Archives For audio

Sure some women grow up with the dream of one day becoming Miss America – but how many of them also envision the crown’s travel schedule, which involves a different state every 48 hours?

“I live in airports and in hotels out of my suitcase,” the current titleholder, Savvy Shields, told me on New Year’s Eve in Times Square. The two of us chatted for a few minutes on the third floor of the Good Morning America building after her TV appearance. “It’s been good. I don’t really remember much of it so that’s why I’m trying to journal and if I look at my social media then I remember everything I did.”

The journal idea was something Shields, who represented the state of Arkansas in last year’s competition, mentioned to me when we chatted the day after she won. Since that interview, the 21 year-old hasn’t sat still, but has experienced some cool moments including a trip to the American Music Awards where she joined Florida-Georgia Line on stage.

“(B.K. and Tyler) were fantastic,” she noted. “I mean, we’re southern people so we get along right away.”

With Shields’ personality, it’s hard to envision her not getting along with anyone, nor is it a stretch to think that she’s now getting recognized throughout these travels.

“I’ve gotten a lot of ‘Are you on TV?’” she said. “So it’s like, they know who I am, but it’s not until I have the crown on that they put two-and-two together.”

And contrary to popular belief, Shields isn’t always wearing the crown. Matter of fact, it wasn’t on her head at the AMAs; that and her new hair style that night which featured bangs lead yours truly to not recognize the titleholder, an occurance Shields did not let me forget during our interview. However she also joked that there is another time when people don’t realize she’s Miss America.

“If it’s an ‘airport day,’ they don’t really believe me,” Shields said. “So I mean it really depends!”

There are certainly more “airport days” on her docket, but also some once-in-a-lifetime destinations such as the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Billboard Music Awards, both of which take place this spring. “Miss America” is produced by Dick Clark Productions, which also handles all of the aforementioned award shows along with “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” another show that Shields participated in. The Arkansas-native didn’t seem to mind the December climate in New York too much.

“Maybe it’s everyone dancing that’s making it not as cold?” she wondering out loud. “I was expecting to be layered in like 7 parkas but I’m actually just down to one so we’re good to go.”

Hopefully for Shields that meant not having to pack or travel with as much; right after witnessing the ball drop she skipped the champagne toast and received an escort out of Times Square to grab a head start on the next part of her never-ending itinerary. Although I’m sure at this point, she couldn’t envision her night any other way.

Imagine standing in the middle of Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Now picture that you’re live on the radio. And add in the fact that you have no producer, no intern, no assistant… no one. Well, no one to help you; there are obviously plenty of (read: a million) people surrounding you.

Welcome to my New Year’s Eve broadcast in Times Square on 95.5 PLJ. This was the third straight year that I had the honor of hosting the show and the second consecutive broadcast where we partnered with Dick Clark Productions so that I had space inside ABC’s Good Morning America studio. Thanks to our friends at Times Square Alliance, I had full-run of the “Center of the Universe” as well; I spent my evening literally running between the third floor of the GMA studio (without using the elevator mind you) and the crowd with stops in between to interview DNCE, Miss America, Gavin DeGraw and a few revelers.

But even as I managed to book, edit, produce and host the show, there were some difficulties simply out of my control. No my in-ear monitors didn’t go out, rather our entire wireless broadcast system went down. So as the clock struck midnight and the 11,800 pound crystal ball completed its descent, I dialed in to the studio to ring in 2017 over the phone.

When you’re live in a setting like Times Square for New Year’s, these are issues that you actually can prepare for; you simply create backup plans for everything because anything can go wrong. Over the 7 hours I spent in the Theater District I dealt with a broken audio recorder, a late interview and faulty internet connections on top of everything else you would normally expect: heightened security, large crowds and the weather.

Although the temperature hovered around a balmy 40 so that wasn’t awful, but I digress.

It’s stressful but in the moment, a lot of fun. At any moment I’m in a hotel suite with Joe Jonas, editing audio on my laptop, talking with a couple from the Philippines who is visiting the city for their first time or simply pausing to take it all in. Because despite all of the difficulties that I encounter with the show, I still couldn’t imagine spending my New Year’s Eve any other way.



Louis Tomlinson is the latest One Direction bandmate to release music during the 1D-hiatus, but the single has resonated on a different level with the ever-passionate One Direction fandom.

The 24 year-old teamed up with DJ/producer Steve Aoki for the song, “Just Hold On.” Tomlinson offered an emotional performance of the track on “The X-Factor” in the UK following the death of his mother Johannah Deakin, who passed after a battle with Leukemia on December 7. The appearance was booked prior to her passing.

Photo: instagram.com/louist91/

Photo: instagram.com/louist91/

Now, similar to what “Directioners” attempted with the songs “No Control” and “Home,” fans are mobilizing online and lobbying radio stations to spin the single. The difference is that in addition to raising chart positions, the group is hoping to raise awareness for a handful of charities near to both Tomlinson and Aoki’s hearts.

“It just seems like a tribute,” said Lexi Preddie, one of the fans in the U.S. behind the movement. She is managing the Twitter account “@ProjectJHoldOn” which is keeping others informed on the latest news and figures regarding the track. “The things that (Tomlinson) sings in the song, it sounds like things (his mom) had said to the fans.

“She almost felt like a mother-figure to us, because she just was always spreading positivity.”

Now the fandom is spreading the word on the song, hoping in the process to shine a light on Eden Dora Trust, Believe In Magic, Leukemia Awareness/Bloodwise and The Aoki Foundation.

On Tuesday, Johannah’s husband Dan took to her Twitter account to send one final message to the fans.

“She wanted to thank you all, and to let you know that you have been amazing right from the start,” he relayed. “You changed Louis’ life, but also her life. Your support now is as strong if not stronger than ever.”

Who has the best deals and what’s worth waiting until Cyber Monday for? We went right to the source: BradsDeals.com‘s Rebecca Lehmann to find out.

For our second and final day inside Westwood One’s Backstage at the 2016 American Music Awards, we chatted with a bunch of stars, including a few performers for Sunday night’s AMAs. John Legend reminisced about his time as a church choir director in Scranton and revealed his Thanksgiving plans, The Chainsmokers talked about working in the studio with Coldplay’s Chris Martin and former “Glee” star Jane Lynch popped by to explain why she released a Christmas album. More photos, videos and audio interviews below.





Gold medalist, Final Five member, “Dancing With The Stars” contestant and New Jersey native Laurie Hernandez called in to my show Thursday night ahead of her homecoming show Friday at the Prudential Center in Newark. In between “DWTS” and all of the other opportunities she’s receiving as a 16 year-old Olympian, the Old Bridge-born star is on tour with the “Kellogg’s Tour Of Gymnastics Champions.” Buy tickets to Friday’s show here.

Photo: USA Gymnastics / John Cheng

Photo: USA Gymnastics / John Cheng

Hernandez talked about coming home, touring the country, competing on the Olympics and on “DWTS” as well as if she’s started thinking about college or the 2020 Olympics.

I sat there across from Charlie Heaton inside a room at The Ritz-Carlton in the Battery Park neighborhood of Manhattan. It was just me, the “Stranger Things” star and my audio recorder. On top of the success from the hit Netflix series, the 22 year-old was running the gauntlet on a full day of press to promote “Shut In,” his breakout role on the silver screen. He stars in the film alongside Naomi Watts.

This guy isn’t even a trained actor! But a series of hard work and lucky breaks found him here, at the fanciest of hotels, talking with me.
charlie1
So what is his life like right now?

“Yeah, I mean… life is great. Life is really great,” he replied, taken aback by the question, almost at a loss of words to describe what’s happening in his world at the moment. “Stranger Things” season two is on the horizon and he also just filmed a movie in Mexico that’s slated for a 2017 release. “Life is exciting and changing very fast.”

That could be a bit of an understatement. It wasn’t that long ago when Heaton was unknown in the entertainment industry, submitting audition after audition at the encouragement of his agent. Nothing stuck, until “Shut In” did. Then came “Stranger Things.” And now he’s living out a dream that people spend their whole lives chasing.

“From this movie is where it kind of all catapulted,” he explained of “Shut In,” crediting director Farren Blackburn with essentially giving the actor his big break. “The last two years has been a bit of a roller coaster ride.”

Part of that ride has included working alongside Winona Ryder in the Netflix series and Watts in the new film, which hits theaters Friday.

“With acting, I’ve been very fortunate that every time I’ve been on a set, I’ve felt like I’ve had a lot of support from actors,” he mused when I asked about sharing the screen with Watts. “We would do a scene and it’s my coverage which means the camera is on me, not her. And she would give exactly as much as she did when the camera was on her.

“It was very calm. I was nicely brought in to it and almost mothered in to the world of acting.”

Watts plays Mary Portman, a psychiatrist who herself is also receiving treatment. She and her husband decide to send her stepson Steven (Heaton), away to receive help for what they believe is a mental issue. The father drives his son and on the car ride, they get in to an accident. Portman’s husband dies and her stepson is left paralyzed.

The thriller takes a number of twists and turns from there as Portman tries to care for her son and also rescue a young boy before he disappears.

As for Heaton, he is preparing for season two of “Stranger Things” as Jonathan Byers, the older brother of the missing Will Byers.

“It’s wonderful but nobody expected it to blow up like this,” he admitted. “What shocked me the most is how people have reacted online to it. It seems like for a good, solid three months it’s all that anyone’s been talking about.”

Heaton is also getting used to people recognizing him on the street. Fittingly, he told me this as the publicist walked in to the room to wrap our interview; two things that he will no doubt grow accustomed to over this next year.

Actress, model and comedian Arielle Vandenberg called in to chat about her new web series, “Car Star,” which is available starting Monday (10/31) on Verizon’s Go90 app. Vandenberg hosts the episodes, which pair user-submitted karaoke videos with stars like Pentatonix, MAGIC! and Lindsey Stirling.
arielle
Vandenberg, who has over 2 million Vine followers, also talked about Twitter’s announcement this past week that Vine would be discontinued.

Just 11 months ago, Daya’s parents were pushing her to apply to college, just in-case this whole singing career didn’t pan out.

Fast forward to October 2016, just a few weeks shy of her 18th birthday, and suffice to say the artist will be deferring.

“I did apply last year,” Daya, nee Grace Tandon, told me last weekend after opening for Fergie inside Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena. “It was just kind of a back-up and my parents wanted me to, blah-blah-blah.”

Daya’s older sister attends Brown University in Rhode Island. And the “Hide Away” songstress doesn’t rule out an eventual return to the classroom, but at the moment that certainly isn’t necessary. In less than a year, the Pittsburgh-born singer has scored two top 10 hits at pop radio as a title artist.
daya
But without question her biggest song to-date is the contribution she made to The Chainsmokers’ “Don’t Let Me Down,” a song that grabbed Daya her first ever American Music Award nomination for “Best Collaboration.” “Don’t Let Me Down” also ended up accumulating the most spins of any single this past summer at pop radio.

“That’s crazy! That’s just so wild!” a clearly excited Daya replied when I informed her of that fact. “I didn’t know that it would be that big. I mean, I knew that it was a great song and I was so happy to collaborate with them on it because they’re awesome but you never know with radio.”

Daya is certainly becoming more familiar with the airwaves though. Her latest hit is the title track from her debut album, “Sit Still, Look Pretty.”

“(The song) was always special to me,” she said. “It just kind of felt natural for me to name the album ‘Sit Still, Look Pretty,’ and I think that’s kind of what I want my brand to be as young female artist in this industry; don’t let people limit you in what you can do.”

After all, it’s not like Daya was born in Los Angeles or New York. She grew up in Pittsburgh and the man who executive produced her album, Gino Barletta, is from Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

“This is our baby together that we just created over this past year and a weight feels lifted off of all of our shoulders,” she noted. “We’ve all just helped each other out. We all work hard and are passionate and good things are happening.”

And if they keep that up, who knows what the next 11 months could have in store.

Jonas Blue called in from Dubai (!) to talk about his latest single, “Perfect Strangers,” joining “Team Follow Back” with Sam Smith and looking up to the great Max Martin.
jonas_web
Fun fact: Blue is the 20th most-streamed artist on Spotify!