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There were a lot of “firsts” on my latest trip to Los Angeles: my first time running 14 miles while on the west coast, my first time leaving an item behind at the dry cleaners, my first time covering an award show weekend without attending said award show and my first time flying back and having to travel directly from the airport to the radio station so I could immediately hop on the air.

This and more explains why for the first time, I’m just jotting down stories from the jaunt to cover GRAMMYs weekend… about two weeks after the fact.


Working out is one pre-trip routine; another is visiting H&M Times Square the night before I fly out. In the past, this would be a necessity to pick up a few clothing items last-second. Recently it’s become more of a customary trip because I actually plan ahead and shop for most of my clothes weeks before so I can purchase online.


Regardless, I found a few shirts and made my way uptown. I settled in to my apartment with a coffee, caught up on work and packed. My flight was at 7 am out of JFK so I pulled an all-nighter and slept on the plane.

Having the day in Los Angeles ahead of work obligations was fantastic. Through Amazon Prime I ordered a tripod, almond milk and a case of water for my room. At the Ralph’s supermarket nearby our downtown hotel I picked up produce, a few vegan breakfast items, snacks and hummus. I also made time to drop off the dry cleaning that I would eventually forget to pick up.

After unpacking my suitcase and putting away my groceries, I fit in a nice 5 mile run, then showered and prepared for our GRAMMY broadcast orientation. It took place on Thursday night in the hotel, complete with beer, wine and passed hors d’oeuvres. The night continued with a few colleagues at a posh sushi joint downtown and ended with me passing out instead of meeting up with friends (remember – I pulled an all-nighter and was still on east coast time).


Friday started relatively normal: woke-up on time, fit in a quick jog, grabbed breakfast, prepped and changed. I walked over to Staples Center around 11:30 am for our noon broadcast; in addition to setting-up our space for the weekend I had to meet with network execs and representatives from Twix. For the two-day event myself and TV host Rocsi Diaz would serve as brand ambassadors on site for the candy, interviewing artists about both their music and Twix. Of course this was in addition to my responsibilities with my four radio stations.


Perhaps the most poignant from Friday that didn’t see the light of day: the chat Rocsi and I had with GRAMMY nominee Charlie Puth. I asked Charlie who he would thank if “See You Again” scored one of the three awards it was up for. He responded with his mom, Wiz Khalifa and Paul Walker. Rocsi asked a great follow-up about Paul and Charlie revealed that he never met the late actor, but through the song formed a strong bond with “Furious 7” star Vin Diesel. The two often swap stories regarding Walker and the person who Puth originally wrote the song about and Charlie told us the similarities are striking.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


The broadcast is four hours of insanity: handlers moving artists in and around your interview area, pre-taping for radio stations, taping for Twix, posing for photos, brokering scheduling deals to snag time with celebrities, the interviews themselves and then a lot of hand-shaking. I usually wash my hands at least twice during the time I’m there.


The nice thing is that we always wrap with what one executive in our company termed “mandatory fun” – a live artist performance that’s catered with beer, wine and food. On Friday we were treated to a set from Mike Posner.

Typically this is the point where I would retire to my room for the night and edit photos, video and audio until I couldn’t see straight. Instead, I uploaded a photo slide show and a few interviews and then had to get ready for Friday night’s festivities: Rooftop Live at Perch downtown. The evening included music by Audien and a performance from the Joe Jonas-fronted DNCE.


By the way, DNCE is fantastic live.

This is definitely where my weekend turned: I was out late, still on east coast time and my itinerary for the weekend was not letting up. I slept-in Saturday and instead of going for a run, used my morning to continue uploading content from Friday. Then, it was off to Staples Center for round two. The big differences between Friday and Saturday are that on Saturday, I’m not on-deadline with four radio stations and many more artists come by.


As far as interviews, it was nice to chat for the first time with Nick Fradiani, BØRNS and the lovely Hailee Steinfeld. “Mandatory fun” included a rousing performance from Nathan Sykes.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


I taped a few more things for the weekend radio shows and then packed up. Again, usually Saturday night would be spent editing non-stop. Instead, I edited quite a bit, grabbed that 3 mile run I skipped earlier and got ready for a night-out. A friend of mine from Niagara Falls, Allyson DeMunda, was performing at the legendary Comedy Cellar in West Hollywood. I had never been to the venue and I wanted to support her, so I trekked out to WeHo for the evening. She was fantastic, as were some of the others, including “America’s Got Talent” season eight runner-up Taylor Williamson. By the time the show wrapped and I found an Uber, Los Angeles already had its last call, so it was back to my room to upload more content and get a good night’s rest.


The elevators in our hotel were out-of-order Sunday, a lovely surprise to wake-up to. Naturally, I was on the top floor. I packed a bag with gym clothes, walked down the stairwell, and checked it at the lobby. Then I headed back to Hollywood for brunch with a buddy of mine – we also watched Syracuse beat-up on Boston College. He drove me back downtown where I picked up that bag and worked out. Yes, I still had editing to do and was able to complete a bit more work before cleaning up for Sunday evening’s festivities.


First stop: Capitol Records iconic Studio A. Frank Sinatra, John Mayer, Daft Punk… so many legendary artists and songs recorded in the room I stood in. To honor the “Chairman of the Board,” I partook in a drink of Jack Daniels, his favorite.


By far this was the coolest moment of the trip. The event was held in the studio, dimly lit with a full bar and light fare. Every song they played in the background was recorded in Studio A. Yes, even “Let It Go” made the playlist.

The event also included a question-and-answer between our SVP/Partnerships Tommy Page and the legendary songwriter Diane Warren, plus a performance by Troye Sivan.


Our crew made a quick pit-stop at The W before heading to the Nielsen Pre-GRAMMY Bash, which was held at Hyde and featured entertainment from the Preservation Jazz Band and the GRAMMY-nominated Leon Bridges. The party was spectacular; full bar, sushi, a couple of carving stations and most importantly a lot of really great people from our industry.


The Sunday night-cap included a trip to In-N-Out and I vow to never order a burger “protein style” again. I ended up taking a quick nap before an early flight back home. Normally I sleep on the plane, but instead I found myself editing copious amounts of video and then being stuck in a holding pattern for over an hour due to the weather at JFK. When we finally landed, it took us a half-hour to taxi yet somehow I still made it (barely) for my show that night.


Naturally, it took my body much longer than normal to recover from my latest west coast trip. And I still haven’t figured out how I’m getting my jeans back.

New York City-born actor Zach McGowan stopped by ahead of a few big premieres: Season 3 of The CW’s show “The 100,” which he has an arc on and Season 3 of Starz’s hit “Black Sails” – a show he has been on since the start. McGowan talked about landing both roles and growing up during the 80’s on the Upper West Side.


Click here for the Facebook album.

Last Friday, I made a cameo on CNN Headline News’ “Prime News” with host Mike Galanos to discuss a recent viral video on YouTube. The piece in question showed a group of 8 and 9 year-old girls at a dance competition in Los Angeles. The girls wore very elaborate costumes that showed off their midriffs, along with knee-high boots – and mimicked the dance to the music video for Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).”

Parents and counselors across the country voiced their displeasure in the dance instructor and the children’s parents, calling the choreography too provocative and the outfits too revealing. Lauren Lake, a former hip hop dancer who appeared on the same HLN segment with me, compared the moves to that of a stripper – asking if a pole would be the next step for dancers their age.

I’m sorry, but I have to draw the line there. These girls were in a controlled environment, with parents, supervisors, and teachers. The comparison to exotic dancers was extreme, out of line, and uncalled for. I concurred that the outfits were not age-appropriate. But the dance moves consisted of more ballerina-twirling than booty shaking, grinding, or gyrating.

Matter of fact, how much of the latter actually appeared in the video? The girls were moving around frantically, but I think the “gyrating” claim is a little generous – perhaps these critics need a tutorial on how one actually gyrates.

Galanos and Lake were both against the video – which made it very hard for me to voice my opinion in the two-part, 10 minute piece. The bias in the segment reached a fever pitch right before Galanos tossed it to me for my first of only two chances where I’d be allowed to speak. The anchor decided it would also be a good idea to question not only the dance moves and costumes – but the song as well – by picking the most provocative lyrics of the track and reading them, while the words were displayed on screen.

This is a classic example of people criticizing pop culture without understanding it. You could pick a segment out of any piece of art – a song, a movie, The Bible – and find something to demonize. What Galanos failed to understand is that taken its full, intended context – Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” is an empowering song to women of all ages. In the track, which is one of Columbia Records’ most downloaded digital singles, Beyoncé sings about finding a man that will treat her right, and not needing any guy, especially one who won’t show her the respect she deserves.

Rolling Stone named “Single Ladies” the best single of 2008. The video has close to 90 million views on YouTube. Everyone from Joe Jonas to Justin Timberlake can be found on-line mimicking the dance… there is even footage of President Barack Obama, right before his inauguration, speaking to Beyoncé and noting that his daughters made him watch the video, attempting to teach him the infamous dance moves in the process. I’d hate to “pull a KanYe” – but Beyoncé has one of the best videos of all time!

“Single Ladies” is more than a song or a video – it’s a phenomenon that transcended to people of all ages and genders. Thankfully, there is at least a positive message to be taken from it.

That can’t be said for many other segments of our culture that 8 and 9 year olds are exposed to. Would Galanos and Lake rather see these girls hoola-hoop to Young Money’s “Bedrock”? How many of these dancers’ peers use a Lady GaGa song like “Just Dance” in a routine – yunno, where GaGa sings about getting drunk and hooking up in a club?

Galanos and Lake probably couldn’t answer that – which is another big problem with this whole ordeal. No one conducted a study to find out if “Single Ladies” is normally used in similar competitions, with comparable dance moves.

A TV network not giving a subject due diligence by reporting the facts? Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised of my experience after all.

I learned the difference first hand between the tabloids in the States and across the pond on Saturday. The British boy-band JLS joined “The Ralphie Radio Show” – and were quick to correct me when I cited a report that I read in The Mirror that the fellas hung out with Jay-Z and KanYe West in Los Angeles.

“It’s good that you ask, because we can squash (the rumors),” replied Marvin Humes, who called in to “The RRS” from the UK just a few months ago. “The Jay-Z connection has come from back home.”

Both Jay and JLS performed and won at The Brit Awards, which is similar to the Grammys. After the show, the “Empire State of Mind” emcee congratulated the boys at an after party by sending a bottle of champagne over to their table… of course, each person received their own bottle.

As for Mr. West, JB Gill revealed JLS has yet to rub elbows or receive gifts from him. The initial report also claimed the boys were introduced to both rappers by former Sugababes member Keisha Buchanan, also incorrect.

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While we were speaking about what they did not do – Humes noted that they have yet to meet with J.R. Rotem, the man who produced “Everybody In Love” (along with half of everything else you hear on the radio these days). Yes, Aston Merrygold was photographed at Burger King but no, he never made it to In-N-Out Burger.

The guys did try Pinkberry for their first time – Oritsé Williams insisted he is addicted. Also while in L.A., the band wrote some new material for a forthcoming LP. Humes said that they worked with some big producers, including Toby Gad (Beyoncé’s “If I Were A Boy”).

JLS has also now encountered both the paparazzi in the UK and in the US. So, who’s more aggressive?

“We’re cool with both,” insisted Gill. “I’d say probably a bit more aggressive in the UK, obviously because we’re more known. But you know what, the paparazzi, they do their job and they help us – yunno, they give us press and they let people out there know what we’re doing.”

I’m sure it’s happened to you at some point or another: you have tickets to a big show, but you can’t attend because you’re stuck at work. Even celebrities fall victim to this… enter Adam Levine.

Paul McCartney played the Hollywood Bowl last night, and the Maroon 5 lead singer scored tickets. But, according to the singer’s Twitter update, Levine was stuck in the studio.

You could only imagine what he was working on there if it warranted passing up Sir Paul.

Anyways, Levine followed that up with, “If you love Sir Paul as much as I do. Meet me at the chevron on the corner of la brea and sunset. Tickets await. Hurry.”

You’re a little skeptical of meeting up with Maroon 5’s front man at a gas station on Sunset Boulevard? Please, don’t be.

“P.S. I’m dead serious. He goes on in twenty minutes at the Hollywood bowl…,” tweeted Levine. “Let me reiterate this is not a hoax. Whoever gets there let me know and we will come make the hand-off.”

He later specified that the winner would be required to sing one non-Beatles McCartney tune. Less than an hour after his initial Twitter update, Levine gave away his tickets.

“Just handed over the tickets to a lovely young lady,” he said via Twitter. “The giveaway is over…she seemed so happy!!!”

Certainly that lovely young lady has a story for the ages… but I still want to know what Levine was working on. Maroon 5’s next album is untitled, and scheduled for a June release.

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This is one of those “Made In LaLa Land” stories…


Catch Leslie on TMZ TV – Weekdays at 6 on Channel 38 – The CW.

I clicked on my blog, and I can’t remember being so taken aback. The amount of posts, or rather lackthereof, in the past few weeks were beyond disappointing for me.

Not that I offended anyone or anything by this, but still, let me apologize. The past few weeks were riddled with lots of news, lots of work, and little time for blog posts. Plus, the five days I spent on vacation/in Los Angeles, along with the holiday, didn’t help any.

All that aside, I enjoyed my time off and am quite happy to return to the grind. My 4th was spent in a traditional sense, balancing afternoon siestas and all night benders with BBQs, frosty beverages, and the occasional viewing of fireworks. I almost drove back to Niagara Falls for the latter part of the weekend, but decided against it, as I needed to rest/pack/prepare for my cross country trip later in the week.

The synopsis of my trip to Los Angeles is probably not what you would expect: no VIP, no Hollywood, no downtown LA, no beaches, no celebrity sightings. Although, when I arrived at the airport, there was a guy with a sign that read, “R. Aversa.”

Trust me, I’m perfectly okay with that. Honestly, the only thing on my to-do list that didn’t get checked off was to finally meet TMZ’s Leslie Harris. But I’ll catch her next time, all good.

I did meet a lot of great people – saw Burbank (NBC, WB), Pasadena, and chilled in sunnier Whittier, where I befriended a number of my friend’s sorority sisters from Whittier College.

Like I said, I was perfectly okay with my trip.

However, while my health, happiness, and dignity traveled to and returned from the west coast, my BlackBerry did not. Thankfully I didn’t lose too many numbers, and Verizon allowed me to upgrade to the new Tour (which btw, is amazing). But, I utilized the BBerry camera as my primary memory keeper for the trip – and the memory card on which those pictures were stored is now gone. Lesson learned.

To see the few pictures I did manage to upload before my BlackBerry was misplaced/stolen (somewhere between the Radisson LAX Valet Driver taking my rental and the shuttle to the airport), check out my Facebook page.

Oh, and what did I think of Los Angeles? The trip brought me the furthest west I’d ever been… but I’m still an east coast guy… even if my BlackBerry preferred to stick around.

Just a quick hello… sorry, I know, been lagging on the blogging. Life is good on vacation here in sunny Los Angeles, Whittier to be exact. Never been to Cali before. Was in Burbank yesterday, checked out NBC and WB… hopefully meeting up with TMZ’s Leslie Harris later today… and Angels/Yankees tomorrow night! I fly back Saturday morning.

Here are some pictures… check out more on my Facebook


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TMZ’s Leslie Harris talks about the reaction from Los Angeles after MLB suspended former Red Sox/current Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez for 50 games after he failed a drug test.


Catch Leslie on TMZ TV – Weekdays at 6 on Channel 38 – The CW.

Ramirez released the following statement:

“Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me.

Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy, that mistake is now my responsibility. I’ve been advised not to say anything more for now.

I do want to say one other thing; I’ve taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past 5 seasons. 

I want to apologize to Mr. McCourt, Mrs. McCourt, Mr. Torre, my teammates, the Dodger organization, and to the Dodger fans. L.A. is a special place to me and I know everybody is disappointed. So am I. I’m sorry about this whole situation.”