The following statement was posted to my social network accounts on January 18, 2019.
After over 11 eventful years, I’m no longer with Cumulus Media.
I’d like to thank each and every person who listened for those 11-plus years during my time in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New England and Southeastern Connecticut. And of course, the memories I made over the past 6 years on-air in New York City will always have a special place in my heart.
There will be an appropriate time and place to comment on my future; unfortunately it isn’t now. But please trust that when I can share more, I will.
Thank you for your love and support – it means more than you know.
For the fifth consecutive year, I had the honor of revealing the John Lennon Songwriting Contest $20,000 OWC Song Of The Year grand prize winner. The song is chosen by an executive panel of judges that include Fergie, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kevin Bacon, Switchfoot, Prince Royce and many others. Matthew Reich, Vice President of Tours and Promotions for the JLSC and John Lennon Educational Tour Bus joined me for the call. Fees from the songwriting contest, which is currently open to both amateurs and professionals, benefit the Lennon Bus – a state-of-the-art studio on wheels.
This year’s winner was the song “Breaking Things” which emerged from the contest’s pop genre. The co-writers, Jasmine Crowe and Josh Anderson receive the $20,000 in addition to other prizes they’ve accumulated throughout the contest thanks to supporters such as OWC, Yamaha, Neutrik, Audio-Technica, Genelec, Disc Makers, Focusrite, K&M and more.
Nick Jonas told me in Times Square on New Year’s Eve that 2018 would be, “a really good year.”
But clearly the talented artist, who is navigating between the silver screen, the radio airwaves and the fashion runways, couldn’t have seen an engagement to Priyanka Chopra coming. People broke the story last week; Jonas reportedly popped the question for the actress’ birthday.
“Well, I already have a body of work that’s done,” Jonas told me in his Times Square green room before performing on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” to close out 2017. “I think with ‘Chaos Walking,’ the film I finished up a little while ago, and then straight in to ‘Jumanji’ promo, we felt like, ‘Let’s give that music the attention it deserves and push it til next year.’
“So it’ll come out at some point this next year and I’m really excited to get it out there.”
The media first linked Jonas and Chopra in May so for those counting at home, that’s two months before an engagement… and probably a few more months after that before we hear any more music from Nick – hey, he’s (allegedly) got a wedding to plan now.
It has been seven years since Amy Winehouse’s death and after speaking with her first manager three years ago, I can’t listen to “Rehab” the same way again. Turns out the hit was quite autobiographical; the manager, Nick Shymansky, along with others believed the artist needed help. Shymansky actually tried to admit Winehouse; the singer responded by deferring the decision of whether she should go to her father.
Despite working out a plan ahead of time with her manager, Mr. Winehouse told his daughter that she didn’t need rehab… just like she would end up writing in the song.
“Popular music, up-tempo music, hit music, whatever you want to call it… is very often, when you really look into the context of what that song’s saying, it can be quite deep,” Shymansky noted. “For me, I can never listen to ‘Rehab.’ Although, I appreciate why a lot of people get it, dance to it, love it… but…I always found it a bit of a ridicule into my belief that Amy needed help.”
If you or someone you know is battling a substance abuse or mental health issue, the National Helpline for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
With “Real Time” and “Last Week Tonight” on summer breaks, I have only one television obsession at the moment (not including my beloved Yankees of course): Starz’s hit drama “Power.” Ahead of season five, which is currently airing, I had a chance to cover the show’s junket for DISH Network’s DISH Studio. While interviewing the series creator Courtney A. Kemp along with her co-executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, who also plays Kanan on the show, I asked how they describe “Power” now compared to how they described it before the first episode aired. Kemp simply tells friends that if they liked “The Sopranos,” they’ll like her show. Not only did 50 Cent concur, but he previewed the show’s fate and his thought process behind it.
“That’s where I got the number from,” he interjected. “When I said initially how many seasons we would go, I was going ‘seven,’ and I was using it because of the success of ‘The Sopranos.'”
With season six already green-lit, seemingly the only obstacle in the show’s way of going seven seasons is if demand is too high for an eighth.
New episodes of “Power” season five are available every Sunday at midnight on the Starz app.
Legendary comedian George Wallace chatted with me earlier this year ahead of his residency at The Westgate in Las Vegas. Wallace, who turned 70 this past July, talked about his Twitter account, his new show and his buddy Jerry Seinfeld – plus he offered up a few opinions on some modern-day phrases and music artists.
Jesse McCartney stopped by Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17 and chatted with me about his “Better With You” tour and single, upcoming music and past tours with New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys. Plus Jesse reminisces a bit about Dream Street and talks about his roots in Ardsley, New York and current home of Los Angeles.
Before his Bud Light “One Night Only” show at Beacon Theatre, Phillip Phillips chatted with me backstage at the venue about that night’s show, his upcoming tour with Gavin DeGraw and life since the release of his third studio album “Collateral.”
Our buddy Max called in from the road to chat about his new single “Still New York” and next album, “House of Divine.” The LP title comes from a lyric in “Lights Down Low,” an song he wrote for and proposed to his wife with. The single is a love letter to Max’s hometown with a number of celebrity cameos in the music video, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, The Chainsmokers and yes – even yours truly.
Friend-of-the-show JAX called in from our nation’s capital, where the next night she would perform at The White House for a special tribute to our troops on July 4th. The performance aired live on the Hallmark Channel. JAX’s entire family, including her father who was a firefighter and first-responder on 9/11 along with her brother, a current Marine, were in attendance.
However also in attendance were both President Trump and the First Lady. This of course subjected the New Jersey native to criticism from the President’s detractors; however JAX explained her stance on accepting the invitation to perform and what the event meant to her during our interview.