. The various rap styles by Migos, Rich Homie, and Young Thug compliments each other extremely well in this track. New Atlanta is here to stay. This is a serious party track regardless of if you are in Atlanta or not.
Drake "0 To 100" -- No one is spitting as hot as Drake right now, period. The lyrics, the way he flows on the beat, and he literally goes back from 100 to 0 on this track.
G-Unit "Nah I'm Talking Bout" -- G-Unit is back! This takes me back to circa 03'. I'm glad the Unit is giving the people what they want.
10) How do you see the future for Urban and Urban AC music?
I foresee Urban music growing to new heights with even more consumers being exposed to it. Pop fans are being exposed to Urban music now more than ever. Today we have Katy Perry singing over a trap beat with Juicy J spitting bars to it. You have Lady Gaga doing a duet with R. Kelly. You also had Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons doing their thing together. All those songs are amazing by the way. Now you might have that Katy Perry, Lady Gaga or Imagine Dragons fan who has never listened to Urban music before gaining that opportunity.
For Urban AC, the lane is wide open for the next big artists to place their stamp. The format is still going because you have legendary artists still putting out quality music on a constant basis. I am worried to see what will happen once those artists stopped putting out music. What will happen to the format then?
What previous jobs have helped you with what you currently do?
The one that helped the most is my current job ...working my way up to the position that I am now. I learned a lot!
Why do you love music so much?
Ever since I could remember, I have loved music. Listening to music was more than just a form of entertainment; it was a necessity. I have to listen to music on a daily basis, just like every day I need to eat and sleep. My parents also helped nurture my musical taste. We always went on family road trips where my parents would bring their cassette tapes and CDs. It was always a great mixture as well from: Jr. Walker, Fleetwood Mac, Barry White, Chicago, Earth Wind and Fire, Billy Joel, etc. I always wanted to go on road trips just for the jam sessions. My love for music intensified during my teenage years when I would spend my allowance on CDs and listen to music with my favorite TV shows on mute.
What concerns would you like to address in general? It can be any topic of your choosing.
Growing up in Chicago, a lot of people wanted to be either rappers or professional basketball players. The likelihood of being a rapper or professional basketball player is slim to none. When individuals are unable to accomplish the dream of being a rapper or ball player, they completely abandon the field that those professions fall under. If you are passionate about music or basketball, explore other avenues that utilize your skill set or satisfy your passion. In today's time, there are more opportunities in the music industry than there were previously. Always have the hunger for more.