Open House Party
If you're new to us, Open House Party is a huge national event. It's broadcast every Saturday and Sunday night on Pop music FM stations across North America. It is totally listener interactive, with all music played from listener requests and is beamed live via satellite from the homes of host John Garabedian (Saturday) and Kannon (Sunday).
14 year old John Garabedian started DJing at high school "Sock Hops", dances held after basketball games where everyone was required to take their sneakers off so they wouldn't leave marks on the gym floor.A DJ since he was 14, John Garabedian parties) in three homes; suburban Boston, the mountains of Vermont, and on Cape Cod. All three have radio studios in the basement with satellite dishes the size of a '78 Buick, and all three have private airports for John to travel between his houses... he is an experienced instrument/multi engine rated private pilot. Kannon, originally from North Carlina, actually grew up listening to Open House Party while in high school. He lives in Philadelphia, where he blasts out Monday-Friday afternoons on 96.5 Wired FM. Kannon replaced Kane as host of Sunday OHP in 2008. He was formerly nighttime DJ ay 95.5 The Beat/Atlanta. The story of Open House Party began in 1955 when it was created as the afternoon show on radio station WORC in Worcester, Massachusetts. Years later, while still in high school, John Garabedian stumbled into WORC and was hired to DJ on Saturday and Sunday nights (sound familiar?). Blown away with the power, popularity, and interactivity of the weekday Open House Party, he eventually ended up as co-host.
Dick Smith (L) and Bob Bryar (R). Bryar was voice of the New York Rangers before buying WORC with his wife Shirley and creating Open House Party. They co-hosted Open House Party with another DJ who developed a relationship with Shirley. Shirley and the other DJ eventually ran off together to Hawaii, leaving Bob behind. Shortly thereafter Bob developed a relationship with a hot OHP phone operator, a 19 year old redhead. Note the pre-computer blue request table covered with paper requests.The modern Open House Party began one night in 1987 when John Garabedian went to a party in Boston. Bumping into him was legendary radio programmer Sunny Joe White of Boston's KISS 108. Sunny asked John if he would like to do a weekend air shift to replace the sagging ratings of a Saturday night mix show. Sunny knew John's DJ work and knew he could increase the ratings. When they met to discuss it at dinner the following week, John proposed to Sunny the idea of a spectacular, national party show. "I know exactly what you need", exclaimed John, "I've done this show before"! "It's called "Open House Party". The idea of an interactive weekend party show with live studio audience, all-request music, 800 call-in lines, superstar guests, and beat-to-beat music mixing of hot party music and remixes lit Sunny Joe up.
Sunny Joe White was one of America's most respected and innovative radio programmers. His vision of radio was to create a community of listeners who connected with his station the same way people constantly check email today. He understood and recognized the programming power of Open House Party and was first to launch it in 1987 on KISS 108 in Boston."I love it" was Sunny's response. "If you want to build a studio and start doing the show, we'll put it on KISS 108 right away so you can perfect it and get it ready to go national." John went to work looking for a place to put the studio. But after looking at office buildings (with sterile fluorescent lighting), John figured "why not do it at home in my basement? There's plenty of room, it's much more homey, and people would really be in the mood to party." Since then, weekends in America (and at John's house) have never been the same. To get the signal from John's house to the KISS 108 studios, a 50 foot pole was strapped to to the chimney for a little microwave antenna aimed at Boston's Prudential Tower 27 miles East! The connection was made.
The first Open House Party in-studio guests were Aerosmith, Peter Wolf, Milli Vanilli, and Vanilla Ice (left). Entrance to the OHP studio in John's basement was through the garage, stuffed with an old 1946 Ercoupe airplane fuselage, wings, and assorted typical garage junk.On Saturday night, September 5, 1987 at 7 PM, Open House Party hit the air for the very first time on KISS 108. Within six months it became the most listened to radio program in Boston on Saturday night, as well as the most listened to radio program every week in the Boston radio market with a 14.8 share (which means that on Saturday night in Boston one out of every six people was listening to Open House Party).
Now he's a big movie star, but in 1992 Mark "Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch" Wahlberg was a white rapper with a number one song ("Good Vibrations") and his picture on Times Square billbaords wearing only his Calvins.By the following April stations across the country had heard about Open House Party's success and were signing on. Down came the 50 foot pole and up went a new satellite dish about the size of a '78 Buick. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Buffalo, New York debuted in May, 1988, followed by Mobile and Dothan, Alabama, Cedar Rapids Iowa, and Burlington, Vermont in June. By 1990 over 100 stations were carrying Open House Party in the US and another 40 in Canada.
Getting out of the studio and broadcasting live from big events with big stars is something Open House Party has done well over the years. Above is our pre-Grammy show broadcast from Planet Hollywood in Times Square/NYCIn 1998 Open House Party became the first radio show in America to stream via the internet, on broadcastamerica.com, along with live television cameras in the studio. Web surfers could actually watch what was going on in the studio, along with videos of the hottest songs. Unfortunately, broadcastamerica.com died in 2001, one of the casualties of the "dot-bomb" era. Virtually every major star in the world has been on Open House Party, from Cher and Madonna to Eminem, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. Artists love coming by live on a Saturday or Sunday night to party. Open House Party has broadcast from some of the biggest party events in America, including Mardi Gras from New Orleans, Summerfest from Milwaukee, Winter Music Conference in Miami Beach, Rockfest in Dallas, and the last two Woodstocks. The direction of Open House Party is totally driven by the listeners. All music played is 100% by listener requests, which keeps Open House Party tuned in to what our core listeners actually want to hear on the weekend, which differs from what they choose during the week. This direct connection with the listeners enables Open House Party to spot hot new hits first, to identify which songs are really the most popular, and almost as importantly, to determine which songs have died and people have grown tired of hearing. Thanks to you and the rest of our listeners who have truly made Open House "the biggest party on the planet!" We will always need your input and suggestions.