• DJ Franzen: Do DJs Still Break Records?

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    DJ Franzen
    DJ Franzen at Drai’s Nightclub in Las Vegas. (Source: Instagram)

    DJ Franzen is the definition of an OG. A Bay Area native, Fran helped break The Notorious B.I.G. and JAY Z on the radio and in the clubs on the West Coast in the ’90s. He was also the first DJ to play Luniz‘s timeless anthem, “I Got 5 on It.”

    In 2001, Fran moved to Las Vegas where he took his career to a new level. After holding it down in Sin City for over 15 years, Fran remains a staple in the scene. He’s currently a resident at Drai’s Nightclub and a host on Hot 97.5.

    Fran recently sat down with a new podcast called Reflections of a DJ (R.O.A.D.) to tell his story. The show is hosted by Vegas DJs Crooked, D-Miles, Neva, and Jaime Da Great.

    Among other topics, Fran discussed the biggest records he’s helped break and how the game has changed.

    Watch the clip and listen to the full interview below. New episodes go up on Wednesdays on iTunes and SoundCloud.

    Related: A-Trak Tells His Story in Comprehensive Interview

  • Watch: Legendary Radio Hosts and DJs the Baka Boyz Reflect on Their Careers

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    The Baka Boyz
    Nick and Eric V a.k.a. the Baka Boyz / YouTube

    Legendary radio hosts and DJs Nick and Eric Vidal, a.k.a. the Baka Boyz, were recently guests on the Pensado’s Place show.

    Originally from Bakersfield, California, the brothers first achieved fame in the early ’90s on Los Angeles’ Power 106. Their shows Friday Nite Flavas and World Famous Roll Call revolutionized radio in Los Angeles and helped make Power a force in hip-hop.

    Around the same time, the Baka Boyz also made a name for themselves as producers, working with Los Angeles artists like The Pharcyde, Cypress Hill, House of Pain, Kid Frost, and Volume 10.

    Later in their careers, the duo gave breaks to future Los Angeles radio icons Big Boy, Fuzzy Fantabulous, and DJ E-Man. The Baka Boyz continue to hold it down on the airwaves with their nationally syndicated show, the Hip-Hop Master Mix. As Pensado’s Place puts it, the duo is “radio royalty.”

    Like most Pensado’s Place episodes, the Baka Boyz reflected on their careers from start to finish. They also discussed the state of terrestrial radio, their current projects, among other topics.

    On how Los Angeles’ KDAY radio station inspired them:

    “We’d get on our two-story house on the roof with a Fisher boombox and turn it all the way up, trying to just record whatever was playing because we were blown away by what they were doing, all the music they were playing. So we’d take that tape and then we’d go to LA and go to the record store … and we’d come back with $300 worth of records for the club …”

    On transforming Power 106’s newsroom into a mixroom, which transformed radio in Los Angeles:

    “At the time — [Power] — they didn’t have a mix room. Everybody pre-recorded mixes; it was all reel-to-reel. So Power’s Rick asked us, he’s like, ‘So you guys gotta record your mixes on reel-to-reel and turn ’em in.’ I said, ‘Nah, we don’t do that. We do live.’ He’s like, ‘What if it skips?’ I said, ‘Then it skips; it’s not the end of the world. [laughs] … We had to have the engineer retrofit the newsroom and make it a mixroom.”

    On being Latin American DJs in a primarily black genre:

    “We’re just hip-hop DJs, and there was no color to hip-hop DJs, and we just reflected that. We were passionate about the music. We were in tune with what was going on in the streets and in the studios because we were producing at that time.”

    On the current state of terrestrial radio:

    “[The stations] are stuck in their ways of what they wanna do and they have to recreate the wheel with radio to make it cool again cuz it’s not cool. … They think only because you listen to that station, you only listen to this kind of music … People like to listen to different things. … [The stations] want to put you in a box, and the box is broken. That mold is old; it needs to go away.”

    Watch the inspiring convo below.

    Related: Emmis to Sell Power 106 to Meruelo Group

  • TonyTone Wins Globalization Mixer Contest

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    DJ TonyTone
    TonyTone performs at The Empire Room in San Francisco on July 29, 2017. (Photo source: Facebook)

    DJcity has selected TonyTone as the winner of SiriusXM and Pitbull’s Globalization mixer contest! The San Francisco DJ will get his own mix show on the network’s Globalization channel, along with a Pioneer DJ DJM-S9 mixer and Serato license pack.

    A native of Santa Rosa, Tony is currently a mixer on San Francisco’s WiLD 94.9 and an official DJ for the 49ers. In 2015, he competed in a regional qualifier for the Red Bull 3Style.

    All of the finalists’ mixes were impressive, so it was a difficult decision. To show them our respect, we’ve decided to give all of them a one-time, guest mix spot on Globalization. We’d also like to thank everyone who entered the contest.

    Listen to Tony’s winning mix below and tune in to his first show on Globalization on Friday, November 3.


    1. TonyTone – Intro
    2. JSTJR – Phases
    3. Daddy Yankee ft. Pitbull & N.O.R.E. – Gasolina – DJ Buddha Remix
    4. J. Balvin & Willy William – Mi Gente – Deville Edit
    5. DJ Baysik – Sound Of The Police
    6. P-Lo ft. E-40 – Put Me On Somethin’ – TonyTone Blend
    7. Major Lazer ft. J. Balvin & Sean Paul – Buscando Huellas
    8. K.P. & Envyi – Swing My Way – Lemi Vice & Action Jackson Remix – DJ Baysik Moombahsoul Edit
    9. Chance The Rapper ft. Knox Future – All Night – Chris Villa Acap Intro
    10. Something For The People – My Love Is The Shhh! – TonyTone Blend
    11. Pitbull ft. Ty Dolla $ign – Better On Me
    12. Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You
    13. Egyptian Lover – Egypt, Egypt
    14. Pitbull – Shake – TonyTone 2 Live Crew Blend
    15. 2 Live Crew – Move Somethin’
    16. Tropkillaz – Bonde Do Sorriso
    17. Kendrick Lamar vs JSTJR – m.A.A.d city – MMK Edit
    18. G-Eazy ft. A$AP Rocky & Cardi B – No Limit
    19. Vicente Fernández – Volver Volver – TonyTone Blend
    20. J. Balvin ft. Farruko – 6 AM

    Related: Finalists for Globalization Mixer Contest

  • Finalists for Globalization Mixer Contest

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    TonyTone at El Chingon in San Diego. (Photo source: Facebook)

    Here are the finalists for DJcity, SiriusXM, and Pitbull’s Globalization mixer contest! The original plan was to select five finalists, but with so many great submissions, we decided to choose ten instead. Thank you to everyone who submitted a mix!

    DJcity will announce the winner on Wednesday, September 27. The winner will receive a year-long mix show on SiriusXM and Pitbull’s Globalization channel, along with a Pioneer DJ DJM-S9 mixer and Serato license pack.

    DJ Ammunition, San Antonio, TX

    Bounz, Austin, TX

    DJ Dynamix, Los Angeles, CA

    DJ Eighty-M, Phoenix, AZ

    DJ Image, Chicago, IL

    MytyMyke, San Jose, CA

    DJ Precise, Los Angeles, CA

    DJ Splash, Springfield, MA

    TonyTone, San Francisco, CA

    DJ Wat Else, New York City, NY

    Related: Avicii ‘Without You’ Remix Contest Winners Announced

  • Meet Globalization’s Program Director, Edwin Paredes (DJ Phenom)

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    Edwin "DJ Phenom" Paredes
    Edwin ‘DJ Phenom’ Paredes at SiriusXM’s headquarters in New York City.

    Last week, DJcity launched a contest with SiriusXM and Pitbull to find a new U.S. mixer on the network’s Globalization channel. The winner of the competition will receive their own year-long mixshow, along with a Pioneer DJ DJM-S9 mixer and Serato license pack.

    Launched on SiriusXM by Pitbull in May 2015, Pitbull’s Globalization takes listeners on a “musical journey of rhythm around the world.” Its daily mixers include Big Syphe (Pitbull’s former DJ), DJ Rawn (former Power 106 mixer), and DJcity’s Kidd Spin and DJ Santarosa. Other mixers include BBC 1Xtra’s MistaJam, Mad Decent’s SpydaT.E.K, and KIIS FM’s DJ Drew.

    We spoke with Edwin “DJ Phenom” Paredes, president of DJcity and program director of Globalization, to learn more about how the channel operates.

    How does Globalization differ from other stations/channels?

    It’s like we took every hot song from every popular radio station and jumbled it into one 24/7 channel. Not only that, but Globalization is bi-lingual, and sometimes we add music with languages other than English and Spanish. But the biggest difference is our DJ roster and mixshow style. Big Syphe and I have handpicked everyone on air. When I was given the green light to mold the station’s sound, I knew what I had to do: pick the best-skilled DJs across the world, pick the right daily time slots for fans across the nation, and give everyone a one-hour show to bring their A-game. Four of our mixers are on Monday to Friday. Those DJs are Big Syphe, Rawn, Santarosa, and Kidd Spin. The rest of our DJs have special weekday and weekend slots. We even have an all-female Monday to Friday mixshow called the “Diva Mix Hour.” Those ladies are better than a lot of the male DJs I know. But overall, we came up with our own fresh programming, and the fans are loving it. It’s a new age in radio and music discovery, and I want to cater to that audience but also give fans the Pitbull party and old school style they love.

    How does your background as a DJ guide you as a PD?

    Growing up in Los Angeles I listened to two main stations: Power 106 and KIIS FM. They helped mold my ear into the open-format style. The DJs on air were incredible, and I always wanted to practice and learn to be just like them. I used to stay up late or wake early to record DJs E-Man, Rawn, and Richard Vission (Powertools) from Power 106, and Drew from KIIS FM. I would use my two-deck tape recorder to edit out the commercials. I would then take the mixes to school and share them with friends. Eventually, I picked up some DJ gear and some club residencies in LA. One, in particular, lasted four years. I was there Thursday to Saturday opening up the night for a predominately Latin American crowd. That’s where I really trained my ear to play everything from hip-hop and house to ‘80s and Spanish rock to old school and new music without losing the crowd. Any DJ that really knows how to hold it down has mastered how to keep the early crowd engaged without burning the headliner. Sometimes I would do the whole night on my own and on those nights I really learned how to stretch the open-format sound for the four hours I was on. I use that model to help me pick the music and program how it airs on the station. I imagine the same club fan and program the station to what they might like. The difference is now it’s millions of listeners across the U.S. and Canada.

    What is your process for adding new tracks to the channel’s playlist?

    The management at the station votes on submissions. That team includes Big Syphe, Disko Drew, Kidd Spin, Santarosa, and myself. I also talk to many DJs from the radio and club world on a daily basis. I have the luxury of having my worldwide peers pitch me good music all the time. DJcity’s charts are a key part of what I look at on a daily basis to discover new tunes. I also look at the U.S. radio bible know as Mediabase, the Billboard charts, the iTunes charts, the Spotify charts, and I listen to new music I get from labels and artists directly. I watch how the music is moving in all of those areas regularly. If it’s doing well, I share it with my team and give it more shine on air. If it doesn’t seem to be moving anywhere else, I have a quick discussion with my team and either remove it or give it another chance. I also take notes from other PDs at Sirius XM. Geronimo, who runs BPM, is incredible at picking new music. His partner Dre, who runs Electric Area and a few other stations, is also on the cutting edge of dance music. Ron Mills is the hip-hop bossman that runs Shade 45, Hip Hop Nation, and a few other legendary channels. My main boss and contact is Kid Kelly, who heads up all the pop stations, hosts the Hits 1 radio show, and programs multiple stations across Sirius XM. I have the benefit of his guidance, and he always makes time to show me the tricks of the trade using our programming software. If you ever get a minute to chat with Kid Kelly, please make sure to use it wisely and soak up as much knowledge as possible. Learning from him and all of the other PDs has been a true honor.

    What do you look for when adding a new mixer to the team?

    I look for people who think outside the box but also follow the rules. I look for people who keep the same energy at minute 45 as they do when they kick off their sets at the beginning. I also look for people who know how to jump between different cultures, specifically English and Spanish. I get surprised when DJs only focus on one or two genres. I like clean mixers that can jump between them all seamlessly.

    How much freedom do the mixers have?

    A lot. They have a list that we curate and have a few tracks that they need to hit during their one-hour sets. But for the most part, they have a lot of creative freedom. I tell them to keep it funky and energetic. I ask them to play on air as if it was a major club. I think it creates a healthy competitive vibe among our team which brings out the best in everyone. But we all support each other. I make sure the energy among the crew stays positive.

    Enter DJcity, SiriusXM, and Pitbull’s Globalization contest here.

    Related: Pitbull and DJcity Launch Contest to Find ‘Globalization’ Mixer

  • Pitbull and DJcity Launch Contest to Find ‘Globalization’ Mixer

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    Pitbull and DJcity have launched a contest to find an on-air mixer for a new show on Pitbull’s Globalization channel, which can be heard on SiriusXM channel 13.

    The winner will be awarded a paid, one-year mix show on Fridays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. PT. They will also get a Pioneer DJ DJM-S9 mixer and Serato license pack.

    The contest, which is open to U.S. residents only, will begin with an online submission process. Entries will be judged on technique, creativity, and music selection, and must be submitted no later than Sept. 19, 2017. DJcity will select five finalists, and Pitbull will choose the winner. The finalists and winner will be announced on Sept. 25. and 27, respectively.

    Launched on SiriusXM by Pitbull in May 2015, Pitbull’s Globalization takes listeners on a “musical journey of rhythm around the world.” Its daily mixers include Big Syphe (Pitbull’s former DJ), DJ Rawn (former Power 106 mixer), and DJcity’s Kidd Spin and DJ Santarosa. Other mixers include BBC 1Xtra’s MistaJam, Mad Decent’s SpydaT.E.K, and KIIS FM’s DJ Drew.

    Enter the contest here.

    Related: DJcity and Geffen Records Launch Remix Contest for Avicii’s ‘Without You’

  • Emmis to Sell Power 106 to Meruelo Group

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    Power 106

    Emmis Communications has announced an agreement to sell Los Angeles’ hip-hop radio station Power 106 to an affiliate of the Meruelo Group for $82.75 million. The transaction, which is subject to closing adjustments and prorations, pending FCC and other regulatory approvals, is expected to close later this year.

    Chairman and CEO of Emmis Communications Jeff Smulyan said in the press release:

    “Power 106 has been part of the Emmis family for more than 32 years, so this day is bittersweet, but I am confident that the station and our team are in good hands … The Meruelo Group will be great owners of this historic brand, and take it to even greater heights.”

    A Local Marketing Agreement (LMA) will begin promptly following the expiration or early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

    Meruelo Group’s Chairman and CEO Alex Meruelo also issued a statement:

    “The acquisition of Power 106 is a game changer for our group and our media division. As a fan and someone who has had a business relationship with this station for more than 30 years, I understand the importance of Power 106 to this community. We are committed to bringing the resources, talent and passion necessary to make this legendary brand the #1 radio station in Los Angeles.”

    The Meruelo Group, whose Meruelo Media affiliate acquired Los Angeles TV station KWHY-22 in 2011 and radio station KDAY-FM in 2014, is the largest minority-owned media group in California.

    Related: Ex-Power 106 Host Big Boy Given Green Light to Work at Rival Real 92.3

    Posted in Music Industry
  • Stretch and Bobbito Announce New Podcast on NPR

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    Stretch and Bobbito
    Stretch and Bobbito (Photo credit: Gio Reda)

    Hip-hop radio icons Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito have announced their return after a 19-year hiatus. Starting in summer, the pair will host an interview-based podcast on NPR that will cover an array of topics, including music, film, sports, and politics.

    The duo rose to fame in the ‘90s with their groundbreaking program, The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show. The program, which aired on New York’s WKCR, helped introduce the world to some of hip-hop’s biggest artists, including The Notorious B.I.G., Jay Z, Nas, and Eminem. It later became a proving ground for rappers, who would freestyle live on air.

    “You weren’t [sh#t] until [you were featured on the show],” legendary rapper and producer El-P says in the trailer for the podcast.

    Stretch and Bobbito add, “As you and I have evolved as men, our interests have grown out way beyond the confines of hip-hop, and so it’s a blessing that NPR has invited us to return.”

    The podcast won’t be the duo’s first collaboration with network. In 2015, NPR screened a documentary about them called Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives.

    Watch the trailer below and stay tuned for the debut episode.

    Related: Watch the Trailer for the Stretch and Bobbito Documentary

  • Norway Becomes First Country to Eliminate FM Radio

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    FM radio
    Source: CNNMoney/Shutterstock

    Norway has become the first country to phase out FM radio, a process that began last week and will be completed by the end of 2017.

    The Nordic country is switching from FM to Digital Audio Broadcasting, a.k.a. DAB, because digital offers more channels and better audio quality at a lower cost.

    “The main reason that Norway is the first is because of the Norwegian landscape, which has deep fjords, high mountains and scattered communities,” the government said in a statement. “This makes it particularly expensive to operate the Norwegian FM networks compared with other countries.”

    However, critics say the switch is premature, as millions of Norwegians do not have digital radios or adapters.

    While Norway has become the first country to ditch FM, the UK says it will consider phasing out FM radio once 50 percent of listeners use DAB. According to Gizmodo, the figure is currently at 35 percent.

    Switzerland is also considering a switch.

    Related: iHeartMedia Launches New Latin Division, iHeartLatino

    Posted in Music Tech
  • iHeartMedia Launches New Latin Division, iHeartLatino

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    Enrique Santos
    Enrique Santos (via Facebook)

    iHeartMedia and Hispanic radio personality Enrique Santos have launched a new Latin music division, iHeartLatino. According to Billboard, “this would be the first time a mainstream radio company — in this case the biggest radio company in the country — creates a Latin division.”

    Santos will serve as chairman and CEO of iHeartLatino and will anchor iHeartMedia’s new Spanish-language station, TÚ 94.9. The station will be the new home of his weekday morning show starting in October. In addition, Santos will be responsible for developing new Latino-focused programming and content, as well as identifying new talent. He will also play a role in iHeartRadio Music Awards and the iHeartRadio Music Festival.

    Santos told Billboard:

    “Words cannot describe how ecstatic and how proud I am for the future of Latinos in radio. We have a media group that respects Latins and is giving us, in a very special and historic moment in history, this super highway to create, to elevate and to pave the path for our music our people and culture.”

    Santos was born in Illinois to Cuban parents and has been on the air for 20 years. He was previously at Univision Radio, where he hosted the nationally syndicated Enrique Santos Show for nine years.

    Related: Roc Nation Launches Roc Nation Latino, Names Romeo Santos as CEO