Bandiero, Al

By Dominick A. Miserandino,
Al Bandiero is heard nationwide on most major radio markets. He's seen the world of music and radio change and develop over his career and gives us his thoughts on the future of radio.

DM) Did you always feel that you were going to go into radio?

AB) No. Actually, I was all set to play major league baseball, until Iwalked into a radio station in high school. I was mesmerized with how itworked. Radio is a theater of the mind. To watch how it works is 180 degrees in the opposite direction of how people think. To see how it works, was amazing to me. My love for baseball has never lessened; I just got excited about radio.

DM) Where did you go to school?

AB) I went to Chelsea High in Manhattan. Then I went to BrooklynCollege for a year. It was deciding between going to college or waiting three years toenter the radio field which was difficult. I would have been three years intomy career if I left college which isn't always the best.

DM) So, you left college and got your first job. Where was that?

AB) A little station in Upstate New York, in a town called Hudson, outsideof Albany. It was a really small town, in a small station. I joked that it had4 cows and 3 pigs who were listening to me! It was so small, that the stationused to stop playing after 10 PM!

DM) You've been on a number of different shows and syndicates. Why did youswitch around?

AB) I've been doing different shows quite some time. Some shows click,somedon't. Most of the time it was a company syndicate show with really no uppart in getting the show clear. You go on one show, get canceled, and startsomewhere else. "Jammin' Party" (the current show) was something. The timingwas right, the people who syndicate it are excellent at what they do. We hadthe show cleared in many markets in less then 1 year. We're already in 6 ofthe top 10 markets.

DM) Can you still be heard in Hudson, NY?

AB) I might. (laughs) I'm probably still big there, with the chickens andcows! Right now, I'm on in 90 cities around the country.

DM) And what's next with the syndication then?

AB) I wouldn't mind getting into 150-200 markets.

DM) And I understand that you're stretching out beyond radio?

AB) I'm in discussions about doing a syndicated TV show. It's in the works, but I can't go into it right now, I have to be host and procurer?. Plus, I also have a fitness book.

DM) Fitness? That's a bit of a tangent. How did you get into that?

AB) I was always into fitness, I mean, I wanted to be a baseball player! Itwas great when I met Sly Stallone. He opened me up to going to the gym.

DM) How did you meet Sly?

AB) I met Sly through his brother Frank. I had broken "Far From Over"in the Saturday Night Fever sequel. Sly directed it, and Frank had the big song,which opened up the movie. When Frank came on tour, somebody told him that Ibroke his song onto the radio. We became friends and when Sly came into NYC,Frank took me in to meet him and Sly and I became friends.

DM) And you still keep in touch?

AB) The last time I saw him was in LA, working out at the gym. It was aprivate gym.

DM) And in addition, you're working on a fitness book?

AB) I stepped up when doing magazine fitness. People always said Ishould doit, I said, "Yeah, yeah OK." My wife said, "You really should do this." So we put a treatmenttogether, and shopped it around. The focus is for somebody who has a careerbut wants to stay fit.

DM) You certainly have your hands in many different things.

AB) I've found that when I concentrate on one thing, I need something elseto generate that fuel to keep my interest there. But I don't think that'sdifferent from other people. Radio, TV, movies... it's all entertainment. Tokeep doing what I'm doing on my radio show I'd always look to other avenues, and the challenge of a career.

DM) Speaking of radio again, lately in the news some people have talkedabout the demise of "regular" radio and the rise of "Internet Radio." What doyou think of the new medium?

AB) I think its in an infancy stage now and I saw a report about a fewweeksago that radio stations on the net have not grown in the last 6 months. Ithink part of the reason is you'll listen and lose stream or garble, they needto clean up a little more. I think it may be irritating to listen to somethinglike that, that's why I think its still in the infancy stage. It's not likeyou have a mega system to listen to. It's not like your stereo at home, whenits cranked up. The computer is only one on one. I pop a CD in when atcomputer. I think its fantastic that somebody can punch up stations around theweb. What's more interesting is that somebody is putting computer chips incars. Now, people who drive a lot out of the area, they can hear what theywant any time and not worry about losing the format or the personality. It'sall for a small fee per month and many car companies already have it.

DM) What do you think the effect will be on "regular" radio?

AB) It's hard to say the effect on regular radio. Any time competitioncomes along to any degree somewhere down the line I think it will affect it. There'sno stopping computers. At some point, whatever you want, or need, you can getover the computer.


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