Thursday, May 5th, 2011
“I have been into music since I was a little kid. My Dad was a big band singer so there was always music around my house. According to my Mom, I even used to sit in the playpen and twirl 45’s around my finger. I started the drums at 12 and was playing in bars by the time I was 15. While I was playing in bands, I also worked at record shops.
For me, it is not about some proper format or talking gossip, it is just about playing good music.
“When I was 23, I had to make a decision – I could either play in cover bands for the rest of my life or go work for a record importer. I decided to go into the business side as I have a photographic memory and remember the catalogue numbers of almost every record I have come across. It is scary.
“When I was out in Texas opening an office for one of the labels, one of my friends invited me to do a radio show with him. This was back in 1982 and I would play two hours of imports on the Mr. Mike show. When I left Texas for New Jersey, another friend invited me to have a show on a new rock station, WHTG. We started our show with my record collection and created one of the first alternative stations in the country. I did that for five years and then moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“About ten years ago, I got a call from my friend who was working in D.C. for XM. As this is a small business, we all get to know each other. XM offered me a job to come and start my own channel. They wanted to call It Clear Air, which I thought was terrible. I renamed it to The Loft.
“The Loft’s progression has been pretty amazing and covers a very wide musical palette. In the beginning, it was just me playing what I liked, but now I work with so many great people. We get a show from Lou Reed. We do live performances from the Living Room in New York, and do so much more.
“After ten years, I have met a lot of great people here. I find that the bigger and more popular they are, the nicer they are…with the obvious exceptions. I’ve sat with Robbie Robertson, Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Ryan Adams, Booker T, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, and so many others. These are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.
“I feel fortunate to be in the radio business because I love music and I love to introduce people to new kinds of music. On The Loft, I can do what I want to do, which most people in this business can’t say anymore. For me, it is not about some proper format or talking gossip, it is just about playing good music.”
Mike Marrone is the program director for The Loft on Sirius XM Satellite Radio.