“Florida, A Future As Bright As The Sun,” Says Billboard (1976)



Anyone wondering about how all the sunshine and water down here mixes with all the music that’s coming out of Florida can find impressive figures In both cases. What about all the sunshine 7 Well, NARM’s record and tape marketers who come here every other year know where to hold a convention . The state is so sure of its inviting climate that the Evening Independent In St Petersburg offers a free newspaper any day the sun doesn’t break through and they had no takers in all of 1975 (the average giveaway is about 4 V3 a year). As for music, Billboard’s various directories list almost 300 individuals
and firms now In Florida and there are more than 200 stations. And yet. Florida has its enigmatic aspects too. As many music people say, there has to be much more here than just an ideal climate. And certainly politicians have discovered a new aspect to Florida with some mentioning its cosmopolitan growth and others noting that one presidential candidate stayed in a $10 a night room, as evidence of radically changing demographics in the population. Above all there may be two dramatic changes in the state’s music industry: first the tremendous explosion of the Latin community with more than 500 ,000 Cubans and another 100.000 other Spanish speaking people; and secondly, a growth that now spans the entire length of the state. Certainly 1t must now be noted that Florida is much more than just Miami, though Miami is booming. But as the other lead story on Northern Florida points out, centers such as
Walt Disney World are changing the dest1n1es of the music people here in a profound way. And verdant growth is occurring all over Northern Florida even out in the panhandle where Artists of American Entertainment Corp. in Panama City plans a huge complex including a 5,000-seat concert arena right on the beach . Visits to recording companies around the state find more and more people talking about a “Miami Sound,” certainly pointed up by the international recognition of TK Productions’ Henry Stone and Steve Alaimo, and as well, a distinctive ” Salsa Sound ” when Latin label people are interviewed. Industry veterans such as Carlos Granados Jr. point out that there are at least 10 Latin music manufacturers. In the latter case, there may be too much growth too fast. because one executive wonders aloud 1f Miami needs 11 pressing plants. “This is not the center of the record business-yet.” he points out. And it cannot be said that Florida is just soul. pop and Latin music. Indeed. a growing country music contingent is building around the state’s four year-old Country Music Foundat1on at Fruitland Park. While it can no doubt be said many recording acts are being drawn here by the dynamic growth of TK Productions and such outstanding creative centers as Criteria Recording Studios, the state boasts a growing number of professional and
consumer goods manufacturers. Florida is also developing into a fertile area for record-tape distribution companies with national firms such as Pickwick’s Heilicher Bros. division opening operations here and others such as Mobile Record Service now here with two warehouses. Among other growing
varied industry segments in Florida are two outstanding publishing firms, Hansen Publications and Columbia Pictures Publications. If there is any recession at all In the state it has been in the live talent promotion field, that has nevertheless attracted new resident and respected promoter Jack Boyle of Cellar
Door Productions. And if there has been any backoff in some aspects of live entertainment. particularly with some hotels changing policies and finding problems with off-season bills, the disco club boom is more than making up for it. There are now close to 200 discos in the Dade-Broward area alone.
But over and over again, Florida’s notable success stories seem mostly to begin with mention of TK and Criteria, and growth in both cases has been astonishing. TK Productions with its Sherlyn Publishing wing is becoming multi-faceted with 11 labels of its own and seven more it distributes . TK’s roster includes artists such as K.C. and the Sunshine Band . George and Gwen McCrae, Latimore, Timmy Thomas , Betty Wright and Little Beaver-all of whom have made people aware that much is happening down here . TK house labels are Alston , Glades, Cat, Drive, TK . Blue Candle , Dash, W1erd World, Dade. Marlin and International Brothers. Distributed labels are Brad Shapiro’s Kayvette Records (Jackie Moore), Wilson Pickett’s Wicked Records, Joel Diamond and Bobby Eli’s Silver Blue Records (Terry Collins), Frederick Knight’s Juana Records, Larry Maxwell’s Shield Records (Hokis Pokis), Mitch Malouf and Tommy Couch’s Chimneyville (King Floyd) and Lotta Records (Cashmire) . Stone was instrumental at the inception of many professional careers – James Brown, Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker-and many people look at his production house in the same way that people viewed Atlantic in the fifties and Motown in the sixties. Along with Alaimo, a former name entertainer in the sixties , Stone forms one of the more impressive offerings in the state, but definitely not the only attraction. Several miles away lies one of the best recording facilities anywhere-Criteria Recording Studios. Tucked away in North Bruce Posner photo
Miami, this complex of three modern studios is complete with the latest audio advance s from Fort Lauderdale’s MCI Electronics. Artists from all areas of the world Journey to the sun soaked Miami area to take advantage of Criteria, and many of them have found the combination perfect for creating hit
product. The gold and platinum record count-more than 30-speaks for itself . Several of the country’s top indie producers live in the Miami area and work out of Criteria, almost exclusively. in eluding Bill Szymczyk and Allan Blazek of Pandora Productions, and Ron and Howard Albert of Fat Albert Productions . Virtually all of the equipment at Criteria is manufactured by MCI, and many of their professional recording studio systems are tried out and broken -in at the studio. according to Criteria chief Mack Emerman. The relationship between Criteria and MCI goes back many years and is based on a longtime friend ·
ship between Emerman and MCI boss Jeep Harned. Publishing also plays a major role In the development of the Florida music market The main printing and production office of Hansen Publications is in Miami Beach , while Columbia Pictures Publications (formerly Screen Gems-Columbia Publications) is headquartered in nearby Hialeah . Hansen’s most recent push is on “The 1002 All-American Jazz Album.” by Bill Lee, dean of the Univ. of Miami school of
music and editorial consultant to the company in the area of Jazz. The folio covers blues, ragtime, dixieland, boogie-woogie. Bebop, swing. cool, modal, free and electric . Columbia Pictures Publications is rapidly becoming one of the five largest music print companies in the country. according to Frank Hackinson. head of the operation ” We began our division five years ago, when I came to the company from Hansen Publications and we are now in the top of folio print companies .” he says. “Because Miami has a wonderful working atmosphere it is sort of becoming the capital of the music print field .”
While most might think that Columbia Pictures Publications Is at a disadvantage being in South Florida, Hackinson points out that his staff is in constant touch with the industry . ” Steve Francis of our staff is in charge of all licensing agreements and he stays on top of everything in music by talking with artists, managers, attorneys, accountants and publishers,” Hackinson states. “Each day, Steve is also on the phone with our offices In New York. Los Angeles and Nashville trying to find out what’s going to break big. ” Francis says the entire operation is self-contained on the premises, except for the actual printing, which is done at Dick Edwards’ Central Lithographers, exclusive printer for the past five years.”

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