MTV Shakes Up Music Dept.8/30/1998 8:00 PM Eastern
In tune with a restructuring that eliminated 20 jobs, and
looking to tweak its music-video rotation and to break out more acts, MTV: Music
Television recruited a radio consultant as its senior vice president of music, officials
said last week.
Tom Calderone, currently with Jacobs Media in Detroit, will
join MTV Oct. 1 and report to Brian Graden, MTV's executive vice president of
programming. In addition to consulting, Calderone is a veteran of two alternative-music
radio stations: WDRE in New York and WHFS in Washington, D.C.
Calderone's appointment follows a restructuring at the
music network that resulted in 20 jobs being scotched and another 20 being created,
according to an MTV spokeswoman. Many of those changes -- instituted by MTV president Judy
McGrath and general manager Van Toffler -- came in the network's music department,
relating to talent and record labels, where there has been turnover.
The announcement of Calderone's appointment came days
after Ken Benson, MTV's vice president of programming, gave notice that he planned to
leave in September, for personal reasons. And Patti Galluzzi, MTV's senior vice
president of talent and music, also tendered her resignation, reportedly after learning of
Although Calderone's specialty has been alternative
music, Graden said there are no plans to shift MTV into that direction musically.
"Our core target is not alternative," Graden
said. "Our job is not to support one [music] genre over another ... I look at Tom and
his exposure to alternative, but it's the science of programming that's
Graden added that the Calderone is basically taking over
Andy Schuon's former slot. "We had never really replaced Andy," Graden
Schuon, former executive vice president of programming,
quit MTV in November following a management reshuffling in which Toffler was promoted.
Calderone, who couldn't be reached for comment, will
oversee music and artist relations, talent bookings and the actual scheduling of videos.
"We have to play what the audience wants to
hear," Graden said. "But we also want to make history and break acts. We have to
When Calderone comes on board, both Michele Dix, vice
president of music and talent programming, and Lewis Largent, vice president of music,
will report to him. As part of the restructuring, Largent has been given additional
responsibilities as a liaisonto the labels and over the selection of which videos
Since he was promoted in December, Graden has masterminded
a number of programming changes at MTV -- mainly introducing a slate of primetime series
that hinge on music videos, as well as other music-related programming.
There have been some positive results. In the second
quarter, MTV earned a 0.7 rating in primetime, up 17 percent from the prior year's
0.6, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Some record-label executives have complained that MTV is
airing fewer generic music-video hours. But Graden argued that the packaged music-video
programs that MTV is airing now -- the new primetime shows centering around videos, such
as Total Request -- are posting double and triple the ratings of the generic
"Today, more people are watching more music
videos," he said, maintaining that this helps both MTV and the record labels.
Calderone's hiring sparked a positive reaction from at
least one record executive.
"Tom's a seasoned radio programmer who, over the
years, has demonstrated his passion for music," said Steve Leeds, senior vice
president of promotion for Universal Records. "It's always been Tom's thing
to break new artists. He can use MTV as a vehicle to expose them."