I think not only does it open up a discussion, but it can also be beneficial critiquing for the musicians themselves.
I say that all the time, I am just trying to give my opinion. The most recent example I have is a situation with the most recent Ozzy Osbourne record [Black Rain]. I said I think Ozzy should have retired 10 years ago when he said he was going to retire. I think he can’t sing at all anymore. I think he is a total legend, and I think he stayed too long and I don’t even think he wants to be doing this anymore. The label got on me and everyone got pissed off at me after that, but I played the record as much as people wanted to hear it on my show.
My show is for me and my audience, so it’s like this isn’t about me trying to get Ozzy mad at me, this is what I think about the record, but I am still going to play it because I want to see what you guys think, and if you like, I’ll still play it. To have that level of respect and that level of creative freedom on the radio to me, that’s the most rewarding thing. Yes, I only have three hours a week, yes, they are late at night, but you know what, I play and say whatever I want. There are not a lot of people that can say they have the ability to do that especially in the major markets. I am totally blessed when it comes to that, and word gets around when people know you are doing good things. I mean, two years ago Axl Rose came to the studio and sat there with me for three hours, he hasn’t done that with anyone in 18 years, so you know you are sending a message and you know your reputation is out there as kind of like the place to go to make some news.
I think it’s a testament to the audience that with just this one show a week to be able to do that. I have been doing another show for XM radio, which is a whole separate show, for a few years and I am doing the same exact thing and that’s extremely popular and even rarer in satellite radio where 90 percent of music channels are run like MP3 players. Satellite radio there is hardly anything live on either service; it’s all a computer that spits out songs. I actually do a live, interactive show. It’s all about having a connection with the audience and having a forum where these people could hang and make a real destination for these people who are into mostly classic and hard rock.