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Feature Interview

Josh Lauritch

Owner

55 Promotion

Nashville

To contact Josh click here

 


Josh's Career Capsule

Josh Lauritch began his career in Christian radio in 2003 at Salem Communications 105.3 The Fish in Milwaukee, WI in 2003 where he served as promotions director, mid-day host and assistant program director. In 2006, he moved his family to Nashville, TN where he worked as Manager of National Promotion at EMI CMG (Sparrow Records, Forefront Records, sixstepsrecords). Earlier this year he launched 55 Promotion.


 

1. Tell us about what's new with you, your latest adventures, happenings at 55 Promotion?

I recently jumped back into the promotion world after 3 years in brand management at Word Entertainment and 2 years of artist management under my company 55 MGMT. I had a chance to see several sides of the business during those years and got to be part of some incredible things including the launch of for KING & COUNTRYís career in the format. Radio is my foundation and first love in this business though and Iím excited to be back in the promotion game. I started my career at 105.3 The Fish in Milwaukee and spent 4+ years working with Grant Hubbard on the promotion team at Capitol CMG (formerly EMI CMG) and now Iím back as an independent promoter. Iím working alongside Centricity Music, Curb Records, a new venture by mega-producer Rodney Jerkins called Lifestyle Music Group, Ginny Owens and several others and am loving every minute of it.

 

2. Since you have a such a busy schedule, how do you best manage your responsibilities and priorities?

This is an on-going battle but Iíve found a few tools that help me keep track of everything. Staying on the phone is the priority for a promotion guy so that one is easyÖI lock the door on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and donít emerge until Iíve chased down the last PD or MD.

Outside of that, I use two incredible apps to keep track of all the tasks and notes for the week. Wunderlist is a task-manager that is fully customizable and team-oriented. You can assign tasks to team members, create lists and keep track of all the things coming at you very efficiently. Itís home-base for me every morning. I also use Evernote to keep track of all the notes. Iím calling the same folks about music every week so itís essential to have a system in place so Iím not saying the same thing every time. Evernote is the best tool Iíve found to track all of that.

Ultimately, this is a service industry so communication is key. Iím thankful there are tools that allow me to filter emails and stay on-top of key things pertaining to clients and daily activities.

 

3. Complete this sentence: The best way to get a new artist recognized is to____________?

Be great. Itís really that simple. Strive for excellence in the songs you write, the production, the brand and the way you put on a show. I believe the rest takes care of itself. The new artists who have exploded onto the scene in the last few years have done this. I think of for KING & COUNTRYÖtheyíve written incredible songs and push themselves to achieve a level of excellence in the way they present it all thatís second to none. Theyíre the best live band in the format. No question. The standards of their brand are at the highest level. They offer something unique as well. I also think Lauren Daigle is a new artist who exemplifies this idea. Sheís a rare talent. The songs sheís offering the format are incredible and her artistry is unique. Sheís not trying to be anything but who sheís been created to be and thatís quite remarkable. Sheís a force out there.

 

4. Generally speaking how do you see the state of Christian radio?

More people listen to Christian music than ever before. The last statistic I saw from the CMB put the number around 40 millionÖthatís crazy! The format is growing every year it seems and thatís a very exciting thing. There are stations in the format who see themselves as media and content companies rather than seeing themselves simply as a radio station. Thatís a very healthy thing. I think the best days are ahead of Christian radio. Competition is making the format better.

 

5. Regarding record sales, how has it changed ....please explain?

Itís obviously changed dramatically. Itís rubbish. Ha! I believe that incredible live performances still motivate people to buy music. Iíve seen it with several bands that Iíve worked with over the past few years. In addition, incredible live performances motivate people to stream music, add songs to their playlists and share them with their friends. Ultimately, I believe that streaming will be a more significant source of revenue for the industry than record sales ever were but weíre still several years away.

 

6. What promotions with radio have you been involved with personally that are most memorable?

There are two promotion campaigns that come to mind right awayÖ

I was part of the team who was responsible for the promotion of Chris Tomlinís ďJesus MessiahĒ to Christian radio (Grant Hubbard, Betsy Jones and Brian Thiele + me). It was the lead single from the Hello Love record. The plan was to have the biggest add week in the history of the format because we knew that if we could do that, his record would have the biggest and best shot at retail (this was back when people bought CDs). We knew we had to get every radio station to commit to playing it ONLY in the week that it went for adds OR to add it on the add date with 0 spins. We began by setting the expectation that it was the best song that Chris had ever written. We didnít give anyone access to it on PlayMPEÖjust told the story and built the buzz. In addition to building expectation, we let radio in on the significance of a huge first week to Chrisís overall careerÖthe touring, the retail plan, etc. People wanted to help. They wanted to be part of something way bigger than an add week. We unveiled the song individually to each person we talked to, who was interested in being part of this type of story. As they heard it, they agreed about how special this song was. We learned how each station added recordsÖon Friday, on Monday, with 0 spins, after they had already played it, etc. We got everyone lined up and released the song for download on PlayMPE the week we went for adds. We had 97 in the first weekÖnobody added it early. That record still stands today. However, the song was never a #1 on AC Monitored. That will not be forgotten. DOH!

Iím in the midst of the other memorable campaign right now. Itís been an honor to join the Centricity team in the promotion of Lauren Daigleís second single to radio. The song is called ďFirstĒ and itís an incredible song from and amazing artist who will be a significant part of our format for years to come. She has an amazing voice and is such a unique and special artist. Itís rare for someone to come along like her. Radio has embraced her at a high level and the community of Christian music fans has as well. Her record released in April and has been #1 on iTunes for multiple weeks (including last week), the single ďFirstĒ at last glance was #3 on the iTunes singles chart and has been in the top 10 since itís release. Promoting an artist like this to radio is a complete joy. Itís a challenge when you encounter folks who still donít believe ďFirstĒ will work for their listeners but we have data in almost every city in the U.S. that shows their listeners are voting for Lauren Daigle whether itís getting spins in their market or not. Itís a very exciting thing to be part of especially this early in her career!

 

7. Do you feel the record/radio relationship is still as important as it has been in the past...........explain how its same/different?

I think itís important. I also think itís essential that everyone acknowledge the value that each other brings to the table. Radio is important to the overall building of an artistís fan-base but you arenít going to have a viable career if thatís all you have. Many acts have had hit songs but have flopped because they canít play live or worse, have a boring live show, have no viable brand beyond a hit on the radio and have no idea how to develop something people will be interested in once they hear a song on the radio. Radio opens tremendous doors but canít be the only door. On the flipside, I hope we can get to the day when radio acknowledges the value of artists beyond a hit song. Radio listeners and fans of Christian music pay great money to see live shows. They buy thousands of dollars of merchandise at each show. They are truly fans of these artists. They value more than the songÖthey want an experience with an act. Country radio does a great job of partnering with labels to build careers, break new artists and grow artists into headline acts. I think CCM radio could grow a lot and learn a lot from that partnership approach. If we are all in this together for the same purpose, ultimately to further the gospel and encourage the church, then we could all afford to be better partners.

 

8. There are still some big markets without a CCM station, why do you think that is?

I donít know that much about putting a radio station on the air but I would imagine that the barrier to entry is both financial (the cost of buying a major-market signal) and real estate (the availability of such a signal). I donít know why a major radio company hasnít started flipping their underperforming signals to the CCM format. Iíd love to see iHeartRadio, or Cumulus bring their Top 40 approach to CCM in major cities with PDs and MDs who understand both Christian music and the Top 40 mentality. I think itíd interesting. Could you imagine that? I would bet a station like that would bring in more revenue than the smooth jazz or classical station.

 

8.     

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