Veteran DJ Tony Peters has been interviewing musicians for over 20 years. His official site (www.iconfetch.com) has become a great resource for info on the Legends of Music: album reviews, concert dates, CD release dates and more.
1. Where do you get all of your live music information that you put on your calendar?
Concert dates come from artists’ personal websites and Ticketmaster.com, where I have an affiliate account.
2. Where do you get your “This Day In History” information?
I have a database that I’ve worked on ever since high school that has tons of dates in it. I usually consult that and find the most interesting item for a particular day.
3. Do you pick your LP of the day based on how you are feeling that day or is it automated?
It depends. Sometimes, I pick my LP based on who I’m interviewing that week. Other times I’ll pick something to help balance out the site. For instance, if I have several unknown artists featured, I may pick a well-known LP, just to give the page some familiarity to it. Still other
times, I do just set it on random.
4. How do you get in touch with your featured musicians?
It’s amazing how accessible some artists are through their Facebook or Myspace pages. Some, you have to reach through their personal sites. Others take a little more detective work. But, it’s always easier to approach an artist when they’ve got something to promote – CD, book, tour, etc.
5 What was the inspiration behind starting the Icon Fetch Podcast?
I worked in broadcast radio for almost 20 years, and I did a lot of interviews during that time. I’ve also written for various newspapers as well. I love hearing the stories behind the songs. I was looking to do something on the web, and a friend told me about blogtalkradio.com – where
anyone can start their own radio show. It was incredibly easy to set up.
I stumbled upon this great book by Tommy James called “Me, the Mob, and the Music,” and I thought that he’d be a really interesting person to talk with. So, I contacted his manager and he agreed to do the interview. I was very fortunate to have the first person I reached out to say “yes.”
After I had an actual show to prove I was legitimate, it just took off. The beautiful thing about all of this is that I do it from my basement in Dayton, OH – isn’t technology amazing?
6. Do you have one show that you’ve done that you think is better than all the others?
I put together a live, two-hour tribute to John Lennon on the anniversary of his death in December. I think I had 12 different people interviewed for the show – authors, musicians, even Lennon’s former girlfriend May Pang. Plus we took live phone calls. That was a lot of work, but I think it really turned out well.
7. If you could interview any living artist, who would it be?
That’s tough to narrow to just one person. I love Dion Dimucci – he’s one of the last remaining original rock n’ roll guys and he’s got great stories. I’d throw Tony Bennett, Paul McCartney, Bill Withers and Peter Buck of REM on the list too.
8. What do you think is the role, if any, of podcasters in helping independent artists gain more recognition?
People talk about downloading being the source of the music business woes, but I disagree. The main problem is that big corporations control all the major record labels and radio stations across the country, and large companies don’t like to take risks. When I started in radio back in the 1980’s, every station had their own program and music director who decided what to play. Now, it’s all done on a national level by a handful of people. It’s almost impossible for an independent artist to get on broadcast radio these days. That’s why podcasters are so important; they can take chances and play cutting-edge music, and expose people to new and
different things. As time goes on, I think podcasting will take the place of those trailblazing radio stations of the past.
On a side note, I think the record industry is going to have to change their attitude towards podcasters. Instead of trying to shut them down, they need to realize that podcasting is another viable source of promotion for their music. When I interview an artist, I play little snippets of the CD they’re promoting. Then, I have links right on my site to purchase
their disc or download their mp3s – and I’ve sold music this way. You can’t do that with broadcast radio!
9. What is the goal of your Podcast?
I try and make the interviews as interesting as possible, so even if you don’t know the artist, you’ll still check it out. It’s kind of like helping fill the void left by the closing of the “Mom & Pop” record stores around the country: you’re probably going to hear some music that you
know and some that you don’t. If you go to the site, you can read reviews, sample song clips, etc. I’m kind of like the clerk in the record store, pointing you in the direction of good music. I like interviewing new artists, but I also enjoy talking with older musicians who have been
overlooked by mainstream media.
The other thing is that I got tired of everyone saying “there’s no good music anymore,” so I decided to go looking around. Thankfully, there is a LOT of great music still out there – it’s just that most of it isn’t on the cover of magazines.
10. What are your favorite Podcasts to listen to?
When I have time to listen to podcasts, it’s usually from other Blog Talk Radio hosts, to see what they’re up to. Honestly, I’m constantly listening to new music, which takes up a great deal of my time. There’s a big pile of CDs staring at me now!
11. What do you do when you’re not running the Icon Fetch Podcast?
Well, the podcast is only one part of the site (iconfetch.com). I also do CD reviews and music-related book reviews, as well as the “This Day in Music” section. I also dabble in guitar, bass, etc, and have written and recorded the Icon Fetch theme that I use in the show. I am also a Stay at Home Dad, so I have to get all my site stuff done before my two kids get home from school. After that, it’s homework, cooking dinner, and keeping them from killing each other.
12. Do you have a favorite song of all time that you’ve played on your Podcast?
It’s funny how you never know when something is just going to stick in your head and refuse to leave. There’s this Australian performer named Claude Hay who’s a one-man band (he plays a guitar/bass combo, and plays drums with his feet). He’s got a song called “How Can You Live With Yourself” that is just extremely catchy. Even my six-year old goes around the house humming it. It’s my favorite song of last year.
13. If your podcast could cover just one artist, who would it be?
Honestly, that would bore me to tears. My tastes are wide-ranging – from the Beatles to Benny Goodman, from Kiss to Weezer, from Solomon Burke to Loretta Lynn. The great thing about my show is that it doesn’t concentrate on one style of music. That’s what makes it interesting for me. I never know which direction it’s going next.
14. Between blogs, podcasts and internet radio stations, do you believe one source of media is more influential than the others? Why?
Things have changed so much in such a short time. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I’m doing now. Just a few years ago, all Internet Media was looked upon as a novelty. Now, people realize that it’s not going away, and many people rely on it for their primary source of information AND entertainment. As a result, when an artist is looking to promote their music, they have to consider web promotion to some degree.
That being said, I actually think that blogs are the most influential right now. When you enter a search, blogs now come up right next to traditional sites – and they’re instantaneous. Podcasts are growing in popularity and so are internet radio stations. Eventually, they will all be as common as our traditional newspapers and radio stations are now.