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
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
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
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/NYC
In 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.