Brian: On DC Music Rocks, we're shining a spotlight on the great songs, artists, and incredible people behind the DC region's local music scene. Maxx Myrick is an award-winning air personality, radio programmer, and content expert with over 40 years of experience, providing content on local and national levels. He's currently the talent buyer for Bethesda, Jazz and Blues Supper Club, and programming director for DC Radio, which is 96.3FMHD4 or dcradio.gov. His past experience includes work for XM Satellite Radio, like he just mentioned in New York City. He created the Real Jazz Channel and then he also was operations manager, and programming director at Clear Channel Chicago's WVAC and 106 Jams. Maxx is the recipient of every major radio award including Music Association's Icon Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Black Broadcasters. After saying all that, it's just exciting that I met him, because through doing DC Music Rocks, my show airs also on 96.3HD4 on DC Radio and I was honored when I first got connected with him back when we were talking about doing that connection and having the episodes air. I've been working with him ever since and he's truly an incredible dude. I'm just honored that you'd be here and you'd do this with me, Maxx. This is exciting to have you on the show.
Maxx Myrick: It's an honor to be here with you after listening to your show. It's an honor to be here in the studio with you.
Brian: My goodness. Now, can you talk a little bit about we talked about Bethesda Jazz and Blues and we talked about DC Radio. Can you expand on those just a little? What's your involvement?
Maxx Myrick: DC Radio, I've spent my career building radio stations around the country, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, DC. I was also at WHUR here in DC for four years prior to coming to the DC office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment, which is what DC Radio is a part of.
Brian: Oh fantastic.
Maxx Myrick: Extent of that wonderful brand, which also had the DC and television DK and television and DCC television.
Brian: Wow. There's three channels. There's radio now. DC has really got a lot going on with the entertainment.
Maxx Myrick: The office of film is in there as well, film, television, DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment.
Brian: It's the longest acronym.
Maxx Myrick: It really is right.
Brian: I know they must catch some heat for that. It's OCTFME.
Maxx Myrick: OCTFME.
Brian: All together. I met somebody and they're like, "No, it's music and entertainment. It's the office of music and entertainment."
Maxx Myrick: That's what it is. I mean, we're trying to. Our goal is to give the people of DC a reason to stay here.
Maxx Myrick: We have the tools. We have a mayor and a director who are devoted to giving the citizens of DC an opportunity and that's what they're there for.
Brian: Wow. The result is pretty amazing. If you check out some of the content you guys have, it truly it really is targeted for the local scene. Actually, talk about that. Talk about the station and what's on there.
Maxx Myrick: Well, one of the shows that we cover of course is DC Music Rocks.
Brian: Oh, you flatter me sir. You flatter me.
Maxx Myrick: No seriously, when we were first trying to figure out, the station has governmental programming of course. We have a show with the Congresswoman Eleanore Holmes Norton. We have a show with the Metro Police Department. We have a show with the Mayor's Office, and Latoya Foster. We have shows with the business, different agencies. We also wanted to have an outlet for the local creative community. We've also created 202 Creates. That's part of our wheelhouse as well.
Brian: Yeah, we've talked about that tagline on the show. Absolutely.
Maxx Myrick: We wanted to also give the talent and the creatives in DC a place to get exposure. One of the first people that we reached out to was Brian Nelson Palmer, and DC Music Rocks because you play.
Brian: I'm blushing over here. I'm blushing.
Maxx Myrick: We have to service all eight wards and we have to provide programming for the entire city.
Maxx Myrick: Your program addresses that.
Brian: It's true.
Maxx Myrick: We were pleased that you said you would allow us to put your program on DC Radio.
Brian: I am honored to be a part of the family Maxx. It really is a treat. Talk briefly about, you've got experience as a talent buyer now too. Is that like a side thing that you do, or how does that fit into the career?
Maxx Myrick: It's a part-time thing I do? I've been in this business for 40 years.
Maxx Myrick: I've done all kinds of things. I've done small events, big events. When I was in Chicago, we used to do something called Unity Day, which was an annual free concert that was in Washington Park on the south side of Chicago. We had a million people show up every year.
Brian: Holy smokes.
Maxx Myrick: It was so big we had to film it from a helicopter. It was just crazy.
Brian: That's a pretty big event. Oh wow.
Maxx Myrick: We did other events and I'm used to doing big scale things.
Maxx Myrick: The same thing with the radio stations. All the radio stations that I've built have gone on to become big radio stations and that's the plan, to make this radio station, a station that the other cities want to have.
Maxx Myrick: We want to be the model for that. We have a very diverse array of programming for the artists, local artists and creatives and also we provide. Our goal is to be as transparent as we possibly can for the local government to give the local government a voice, to keep people informed.
Maxx Myrick: It's a combination of those things.
Brian: Now, that kid of ties right into one of my next questions or the thing I love to ask too is so what makes DC Radio special do you think?
Maxx Myrick: Well, first of all it's a local radio station. It's in DC, for DC.
Maxx Myrick: By DC.
Maxx Myrick: I mean, that right there makes it pretty special.
Brian: In today's day and age of top 40 radio of national broadcast, that's definitely special.
Maxx Myrick: I mean, radio has changed. It's very difficult for content to get on commercial radio. We're a non-commercial radio station. We don't have any constraints of commercials. We're commercial free all the time.
Maxx Myrick: We run long form programming. Our programs have depth. I mean, it's not just a little short interview. Our shows are hour and a half, hour and they're very diverse. We have as I mentioned earlier, world music programs. We got [inaudible 00:07:02] World Music Hour.
Maxx Myrick: We have a show called The Brazilian Hour that we do in conjunction with the Brazilian Embassy. We've got a few more surprises coming down the pike.
Brian: Absolutely. I feel like this is something definitely to stay tuned because there's exciting things coming from you and what you got planned for DC Radio.
Maxx Myrick: Oh yeah. We want to make it really big.
Brian: Talk about your connection with DC. You've been in the scene for, you've been back and forth. You've lived here multiple times. What's your history with DC?
Maxx Myrick: I was in Chicago. V103 in Chicago for about a decade.
Maxx Myrick: Then, I had been studying technology. I've been in radio since I was 14, since I was in high school.
Brian: Since you're like 21 now.
Maxx Myrick: Yeah, so just a couple of years. The way I got started was back whenever that was, I would always be the DJ at my family's parties. I would go to the store and get, and so I was very fascinated by radio. I grew up in Toledo, Ohio, which is right next to Detroit, and also next to the Canadian border. We listened to Canadian radio, a station called CKLW, which was bigger than life, everything about it was just bigger. I was fascinated with that.
Then, I high school I got an opportunity to go on the local radio station, the local FM because AM was still king at that time and do the high school update. Here's what's happening at all the high schools.
Maxx Myrick: That was where I got bitten by the radio bug and then I went in the Marine Corp.
Maxx Myrick: We were out overseas and on a ship, for like a year, in the Mediterranean. They had a ship's entertainment system.
Brian: You were the DJ of that.
Maxx Myrick: I of course was the DJ.
Brian: I'm sensing a theme here. There's a lot of DJ. Bring it back then to the DC part.
Maxx Myrick: What happened was I was in Chicago and I had been studying the technology.
Maxx Myrick: I've seen the technology go from 45 to eight track, and then just all the way through.
Maxx Myrick: I had been studying satellite radio because I put the country's first satellite radio station on in Richmond, Virginia back in 1989.
Maxx Myrick: It was what we did was we had a signal in Petersburg and then their station in Spotsylvania came on and interfered with our signal in Richmond. We bought the station in Spotsylvania. Now, then we took the signal, unlinked it in Richmond, and then we set it back down via satellite and then we increased our signal.
Brian: That's right, okay.
Maxx Myrick: That was the first satellite radio.
Brian: First satellite radio.
Maxx Myrick: You know, having been familiar with the technology when XM Satellite Radio was about to launch, a friend of mind contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in going. At a certain point in your career, you want new challenges.
Maxx Myrick: I could see where that was going. I came to Washington DC and built The Real Jazz Channel. There's another channel called The Flow, which was the new soul channel.
Maxx Myrick: Luna, which was the Latin Jazz channel.
Brian: Good gracious.
Maxx Myrick: I produced, Wynton Marcalis, Quincy Jones.
Brian: Some of the jazz greats.
Maxx Myrick: Yeah, and the whole station was done from a jazz fan's point of view.
Maxx Myrick: Which is what they wanted. Then I stayed there for eight years, and then I took four years off.
Brian: You took a break?
Maxx Myrick: I took a break and moved to Nashville, Tennessee.
Brian: I love it. That's a music fan's dream.
Maxx Myrick: It was a music town, yeah. It's a music town.
Brian: Good gracious.
Maxx Myrick: Then, it was time to come back. I came back. Went to WHUR for about four years, and took another little break and then I got asked to come over and help build this radio station, so now we're blowing up here.
Brian: I was going to say, I'm excited that you're here at the helm of this one now too. It's awesome that you came back. Now, talk to us outside of this work thing, what kind of hobbies do you got, your personal life and what kind of things do you do outside of work?
Maxx Myrick: Besides music? I see a lot of live music. Of course, I book talent as well too and I play music on the radio, but I really like going to see live music. I'm a real music fan.
Brian: What kind? I'm guessing jazz.
Maxx Myrick: I like everything. I like jazz. I like EDM. I like world music. I like everything. I just heard, I went to see an artist from some island off of Finland. It was the most interesting music. I go to a lot of those embassy events.
Maxx Myrick: They always showcase their countryman. I like that. I like traveling.
Brian: Absolutely. Where have you been to lately?
Maxx Myrick: I used to go to Brazil a lot.
Maxx Myrick: It's been a while, but I think I'm going to reengage.
Brian: Make a trip back there.
Maxx Myrick: That country soon. Yeah.
Brian: I like reengage with that country. Some people make a trip. Maxx chooses to reengage with that country. I love it.
Maxx Myrick: I love the culture.
Brian: That sounds like a much better trip, than just taking a trip, is to reengage with Brazil. It sounds so much better.
Maxx Myrick: It's a wonderful culture.
Brian: Now, one of my favorite questions to ask when folks are on the show, is if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?
Maxx Myrick: Well, this is a tough business. It's gotten tougher over time because of various reasons. One thing somebody told me at the beginning was to keep your integrity. There's lots of temptations along the way.
Brian: Like what's an example of that, when you say a temptation?
Maxx Myrick: Well, I never succumb to the things that some people succumb to, sex, drugs and rock and roll.
Brian: I see.
Maxx Myrick: There are people who did and I saw people go down. I saw people's whole careers get ruined and then you have to be a stand up person. You have to be honest. You have to keep your integrity. The reason that I'm still in the game 40 years later is because I kept my integrity. I never sacrificed that. I never would do it.
Brian: Don't sacrifice your integrity. Keep that.
Maxx Myrick: That's a big that.
Brian: Keep morals.
Maxx Myrick: Then, stick with it. Right now, there's a wonderful opportunity for those who want to get into the business because we're at a paradigm shift with the internet.
Brian: It's true. Tell a little bit about that.
Maxx Myrick: Well, the technology keeps moving on but right now, the next superstars of radio are going to come online.
Brian: It's true. Podcasts and some of that other stuff.
Maxx Myrick: If you think about Apple Radio for example. They pay this guy from England all this money to be a curator. It's all online.
Brian: It's all there.
Maxx Myrick: If you can create something, as an individual, and generate enough interest, they'll come looking for you.
Brian: That's pretty incredible. Maxx I like it. Now, one more time, for those folks who want to get in touch with you, or find out the cool things that you're doing with DC Radio and stuff, where do they go?
Maxx Myrick: Just go to dcradio.gov.