Archives For Red Carpet Radio

It’s tough to put my finger on exactly what it was — but for some reason, I found myself rooting for “Escape at Dannemora” to take home an Emmy last month. The limited series was nominated for 12 but came away with none.

Was it because I covered the New York premiere and spoke with all of the main players — from stars Benicio Del Toro and Patricia Arquette to director Ben Stiller? I’ve covered plenty of premieres and junkets in my career and that rarely equates to me becoming a fan. Perhaps the fact that Stiller, obviously known mostly for his comedic chops, triumphantly showcases his directorial skills? That storyline — a professional finding success in a new gig — certainly resonates at the moment.

I loathe the term “upstate” but was it familiarity of the setting: state trooper vehicles, Governor Cuomo (portrayed by “Sopranos” star Michael Imperioli) and the Western New York connection? That probably played a small role.

If you’re unaware, the Showtime limited series is based on a true story of a prison break that took place on my birthday in 2015. The mastermind was born near my hometown of Niagara Falls, New York; his daughter is a hairdresser and my best friend is one of her clients.

Ultimately, I think I found myself rooting for the show because it was just really, really good. And in the end, holding substance in as much regard if not more than style is what I’ve always been about.
“Mystic River,” “Patriots Day” and now the Showtime series, “City On A Hill.” All three are set in Boston and all three include Kevin Bacon. The actor told Seth Meyers that the series is “probably my sixth or seventh thing I’ve done there.”

When he spoke with me for DISH Network’s “DISH Studio,” I inquired if he received his honorary citizenship yet.

“It might be going in the other direction,” Bacon joked. “They might never want to see me again.”

In his latest venture to Beantown, Bacon plays FBI investigator Jackie Rohr. In the other two aforementioned films, he was not only playing a Bostonian but playing someone in law enforcement. But this role is a little different.

“The other two guys were stand-up officers,” Bacon recalled. “This guy is a real scumbag.”

“City On A Hill” is based on a fictional account of the “Boston Miracle,” a program aimed at curbing gun violence in the city during the 90’s. Bacon’s character is part of a corruption-filled agency. He’s forced to team with a Brooklyn District Attorney to take on a family of armed car robbers.

The series aired over the summer and is now available on-demand.
I found myself just a few spots from the end of the red carpet at the Showtime premiere of “The Loudest Voice.” I was there with DISH, vying with every other major national outlet for interviews. Russell Crowe, Naomi Watts, Seth MacFarlane and many, many more were scheduled to walk the carpet outside of The Paris Theater in midtown Manhattan.

Everyone there wants Crowe; he’s a huge name and he plays Roger Ailes, the lead character in the limited series. To my surprise, Crowe arrived on the earlier side and began slowly making his way down the media line. I interviewed other cast and crew while keeping an eye on Crowe’s progress. Not far behind him, Watts also began granting interviews.

Usually at some point, after most if not all of the cast have arrived, the carpet essentially comes to a halt so a group photo can be snapped. Depending on how close this occurs to the screening, this can either signal the end of the carpet or the best chance to grab someone mid-scrum while everyone returns to their positions.

As “The Loudest Voice” group photo wrapped, some cast returned to interviews while others began walking towards the theatre. Both Watts and Crowe were in the latter group.

Here’s what plays out in my mind: I either bolt out and ask Watts a question or I lay low and take my chances with Crowe.

If I shout a good question (which I had banked) towards Watts, she’ll probably stop and answer. But it will come at the cost of both her publicist’s disposition and the chance at interviewing Crowe. Between the disruption this will cause in my vicinity, combined with the Crowe’s publicist’s unwillingness to have her client wait, I’ll miss out on the lead.

If I lay low I’m banking on Crowe, who has already been exceptional with the media assembled, to perhaps feel generous and grant one more interview before he heads inside. And unlike Watts, I may have a better chance at getting more than one question in.

I decide to go all-in on Crowe. I allow Watts and her publicist to walk by me. As that’s happening, Crowe and I see each other. The actor’s publicist is in the middle of informing him that his obligations on the carpet are finished.

“Hey, what about this guy?” Crowe asks, motioning towards me. “He looks legit.”

Crowe walks over for his final interview at the premiere, a three question back-and-forth with me for DISH Network’s “DISH Studio.”

And as for Watts — she returned to the carpet for another group photo before the screening began. The actress also confirmed that I had a good question banked, because she stopped to answer it on the way back inside.

I have always believed that “style” shouldn’t come at the sacrifice of “substance” and vice versa. This interview, and how it occurred, is yet another example of this.

For my sixth consecutive year, I made the trek out west to Sin City on the weekend before Memorial Day to cover the Billboard Music Awards. This year, due to I presume the Vegas Golden Nights’ deep playoff run, the broadcast relocated from the T-Mobile Arena to its original home – the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The BBMAs also switched networks, moving from ABC to NBC. Despite the changes, the Billboard Music Awards held true to its trademark of celebrating the past, present and future of music in both the awards handed out and the performances showcased.

In addition to covering the show and interviewing artists backstage, I also served as the warm-up act for the broadcast. This was the fifth straight year that dick clark productions asked me to join the production in this capacity, and I could not have been more honored to stand on-stage in front of thousands, including many artists I adore, while previewing the big night ahead.

Check our interviews and photos from the event below.




Before his group headlined Mohegan Sun Arena and were introduced by yours truly, I sat down backstage to chat with Chris Daughtry of the band Daughtry. He gave me a tentative timeline for the group’s fifth studio album, talked about his plans for the rest of the year and even reminisced with me about a moment we had backstage at last year’s Billboard Music Awards.

Then a few weeks later, we chatted at… the Billboard Music Awards, where he gave me another update on Daughtry’s next LP.

Back in 2016, I was chatting with David Cook during our broadcast backstage at The 58th GRAMMY Awards. That previous November I saw David headline Gramercy Theater, and hung out backstage with him and the legendary Steven Van Zandt after the show. Just a few months after, we were talking about the performance and Cook described to me why of his top 10 shows, at least half of the list is comprised of New York City dates.

“There’s just no pretense,” he explained. “If you’re bad, they’re going to let you know. And if you hit it, they’re going to let you know. I love that honesty.”

Later in the conversation, we were talking about Cook’s pending return to “American Idol,” the show that catapulted him to stardom. While he was in LA that week, Cook was taping a segment for the competition, which was in its final season on Fox. He mentioned running in to another “Idol” alum, Constantine Maroulis. So off the cuff, I asked Cook if he’d ever consider Broadway.

“They are some of the most grandiose productions, they’re amazing,” the singer said of the shows he attended. “If the opportunity came up and it was the right role, hell yeah I’d do it, for sure.”

About two years later, the opportunity came up and the role was right. Billboard broke the story on Thursday that Cook will make his Broadway debut in “Kinky Boots.” He’ll play the role of Charlie Price, the son of the factory owner who takes over his father’s business.

Cook’s run commences April 3 and goes through May 5. His new EP, “Chromance,” is out today (Friday).

A secret is safe with Long Island’s Hoodie Allen. Just ask his friend, Ed Sheeran.

“I knew for a little bit. I had to keep my mouth shut,” Allen said regarding Sheeran’s recent engagement to longtime girlfriend Cherry Seaborn. “I did a good job too; I think I passed the test of just zipping it up and not letting anyone know.”

There was no pun intended on Hoodie’s zipper comment, nor on his adjective use when describing the couple.

“It wasn’t that much of a shock because they’re perfect together,” the emcee, born Steven Markowitz, said. “I love them both so I was really happy.”

I ran in to Allen on the red carpet of The GRAMMYs outside of Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. The hip-hop artist, who was there alongside girlfriend Sadie Newman, took over Bulova’s Instagram Story for the award show weekend. Bulova is the official timepiece partner of The GRAMMY Awards; it was Allen’s first time attending the event.

“Overwhelming,” he responded when I asked what he thought of spectacle that is a GRAMMYs red carpet. “I don’t know (because) if it’s just cold out or the adrenaline but yeah, this is pretty cool.”

As for what is currently on the artist’s plate, he just wrapped a world tour in December and is currently working on his next mixtape. Allen noted that he’s been bouncing between the road and the studio so there could be both new music and concert dates in store for his fans this year.

At The 60th GRAMMYs on Sunday, one of the night’s more poignant moments was delivered from a likely source: the live performance of “1-800-273-8255” by Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid. If you caught the trio’s rendition of the single at the MTV Video Music Awards then you knew it would be a can’t-miss part of the show. Just as memorable was Logic’s sermon that he delivered following the piece; he later revealed the Recording Academy asked him to speak there.

Still the song and its success are rather unlikely. It began when Logic, born Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, noticed fans on tour and online reacting to his music and story in a way he didn’t expect: by saying it changed or saved their life. The reactions inspired Logic to head in to the studio and channel that energy in to a track that he would eventually entitle with the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

“I never thought in a million years thought that that song would take me (to The GRAMMYs),” Logic said at The Garden following the ceremony’s conclusion Sunday night. “I love to make fun music, all types of hip-hop and even over trap beats.

“And I always thought it was something more like that, like a more fun or clubby or happy kind of vibe that would get me on that stage. So I can’t believe that I made a song that I never thought would ever do any of that, just from a place in my heart, strictly for my fans and anybody it could reach – and the fact that it actually reached them… it’s crazy.”

The track was up for “Song Of The Year” and lost to Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like” but to Logic, it didn’t seem to matter much.

“I mean, I won. That’s how I feel!” he told me and the rest of the Media Center at The Garden following his performance. “This is insane.”


Bonus: I asked Alessia Cara a few questions following her GRAMMY win for Best New Artist.

Now that I’ve had a few days to process everything, some news and notes from my first ever GRAMMYs red carpet…

– The GRAMMYs red carpet is reminiscent of one for a big movie premiere in that it’s quite expansive, filled with top level stars, chaotic in spurts and covered by outlets of all shapes and sizes. Jayde Donovan and I were holding down the fort for our radio network, Westwood One. We were towards the end of the media lineup – to our left were The Garden social media team and WWD.com. To our right? A Japanese TV outlet that is clearly big across the Pacific because seemingly everyone stopped or attempted to stop and say hi to them.

– Always appreciate Scott Borchetta, the head of Big Machine Label Group, making a few minutes for us. He joked that NARAS had quite the wildcard on their hands sitting country group Midland in the front row. On a more serious note, he thought Taylor Swift had a good chance in both categories she was nominated, especially Best Country Song for writing Little Big Town’s “Better Man.” She came up empty for that along with “I Don’t Want To Live Forever” from “Fifty Shades Darker” in the Visual Media category, one that Borchetta believed is a “flip of the coin.”

– When we flagged Victor Cruz over and he revealed to Jayde that he was presenting the “Despacito” performance, my first thought was, “Oh, the irony!” Of course, it was two seasons ago that Cruz along with Odell Beckham Jr. and other Giants players flew to Miami the week before a playoff game to hang with Justin Bieber in Miami. Not only would the G-Men lose to the Packers, but some would point to the incident as the reason why Cruz wasn’t brought back to the team.

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– Speaking of “Despacito,” I think anyone and everyone who had anything to do with that song and wasn’t named Justin Bieber was on the red carpet. The producers, the artists, the principle songwriter, the guy who opened the studio door… it was incredible!

– The white roses Jayde and I wore were donated by 1800Flowers.com and the whole movement was championed in part by one of our colleagues, Melony Torres – very cool.

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– It always amazes me that sometime the biggest stars are the ones most generous with their time. With that said, it was cool to see Tony Bennett spend a few minutes chatting with Jayde.

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– Loved catching up with Long Island’s own Hoodie Allen, who told me he knew about his buddy Ed Sheeran’s engagement for a whole and to him and those around Ed it came as no surprise. I wonder if Hoodie is in charge of the bachelor party…

– Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife told us that city officials worked hard to get The GRAMMYs to The Garden. Later, when I asked Recording Academy President Neil Portnow about New York as a host city, he went out of his way to mention the administration sang a rather different tune, stating tonight wasn’t the time to address the challenges working with them.

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Although for me, the best part of our interaction with Mr. Mayor was after I shook his hand, when I told the Boston-born lifelong Red Sox fan, “Let’s go Yankees.”

I’m sure the Mayor appreciated it as much as Mr. Portnow’s comments.

Believe it or not, one of the more inspirational moments I experienced on The GRAMMYs red carpet involved interviewing Danny Gokey. You may remember the singer as the third finalist on the eighth season of “American Idol.” After an introduction so vast on a show so popular, it usually becomes difficult for artists to be known for anything other than appearing on the TV competition. That usually leads the contestants to either embrace it or spend the rest of their career attempting to erase it.

Gokey took a path less traveled: a career-reinvention of sorts. However his goal was far deeper than shedding a label or scoring a hit record.

“I got to create from what was on the inside of me at the beginning,” Gokey, standing alongside his wife Leyicet, told me. “What I tried to do was create an impact.

“We’re all created uniquely. I know a lot of times we deal with insecurities like, ‘Oh man, that person is getting a lot more looks than I am,’ but really people have to think, ‘No, what you do – no one else can do.’”

Gokey further explained that by people not conforming to others’ standards and staying true to themselves, they will be able to travel to places never imagined. And for the singer, that place was The 60th GRAMMYs, earning his first career nomination in the Best Contemporary Christian Music category for his album, “Rise.” Gokey attributes the album’s success to his record label, BMG, affording him the freedom to practice what he preached. It serves as yet another example that the most impactful art is the most honest.