Chris Chicago Interview 12-18-15
Shamrock Media Group
Career Capsule: Started in radio while in High School in the 90’s, moved to Nashville and started Shamrock Media Group in 2005 and can still be heard on the air waves on my syndicated CHH show Rapzilla.com LIVE with Chris Chicago, Nights on KXOJ2/Tulsa, OK and Mid-days on WBYO/Monroe, LA
1. Chris, tell us about what’s new with you, your latest adventures, happenings at Shamrock?
Lots of new things happening, I just rebranded my syndicated Christian Hip Hop show and partnered with the biggest CHH website in the world, Rapzilla.com. We are slated to reach 500+ thousand listeners with this new show and I couldn’t be more excited to continue reaching people with the message of Jesus though this great music. New stations are continuing to come on board and I am super thankful for all of our radio partners.
At Shamrock, things are rolling along very nicely. We are entering our 11th year in business and we are very excited for another great year of promoting singles to radio 2016. We’ve been very privileged over the years to work with some of the biggest names in Christian Music! Can’t wait to see what great singles we get to be a part of in the future. I am very fortunate to work with some great guys on my team – Shout out to James Riley, Shane Boyd, Marco Villalobos and Alan Garrett.
I also have a pretty big announcement coming in mid-January that I am excited to start talking about.
2. How has running an independent company changed over the years?
It is kind of up and down. Sometimes labels are in high need of independent help and other times they are just fine with keeping the work in house. Of course, I absolutely love working with the bigger artist and labels but I also have a heart for the indie artist too. We have seen quite a few independent companies and promoters come and go so we are very thankful to still be in the forefront of successful independent promotion companies.
3. Complete this sentence: The best way to get a new artist recognized is _________
to make hit songs. The more and more I look at doing things outside of the box and trying to get my artist recognized, I realize that most of the time it just comes down to having the best song. Take for example new artist Hollyn on Gotee, I don’t think they did anything significant to get her recognized by radio other than making sure she worked with the best song writers and producers available. Then after a lot of hard work and development… VOILA, they have a number 1 single only six weeks after it being released. Why? I think it’s because the song is simply better than everything else, it is a hit. I also believe that a big part of the puzzle is to build relationships. I think It is very important for the programmer to get to know artist on a deeper level, especially in our genre.
4. Generally speaking how do you see the state of Christian radio?
I love what I am seeing and hearing. I think the state of Christian Radio is in great condition. I applaud all of the stations out there making a great product. Thank you for being that encouragement and voice of truth that so many people need in this world right now.
5. Regarding record sales how has it changed …. please explain?
Well anytime we think we know where the whole record sales thing is going, we get hit with artists like Adele who sell 5.19 million copies in the United States in its first three weeks… Hard to tell where all this is headed but I have a strong feeling that as our technology develops and advances that we are going to see the whole industry flipped on its head. The real question is how and what will we do to monetize all of the changes that are coming.
6. What promotions with radio have you been involved with personally that are most memorable?
Being a part of “Fight Inside” from RED was a pretty cool moment in my promotion resume. I remember when Provident called me and said “hey we have this new first single from Red’s new album, what can we do that is different” I thought about it a while and then came back with “we should try and debut it #1 on the Christian Rock Chart”. Their first reaction was something I will never forget because they kinda chuckled and said it couldn’t be done. Luckily they gave me the green light and I was able to give my crazy idea a run. I can still remember sitting at Steak ‘N Shake with Matt Ingle crunching numbers the week before it made its big debut on the chart at #1. We had done it and it was such a great feeling! We got to celebrate by parading around the provident parking lot with big #1 signs. That is a special moment that I will always cherish. I recently ran in to the Red guys at a Dove party and we had a great time reminiscing about that great feat we accomplished together.
7. Do you feel the record/radio relationship is still as important as it has been in the past………..explain how its same/different?
Very much so. The relationship between radio and records is probably more important than ever. Just look at how much easier it is to get a single in to the hand of a programmer today than it was just 10-15 years ago. The gate keepers have way more singles coming across their desk than ever before. I like to think that we make things a little bit easier for programmers. I don’t envy all of the music they have to dig through.
8. There are still some big markets without a CCM station, why do you think that is?
I simply think it just comes down to money. If the owners in these markets, feel like they can make money with a format than that is the format you are going to hear. I am actually glad to know that we have people out there that have the means and the want, to get Kingdom music in to these markets. So when I see KLOVE and WAYFM and others make moves to get big market signals, I know it is very good for the kingdom and I am rooting for them.