Jacob Interviews….Rock and Roll Heaven’s Mason Ramsey

Mason Ramsey at work. Photo property of Mason Ramsey.

If someone went to the Rock and Roll Heaven Website, they would find a world map that shows the current visitors from around the world.  These viewers are listening to Rock and Roll Heaven, a radio station that is music for the ages.

In my second interview for my radio personalities series, I had a chance to talk to America’s Coast-to-Coast Entertainment Network Managing Partner Mason Ramsey about the early stages of his career, why he started working on Rock and Roll Heaven and the layout of the show.


Jacob Elyachar:  How did you get into the radio business?

Mason Ramsey:  I got into radio right after high school.  My first day in radio was October 9, 1974 after I came back from Alaska graduating high school from Anchorage.  It was my mother’s suggestion when I was Anchorage, Alaska, she thought that I had a really good voice and suggested that I go into radio and when my father retired from the Military, we moved back to a little town called Fort Walton Beach, Florida right off the Emerald Coast.   I started going to college there in the Pan Handle and my father was driving my truck listening to his little country radio station in Niceville, Florida and heard that they were looking for radio people and came home and said: “Why don’t you apply for a position over this radio station?”

The radio station was called WFSH.  It was a little AM country radio station in Niceville, Florida that was called Fish Radio and the logo was a Sailfish with a Captain’s hat.   My grandparents and my parents all took me to the radio station and dropped me off and I met with a gentleman by the name of Dan Harley, who taught me my very first lesson in radio and then hired me.

JE: How did Rock and Roll Heaven start?

MR: I was working for a satellite radio network called the Jones Radio Network, which is now Dial Global, and I had worked for them for 18 to 19 months doing a couple of shows called Saturday Night at the Oldies and Jukebox Sunday Night and I could never get hired on full-time and I was only making $15 an hour doing the shows but I had a listening audience of 130 affiliate radio stations about 1.5 million people and felt that I could actually become more affiliated with more radio stations if I were doing my own programming because I was tired of and had been tired of playing the same eight great oldies all of the time pretending to take requests when in fact the playlist was very limited.

I ended up meeting with the presidents of the Jones Radio Network and the Senior Programmer Phil Berry and they had asked me to submit some things in writing and they would consider it.   They did ask me to put some things in concrete and I said: “The only thing that I can give you that is concrete is that April weekend 2006 will be my last day on the air.”

I ultimately left there and within two weeks we had some listeners and fans following me and wanted me to start my own radio station.   Drove across country and they donated a little bit of money which was used to get us started and bought some equipment.  We had a band of individuals back east that had also been following me and decided that they wanted to be involved because they liked the style of radio that I was presenting on the air.  They donated money to try and help us buy equipment and get us all together and put this thing on the line and that’s where we are at right now.

JE: There must have been obstacles while you were starting your station.  How are you planning to overcome them?

MR: The obstacles are finding the financial [backing] and doing things in a constructive way so we can do things like a real corporation so we need to have the company structure properly and the biggest obstacle is funding.   We are up against a corporate machine and the corporate machine really wants to keep things status quo playing limited music so they can actually maximize their profits.

Our biggest obstacle is actually putting together the funding and hiring people because our business plan calls for a minimum of 19 people to be involved in Rockandrollheaven.net includes not only the radio talents we would like to hire but the broadcast engineers, the sales and marketing team, the writers and the producers as much as the webmasters and the IT (integrated technicians), who will be very instrumental in the future of our company because that is primarily want we are going to be doing because the content is via the Internet is our distribution point.

JE: Could you describe the layout out of your show for readers who have not had the chance to listen to your shows?

MR: The show has been very interactive.  It involves being able to speak and reach out and touch people in say El Paso, Annapolis, Maryland or Great Bend, Kansas.  Being able to talk with them and play the music that they love hearing because our concept is “music for the ages” meaning that we play music from eight to 80, old, crippled and crazy.

People who have grown up listening to music all of their lives who are not only dealing with the past but also the present, so play music that ranges from the 1940s to the 1990s but we really only play the good stuff.  We are only playing the things that have feeling, fit, flow and have the feel of music that means something.  We are playing Lady Antebellum and Lady Gaga but we are also playing Roy Orbison and Big Band music because if you recognize what music is all about or what the life is about it is the past, present and future.

JE: Could you give any advice for people who want to get into radio?

MR: Have a very tough skin.  Try to not let your emotions get into your way because your emotions are highly important because your emotional intelligence level can be something that makes or breaks you.

JE: Do you have any final thoughts before we wrap up this interview?

MR:  My thoughts are not final…they are always evolving.  I want to step into the new cultural mainstream; I want to be the radio station for the universe because this music will never die, it will always live on and it’s just the matter of people remembering and taking it and enjoying it.   We are now playing some music from a new artist who has never been heard before out of the U.K., his name is Wily Bo Walker, who has got new music that is just phenomenal.   We got the desire to continue moving forward and bringing into vision this new cultural mainstream.

To listen to Rock & Roll Heaven, visit their Web site at: http://www.rockandrollheaven.net/

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Copyright 2019 Jacob Elyachar