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David Salidor Reflects on 30 Years as Music Mouthpiece

David Salidor with singer Debbie Gibson.

David Salidor with singer Debbie Gibson.

David Salidor and his New York City-based public relations company, dis COMPANY, celebrate their anniversary in March, marking 30 years representing celebrities from Madonna to Debbie Gibson. It’s safe to say he’s seen it all and lived to talk about it.

Salidor sat with us for a wide-ranging interview, touching on subjects both good and bad and offered his take on what’s next for our media-infused society. He also spills on his plans for the foreseeable future.

Improper: What’s your take on the all-consuming social media trend and what does it mean for traditional media?

Salidor: I believe almost everyone now will speak to its virtues and what it’s brought to the playing field; but, I think at the same time you’ve got to distinguish between playing on it and playing well on it.

I think many of the people on it, are at a loss to be able to maximize its strengths and minimize its weaknesses. So, in a way, it’s just increased the importance of having someone who knows what they’re doing to get the most out of it.

Improper: Why do people in creative fields, whether it’s books, records or magazines need publicists?

Salidor: To be able to effectively articulate your story, your point of view. And, do it in a way that it will be well received. Just because you have a story, doesn’t automatically mean it will reach the public the way you want it to. You’ve got to have the right messenger to be able to deliver it to the right people.

Improper: Last year, you signed up as a talent-producer for XM Radio’s Brett Winterble. What’s that been like?

Salador: It was a year this past June, and I am loving it. It’s funny, as a press person, my main job is to coordinate interviews between the media and our clients. Most times, I have to say no. But with Brett, the shoe is on the other foot. I’m making the initial calls to line up guests and have gotten turned down more than once. When the original MTV VJs came out with their book, their publicity people at the book company turned me down cold.

Now, it was ironic, since Brett’s mother worked with Clive Davis and I did PR for some of the artists discussed in the book. The company wouldn’t event give me the chance to explain it all; just turned us down cold. Their loss, as it would have been a great interview.

Improper: Who has been a terrific interview that you’ve booked?

Salidor: Richard Belzer was great. So was Bobby Funaro from “The Sopranos.” Suzanne Somers was terrific, too, as was John Densmore from The Doors and Lou Gramm from Foreigner. John Oates was stellar. Brett and I share a lover for music personalities, so those combinations have been most rewarding. He’s a terrific interviewer; he’s smart and he listens very well, which is a key ingredient many forget about.

Improper: Any PR-frustrations?

Salidor: Where do you want me to start? If it was so easy, everybody would be doing it! Here’s one: there’s this great, great band from Boston that put out an album three years ago that was just stellar. They hired a very big producer to do their new one, recorded it and waited almost a year-and-a-half before it came out. It’s out now and has been met with rather lackluster results. They hired a huge L.A.-based PR firm to work it, yet it got lost. Damn shame, too. They needed the right team, and the powers that be couldn’t work it out.

David Salidor as a young cub reporter with famed impresario Dick Clark.

David Salidor as a young cub reporter with famed impresario Dick Clark.

Improper: You also had a recent situation with the just-completed New Music Seminar.

Salidor: I helped start the original one back in 1984, with Tom Silverman, Danny Heaps, the late Joel Webber and Marc Josephson. It had a good run, but after the first three, I left the brain trust. It stopped altogether for a time, then Tom started it up, again. I went to the last two, but when I went this year, my name was nowhere to be found on the list.

Odd, as I supported the re-constituted event. They were nowhere close to the original ones, but things have definitely changed, I guess. Ironic to, as the person I spoke to was Tom’s daughter. What can you do?

Mark Bego

Mark Bego

Mark Bego is a celebrity journalist who has written more than two dozen books on a variety of celebrities. His latest is a collaboration with Debby Campbell who was part of father Glen Campbell’s concert touring act for the last 20 years. She has been with her dad through his four wives, through drug and alcohol addiction, and now through the shattering beginnings of Alzheimer’s disease. In the book, “Burning Bridges,” Debby writes about her father from her heart and from her diary. She blows the lid off of all of the Glen Campbell family’s secrets, from his marriages, alcohol and drug abuse, his illness and her own sacking. It’s a story about a daughter’s love for her talented father, with the full knowledge she is burning some bridges of her own.

Improper: How is the entertainment business today?

Salidor: In many ways better than ever. There are more platforms in which to spotlight your particular talent. But, that said, you’ve got to be more cautious than ever with the team you assemble. The money is still there, it’s just harder to access, so your preparation has got to be as precise as possible. People still go to the movies; still buy music, even though it’s over the Internet, and that will never change.

Improper: What PR projects do you have going on right now?

Salidor: Dominick DiPietrantonia from New York is one. He’s a singer/songwriter and a terrific live performer. He’s done several songs that have wound up on the web-series “Hollywood Girl.” We’re going to have him signed to a major label come September. There’s this new company Event Bookazines that have issued a series of terrific one-subject magazines; like one on The Surpemes’ 50th Anniversary. They are doing print only titles; great ideas and titles coming. We also have a few surprises for 2014, so stay tuned!

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