Podcast Transcript

interview Goldberg.mp3


Announcer [00:00:01] Welcome to the Taking a Walk podcast, Music History on Foot. You can find the podcast on Apple, Spotify, the Podcast Playground, or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode with your host, Buzz Knight, has a guest who’s been in the middle of music history his entire career. Danny Goldberg is the president of Gold Village Entertainment. His career accomplishments include personal manager, label president, author and public relations man. Danny Goldberg is Buzz Knight’s guest on taking a walk next.


Buzz Knight [00:00:40] Well, Danny, thank you so much for being on the Takin a  Walk podcast. We are at your palatial home office here in Midtown Manhattan. I was the idiot that said to Danny, Hey, Danny, maybe we could take a walk on a side street. Danny goes, Yeah, but I’m right around the corner from Penn Station. There’s no quiet side street.


Danny Goldberg [00:01:01] That is true. It’s is a noisy neighborhood. But this has been a good office for me these last few years. It’s near all the trains.


Buzz Knight [00:01:08] Perfect. So when did you realize you were first hooked in your life on music? Do you remember that moment?


Danny Goldberg [00:01:18] I think it was I think it was in high school. I was walking down the corridor and in those days it was just the beginning of portable record players and a kid who I didn’t know that well, who was a year older than me, says, You’ve got to listen to this. And it was Ballad of a Thin Man by Dylan on the album Highway 61 that just had come out with the famous tag line. Something is happening here and you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones? And that was quite, quite a moment that that that that a record could have so much emotional and intellectual depth. You know, it wasn’t just something to sing along to or party to. So that was certainly a key moment, you know, in terms of my love affair with with with rock and roll. I mean, I also the summer before I had heard Phil Ochs song Love Me, Love Me, I’m a liberal. And that was also quite an eye opener for me. So that was those were probably the two important moments. And then a third moment was the first time I ever smoked pot. And I remember to this day, which is this is all 1965 fall of 65, basically the records that were played at the party, it was the Lovin Spoonful Daydream. It was Out of Our Hands by the Rolling Stones, Rubber Soul, by the Beatles. So So that group of moments is clustered together in my teenage memories. But one or more of those were the one I fell in love with, the culture I didn’t know at that time I was going to be able to make a living through that passion, but I knew I had the passion.


Buzz Knight [00:03:05] And it is quite a coincidence that on this day that we’re recording this podcast, it happens to be Bob Dylan’s birthday.


Danny Goldberg [00:03:12], God bless him, right?


Buzz Knight [00:03:15] So your leadership skills throughout your career have been quite impressive. Who shaped your leadership skills?


Danny Goldberg [00:03:26] Well, I had a couple of a few different bosses that were role models in different ways. The first that comes to mind would have been Lee Solters, who was a PR guy extraordinaire of the previous generation. And when I was 22, I got a job being kind of a long haired rock publicist in a company where they had Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra and Broadway shows. And, you know, he was you know, his heyday was really the forties in the fifties. But he was really understood the mindset of the news media and the idea that to get anyone’s attention in a press release, he always said, no one’s going to read the second paragraph if they’re not interested in the first paragraph. And within the first paragraph, no one’s going to read the second sentence if they’re not interested in the first sentence. He had a lot of other concepts like that about about just PR one on one that I certainly carried with me. So I wouldn’t characterize that exactly as leadership, but it was thought leadership in a way of just understanding how to communicate to the media and the discipline of what it was to to really make an impact beyond just asking people for favors, but to come up with a good story. Then in terms of the line of work that I’m in now and for the last 15 years, which is personnel management, I certainly always look at Peter Grant, Led Zeppelin’s manager as a boss that I had that that really left some lessons behind. He was a complicated guy, tough guy. Good to me, though, I have to say, and good for Led Zeppelin in terms of his belief in them. And his mantra was is can I curse on this podcast?


Buzz Knight [00:05:14] of course


Danny Goldberg [00:05:15] You know, his his mantra was, it doesn’t matter what the fuck anyone else cares about. It doesn’t matter what the record company says, it doesn’t matter what the promoter says, it doesn’t matter what the media says. All that matters is what the band says. And if the band is Led Zeppelin, I think that’s that was the that was not just the spiritual or artistic reality. That was the business reality, you know, So understanding the centrality of the artist in the context of the music business and to align yourself with that, that was certainly something that has stuck with me. And then in terms of the idea of how to be a boss, which is I think really a lot of the question certainly working for Doug Morris, you know, he was he he hired me at Atlantic and then promoted me to run Warner Bros. You know, maid me president of Atlantic and chairman of Warner Brothers records the two jobs that changed my life in terms of my status in the business. And, you know, he was someone who would walk around the offices of Atlantic asking everyone how their weekend was he he he he liked he would fight to pay his people more. He engendered tremendous loyalty. And and then the tradeoff was he expected a loyalty in return and, you know, had a very relentless kind of a work ethic. But just kind of watching him operate was another was another important role model. And then finally, the fourth boss that I would say I learned from was Alan Levy, who was the CEO of Polygram Worldwide, who hired me to run Mercury Records. And and he just had, you know, a tremendous grasp of detail of every aspect of the business. And, you know, again, it just threw us most as I hopefully picked up some of his his skills in that in that area. But those are the bosses I had that left me better than when I joined them. So I don’t know if that’s exactly the answer to the question, but that’s the only one I can think of.


Buzz Knight [00:07:24] So I was thinking about your varied roles and your interaction with your artists. Have you ever gotten good at having a premonition when the phone rings knowing it might not be something good on the other end from the call from an artist at that time?


Danny Goldberg [00:07:47] I don’t know. I I’m not quite sure how to answer that. I mean, I think as a manager is the role where where I think you have the closest relationship with the artist because you really working for them in all aspects of their life. And that’s been what I’ve done in the last dozen years or so. And I did it earlier in my career too, for a period of time. And, you know, I think I think if you’re close, you can. Develop a sense of. How they’re feeling and what what might be a problem. But I wouldn’t say I’ve had a premonition, but and the one or two examples I can think of, but I really wouldn’t particularly want to talk about because they involve, you know, sad things. But but I do think that when you’re working with an artist the way many managers do, in the way I do, you really are tuned in to their feelings in a way that you you kind of you kind of get a sense of when they might be worried about something or upset or something like that. So there is a little bit of ESP involved, but I don’t know that it rises to the level of a premonition.


Buzz Knight [00:09:12] So when you think of the qualities of artists that you’ve been around over your career, what are some of the qualities that you feel make them successful. If you could boil a few of them down, well.


Danny Goldberg [00:09:28] Obviously the first one is talent. You can’t create that with willpower. So somebody like Kurt Cobain or Steve Earle or, you know, Bonnie Raitt or some of the people I’ve worked with, I mean, they just they they had tremendous natural gifts. Not everyone who’s talented is successful, but it’s hard to be successful without, you know, having talent then certainly a desire to be successful. I don’t I’ve never seen anyone become successful by accident. The some people that came easier to and some harder to. But there are so many obstacles in the entertainment business, whether it’s getting exposure, whether it’s getting paid for what you do, whether it’s trying to convince people to support what you do, not to mention the physical rigors of things like touring, that the people that are successful all have a work ethic, even if they may be undisciplined in some aspects of their personal life. They, they, they, they, they show up for shows and they generally the people I’ve worked with have been pretty disciplined about dealing with making motivating the people around them to support them, whether it’s people in the media or people at a record company or crew or other musicians and stuff like that. And then finally, perseverance, because with very few exceptions, there’s a lot of setbacks and you’ve got to be willing to get off the proverbial canvas and go out of it time and time again in in order to make it, you know. So I think talent is the first threshold, but strong work ethic, discipline and a sort of a drive to be successful, you know, is needed. Also, Ruth Gordon, the late former movie star, screenwriter of the Thirties and Forties, I saw on a talk show once and she said to make it in show business, it’s not enough to have talent. You also have to have a talent for having talent. So I kind of know what she means and you kind of sense that there are some people that are talented that you just can see their self-sabotage. Yes. And other people that have a gleam in their eye and you just know nothing’s going to stop them.


Buzz Knight [00:11:39] So what’s the current state of the music industry and where do you think the future of the music industry is headed? Well.


Danny Goldberg [00:11:48] First of all, the music industry is really not the right way I would describe it. I think it’s industries plural, because there is certainly there’s the recording business, which is usually what people mean when they say the music business. But there’s this other giant business, the live entertainment business, concerts that for a lot of artists, they make most of the money. I mean, someone like Bruce Springsteen makes a lot more money touring right now than he does from Records. Rolling Stone, the same thing, the biggest touring acts in the world. So I think the live business is is is not that different from what it’s been over the last 50 years, except there is this audience of people over 40 who will pay more money for tickets than ever was the case with previous generations because the love affair of sort of people over 40 and the artists, people who came of age in the rock era have an emotional connection to more artists than people did of the previous generation. Previous generation. A couple of people, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra, come to mind that were able to keep careers going because people just wanted to see them. But there’s like 50 rock artists like that where people will pay hundreds of dollars to to see them. So that’s that’s a change. But the basic business model is the same. How much of the ticket prices, how many seats are there, how much did you sell of that? What goes to rent, what goes to marketing, and what goes to the person who took the financial risk, the promoter, and what goes to the artist. And for quite some time, certainly. And Led Zeppelin’s manager, Peter Grant, was the one who changed the paradigm for quite a long time. You know, artists have gone. In the ballpark of 90% of the profits from concerts. There’s other fees on top of things clawed back some money and ticket fees or servicing fees or what they make from merch. But that business model is pretty is pretty much the same. Obviously, COVID had a dramatic effect on that business and there’s still some after effects from it in terms of I think there’s certain people that aren’t going to go to concerts again that went before, but it’s pretty much pretty much the same. It’s probably more international than it’s ever been. I mean, I don’t think there’s going to be too many shows in Moscow in the next few years, and that was actually a place you could go and do gigs for years. And I don’t know where China’s going to be like for concerts, but generally speaking, you know, Latin America, some parts of Africa, Europe, in particular, Australia, Canada, the United States, these are it’s a global business, the record business, the recording business. And that includes the the way people make money from songwriting. So-called music publishing has changed completely with the advent of streaming. And no one like I’m not the person who can predict what’s going to happen next. I’m not a technically sophisticated. I just try to understand on behalf of the people I represent what the playing field is. You know, today and today, the streaming is the main way people are absorbing music. You know, it’s biased in favor of people with the the way the money is divided up is biased in favor of people with younger audiences. Chris, a 12 year old might want to listen to the same song 30 times a day. And people my age once a day is probably enough, but we’re still paying the hour $10 a month or whatever it is. So, you know, there’s the algorithm has some built in biases that we just have to live with. It’s a good playing field if you have a catalog, because the multiples, as they say, what people will pay to buy catalogs of songs or recordings is is at a high point. But if you’re if you’re just on your way up, you know, or in the middle middle, it’s not as good as it was 20 years ago. But there’s this keeps changing. Technology keeps changing. One thing I think is not changed is the emotional connection between fans and the music and the music lovers that they like. How that’s monetized changes, the business model changes, how to market. It changes. But the essential relationship between a fan and music I think is is exactly the same. And the job of those of us in the business is to figure out how to how to get paid for that and how to get artists paid for that, you know? But, but the soul of the business is the same, but the mechanics of the recording part of it is just completely different than it was. And in a million different ways. You know.


Buzz Knight [00:16:22] Do you have a position on what AI is going to do to the business?


Danny Goldberg [00:16:27] No, I you know, I think I don’t know what air is going to do. It’s obviously the big subject of conversation in the last few months since Chat GPT debuted. And there’s all sorts of anxiety about is will it marginalize certain people and eliminate jobs. And I would imagine it’s you know, there’s certain kinds of music that I think probably a computer could create in a competitive way. And then there’s a certain kind that I think it couldn’t, you know, And I think, again, the live business is going to be less affected by it because people are paying for that experience, whether it’s Taylor Swift or Bruce Springsteen or Beyoncé. It’s about being in the room with that particular human being and with their fans, and that is not affected by it in terms of what people are going to dance to or sing along to. You know, I would imagine that it’ll, you know, I might create my create some catchy hooks. You know, it’s another tool for artists. Also the same way synthesizer became a tool for as Pro Tools became a tool for artists. So I think there’ll be artists that use it as a tool the way the great artists throughout history have done. There’ll be certain people that maybe have been doing a certain kind of work that they won’t be able to do anymore, like what happens with technology. But, you know, the kind of artists I work with which are very personal artists who are kind of taking their self-expression, people like Steve Earle or Mike Scott or The Waterboys or, you know, I think of other other artists that I don’t work with, but who I admire, you know, in that category. You know, I think it’s just another tool for them to use, but the relationship between them and their fans is not going to be adversely affected by it. But it’s it’s going to change things in ways that. Smarter people than me will have to articulate. You know, I’m a I’m an old fart and but I’m not scared of it. I’m curious about it. There’s also, by the way, not just artificial intelligence, it’s also artificial stupidity. You know, these algorithms are still only as good as the human beings that create them, and they make mistakes. I mean, I went on Chat GPT and just asked for them to describe my own career, just curious what it would say. And it made a significant mistake. Now I’m sure they’ll get the bugs out of it. But, you know, look, it’s a new tool, just like computers were and smartphones were. And it’s going to make some people feel very old and other people are going to use it as a tool and do things they couldn’t do before. Same thing with the world of of virtual reality. You know, that’s going to be a tool for some artists. You know, it’s not going to replace the desire to go see sports or a concert live. But, you know, it took stereo quite a while before people like the Beatles knew how to use it as an artistic tool, but usually as these new tools emerged. Creative genius to figure out how to make art out of it. And I’m sure that’ll be the case with some of the various tributary eyes, kind of a catchall for a lot of different computer generated things.


Buzz Knight [00:19:53] So you mentioned the live performance aspect of things. You’ve been to so many live performances in your life. Are there any in particular that really stick out to you that are just embedded so deeply in your brain that you’ll never forget it?


Danny Goldberg [00:20:12] Well, when you’re in the business, you have two categories. There’s people I’ve worked with and there’s just shown, I’ve shows I’ve seen. So, you know, I’m very enamored of the people I work with. So let’s just take them off of that category because it’s kind of it’s kind of distorted by my own relationship with them and my self interest, certainly. I mean, Springsteen, I’ve never seen him do a bad show. He’s certainly one of the greatest, if not the greatest rock performer. I when I first saw Bette Midler, I thought it was one of the most amazing performers I’d ever seen. That still stands out in my mind when I go back. Earlier in my life when I was just starting as a so-called rock critic. I mean, the first time I saw Loudon Wainwright the third, it just blew my mind that really I didn’t know that somebody it was so many years after Dylan had created a scene in the village and then left it that somebody could still do that. Same with the first time I saw Kristofferson and John Prine. Those are just people I was lucky enough to see in my early twenties when they were still playing clubs. So, you know, if you’d ask me tomorrow, I’d probably come up with a different list. But the first time I saw B.B. King, I was just a kid and I was able to get a ticket and saw him at the Village gate. It was just that I could be in the room with B.B. King while I was playing the guitar, but I don’t know that that was it was not just about him, although he was very consistently great. It was about who I was at that moment, and it was so new to me to be able to see live music, you know? But on any given night, I thought Nirvana was very consistent as a live band. Steve Earle is extraordinarily consistent. The Waterboys are extraordinary. Martha Wainwright, who I’ve worked with for years, is an amazing live performer. Again, I am biased, but of the people I haven’t worked with, it’s the people I mentioned. I guess what stuck in my head when you ask me the question.


Buzz Knight [00:22:15] So you mentioned Phil Ochs earlier. Yeah. And I think of, you know, activism, obviously, and I think of today’s times with artists and activism. Are you disappointed there’s not enough activism today with musicians?


Danny Goldberg [00:22:30] No, no, I feel the opposite. I mean, I actually wrote a book about the 2020 election called Bloody Crossroads 2020 Art, Entertainment and Resistance to Trump, where I really spent a lot of time and a lot of it was written during lockdown during the COVID period where I was just documenting all the different artists that were commenting on politics of that time. And it was much more than at any other time in my observation. I mean, you have Taylor Swift and Cardi B, the biggest pop acts in the world in America anyway, weighing in so clearly and explicitly about an election. I never saw Mariah Carey or Madonna doing that. I never saw the Rolling Stones doing that. I never saw the Beatles doing it. I saw John Lennon as an individual was was politically outspoken in his day. And I think the range of people who weighed in during that period from Lucinda Williams, Rosanne Cash, I mean, it’s an incredibly long list, so. I think that the younger generation of artists that people have kind of had to deal with, the Trump era in particular are more politically engaged than the people were in the sixties. And my generation likes to romanticize political actors activism of the sixties and lumping in with rock and roll and Woodstock Festival and said, Love and peace, peace, peace, peace. And there was a Vietnam War going on, but there was only a handful of artists that were really explicitly engaged in the anti-war protest, the Jefferson Airplane, where the Crosby, Stills, Nash Stewart, Ohio, obviously Country Joe and the Fish. Dylan The early part of Dylan’s career was political, and then he stopped writing that many political songs and occasionally returned to the subject., Jimi Hendrix never did a political song. Janis Joplin never did a political song. The Grateful Dead, you know, pretty apolitical. Later, they show up for an environmental event or something. You know, a lot of the big artists of the sixties were not particularly political. So I just have to flash back to when I’m talking about great shows that I’ve ever seen Leonard Cohen during the last decade of his life. Every time I saw him, it was like going to church. I mean, those live shows during that period of his life to me were definitely at the top of the list of shows. For me personally, that really moved me deeply.


Buzz Knight [00:25:01] Do you have some favorite venues that you’ve seen shows or had artists at, or is it too big of a list?


Danny Goldberg [00:25:06] Well, I mean, I’m a great fan of the City Winery. I think what Michael Dorf has done is incredible. He’s created a space for audience with the sound and the way things are presented there, that it’s just is to me, way better as an experience, as a fan than the previous generations of clubs ever had. I mean, I was, you know, to me, clubs are most of the legendary clubs are legendary, not because of the real estate or the physical space or the way that people were, but because of who played there, like CBGB’s, very famous because The Ramones and Patti Smith and Television and Talking Heads and Blondie all played there. The moment when they didn’t have other places to play.. Bottom line had legendary shows there, I loved going to the bottom line. I was always treated incredibly well there by Alan Pepper, who ran it, you know. But I like the food at the city winery a lot better, you know? I mean, Fillmore East was a big deal to me in my beginning of my career. It was incredible privilege to be able to go there to get tickets there. I thought that had a special quality to it, but that, again, had a lot to do with the culture, the musical culture of the times. But Bill Graham had a vision about what a rock show should be that was distinctive from other promoters, and it was you could feel it at the Fillmore East and at the Fillmore West. I just lived in New York, so those but, but, but, you know, I think the artists are a lot more important than where they play.


Buzz Knight [00:26:55] Right? I love the city winery’s especially how it’s it’s an.


Danny Goldberg [00:26:59] All oh it’s so many cities the one I mean I haven’t been to all of them but I’ve been to one in Chicago and Nashville, both fantastic rooms and I hear nothing but good things. I haven’t been to all of them yet, but I think that’s really created a new category for artists and audiences that I’m very much appreciated right now. You know.


Buzz Knight [00:27:21] So when you think of all your roles through your career, that’s varied in terms of what you’ve done. Yeah, Yeah, it has. Each one of those roles continue to serve you today in terms of how you you lead and work and manage.


Danny Goldberg [00:27:41] I think, you know, the fact that I worked at and ran record companies for six years helps me understand what people at record companies are going through at any given moment in time. I think that’s a bit of a help. I think the fact that I was a publicist certainly allows me to communicate, I think on a pretty high level with publicists and to help strategize in that area. So, you know, I think that there’s everybody was a manager, did something else first, and they all bring whatever they did to the job. So those are my backgrounds, I think. I think they help inform what I do now. Yeah.


Buzz Knight [00:28:23] So grunge, really? You were at the the the beginning of the birth of you couldn’t have realized how significant it was at the moment in time you were in, could you? Well.


Danny Goldberg [00:28:41] I think you’re talking about really Nirvana. That’s my claim to fame. I’ve always known that if there’s ever an obituary of me, it’s likely to say X Nirvana manager in the it just says anything about my my work because it was such a privilege to work with that band at that time. And, you know, Kurt Cobain did not was not crazy about the word grunge. You know, it was kind of a marketing word. It served the purpose of some of the, you know, record companies. And in Seattle, Sub Pop in particular, and the media liked it, and I guess it was supposed to be some hybrid between heavy metal and punk. You know, he was not crazy about thinking that people were putting him in a category. He saw himself as an individual artist who drew on a lot of different influences but invented something. On his own, which I think history has proven to be true. But but I certainly didn’t know Nirvana was going to be as big as they were when I first met them and decided to manage them. It happened very quickly, though. I also, if I can plug it, I did write a book about working with Kurt called Serving the Servant, and it kind of documents that whole thing from because I work with them from when they before they were they had done the one indie record and through Nevermind and you know until until Kurt died, it happened very, very fast because the song Smells Like Teen Spirit happened very fast. I mean, there’s no mystery about what the inflection point was. That song and the video that accompanied the one, you know, and in August of in July of 1991, no one knew about except a few of us who work with the band. And by the end of the year was the number one record, and not just in America, but all over the world. And so, so and it was not just a hit song. There was a song that was a vehicle for a whole punk subculture that had been a niche audience and and the graphics, language and attitudes that then became mainstream. And, you know, right behind it came Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, you know, never mind. That was the one that broke the door open and set a climate where, you know, the earlier radio, commercial, rock radio was not interested in any anything with the word punk in it. And a year later, you know, it was it was at the center of the programing of some of the big stations like K Rock and others around the country. So so that was an inflection point that happened very, very fast. So certainly when I first. Was working with their boss and I had no idea it was going to be a pop global phenomenon. I knew they were great. I knew Kurt’s voice and his songwriting set him apart from the other artists that were popular in the punk subculture, and I felt it was going to be very successful within that genre, but I didn’t know it was going to so quickly transcend the genre. I don’t think any of us did, but we knew he was something special. All you had to do was see him on stage once and you knew this was a special person. And he wrote hooks. He wrote songs. Most punk artists didn’t write those kind of songs that had choruses that you could come along to, but still had that rebelliousness, that energy, and that raw emotionalism of punk. He created a you know, again, he had his influences. He was influenced by the Pixies and by a number of other artists, but he took it to a whole other level.


Buzz Knight [00:32:17] So you mentioned the breakout of obviously Nirvana and the radio aspect of that. How do you feel about radio today? Well.


Danny Goldberg [00:32:33] It’s got a lot of competition. It didn’t used to have. You can listen to Apple Music or Spotify in the car. It’s built into it. You know, my new plug in hybrid Apple’s just built into it you know so it’s got the competition of streaming, which I think is a huge problem if you’re trying to get people to listen to music. You know, there’s no commercials. Let’s start with that. And you can hear whatever you want. It’s also I mean, look, I have to admit, I hope this doesn’t violate the vibe of what you do, but I’m also a fan of what Sirius does. I think they provide programing that’s more customized than what a commercial radio station can do because of the nature of the technology and the nature of the people who subscribe to it. So I think it’s incredibly challenging for commercial radio stations to try to deal in that. I don’t envy the people who have to program and figure out, you know, how to get the ratings that they need to get to, you know, keep the parent company happy. And it’s a very, very challenging thing for music. Obviously, radio still is unique when it comes to news and sports. And I think talk radio for people that are in the car, you know, there’s a certain significant portion of commuters, especially older ones, who just esthetically, that’s what they want to listen to. But I think for music radio, it’s really, really challenging and it takes people it’s I’m glad I’m not the one who has to figure out how to make a music radio station work. But, you know, people in America and all around the world spend a lot of their time in cars. And there is a different experience with the radio. There is the opportunity to be surprised, you know, by what the next song is going to be. So as much fun as it is to pick your own songs, it’s there’s a certain masturbatory quality to that as opposed to just trusting somebody else to program it and introduce the songs. And I still like listening to certain stations because I want to hear the curation of of somebody who’s listening to a lot more stuff than I have, you know. And I think it’s a there are certain geniuses in programing that are able to do that in a way that really gets a big enough audience for them to keep doing it. But it’s incredibly challenging compared to the way it was before the digital age.


Buzz Knight [00:35:04] With Air America that we’re still around. You were CEO of it, obviously. Would it would it be successful now, in your opinion?


Danny Goldberg [00:35:13] Well, Air America had a lot of problems that I don’t want to go into, but it was chronically underfunded from the beginning. But I think if Al Franken, who is the flagship person in Air America, wanted to do a radio show, I think he could have a successful radio show right now. I there’s no question in my mind he got good ratings. He wasn’t getting as big ratings as Rush Limbaugh did, but he came closer than you would think. He had a real gift for it. If Rachel Maddow, who was on Air America, wanted to do a radio show now, I think she’d find an audience. But she seems to be doing quite well on television. So those are certainly two two particular people that I think would do just fine if they wanted to do a radio show. Now it’s you know, there’s something, again called talent that transcends ideology. There are people that are just talented at communicating as broadcasters. And, you know, I think we had a couple of them. We didn’t have an infrastructure that had any kind of a business plan that could give it a chance to blossom as a network, but introduced it produced some notable. People, too, I mentioned and of course, Marc Maron, who I, you know, had had to the unpleasant task of having to cancel his show because it was losing money. Not his fault. It was just the people that were supposed to fund the place didn’t come up with the money. And I don’t think he likes me very much. As a result of the role I was required to play then. But what a success he’s had as a podcaster. I mean, that’s one of the most successful podcasts. No disrespect to this podcast,. I would imagine you’d be happy to get his numbers. Oh yeah. And, and you know, so I think that, you know, we have a mutual friend who you mentioned before we started this, Jon Sinton, who picked all of those people. And, you know, I think he’s, you know, deserves a lot of credit for his judgment as a as a programmer and giving those people a platform and then of whom had done radio before. And all of whom are kind of household names today. So that was a failed business for reasons that aren’t worth going into in a conversation like this. Happy to have a different conversation about that. But but it did it did it did unearth some very, very significant talent.


Buzz Knight [00:37:37] So in closing, you’ve done so much. What’s on your roadmap either for this company or personally that you haven’t done?


Danny Goldberg [00:37:48] Well, I’m a one day at a time guy, especially as I get older. I’m just trying to do a good job every day, you know, I really love the people I work with. I’ve had a parallel career as a writer. I’ve published five books and I’m starting to work on another one, but it’s too early to talk about it. I just wanted to I you know, somebody Doug Morris, who I mentioned earlier, who was hired me to be President Atlantic and who is probably the preeminent record executive of the last 30 or 40 years. He ran Universal Warner’s and Sony. You know he he ran all the majors. No one’s ever done that. You know, he’s like the g.o.a.t. In terms of what he accomplished, at one point, he had said to me, because he was older than me, you know, he said, you know, first party agree, you want to get somewhere. And the second part, you just want to stay there, you know? And I didn’t understand what he meant then because I was trying to get somewhere. But I sure understand that now. My goal is to just be able to stay involved with artists, to be part of this business. And and each project has its own goals attached to it, and those become my goals.


Buzz Knight [00:38:58] I’m so grateful that you took the time to be on the podcast.


Danny Goldberg [00:39:02] So flattered that you wanted me, man.


Buzz Knight [00:39:03] Thank you. Thank you so much.


Announcer [00:39:06] Taking a walk with Buzz Knight is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts.


Buzz Knight [00:39:12] Or wherever you get your podcasts.


About The Author

Buzz Knight

Buzz Knight is an established media executive with a long history of content creation and multi-platform distribution.

After a successful career as a Radio Executive, he formed Buzz Knight Media which focuses on strategic guidance and the development of new original content.