Category Archives: Branded Music/Video/Messaging

Making It Right

Almost every Hall Of Fame is somewhat controversial.

There are always lists of people who some think should be enshrined, but somehow never make it.

The baseball veteran’s committee wrestles with this question every year.

Take Ron Santo former third baseman for the Cubs.  He put up great numbers, and had great years but is still waiting for the call.

The knock on Santo is likely to be more about the bad Cub teams he played on on, than about his own statistics as a player.

The Baseball Hall Of Fame selects a broadcaster for the Frick Award each year.  Tony Kubek former Yankee, Blue Jays and NBC announcer was selected this year.

Kubek certainly deserves the honor.  He was the premier color man of his era.  In some ways you can say he was the model for the role of today’s color commentators.

He is also the first broadcaster to enter the Hall whose broadcasting career was spent entirely in television.

The writers who vote know Kubek’s work first hand.   They saw the games he covered on television.   They heard his observations.

Baseball has  overlooked perhaps the most important broadcasting pioneer of all for the Frick Award.

Graham McNamee was the first real baseball play by play announcer.

McNamee’s career started by accident when as a whim he stopped into New York’s WEAF and auditioned  for an announcing job.   He was hired on the spot.

This was 1923  there were no rules for announcers and no one to copy.  All who performed on radio were originals.

McNamee broadcast everything from opera, to boxing and baseball.

Dick Enberg called McNamee “the father of us all” referring to his importance in broadcasting sports.

He covered the national political conventions and announced for entertainment shows.

McNamee was the all around utility man and the biggest name announcer of the era.

He was a star.

McNamee broadcast 12 World Series beginning in 1926.

It was McNamee who set the example for broadcasting baseball and other sports.  He was ‘the guy’ during radio’s formative years.

Graham McNamee should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  But he missed again this year.

Perhaps it’s because his success occurred long before most who vote for the Frick Award were born.  None heard his work first hand.

My guess is that compared with today’s baseball broadcasting his work might not sound so slick.  How could a guy without the polish of a modern announcer be any good?

Graham McNamee lead the way so all the others could make their own mark on radio broadcasting.

There are others also deserving of a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Dizzy Dean and Joe Nuxhall come to mind.

Graham McNamee should have been the first to be awarded the honor.

It’s never too late to right a wrong.

Hopefully someone on the Veteran’s Committee will take a long hard look at who’s missing from the Hall.

Just a suggestion…

Perhaps all of  the Frick Award winners should be showcasted in “The Graham McNamee Room” just across from the giftshop on the second floor in Cooperstown.


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My Day Job

CBS television is doing a story about people over 50 who have re-invented themselves. I kinda fit into that category.

At 25 many of us thought we would work in our chosen field for the next 40 years or so. Of course it’s rare today for anyone to spend an entire working lifetime in one career.

Ask me at age five and I could tell you what I wanted to be.

A disc jockey.

Oh, how proud my parents must have been.

No medical school for their boy. He’s going to be a disc jockey.

Back home in New Jersey a doctor named of all things, Alan Furst started up practice near my parents place. Mom must have beamed when other mothers stopped her in Acme and asked about ‘her son the doctor’.

I’m not sure how she answered. My guess is she smiled and never got around to saying her son, the ‘non doctor’ Alan Furst was playing the hits in Pittsburgh.

Radio was great fun for me for many years.

When it became time to move on, I was lucky to join a great company with great people; DMX Austin Texas.

DMX creates music, video and messaging for retail businesses. Walk through any mall or Las Vegas casino and you’ll hear our work.

At first I thought branded music would be just like radio.

Silly me. It’s nothing like radio.

We can teach the basics of music scheduling. But branded music projects require a very different talent and skill set than radio.

At DMX we match music to the visual environment.

Designers think in texture, attitude and mood. For the most part ‘playing the hits’ doesn’t fit.

Music design is audio branding.

Some retailers really understand branded music.

It’s easy to tell you’re close to a certain major retailer’s store when you hear their music pumping in the mall. Music is a huge part of their brand image.

Some radio programmers are able to make the leap to branded music. But radio experience doesn’t guarantee success.

Our Music Designers are good partly because they haven’t been locked in to rigid radio rules.

Music Design is an art.

The Designers come from wildly varied backgrounds.

One plays in the Los Angeles Symphony and knows more about classical music than should be humanly possible.

Another dressed sets before joining DMX. She combined her love of music and her talent for visual design to create amazing branded music programs.

These personalities couldn’t be more different from one another. Yet they bring great skills and ideas to our projects.

These are people who feel it.

They can walk into a room and identify artists and styles that fit perfectly to the decor. In some ways they are more decorator than programmer.

Their fabrics and colors are voices, instruments and textures.

How I fit into this group is anyone’s guess.

Music branding has given me some new ideas about branding radio. I’ll share these ideas with you in coming weeks.

We’re always interested in finding new talent. Please feel free to contact me at


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