Tell us a bit about the career path that led to where you are now.
As with so many folks in the industry, I started at a college station, WWVU FM in Morgantown, WV, DJing before becoming Music Director. A friend named Dave Casagrande who worked at a New York City promo company, & who had also worked at WWVU, lined up an internship for me. That’s where I met Robb, & I can honestly say that after over ten years working together, he’s family! It’s been a blast working together as Shine On since 2016, though we go way further back together than that!
What is your favorite experience you’ve had in your career? Perhaps a musical idol you got to meet? A festival you were able to attend? A project you were involved with promoting?
Oof, so many good memories! Meeting most members of Sonic Youth has been rad. Someday maybe I’ll cross paths with Kim Gordon too, fingers crossed! Sub Pop’s big 30th anniversary event at Alki Beach in 2018, SPF 30, was a highlight of our annual trips to Seattle, I just felt so lucky to be there & have this job. Sounds corny, but what can ya do. #blessed John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees / Damaged Bug / Bent Arcana / Castle Face Records is just an absolute pleasure to work with & represent. He’s brilliant, funny, prolific, a great interview subject, but also just a complete sweetheart. Bringing my mother to an after party & her meeting Jónsi of Sigur Rós after they performed at Kings Theatre… I don’t know, just so many great experiences.
What have been some new challenges (and perhaps any solutions to them) you’ve faced promoting music during this pandemic?
With so many stations being less able to do call hours due to working remotely or limited time available, it’s been somewhat more difficult to communicate real passion for things I care about that we’re promoting. But, on a more positive note, it’s mainly just been super inspiring seeing stations think outside of the box about ways to adjust. Getting music to hosts, pre-recording sets, all while keeping staff safe, & stuff like that, really kept the wheels turning for this section of the music industry, so big on stations for that.
What band/artist or style of music outside the realm of college/community radio would people be most intrigued to hear you love?
Horror movie soundtracks, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, & Sheryl Crow’s singles that don’t involve Kid Rock.
What job do you think you would have if you weren’t in this industry?
I’d likely be teaching high school or College level English someplace! My retirement plan is to treasure hunt with truffle hogs.
What destination would you most like to visit and why?
Iceland & Japan always hold appeal, but I’m most drawn to any place that has a rich archaeological history: Greece & all its ruins, the pyramids near Cairo, etc. Having an ancient culture that you can in a way physically immerse yourself in seems really interesting. & Greek food is also pretty veggie friendly, which is a bonus.
You just won a million dollars. What are you going to do with it?
Pay off all family debts, keep a tenth or so for myself, & donate the rest to good causes, organizations & political candidates.
Entertainment Time: What is/are your current favorite TV obsession(s)? What’s a great movie (new or old) you’ve watched recently? What is your current favorite album?
Pen15 is funny, so I binged that in a day, but my current fixation is definitely Lovecraft Country! My brother Abhay Sofsky was one of the editors on that Jordan doc, The Last Dance, so that was personally fun to watch. Shout out to him on his success. In terms of movies, I was pleasantly surprised by Jojo Rabbit & also the Other Music documentary. Just saw this Bowie vampire flick The Hunger for the first time too: he does well in the role, but Susan Sarandon has a cool 80’s look in it, & Willem Dafoe appears for all of three seconds before vanishing like a mirage. On the album front, Destroyer’s Have We Met, Owen Pallett’s Island, & Perfume Genius’s Set My Heart On Fire Immediately will all be in my Top Ten for the year, for sure!
Back when dining out was more common, what was your favorite restaurant in town to take out-of-town guests to?
DiAnoia’s Eatery is honestly one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve ever been to, & comically they always tell you it’s going to be an hour wait, which somehow consistently ends up being 10-15 minutes instead. I’ve gone around the corner to a whiskey distillery to kill time waiting for a table, then you have to chug liquor cause the wait for DiAnoia’s is never as long as they say! It’s a good problem to have, & the food is phenomenal. Right before the pandemic started, I was sharing pizza with friends there, & I guess I got too enthusiastic while talking. We all saw a single fleck of my saliva fly onto the pie. Which, as much as the pandemic is truly horrible, will always be a funny memory. What a way to start a virus-related lockdown.
You’re stranded on a desert island (or in your own home!) What five well known people (dead or alive) would you like to have there with you?
On a desert island, we gotta go with Magellan & a few other navigators – get me off this island, fam! At home, I would definitely just say a few of my closest siblings & gamer friends. Time flies with good company.