Archives For syracuse

My new habit is reflecting back on the weekend and noting five things I was thankful for. I truly feel that if you look closely enough, finding those moments can be relatively easy. With my trip back to Syracuse last weekend, this was a breeze. I returned to my alma mater, Syracuse University, and spoke on a panel comprised of talent for the New York State Broadcasters Association.

– I got to reconnect with a number of friends during the trip. I grabbed a coffee downtown with my old roommate Sam, who is the Chief Information Officer for the city. Afterwards I caught up with another SU alum, Chris, who recently started working for the University in Alumni Engagement. And prior to all of that, I spent some quality time with my old professor, the great Dr. Roosevelt “Rick” Wright II. Doc was the first tenured African-American professor at The Newhouse School and has been a great source of inspiration, education and friendship over the time we’ve known each other. I even got to see Mylinda and their son, Rubin, for a bit.

– I also had the chance to see family. My Aunt Becky still lives in Liverpool. She was working Saturday, but her sons Nick and Andrew met me at Tully’s to watch the Syracuse/Miami game and of course, eat chicken tenders. A rather competitive air hockey tournament followed, with the older brother Nick emerging victorious before he dropped me off at the airport. Oh, and the Orange picked up a big win on the road.


– As I mentioned, my main reason for returning to the ‘Cuse was to speak on a panel. I was joined on it by a number of talented individuals, including the play-by-play voice of my New York Yankees, John Sterling! In addition to being a NYSBA Hall-Of-Famer, Sterling’s daughter actually attends Syracuse. It was an honor to share the stage with him at Newhouse. A small group of us grabbed dinner downtown following the busy day, so I was able to get this photo with John and share a few stories. It was definitely a day I won’t forget anytime soon, and I have to thank Ed Levine along with his daughter Lauren for the invites and for organizing everything.

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– There were zero hiccups in my travels this past weekend; no delays, no missed flights, no hotel problems… I’ll take it!

– I lost my wallet. Why am I thankful for this? For one, it’s a reminder that I need to be more careful with my belongings. Secondly, it’s nice to be jarred from your routine every now and then because you realize certain aspects of your day-to-day that you might take for granted. Third, as I’ll talk about in a separate post, experiencing a negative can sometimes allow you to see the positive in the world – a woman found my wallet and returned it to me the following evening.

So it took a rather ambitious travel schedule over the first weekend of 2018 for me to finally realize what my New Year’s Resolution should be.

Here’s a recap of my Saturday and Sunday: I took a 9 am train to Kingston, Rhode Island. From there, I Uber’d 20 minutes over to Newport. A coffee and four mile run later, I met some co-workers at an Irish pub around the corner from our hotel. After drinking two Bloody Marys and watching a horrendous Syracuse basketball loss to Notre Dame, I returned to my room and showered before pre-gaming and heading downstairs to our holiday party.

I hadn’t slept much on Thursday or Friday night and this combined with my early wake-up call on Sunday prompted me to retire from the festivities before midnight. But I was up at 6:30 am the following morning to pack, change and hail another Uber en route to the train station. This Amtrak left at 7:40 am and was supposed to arrive in Philadelphia at 12:30.

The train ran 50 minutes late; by the time I checked my bags at the station, called another Uber and arrived at Wells Fargo Center it was the first intermission. My colleague Dan and his son Justin are diehard Flyers fans and I had never been to a game in Philly. The Sabres were in town and it was a Sunday so we figured this was the perfect opportunity. Dan bought seats three rows from the ice; easily the closest I’ve ever sat for a NHL game. The vantage point definitely gives you a new appreciation for the sport. And the atmosphere in the arena along with the amenities of the venue really made for a cool experience. That said, I would probably only return on one condition.

See, I was rooting for the visiting team and of course I was dressed in full Buffalo gear: my Bills sideline knit hat (don’t get me started) and my Jack Eichel Sabres sweater. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that every single person, starting with the security at the entrance, busted my stones. There were bartenders who half-jokingly refused to serve me, dirty looks from fans and even one guy who went as far as to run in to me while I was walking along the concourse, knocking my Bloody Mary on to the floor in the process.

The game didn’t go much better; the Sabres took an early 1-0 lead but eventually lost 4-1. We returned to Dan’s car with enough time to listen to the end of the Bills playoff game (surprise, another loss!) and then drove to South Street. It was there that I ate my sorrows away with a Jim’s peppersteak while also taking a trip down memory lane, fondly recalling all of the shows I covered at TLA.

I was back in my apartment by around 8 pm and I have to say, despite all of the terrible outcomes with my sports teams, I was in a great mood. I saw the beautiful coastline in Newport and the skyline of Philadelphia and New York, not to mention the spectacular sunrise and sunset witnessed in Southern New England. I ate lobster rolls in Rhode Island and cheesesteaks in Philly. I was surrounded by awesome friends the entire weekend.

I need more weekends like that. The goal for 2018, on a personal level, is to worry less about possessions and focus more on experiences. I truly believe if I can surround myself with great people and eat some fantastic food along the way, I’m in store for an unforgettable year.

And yunno what? If a Bloody Mary or two gets spilled along the way, so be it.

I spent all of last week silent on Facebook, which no one probably noticed for a number of reasons: I was active on other social networks, I was still frequently in touch with family and friends and of course I was on live on the radio every weeknight.

To me, it felt weird. Last weekend I returned to Syracuse to catch the Orange (don’t get me started on the tournament snub) beat Georgia Tech and attend the annual WJPZ reunion dinner. On Monday I joined my friends on TV at “Chasing News” to talk about my Vinny Guadagnino interview. Wednesday I made the trek down to Brooklyn to watch the Orange lose in the first round of the ACC Tournament (and probably cement that aforementioned snub). And of course, I spent the week counting down the days until my trip to Las Vegas Tuesday, which yes I know might not even happen now with this pending blizzard.

But guess what? None of it mattered this week.

Saturday I was leaving the bookstore inside the Schine Student Center on SU’s campus when I looked down to see a new text notification on my BlackBerry. It was from a coworker with a link to an article on Billboard’s website.

My former colleague, Tommy Page, was found dead in an apparent suicide. I immediately felt numb.

I first met Tommy in May of 2009. I lived in Wilkes Barre, and was as Tommy would later refer to me, “a baby DJ.” At the time, Page was working A&R at Warner Bros. Records. He was so excited about his new act, a boy-band called V-Factory, that he decided to personally bring them by the studio for an interview.

Tommy and I hit it off right away, but to be honest a lot of it was more circumstantial; I think he immediately took a liking to me or at least gave me the benefit of the doubt because he was close with my Program Director at the time, A.J. He also was a bit fan of 97 BHT, particularly the station’s position in the market as the younger, hipper pop station that wasn’t afraid to lean rhythmic or electronic (example: WBHT broke Lady Gaga in the metro when other stations across the country declared that “Just Dance” was “too dance-y” – whatever that jargon means).

And of course, Tommy loved Northeastern Pennsylvania. He raved about his vacation home in East Stroudsburg, and also had recently purchased a fixer-upper in Jim Thorpe.

Tommy and I would spend 2010 through 2014 crossing paths at various events, either in New York or out in Los Angeles. I remember my first GRAMMYs; I attended Billboard’s after-party at The London in West Hollywood. Tommy was its publisher at the time, and immediately left his conversation when he saw me just to come over and say hello. That meant a lot.

Then in 2015, he joined our company as a Senior Vice President of Brand Partnerships. I enjoyed this because not only would I see Tommy in our building occasionally, but I’d get to work with him at some of our signature backstage broadcast events, including the Billboard Music Awards and the American Music Awards in addition to the aforementioned GRAMMYs.

The weekend after our first BBMAs working together in Vegas, Tommy and I both headed down the shore to Point Pleasant for 95.5 PLJ’s Summer Kick-Off. We sat down at the client party and talked about where the company was moving before he tasked me to help write a spec promo for an upcoming event we were working on called “Malibu Mansion Live.”

I’ll never forget, while music played and people partook in the open bar, Tommy and I sat alone in a corner of the room and wrote the script; Tommy throwing out ideas followed by me feverishly typing away on my BlackBerry and reading lines out loud to see what if any changes he wanted.

After a few more revisions, that promo was eventually voiced, produced and presented to company executives and our marketing department. The following November, Tommy and I were in Malibu for the two-night promotion that featured country singer Cam (who he sang “Happy Birthday” to while I walked out with a makeshift cake/candle for her), Nick Jonas, Tori Kelly and Fall Out Boy.

As the second, successful night winded down, Tommy pulled me aside.

“Remember when we first started talking about this and we wrote that promo in Point Pleasant?” he asked. “The whole thing came to life. It was like you and I wrote a hit record together.”

Of course, it was Tommy and his team that did all of the hard work. But coming from a guy who scored a number one hit in 1990 with the single, “I’ll Be Your Everything,” that compliment really struck a chord with me.

That was a unique trait of Tommy’s; working with others and making them feel like they belonged. It’s one of the reasons he was adored by so many, and certainly it’s one of the reasons why I and many others will miss him.

A 5 hour bus ride to Syracuse, there for about 9 hours, then a 3 hour car ride back to Niagara Falls…

Keeping with tradition, I stayed in the city for Thanksgiving and worked, however I took a lengthy vacation around Christmas. By lengthy, we’re talking nine days. Almost a week-and-a-half. I love my family, but it was a bit much.

Nonetheless, it is always nice to return back to Niagara Falls and visit with family and friends that still live in Western New York. I flew out on Sunday the 20 and snapped this shot as the sun was rising over the RFK Bridge.


Rarely does returning back to WNY solely consist of resting, especially around the holidays. But it’s nice when I’m home for events that normally I would have to see on Instagram or hear about after the fact. Example: My very talented niece Taylor had an art showing at a local wine bar in Niagara Falls the night I landed. She is ridiculously talented (you’ll see later) and the place was packed. It was great to be able to not only join family there but support her.


On Monday we had a family dinner with my Mom’s side and on Tuesday my Dad’s favorite bar, DeFazio’s Stadium Grill, had its annual Christmas Party. Here’s me and my cousin Mike.


Yeah, it was a good night! Attending with my Dad has turned in to an annual tradition that hope doesn’t end anytime soon.


Had a chance to spend some quality time with my cousin Anthony on Wednesday. I ran a few errands with him and we grabbed lunch in Lockport – home of course of the Erie Canal.

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V ARTSY as the kids say. Thursday was Christmas Eve aka my favorite meal of the year: The Feast of the Seven Fishes. It’s an Italian thing, and I love it because I want all of the seafood.


Then Santa stopped by. We opened gifts as a family on Friday and then went to my brother’s house for brunch. That’s where my niece, the aforementioned Taylor, gave me this!


How amazing is that?! Her and I both share a love for Coldplay. All-in-all, Santa treated me well.

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It was just great to be able to hang with all of my nieces and nephews.


Saturday was a blur of a day, spent mostly visiting with friends from high school and grade school. Then on Sunday, I headed off to the Carrier Dome to see Syracuse play Texas Southern.


‘Cuse won and I got to see one of my old college roommates and my family that lives there, so it was a solid trip back to Central New York. I kept with the sports scene Monday night, heading to Buffalo to see my Sabres play the Caps. Sadly they lost but it was still nice to get back to the First Niagara Center and see all of the great development happening in downtown Buffalo.


Of course it’s not a trip back to Western New York in December if you don’t have inclement weather.


But soon enough I was back in the air and en route to the city.


Definitely a trip home for the books and a solid way to end my 2015 travels.

Sure, “it was a really, really messed up week” for Hot Chelle Rae as per the opening of “Tonight Tonight.” But since that single climbed the top of the charts, it’s also been a really, really great year for the Nashville-based quartet.

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“Dude, I’m absolutely loving it, every minute,” guitarist Nash Overstreet told me via Skype on “The Ralphie Radio Show.” Overstreet checked in from Charlotte, NC where HCR was supporting The Script on tour. “We’re really, really busy, busier than we’ve ever been. But I would definitely not have it any other way.”

In addition to touring and making the media rounds, the guys have been busy finalizing Whatever, Hot Chelle Rae’s sophomore LP. The album hits stores November 29.

“They show up knowing all the words to everything,” Overstreet said of the crowds that the band has experienced on tour thus far. Apparently, HCR’s fans even know the lyrics to unreleased tracks. “It’s just really amazing to us to see people being so up-to-date on what we do.”

As of this moment, there may be no better example to support that notion than the number of views HCR’s “I Like It Like That” video has. The single eclipsed the million views mark weeks quicker than it took “Tonight Tonight” to surpass it. Nash revealed the band shot the video themselves while touring with a bus, as opposed to a van, for the first time.

The song and video feature the rap duo New Boyz, whom HCR linked up with in Syracuse, NY after a radio event.

“We went out in Syracuse one night and threw down, spent a few hours making trouble,” Overstreet recalled. “They’re really cool guys, great artists, and great writers, and they killed it.”

Gym Class Heroes front man Travie McCoy is a little salty that a rough mix of a demo track featuring Ke$ha found its way on to the Internet. He knows someone on the West Coast is responsible, although is unaware of who leaked it. Regardless, he’s upbeat, with a more positive outlook on the bigger picture.

“Luckily enough, none of the stuff on the album has been leaked, and hopefully it won’t before the album drops,” revealed McCoy, speaking on his tour bus to “The Ralphie Radio Show.” His solo debut, Lazarus, comes out June 8. The first single, “Billionaire” features triple-threat Bruno Mars – who sings, writes, and produces. Mars gained notoriety recently for his chops on the hook of B.o.B’s smash hit, “Nothin’ On You.”

“I hooked up with his production team… just the tracks they were coming up with; I was like, ‘Whoa… we definitely need to get together on this record,’” McCoy said of collaborating with Mars and The Smeezingtons – a production team also comprised of Phillip Lawrence and Ari Levine. The meeting occurred about a year and a half ago. “We were in the studio, and he played me ‘Billionaire’… it was just the track and him on the hook – and I was just like, ‘Wow, alright, we’re in a recession right now, how can I come out with this song talking about wanting to be a billionaire?’”

Download the interview



McCoy answered his own question by flipping the scenario and becoming selfless, instead of selfish. While he rhymes about spending money on the ones he loves and good causes – McCoy raps that he would have his own theme music wherever he walked. So, what would it be?

“Probably the theme song from Super Fly,” joked McCoy. “You know what I mean? I’d have a band behind me, as I walk everywhere.”

Speaking of bands – the one currently behind him isn’t going anywhere. McCoy reiterated that the Gym Class Heroes are not breaking up. The group is currently 12 demos in to a new LP, due out next year, titled PCC II. The GCH emcee alluded to the album being a sequel to the 2005 release The Papercut Chronicles. Gym Class drummer Matt McGinley is currently touring with McCoy.


02.19.09 : Bayje – Find A Way
Bayje Calls The Ralphie Radio Show!
On “Find A Way”:

On Syracuse, Listening To Ralphie, The Origin of “Bayje”:


Yes, the Facebook album is here.

apparently dj samantha ronson is billing around $20,000 per event she spins at. ridiculous!

this article on abc news explains more, including why samantha isn’t necessarily the best DJ in the world as far as mixing and working the wheels, yet picks all the right songs.

ronson recently spun at my old stomping grounds of central new york, throwing down at lava nightclub inside the turning stone casino and resort in verona, ny.

and these kids look way too happy.