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By Jonathan Widran


            Perfectly in line with Busy Bee Promotions’ status as one of the country’s most dynamic and prolific full service marketing companies, the Chicago based company’s website has a handful of catchy slogans related to its name and memorable bee logo: “Don’t You Think It’s Time You Exercised Plan Bee?” “We Put The Bee In Business”; “Bee Movies”; and “The Bee’s Knees,” a section that features photos of the company’s many media activities and snapshots from a few of the 400 or so live promotional events it holds monthly across the country.

            But there’s another, simpler tagline that Paul Edgewater, the company’s co-founder and COO in charge of marketing and client relations, puts on his letterhead to let clients know where his heart is: “Thank you for the opportunity to serve your needs.” Doing just that since 1998, the year he officially launched Busy Bee with Bethany Scherbarth, he has enjoyed steady annual growth and a national clientele that has included such contemporary American corporate icons as Starbucks, Whole Foods, Verizon, Kerrygold cheeses, Coca-Cola, Groupon, Odwalla, Comcast, Visa, Pepsi, GM, Old Navy, Bass Pro Shops and Del Monte.

            Offering a full line of business services in event production, marketing, temporary signage, branded “tchotckes,” promotions staffing and more, Busy Bee’s specialty is in maximizing their client’s exposure in and out of their respective marketplaces by executing very unconventional, attention getting tactics—one of which was an acclaimed, free 20 second spot Edgewater got for Starbucks on Fox News by rattling off talking points while doing “360s” on a branded Segway Personal Transporter!

            Edgewater, who credits much of his entrepreneurial spirit and drive to the empowering words of motivational gurus Earl Nightingale (whose “Strangest Secret” is renowned as one of the most important motivational books of all time), Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy, is now sharing his own success strategies as an author. He contributed a chapter to Tracy’s new best-selling book Counter-Attack: Business Strategies for Explosive Growth in The New Economy called “Street Team Promotions.” Edgewater is also completing work on a cleverly titled work called The Book on Promotions: How The Free Market Will Save The World, One Tchotchke at a Time.

            Starbucks and Whole Foods are two of Busy Bee’s most notable high profile success stories—and Whole Foods has been a catalyst for many other activities and clients that the company works with, including Kerrygold. Busy Bee helped the chain with openings around the country, with groundbreaking and ribbon cutting events that involved human “vegetable parades.” BB is also a huge presence inside the stores—they are currently the #1 company in the U.S. doing ongoing in-store demos for Whole Foods, with up to 5,000 per year. Edgewater works with an elaborate network of people-including nine schedulers who devote their time to scheduling demos and staff.

            Other specialty foods grocery chains Busy Bee works with include Earth Fare, Nugget Market and Fresh Market; all of them are ideal places to promote Cascal Natural Soda and Coffee Il Issimo, two new Next Step products by Coca-Cola that the conglomerate has hired Busy Bee to promote. Busy Bee is launching two vehicles for a mobile tour of Cascal Natural Soda, supporting events that are connected to natural foods and sustainable and organic farming. 

            Busy Bee lived up to its name with a whirlwind of exciting, on location activities for Starbucks during the coffee giant’s expansion heyday of 2000-2007. “We were supporting them with 1,500 new store openings featuring temporary signage, banners and those huge inflatable Starbucks cups,” says Edgewater. “Our team was on the streets offering samples of their new beverages and we had a huge Starbucks kiosk in our home office for years. Tapping into Starbucks’ support of the arts, we produced the first ‘Avant Grande’ art expositions supporting the artistic work of their employees in Chicago, Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Chelsea in Manhattan. Each event also raised money for various charities.

            “Busy Bee also created ‘The Ultimate Coffee Break,’ huge lunchtime events in busy downtown areas where Starbucks hosted local acoustic bands and different lifestyle oriented sponsors who offered massages and makeovers for women. With companies like Starbucks, we offer everything, from soup to nuts, including mobile tours, branded vehicles and guerilla teams. With other companies, we provide a handful of services they need. What makes us unique is that we have strengths in so many areas while most promotional services are more limited in what they bring to the table. We do trade shows, conventions and seminars, taking care of every detail down to production room acquisitions and even negotiating lower rates for hotel rooms.”

            Busy Bee’s full range of services is impressive. It includes: promotions staffing; event planning; event design and sponsorship coordination; meeting production; custom printing; high caliber educational and motivational speakers; brand management (i.e. turnkey promotion of your brand); marketing tours; mobile promotion; PA sound reinforcement, mobile DJ’s and karaoke; temporary special event signage; in-store sampling; secret shoppers and bar/alcohol promotions.

            Going above and beyond what most traditional promotions companies offer, Busy Bee also does professional negotiating, joint ventures and consulting. The company brings to every client years of experience negotiating everything from acquisitions to terms of service and course costs. They can connect seemingly unrelated interests from their network of clients for massively beneficial projects and transactions. As project consultants, Busy Bee urges prospective clients to “take advantage of our expertise in promotions, marketing, customer service, sales and minimizing client attrition.”

            Edgewater is quick to point out that while Busy Bee Promotions has worked steadily over the years with major brands and corporations, the company is always excited to take on smaller upstart companies as clients. “Two thirds of our business is big players and a third is our work with up and coming companies,” he says. “We don’t do anything different with the smaller clients. The way we set up our system, our margins are low and we deal in great volume, so anyone can afford to pay us. Our job with these smaller companies is to make them excel in their home market so they can work their way up to national distribution.”

            Edgewater also stresses that simply having a legendary brand name isn’t always enough to ensure ongoing profits. “Before InBev purchased Anheuser Busch,” he says, “Anheuser Busch spent 25 percent of its gross revenues on marketing, sports teams and arena advertising. You’d see Budweiser everywhere. People might wonder, why do they need to do that? Everyone knows them. But a lot of beer companies and soda companies have lost revenue because they weren’t engaged in ongoing marketing.”

            One of the most remarkable aspects of Edgewater’s ultimate success in the promotions world is that his original career aspirations were in a completely different creative field—music, and more specifically rock and roll. Stories like his usually include a traditional college degree and perhaps an MBA in Marketing. But after playing drums and bass in a psychedelic 60s’ flavored band in high school, in the late 80s and early 90s Edgewater was part of a Chicago based group called Dark Davis.

            “We used to be a metal band and then we cut our hair and called it alternative music,” he laughs. “The only reason I went to Northeastern University for a time was that my dad was a Professor Emeritus in Linguistics. My first foray into being a business owner was when I started a demo studio in Chicago called Crystal Recording Studios. We offered Alesis ADAT, the first affordable digital multi-track system, when it first came out. I like the idea of being able to reap rewards for the hard work I put in. We had a good run in the mid 90s until the proliferation of home studios and the advent of music software took away business.”

            A unique opportunity for Edgewater to merge his musical talents with his future career in marketing and promotions came when, during the Michael Jordan-Phil Jackson heyday of the Chicago Bulls, he wrote and recorded a song with one of the captains of the Chicago Luvabulls cheerleading squad. It didn’t catch on as he had hoped, but he gave the name “Busy Bee” to the record label and now uses an updated version of the logo he created for the project.

            “Throughout this time, I also worked in telemarketing and sales for numerous companies, and when I closed the recording studio, I was hired by a promotions outfit that did events for Old Navy,” he says. “In 1997, I helped put together a huge big tent parking lot Halloween party promotion for them—and was soon free-lancing for the same company. After struggling in music for so long, it was refreshing to actually be paid well for what I did. I started doing more promotional work part time and through networking was able to land a huge account with Starbucks, which led me and Bethany to incorporate as Busy Bee Promotions. We didn’t have big goals until all of the great opportunities that came our way helped us shape a larger vision for our company.”

            Edgewater still writes and plays music—he specializes in loungey, downtempo originals and bossa nova flavored covers of classic songs—and recently achieved his lifelong dream of performing in the Aragon Ballroom, as a backup singer for The Sherrie Adams Band. “To use a music analogy,” he says, “the role of a producer is to take raw musical talent and make it marketable. I still do that today, only with major corporations looking to market their brands in fresh and exciting ways. I love that our clients can come to us to do something they can’t do on their end, and they can just sit back and watch us hit it out of the park for them. I love our free enterprise system that allows us as Americans to see a need out there and come up with a product or service and make a living working on it. In line with the tag I put on all my letters, it’s truly fulfilling to have an opportunity to provide services to people and companies which can take them and their business to the next level.”









By Jonathan Widran


            A top ER physician who works at various hospitals throughout Texas, Dr. Paul Toote launched his new company National Premed Consulting in 2010 in part because of the daunting statistics he encountered as he researched med school admissions. Getting into a good school had become infinitely more competitive since he applied to various institutions in the mid 90s and got his degree as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona California in 2001.

            According to Toote, who was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas, there are nearly 160 med schools in the U.S. with approximately 18,000 spots for new students. With 49,000 applying annually, there’s an automatic 56 percent rejection rate regardless of qualifications, grades, test scores and personal history. “It’s sad,” he says, “because there are so many young people who would make exceptional physicians, who have great scores, all the grades, extreme enthusiasm and a strong, compassionate bedside manner. But they can’t get in because it’s a numbers game. I started National Premed Consulting to give them a competitive advantage. I am dedicated to bringing to prospective med students the inside information they need to become the doctor of their dreams.”

            One of the keys to helping facilitate this process is imparting the truth that these institutions are not simply looking for great students—they’re also looking for great people. Run by doctors who have already been through the detailed medical school admissions process, National Premed Consulting knows how to mold its clients into the kind of med school candidate that will stand out from the pack. The firm caters to parents looking to help their children fulfill their futures, students in high school and college who are considering medicine as a career and older clients who are seeking a major career change.

            National Premed Consulting can help on many different levels. They can pinpoint an applicant’s strengths and weaknesses through scientific profiling- and use them to effectively customize their med school admission coaching; plan the perfect premed undergraduate curriculum that balances med school application requirements with profile-building classes and outside activities; create a powerful personal statement for the med school application that will appeal to those who make the crucial decisions; and will share admission secrets to which only med school grads and insiders are privy.

            Most of all, Dr. Toote and his team help their clients become the unique “star” that medical schools are looking for. “There are other companies out there who help applicants increase their MCAT scores, but they don’t work through the details of the interview process and create a great story for the candidate,” he says. “We help our clients with a narrative that is compelling and makes them shine in the best light possible, in addition to giving them the information I have gained from experience and the inside information I have. It’s all about focusing on the positives to help them become superstar candidates.

            “Let’s face it,” Dr. Toote continues, “everyone comes into this game with good grades and scores, so acceptance is really more about what makes you different, what distinguishes you from the competition. It all starts with helping them understand how the process works. Most applicants come to me confused about certain aspects. They want to know, how do they apply to med school? How many schools should they apply to? If they have good grades, then it’s sometimes a matter of boosting their self confidence. And then there are the intangibles. It’s all right to have the heart to be a doctor, but you also need the brains. And once you have the brains, then it’s a matter of the heart.

            “Sometimes, it’s the guys and girls with the biggest hearts that attracts the admissions people. Everyone wants a doctor they feel comfortable with. Medical schools want to ascertain that aspect, which is why we help our clients show their strengths in these areas to help create their story.”

            Dr. Toote recalls one moment in his career where this “bedside manner” and big heart made a huge difference: “I was doing a rotation at Children’s Hospital in Detroit and was the attending ER resident to a teenager who drowned. We couldn’t save him. It was my job to talk to his mother and tell her the horrible news. I held her hand, kneeled on the ground and looked at her. I told her I was so sorry for her loss, that we did everything we could. Naturally, doctors need to understand how other people hurt and have compassion.

            “There are a lot of factors like this that are part of National Premed Consulting’s screening process,” he says. “In choosing the candidates we work with, we first have applicants fill out a survey on our website. There is also an optional psychological evaluation. Just like the actual admissions people are selective, we also only want to work with those we feel will make great med students and doctors someday.”

            Dr. Toote says his own compassionate manner was instilled by his parents when he was growing up one of eight children in Nassau. His father worked as a contractor and also in a hospital as an orderly and his mother was a teacher. It was instilled in the children from an early age that the three most important things in life were home, school and church. His family always gave clothing to help the poor and his mother opened their home to students who needed a place to stay.

            “It was a values thing with us,” he says. “When you see other people wanting what you have and having a hard time, it causes you to respond. I started helping young people with their medical school app process a few years ago, based on the whole idea to make things easier for people who come after you.”

            Dr. Toote certainly knows the struggle well. When he wanted to go to med school, not only didn’t he have financial support but he was only in the U.S. on a Visa (he is now a naturalized citizen). There were always two lines, one for prospective students who had financial aid and the other for those who didn’t. He remembers a meeting with the personnel in the business affairs office at his medical school. The man showed him a huge stack of applications of prospective students who could be accepted and pay—implying that having the funds would make a huge difference. He gave Toote a week to find the funds or his seat was going to be taken. With the help of family members and credit cards, he was able to swing it.

            Prior to this, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica and a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from Andrews University in Michigan. His dissatisfaction with being a medical technologist for several years led him to take the plunge and apply to med school.

            Since finishing his residency at Garden City Osteopathic Hospital in Garden City, Michigan in 2005, Dr. Toote has been an independent Emergency Medicine Physician at major medical centers throughout the state of Texas, everywhere from Texarkana, Odessa, Amarillo, Corpus Christi and Plano to Paris, San Antonio and Galveston. He was ABOEM Certified in 2009, and was the recipient of the Highest Achievement Award from the Dale Carnegie Effective Communications and Human Relations Course. During his medical education at 

Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona, California, he served as his medical school class president and was selected as the speaker at his class graduation dinner. 

            In working with his clients, he draws upon his years of professional experience—but he also goes the extra mile to be the connecting thread between applicant and admissions professionals. Working free lance and part time these days, he has time to devote to interviewing admissions officers, sitting down with personnel on these committees to see what they are specifically looking for in their candidates. “I don’t go to them campaigning for specific clients, because that’s against the rules, of course,” Dr. Toote says. “But I find out what characteristics they want to see that would make a student jump out at them. I can then give that key information to my clients and help shape their presentation based on it.”

            One of the most remarkable services National Premed Consulting does for its clients is finding them doctors that they can not only meet with, but also spend time interacting with and “shadowing” as they go about their day to day work. Dr. Toote is dedicated to breaking down that barrier as part of an overall commitment to his belief that the skills they are taught by his company are not simply gimmicks designed to get into a good school, but skills they will use for the rest of their lives. “We also teach them about scheduling and ordering their time effectively,” he says, “and the best way to work on their projects a little every day to accomplish their goals efficiently.”

            As Dr. Toote and National Premed Consulting work towards their goal of having 100-200 clients by the end of 2011 (their mailing list currently totals 280), he is busy arranging speaking engagements with college groups and other parties interested in the premed preparation process. Because he makes his living as an in demand ER physician, he is also able to give away some free consultations and give phone time to those who need information without worrying about the clock. He is also branching into different media with his e-book called “Acing the Medical School Admission Process” and a podcast devoted to the topic.

            He was also interviewed by renowned business development expert, best-selling author and speaker Brian Tracy on “The Brian Tracy Show.” He wrote a chapter in Tracy’s book “Pushing To the Front” called “The Three R’s of Success,” which are: Responsibility, Resilience and Recommitting to goals after losing focus due to hardships and discouragement. Dr. Toote has also been quoted in USA Today.

            “We have the potential to create a national company from the ground up that can impact and influence so many lives in a very direct way,” says Dr. Toote. “The potential to do well in this niche market is tremendous, and our success will give us the ability to indirectly affect healthcare in this country. I’m simply doing my small part in finding qualified candidates that can be groomed into gaining access to good medical schools, who will someday become compassionate, caring physicians who can touch thousands of people’s lives. The opportunity to play a role in that is very gratifying to me as both a doctor and a human being who was taught to help people and show compassion from a very early age.”  










By Jonathan Widran



            There’s really no way to sugar coat it--Blair Thein’s extraordinary concept for the next super hit reality TV show begins and ends with balls.

            The onetime Florida Keys Nine Ball champion began playing pool at age eight, was hustling games by 14 and for years has been a master of the martial arts of jujitsu and Muay Thai. At one point, he was renowned as one of the toughest pool players in the world and he was in so many fights he earned the nickname “Bruce Lee Blair.”

            Now he’s making sports and entertainment history combining three of the world’s most dynamic, action packed sports on “Pool, Poker & Pain,” a show featuring multi-talented athletes showing what they’ve got at the billiards table, the poker table and—to blow off pent-up steam and maybe take revenge on those who just beat them—Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) combat in a cage he dubs the “Circle of Pain.”

            The only reality show to date that features the high stakes energy of the pool room environment, “Pool, Poker & Pain”—produced by Thein’s company Team Believe Promotions--will have 16-20 multi-talented athlete contestants gathering in Florida and boarding Thein’s decked out, sponsorship rich “Hustle Bus,” which will cruise across the country hitting famous pool rooms, casinos and famous MMA gyms. They will end up in Las Vegas by the fourth or fifth episode, living in a mansion where they will have crash course training in all three disciplines with some of the world’s top coaches. The gaming and combat action takes place at a large nearby facility called the “Pool, Poker & Pain” compound. Two contestants at a time will go straight from the pool table to the poker table and then into the cage.

            “While sometimes there is only one winner on reality competition shows,” he says, “we’re going to have more than one, with a lot of highs and lows. Growing up in Florida, my dad, brothers, sisters and I lived for a time in a green school bus, so doing a show that partly takes place in the ‘Hustle Bus’ is like coming full circle in my life.”           

            In his quest to further develop “Pool, Poker & Pain” and bring it to television, Thein

cultivated key partnerships with two prominent creative and marketing forces, Brand In Entertainment and Emmy winning (and multiple Emmy nominated) cinematographer Doug Stanley of Ridgeline Entertainment.

            Brand In Entertainment (BIE) brings over 35 years of mainstream advertising experience, along with an impressive roster of clients who appreciate the effectiveness of brand integration.

CEO Rolfe Auerbach says, “Brand-in Entertainment believes that the opportunity to profoundly change the nature of three sports – Poker, Pool and Martial Arts – in one project – opens the door to a vast array of viewers and ultimately to new buyers for the clients who integrate their products and services into ‘Pool, Poker & Pain.’ Once involved in this manner, these clients will become part of the series plotline – and cannot be TiVo’d out. Additional spot advertising they buy in the series will serve to enhance their efforts to reach their consumer.”

            “Pool, Poker & Pain” Executive Producer Doug Stanley’s keen eye has been a huge part of the success of “Deadliest Catch,” the popular Discovery Channel documentary/reality series about life aboard fishing vessels in the Bering sea during crab fishing season. The six year old show currently airs in over 150 countries.

            Thein first met Stanley when he was a guest speaker for “The Perfect Pitch,” an event hosted by TV industry veterans Mark and Jeannie Simon in which they teach creative people how to pitch TV show concepts. Appropriately enough, The Simons’ company is called “Sell Your TV Concept Now.”

            “I was a fan of Doug’s show,” says Thein, “in which crab fishermen captured the attention of the world. Even before the event, I decided to write to him and tell him about my ‘Pool, Poker & Pain’ concept, and he called me immediately to talk about it. I was already working with Brand In. Doug called me immediately and has since been an integral part of developing the show. His expertise in production and character development has been invaluable.

            “The reason I went after Doug is because I was always impressed with the toughness of his production crew in capturing the lives of the fishermen on Deadliest Catch,” he adds. “I didn’t want a typical Hollywood union crew working on my show. I’m very hardcore and am willing to put in 12-16 hour workdays. The show has a lot of dynamics and needs guys that are tough to help create and capture every second of the action.”

            Thein believes that Stanley’s nuts and bolts TV talents, combined with his own promotion skills will make “Pool, Poker & Pain” the next super hit reality show. He also gives special thanks to Inside Pool Magazine,, family, friends and the PPP team for helping him bring his vision to this point.

            Now about those other “balls”…For Thein, creating and developing “Pool, Poker & Pain” has been a labor of love with a deep learning curve over the past seven years. Believing that the final step of making this incredible reality series a weekly TV reality is a matter of timing, luck and guts, he is seeking a network and top brand sponsors that believe in the show—plus “one lucky aggressive investor with some balls that wants to be involved on the ground floor of this worldwide sports explosion.”

            He’s not shy about going after the as yet undiscovered man who will make the difference: a young millionaire, perhaps from the dot com world, who is willing to invest $10 million for 25% ownership of the show. He’s also going after athlete celebs and team CEOs from the NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and NASCAR. Part of the concept he is selling is his larger international vision for Season 2 of Pool, Poker and Pain, which will pit Team USA vs. Team Asia. There are also multiple branding opportunities available for sponsors. 

            Soon after Thein began telling his fellow pool players about his concept for “Pool, Poker & Pain,” Billiards Magazine did a feature article on him called “Pool Player Looking for a Fight.”

While he was still making a comfortable living as a pool player, the former Navy man and asset protection investigator knew he had a powerful idea that could open doors to a career in reality TV.

            “It was a personal crisis time in my life,” he says, “and I wanted to focus my energies into something creative and positive. I went to one of the country’s biggest tournaments, the Valley Forge Super Billard Expo, and brought handmade posters about my original concept, which didn’t involve poker. I called it the ‘Ultimate Billiard Extreme Challenge’ and would combine combine pool and MMA. I had a reputation in that community for pool and fighting people when they were sore losers and wanted to rip me off. I put up these posters everywhere and got a huge buzz going about my idea. I met a lot of people there who were showing interest as possible contestants.

            From the beginning, Thein knew he had the makings of a hit reality show that would shock the world, and like the street fighter he is, he has been willing to plow through any setback that came his way. Looking back, he can see that various junctures when he thought he was ready to roll were ultimately not the right time. But now, in 2011, he’s ready to go the distance and win big. 

            “That original concept and what is now ‘Pool, Poker & Pain’ have a strong emphasis on gambling and allow players to creatively and definitively settle those grudge matches that usually arise during or after a game of pool or poker,” adds Thein. “Our contestants will have a legitimate chance to win big money while achieving redemption for their losses by having the opportunity to go into the cage and kick some ass! It’s been an interesting road securing our contestants. We need skilled pool and poker players who are willing to fight. There are big UFC fighters who have contacted me but they can’t play pool very well. ‘Pool, Poker & Pain’ is creating a new breed of multi-talented athlete. Superstar or sucker, the time for talk is over. Get in the cage, guys. It’s action time.” 




Driven by the powerful entrepreneurial flair and hospitality expertise of Darren Berman, Roberto Manfe and Executive Chef Massimiliano (Max) Convertini—who brings his unique culinary passion and creativity to their unique business partnership--Zio Ristorante has, since its opening in mid-2011, become one of the most dynamic and popular “go to” dining hotspots in NYC. Nestled into the heart of the Flatiron District on 19th Street—and just steps away from the Flatiron Building, Madison Square Park and Union Square—Zio excites adventurous patrons from all over the city with its lively atmosphere, cozy, inviting ambient glow and a delightfully diverse menu that changes from season to season.

Its ever-evolving selection of antipasti, dall orto, pizza alla griglia, Panini, primi, le carni and pesci includes the freshest seasonal ingredients and draws inspiration from the flavors of Italy and the Mediterranean, the home region of Chef Max, who grew up in Ostuni, a city of 32,000 located eight kilometers from the coast of the Adriatic Sea in the province of Brindisi (the Puglia region) on the heel of the “boot” of Italy. Since coming to live and work in New York, Chef Max has been acclaimed by food critics and patrons (who are always eager to post internet reviews) alike as the hottest, most talented and inventive chef on the competitive Manhattan restaurant scene.

The lunch menu includes paninis and grilled pizza specialties (with dough cooked just right on top of a grill), and everything from a traditional Caprese and Crudo Panini topped with prosciutto, stracchino cheese and arugula to homemade pappardelle with lamb ragu and a selection of tantalizing meat and fish entrees. Some of his signature dishes have included the Riso al Salto, a crunchy saffron risotto cake, bone marrow, and gremolata sauce, to the Polipo e Panelle, a grilled octopus, with chickpea cake and chicory. The majority of Zio’s pastas are freshly made and organic, and Chef Max enjoys making daily specials of antipasti, homemade raviolis or risotto or pasta along with his fish and meat specials. He believes that once patrons become regulars they can continue to enjoy the ongoing creativity in his selections.

In addition to the 90 seat main dining room and a bar area that can seat 50 plus, Zio offers private dining for parties of up to 45 in the Vineyard Room—perfect for business luncheons and birthday, anniversary or wedding celebrations. Chef Max creates a menu specially tailored to the tastes of the group. Zio also offers the very personal touch of “Tavolo di Max,” where Chef Max joins a table ranging from two people to ten and builds a personal tasting menu based on his trademark freshest local ingredients. He will create seven or eight courses of new dishes not on the regular menu based on the diners’ personal preferences.

With a charming Italian accent that invites people into the magical culinary mysteries of his homeland from the moment he says “Buon giorno,” Chef Max brings a fascinating personal history to every dish he imagines and brings to life at Zio. Known as the “White City,” Ostuni is a town perched in the hills, with a breathtaking view over the olive groves towards the Adriatic Coast—and just across the sea from Greece. Growing up helping out doing various behind the scenes tasks in the restaurant owned by his family, he quickly learned the value of thinking local when it came to creating a menu. “Our region was known for a unique mix of wildlife, from wild rabbits and roosters to lamb, and many of the dishes were products from the mountain,” he says. “Being near both mountains and the sea, Puglia is well known for its roasted lamb and fish, even octopus, and our meals favored a lot of peppers and tomatoes.”

Focusing naturally on his future career, Chef Max attended a culinary institute in his town for three years and later traveled throughout Italy to learn about its different sub cultures, their culinary distinctions, different techniques and special recipes. Moving to the U.S. in the late 90s, he attained his first position as Chef of Cuisine at Il Posto in Southfield, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. After a year, he followed his dream to New York to become a chef for several years at one of the locations of the world renowned chain Cipriani, whose locations include Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Venice, Italy. Chef Max was later chef at Bottega Del Vino in midtown Manhattan (known for their Veronese cuisine). He first collaborated with Darren Berman and Roberto Manfe when they worked together at San Rocco, also in the Flatiron District, several years before they upped their collective business and culinary games and opened Zio.

“Growing up in an Italian family that owned a restaurant, I really appreciate the whole family atmosphere we have created here, which begins with me, Darren and Roberto and extends to our wonderful customers,” says Chef Max. “It is always so delightful to watch them enjoy my creations and hear what they love best. The three of us did the original menu together so everything is something I created. I am asked what my favorite dishes are all the time and that is hard to answer. But I would guess the signature Riso al Salto con L’osso (crunchy saffron risotto cake, bone marrow and gremolata sauce) because everyone goes crazy about it. Then there’s the pasta, such as the pappardelle and the lobster raviolis. Ask me in three months, after the next change of seasons, and my response might be completely different.”


<Close Up Name>Audio Engineering Associates

<By Line>By Jonathan Widran

<Copy>           Wes Dooley was active on the Southern California audio and recording scene even before launching his company, Audio Engineering Associates ( in 1964. Among other endeavors, he had designed and built broadcasting equipment for radio stations (including KSPC at Pomona College) and worked on the sound systems at such legendary venues as The Troubadour, Ash Grove and Ice House.

            Running his own recording studio, he took on jobs around the world which inspired him to design his own equipment, which he began retailing to other recording engineers—including multi-channel microphone arrays, MS stereo processors, stereo phase displays and microphone stands.

After RCA shut down its microphone manufacturing in the mid-70s, Dooley became known as “the ribbon mic guy” for his pursuit of excellence in ribbon microphone technology. AEA became a dealer for Coles Electroacoustics, distributing ribbon microphones in North America. After nearly two decades of representing and servicing the BBC 4038, he began to experiment with his own ribbon microphones. In 1998, responding to the growing scarcity of vintage RCA ribbon microphones, AEA re-introduced the popular R44.

Les Paul told Dooley that AEA’s R44 was his favorite microphone and engineer/producers such as Bruce Swedien, Kevin Bacon and Shawn Murphy routinely use AEA’s R44. Over half of the movies scored in Los Angeles have a 44 somewhere on the scoring stage. Over the decades, Dooley’s loyal clientele has included Billy Gibbons, Eddie Van Halen, Rambin’ Jack Elliot and Emmylou Harris.

Building off the success of the R44, in 2002 AEA began designing its own line of original ribbon microphones, including the award-winning R84, which, Wes says, “has the same Big Ribbon element, 16.5 Hz tuning and transformer for a quarter of the cost.” As no affordable preamps were made with the need of ribbon microphone in mind, in 2005 AEA created the TRP: The Ribbon Pre. Its use on Grammy winning projects led to the RPQ, a version for ribbon and condenser microphones. The RPQ with Curve Shaping and the TRP are economically priced without sacrificing the purity of signal that is traditionally the domain of mic pre's costing thousands of dollars more.

Dooley’s groundbreaking work with ribbon microphones earned him the Audio Engineering Society (AES) Silver Medal Award in the fall of 2003. This award, established by the AES in honor of Alexander Graham Bell, Emile Berliner, and Thomas Edison, is given in recognition of outstanding development or achievement in the field of audio engineering.

In addition to his work with microphones and preamps, Wes has achieved recognition in such diverse areas as expert witness audio forensics; design and wiring of studios including Stevie Wonder's Wonderland; and recording both in-studio and on-location including the L.A. Phil at the Hollywood Bowl.

Such experiences have led Dooley to design products which help resolve problems commonly encountered by recording engineers. His portable recording tools include multi-channel microphone arrays, MS stereo processors, stereo phase displays and very tall microphone stands.

AEA has an extensive Mic Product System that includes many popular models. The AEA KU4's unidirectional supercardioid pattern is the only mic that combines the warmth and sonic ease of the classic RCA KU3A. Using a racing metaphor, Dooley calls his active A440 "a supercharged classic like a customized 32 Deuce Coupe” The quietest ribbon mic ever produced, the A440 combines all the warmth and beauty of the classic 44, both sonically and visually, but with a hot signal requiring little EQ. Other products include the A840, which combines the award-winning sound of the R84 with the flexibility of phantom-powered electronics; the ever-popular, sleek Blumlein R88, optimized for natural frequency response and precise stereo imaging; and the R92, which features reduced proximity bass boost and excellent wind blast protection that make it suitable for close micing (6-12 inches) of guitar amps, vocals, and percussion.

When asked what his future plans are, Wes replies: “There's always something that someone hasn't thought of yet. We just want to be the ones who think of it first." It's obvious from Wes Dooley's long and varied career in audio that he is an expert at re-invention, and one who has been very successful at it.”

Contact Audio Engineering Associates 800-798-9127














By Jonathan Widran


            A casual perusing of Cliff Morgan’s mini-bio on the site of College Planning Partners, LLC, his Chicago based independent educational consulting firm, seems to be a study in educational and career contrasts. On one hand, he has an extensive background working with a prominent financial group as a trusted advisor for eight years and holds numerous licenses related to investment and securities. But before that, the New England born and raised entrepreneur spent his time studying and learning to be a volunteer in his community.

            During his senior year at Moody, he was a volunteer youth worker, working 25 hours a week on the South Side of the city. He finished his studies with the intent of serving and helping people. Considering that Moody is one of the top undergraduate service schools in the country and a prime training ground for pastors and ministers, is it possible that somewhere along the way Morgan, by pursuing a career dominated by dollars, strayed from the divine plan for his life?

            Hardly. In fact, he sees his work in the financial planning field, which in 2008 led him to create U.S. College Planning, as a unique way to serve.

            The company helps parents and students manage all aspects of college funding, application and personal and career development throughout the college years. His staff helps parents uncover little-known strategies and unique funding resources so they can better manage cashflow during these critical years. They are primarily dedicated to helping students navigate the tricky, often complicated college search and application process while providing career direction and other support throughout their college journey.

            Morgan found that his work with parents would naturally extend to conversations about their overall financial planning pictures—which makes sense considering that the money they save on a college education could be put towards a retirement account or property purchase. In 2010, he applied his background as an all-around financial planner to launching a new company called Strategic Wealth Advisory Group, of which he is a senior partner. “Though my flagship company is College Planning Partners and I focus a lot on college planning, that is only one part of the overall financial planning conversation,” he says.

            Morgan could not have imagined doing any of this back when he was engaged in his original educational pursuits. As he was about to graduate college, the owner of the financial planning company that Morgan’s fiancée worked for offered to teach him the trade—which he could turn into a full time job or somehow use to help people as a volunteer counselor. 

            “I told a close advisor that I was working with about this opportunity,” he says, “and he told me that the number one reason people get divorced is financial struggles. He told me flat out that if I wanted to be able to help people on a physical needs-based level, helping them grasp their finances, getting involved in that world would be a great way to contribute. He said that I would be able to help them in a way that a regular spiritual counselor could not.”

            After working as a financial planner downtown at the Board of Trade for two years, Morgan and his wife applied and were accepted to grad school in Boston. While he was there, he paid his bills working for a renowned financial planner William Anderson. Halfway through his studies on the way towards a Master’s Degree, his professor gave him some powerful advice that set him on his course as a top financial planner.

             “For years,” Morgan says, “I was under the assumption that it was somehow more meaningful to be in a literal position of ministry than to be helping people in the market place, but ultimately I realized that I could be of greater service helping meet people’s needs in a secular setting. Realizing this was a big step towards building my confidence as a financial planning professional.”

            For a time back in Chicago, he worked again for his wife’s original employer and another broker/dealer with the Board of Trade. He ultimately split with the first when his boss wanted to work with “uber-affluent charitable planning cases,” while Morgan had a desire to work with everyone, rich or just getting by. He found himself sitting down one day with divorced or widowed women that felt they could barely afford to send their kids to college, and the next with clients worth millions—and he vowed to give them both the same level of professionalism and service. In 2008, a friend told Morgan about a company he had heard about a new idea for financial planning that was designed to help families figure out the most efficient way to pay for massive college tuition costs.

            When Morgan launched his finance focused U.S. College Planning Advisors, he affiliated with College Dream Builder, a proven and reliable system dedicated to helping students prepare for and gain admission to college since 1999.  They have been helping families navigate the complex issues of college preparation, helping to bring together parents’ hopes and students’ dreams. In conjunction with College Dream Builders, U.S. College Planning Advisors offers services like ACT and SAT test prep, essay prep, resume creation, specialized tutoring, personalized student life coaching, admissions assistance, analysis and cash flow strategies, financial aid assistance and personal service for busy parents who would like someone to help them navigate the confusing system.

            Because of some interesting turns of events in his early educational life, Morgan can fully empathize with his clients’ needs. A nationally ranked skier in high school, he received a scholarship to college but it was rescinded when he missed 45 days of his senior year due to pneumonia. He and his dad joined the Reserve National Guard as a way to pay for his undergrad schooling. While in the Air Guard, he did Biathalon cross country skiing and marksmanship, but had to leave due to another injury.         

            Morgan likes to use the metaphor that he teaches people to plug holes in buckets when they might otherwise choose to pour more and more water into leaky ones. He laments the fact that the average family spends more time planning their next vacation than they do trying to figure out how to arrange to pay the college bills – but is happy that this is where he can be of service. He loves working with raw numbers to explain the basics of the financial end of what he helps his clients accomplish:

            “Say USC costs $50,000 per year and the student intends to go for five years, which is the average length of time it takes to receive an undergrad degree. That’s $250,000. The average state school is $25,000, and average private is $40,000 per year. Our company can help save them between $5,000 and $25,000 off the total college bill. One student I just worked with was going to get a $60,000 scholarship for four years and I got them $128,000. Another family was supposed to pay $33,000 a year out of pocket and we arranged it so that they would only pay $4,000. My task is to put together blueprints to help families understand how to maximize their current situations to help pay for college bills.

            “I find them money from the financial aid system,” Morgan adds, “from the Merit based system, from scholarships, even from taxes. Did you know that there are over 153 different tax strategies out there for families just while they have kids in college. I meet a lot of clients at college planning seminars. I start where their pain is—like we have a $100,000 bill, how do we pay it. I ask them, if I can save you $5,000, would it make a difference?  So the conversation starts there, and inevitably it bleeds over to them saving enough money to purchase a house, build a retirement account and create other investment accounts.

            “We come up with customized strategies on a family by family basis and help them fill out all the forms, including the FASTA, the free application for federal student aid. We’ve found that 90 percent of these forms are filled out incorrectly! Most people know they can barter to get a discount on the sticker price of a car but don’t realize they can do the same thing with college costs. But we’ve helped get $16,000 taken off a college bill just by writing letters to schools. If you’re willing to fight for it, we can help make it happen. I don’t think I could work 50-70 hours per week at this if I didn’t feel I was helping people. It’s a very rewarding place to have found my niche – and my ministry.” 







By Jonathan Widran


            In a country where April 15 is sometimes scarier than Halloween and everyone does their best to figure out ways to stay one step ahead and a few dollars ahead of the taxman, it’s hard to believe running into trouble with the IRS could actually galvanize anyone’s life for the good.

            Yet the normally problematic specter of tax trauma in the mid-90s was the catalyst that ultimately transformed Southern California raised, Tampa based Darrin Mish from a criminal defense lawyer into one of the country’s top IRS problem solvers. Traveling around the country teaching everyone from CPAs to tax lawyers the ins, outs and finer details of tax law from 2000 to 2007, Mish recognized an opportunity to serve a large segment of the population in this arena. He eventually developed a comprehensive two day seminar that could literally take someone off the street and help them solve even their thorniest IRS problem in two days.

            Switching his professional focus to tax law, he launched The Law Offices of Darrin T. Mish, a firm that provides “Tax Attorneys For Your Most Serious IRS Problem.” Via their website, he and his associates serve clients all over the world; their typical client is a self-employed businessperson of median income who neglected to file for one year. Adding the self-employment tax and penalties to what is already owed, fines can easily add up. Mish’s firm works with their clients on offers and compromises—and teaches them about a little known statute of limitations, by which liens can be dismissed if the IRS lags in seeking payment.  Mish also recently expanded his reach to create a separate law office dedicated to bankruptcy law.

            While his tax business has grown exponentially with his renown in this field—and his bankruptcy firm is doing great business--Mish currently has his eyes on a bigger prize. Tapping into his equally impressive background in Direct Response Marketing and Search Engine Optimization, he is always developing new key strategies to increase his own business while helping other lawyers and businesspeople grow theirs. Delegating the tax problem solving to his associates, Mish is now fully dedicated to sharing his marketing expertise with fellow attorneys and other businesspeople.

            As a culmination of his fast building reputation as a “life coach for lawyers”—or as one of his longtime mentors called him, “Change Master”—he recently launched Lawyers Secret (, a website whose tag motto is “Helping Lawyers Achieve Their Dreams.”

            Inspired in part by the film Julie and Julia, one of Mish’s goals with the website site is to publish a blog entry every day about a real-life instance in which he helped another attorney or business owner become more financially successful while also carving out free time for him or herself. Drawing on the title of another recent film, the first entry on the home page is titled “Bucket List,” under which he writes: “Life is short so start living now. Keeping the focus of life on things to come and not regretting those things that haven't is a vital key to enjoying the successes of life. Today is the day to make "someday" into a "today"!    

            Visitors who click on “Read More” are treated to a whimsical wish list listing all the things busy attorneys would like to buy and do if they only had more time and increased business—time and business that Mish can help them find very easily if they open up to his revolutionary ideas. These include: purchase new Porsche and drive across country, purchase Ferrari, purchase boat, go to Australia, own mansion/estate style home, attend Country Music Awards, attend Grammy Awards, race Porsches at Skip Barber, cross Florida boat trip, great circle boat trip, tour Bahamas, Turks and Caicos in my own boat, featured in Success and Entrepreneur magazines, etc.

            The site, currently in progress, will also have sections for “Travel Tips” and “Solutions.” Mish is currently writing a chapter on leverage and delegation in the new book “ROI Marketing Secrets Revealed,” in which over 30 of today’s top marketing experts share their knowledge with business owners hoping to crack the code and generate revenue beyond their wildest dreams.

            “Developing the marketing expertise which naturally evolved to the point where I could launch this new venture started as a necessity for me to generate business for myself in the mid-90s, when I was still a defense attorney,” says Mish. “I became good at it when I realized the meaning of value—as in, what was the highest, best use of my time? Leverage means you’re focusing on what you are best at and most passionate about and that which makes you the most money for the time and energy you invest.

            “My ‘lawyering’ was more of a commodity skill set that I believed any competent lawyer could do,” he adds. “The real challenge for me and other firms was, how to get more clients and bring business in the door. I started using direct response marketing, mailing to people who had specific legal issues. At the time, my specialties were DUIs and domestic violence cases. I developed specific letters for each offense, making sure not to put potential clients down for their transgressions and letting them know I well understood their problems.”

            Years later, when he got into the tax law business, Mish would scan public records for people in the Tampa area who had tax liens and send “heavy direct mail” to them. To get the attention of potential clients, his mailings would come with a colorful commemorative stamp on them and were addressed by hand—a rarity in this machine generated age. Because of volume, these days, the “hand addressed envelopes” are created by a machine with blue ink. Learning that Tuesday is the lightest mail volume day, Mish also did his mailings on Monday to assure that there would be less “junk mail” to compete with. The initial mailings featured a sales letter and a second page “statement of qualifications” and colored inserts.

            The goal was to get people to put the letter into their tax file, should they ever need such services. Mish quickly experienced an ROI direct mail ratio of 5 to 1, meaning he made five dollars for every dollar he spent. Once he developed the website, he saw the high potential return in providing overwhelming value for free upfront. His comprehensive site includes sections for Taxpayer Resources (IRS Forms, Internal Revenue Manual, Internal Revenue Code); a Library with IRS Problem Videos, IRS Problem Articles, IRS TV and IRS Calendar; Practice Areas (IRS Problem Solutions, IRS Audit Guides, Expatriate IRS Tax Problems) and a News Archive with IRS Problem Press Releases and Archive.

            “Learning how to rank the site high on Google searches, combined with all of these free resources, sets our tax law practice apart from many others that market online,” says Mish. “We literally have enough video and information on there for people to solve their own tax problems. But I’m not worried about providing as much value as I can, or the fact that competitors go to my site for answers, because I know it will come back to me many fold. One of the things I teach people as a marketing coach is that the average client wants to do their own research before seeking professional assistance. Once they start seeing how complex it all is, they realize, we can help simplify it for them.”

            Realizing the power of direct mail marketing and the importance of SEO positioning, it dawned on Mish that entrepreneurs too often are so focused on working IN their business that they don’t have time to work ON their business. Sure, they love their jobs, but their goal should be building a great business with lots of potential income, not simply being slaves to the clients they already have.

            “It’s important that the lawyers and entrepreneurs I help understand that I am very dedicated to practicing what I preach,” he says. “These days with my tax business, I supervise my associates, who handle our clients’ cases. As the CEO, I spend my days strategizing new marketing ideas and building new relationships with clients all over the world. These days, I can sell clients legal services but that’s not the best use of my time. The best use of it is figuring out ways to make new business. When we go to law school, we are always told that this is a noble profession and it’s a wonderful thing to help clients—and it is. But it is also a business.

            “If you’re spending every day worrying about where your next dollar is coming from,” Mish adds, “can you really be as effective as you want to be. And as far as the altruistic notion goes, it’s much easier to take on pro bono cases when you are confident that you are always generating income from a steady stream of new clients. For me, the gradual shift into the ‘marketing life coach’ realm was part of my desire to give back in ways beyond simply writing checks to help people.”

            Born and raised in Camarillo, California, the self professed “Beach Guy” is a UC Santa Barbara alum who attended law school at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. When he graduated in 1993, a combination of the bad U.S. economy and his love for “fishing, diving and water stuff” led him to the Tampa Bay area, where his first professional job was as a public defender for Hillsboro County. A self-professed introvert, Mish soon realized he wanted to be a transactional lawyer rather than a trial lawyer. He soon switched the other side and helmed his own criminal defense firm for five years.

            “There is an incredible amount of entrepreneurial know how involved in starting your own firm and generating business,” he says. “I consider these early days running my own firm as a baptism by fire. What I found interesting was the fact that in law school, they teach you everything about the finer points of the law but never tell you how to run a business. I very quickly  ended up with a tax problem that’s very common for small business owners. I couldn’t find anyone to help me, so, necessity being the mother of invention, I worked on the problem myself and this ultimately led me to becoming a tax lawyer.”

            Looking back on his unique, sometimes perfectly planned, sometimes surprising, journey, Mish says, “What I enjoy the most is when I come to work, I get to work on things I love to do, things I would probably be happy to do for free! I’ve had the life where you go to work don’t get to be so fulfilled, and you’re miserable. What’s so great about my life and career now is that I only do fun stuff things inspire me. Inspiring other lawyers and business owners with my story is a big thing because when I started, I was bored and the thing that kept me going was new challenges that could only be fulfilled on the marketing end. Because what I’ve developed is in essence ‘magnetic marketing,’ clients are now chasing after what I have to offer rather than the other way around.”   


<Close Up Name>Sound Exchange

<By Line>By Jonathan Widran

<Copy>           This marks the third time since 2008 that Music Connection has had the privilege to profile SoundExchange, the Washington DC based non profits the non-profit performance rights organization formed to meet the needs of the digital music era.

In those years, the company—whose services to artists and sound recording copyright owners (SRCOs) are equivalent to what ASCAP and BMI provide to songwriters—has grown exponentially. The stat at the top of their homepage ( says it all: Royalties Paid – $1 billion dollars. Just two years ago, that number was just over $500 million. Other updated stats are equally impressive. SoundExchange has more than 1,800 licensees; tens of millions of lines of data reported monthly; 24,000 copyright holder/label accounts; 70,000 performer accounts; 15,300 new registrations in 2011; a total of 23 international agreements; nearly $204 million distributed YTD in 2012 (Quarters 1 and 2); and nearly 100 employees.

The dollars involved have exploded due to the changing consumer model of the music industry, including the explosion of internet, satellite and cable radio stations—including Sirius/XM, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn Radio, Music Choice, AccuRadio and the radio function of Spotify.

 The Copyright Royalty Board, which is appointed by The U.S. Library of Congress, has entrusted SoundExchange as the sole entity in the United States to collect and distribute these digital performance royalties on behalf of featured recording artists, master rights owners (like record labels), and independent artists who record and own their masters.

“The services we deal with are using a statuatory license in federal law that allows these services, if they meet the requirement of the statute, to register with the copyright office, stream recordings and send us royalties and play data,” says SoundExchange President Michael Huppe. “We take care of everything else. Everything has boomed with the expansion of personal devices, the wireless infrastructure of the country (including Broadband, WiFi and 3G and 4G networks), and any other method people use to access and stream music.

“There’s still a gross inequity in our country where AM and FM stations pay songwriting royalties but nothing to the artist,” he adds. “That’s a battle we’ve been fighting for decades, but we’re happy to make sure that the performers and copyright owners, which can be the artists themselves or their labels, get paid for this when their work is accessed via digital, cable and satellite systems. For much of SoundExchange’s existence, our biggest priority was getting out name out there and getting people signed up. Now as we’ve grown, matured and become more sophisticated, we’re occupying a different place in the music industry. We’re at the hub of a lot of legal issues related to digital music. We’re an association that looks out for the entire industry, promoting the long term value of music and letting people know how important it is to our culture.”

            SoundExchange was created to collect the revenue stream created by 1995’s Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act (DPRA). Before 1995, U.S. record companies and recording artists were not entitled to collect royalties for the public performance of their sound recordings (even though their counterparts in other countries did). Under the rules of the Digital Performance Right and Sound Recording Act (DPRA), passed by Congress in 1995, the percentage breakdown per performance is   this: 45% for the featured performer, 50% to the SRCO and 5% for the background vocalists and session musicians.

            When SoundExchange launched in 2000 as an unincorporated division of the RIAA—it was later spun off as an independent organization in September 2003—it gathered $6.3 million in royalties, which represented performances from the time the law was passed in the mid-90s till 2001.

           SoundExchange was built by the people who actually get royalties, and its constituents are artists and record companies, who are also in charge of controlling and regulating SoundExchange’s activities. The Board of Directors includes reps from AFM and SAG-AFTRA, artists, artist managers, lawyers and record companies.

The artists accrue royalties automatically under the law, yet many who are unfamiliar with the organization are skeptical, and so fail to register to claim the cash.. Huppe says that when SoundExchange takes in royalties, they have three years to pay them to whom they are owed. The organization has currently amassed over $30 in unpaid funds to over 50,000 people that are three years and older, and he and his staff make ongoing efforts to find and register those who have money coming to them.


Contact SoundExchange 202-640-5858


Close Up Name>Audio Engineering Associates

<By Line>By Jonathan Widran

<Copy>           Wes Dooley was active on the Southern California audio and recording scene even before launching his company, Audio Engineering Associates (  in 1964. Among other endeavors, he had designed and built broadcasting equipment for radio stations (including KFCC at Pomona College) and worked the sound systems at such legendary venues as The Troubadour, Ash Grove and Ice House.

            Running his own recording studio, he took on jobs around the world which inspired him to design his own equipment, which he began retailing to other recording engineers—including multi-channel microphone arrays, MS stereo processors, stereo phase displays and microphone stands.

After RCA shut down its microphone manufacturing in the mid-70s, Dooley  became known as “the ribbon mic guy” for his pursuit of excellence in ribbon microphone technology. AEA became a dealer for Coles Electroacoustics, distributing ribbon microphones in North America. After nearly two decades of representing and servicing the BBC 4038, he began to experiment with his own ribbon microphones. In 1998, responding to the growing scarcity of vintage RCA ribbon microphones, AEA re-introduced the popular R44.

Les Paul told Dooley that AEA’s R44 is his favorite microphone and engineer/producers such as Bruce Swedien, Kevin Bacon and Shawn Murphy routinely use AEA’s R44. Over half of the movies scored in Los Angeles have a 44 somewhere on the scoring stage. Over the decades, Dooley’s loyal clientele has included Billy Gibbons, Eddie Van Halen, Rambin’ Jack Elliot and Emmylou Harris.

Building off the success of the R44, in 2002 AEA began designing its own line of original ribbon microphones, including the award-winning R84, which, he says, “had the same ribbon tuning to 20 hz for a quarter of the cost.” Because most affordable preamps are not made with the needs of a ribbon microphone in mind, AEA created the TRP and RPQ to match a ribbon microphone at an economical price point, yet without sacrificing the purity of signal that is traditionally the domain of mic pre's costing thousands of dollars more.

Dooley’s s groundbreaking work with ribbon microphones earned him the Audio Engineering Society (AES) Silver Medal Award in the fall of 2003. This award, established by the AES in honor of Alexander Graham Bell, Emile Berliner, and Thomas Edison, is given in recognition of outstanding development or achievement in the field of audio engineering.

His forensic involvement with recorded media began over 15 years ago. He has now worked on dozens of cases doing forensic work in areas as diverse as enhancement and authentication, audio and video recreations for court presentation, court ordered editing and playback, re-synchronization of enhanced audio onto video copies, studio appraisals and audio contracting quality assessment.

Such experiences have led Dooley to design products which help resolve problems commonly encountered by recording engineers. His portable recording tools include  multi-channel microphone arrays, MS stereo processors, stereo phase displays and very tall microphone stands.

AEA’s has an extensive Mic Product System that includes many popular models. The AEA KU4 is the only mic that combines the warmth and sonic ease of a classic RCA ribbon mic (it was inspired by the RCA KU3A) with a unidirectional supercardioid pattern;

Using a racing metaphor, Dooley calls the A440 his “32 Deuce Coupe, a top of the line, quiet classic.” The quietest ribbon mic ever produced, the A440 combines all the warmth and beauty of the classic 44, both sonically and visually, but with a hot signal requiring little EQ.

            The A840 combines the award-winning sound of the R84 with the flexibility of phantom-powered electronics. Because the A840 has significantly less proximity effect than the A440, the A840 makes an excellent spot mic as it is optimized to be positioned within 12" of the sound source without bass distortion. The R84 is ideally suited for solo and accent work, an example of the natural sound and figure-8 directional sensitivity a quality ribbon mic delivers.     A Blumlein pair of Big Ribbon elements enclosed in a sleek package, the R88 is optimized for natural frequency response and precise stereo imaging.         The newest addition to the AEA family of microphones, the R92 features reduced proximity bass boost and excellent wind blast protection that make it suitable for close micing (6-12 inches) of guitar amps, vocals, percussion, etc. The smooth high frequency response of the R88 transducer has been further extended in the R92, making the R92 a unique voice in the world of ribbon mics.


Contact Audio Engineering Associates 800-798-9127

For Immediate Release










Bordello, On The Site of Little Pedro’s, The Oldest Bar in Downtown L.A., Announces

Its Grand Opening December 23 With A Performance By Famed“Gangster Swing”

Band Royal Crown Revue, The House Band In the mid-90s at The Derby,

Which Was Owned By Bordello Principal Tony Gower




            The ongoing multi-billion dollar revamping of downtown Los Angeles since the late 90s has created an artist friendly environment that reminds many residents and visitors of New York’s thriving Soho area. With the December 2006 opening of Bordello at 901 E. 1st Street, those artists—along with tourists and discriminating club goers from throughout Southern California—have an exciting nightly musical hotspot to call their own.

            Formerly Little Pedro’s, the oldest bar in Downtown Los Angeles which first opened in 1890, the completely renovated and colorfully redecorated venue has been appropriately renamed by owners Tony Gower, Elizabeth Peterson, Dana Hollister and Jim Venetos to reflect its original historic roots. The original property included a five-story building housing a ground floor bar; the upper floors of the original building were used as a legally operating bordello.

A little of that legendary raciness shines through every Saturday night as the nightclub—which includes a bar and restaurant with full menu—plays host to Vaudeville styled burlesque/cabaret entertainment featuring dancing girls with feathers, magicians and comedians.  Principal Elizabeth Peterson likens the burlesque vibe to the moody, pre- film noir vibe of legendary film director Josef von Sternberg and particularly, his 1930 film The Blue Angel, starring Marlene Dietrich. 

            While Bordello opened its doors on Saturday, December 2 with a headlining performance by ska, jazz and doo-wop influenced singer Joey Altruda, the club’s official grand opening is set for December 23. Taking the stage that night will be the 7-piece  “gangster swing” band Royal Crown Revue, the famed ensemble which delighted the world in the Jim Carrey movie “The Mask” and was the featured house band from 1993-95 at The Derby, which was restored to its former glory during the decade thanks to the dedicated efforts of owners Tony Gower—a principal in Bordello—and his late wife  Tammi Gower.

            Each night of the week at Bordello—whose hours run from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.--will spotlight a distinctive musical theme. Mondays will have an early 50s, ultra lounge vibe with The Martini Kings. On Tuesdays, blues night, the headliner will be 85-year-old African American singer Mickey Champion, who sang at The Cotton Club back in the day. On Wednesdays, patrons will enter what Gower has named “Club Hell” which features the hippest and trendiest grooves, beats and vibes from the clubs in Berlin and the Spanish Mediterranean island of Ibiza. Thursdays are called Irregular Live, catering to indie bands and the Goth crowd, while Fridays, beginning in February, will feature rockabilly music and local DJs for a dance night.

            Keeping with the flavor and texture of the original space, designer and partner Dana Hollister immediately began to recreate the original look and feel of this famous venue.  In addition to creating such establishments as The Brite Spot, Cliffs Edge in Silverlake, and the incredible restoration of the historic Canfield-Moreno estate (The Paramour), Hollister designs for many celebrity clients such as Tim Burton, Madonna and John Malkovich.  Her eclectic version of this nightclub is derived from her exquisite collection of antiquated salvage collected throughout the world.

            Peterson says, “Aesthetically, Bordello is a place where Moulin Rouge meets Von Sternberg meets Deadwood. There are so many special decorative touches, from Dana’s millwork fabrics to old beds and booths that emulate a club you might enter in the 1920s. There’s even an 18th century church pew at the back of the stage.”

            Gower adds, “The big thing when you walk in is that you’re indulging in total escapism. We take you back a hundred years and the looks on people’s faces confirm that they’ve entered a very cool time warp. Reds, pinks, we’ve got it all, and totally by design, it’s way over the top.”


For Immediate Release







            Located at 1855 Industrial, at the corner of Industrial and Mateo in the heart of Downtown L.A.’s renovated, once again thriving Arts District, Royal Claytons has been, since its opening last September 21, a hip and comfortable gathering place for artists, tourists and visitors in search of a progressive vibe and a great meal at any time of day.

            Boasting a distinctive New York, East Coast feel with—as its name implies—a great deal of dark wood tones and English gothic influence, the restaurant seems to magically morph into many different places throughout a 19 hour day that runs from the early morning breakfast featuring gourmet coffees and exquisite baked goods at 7 a.m. until closing time at 2 a.m.

As soon as breakfast ends, Royal Claytons becomes a power lunch place, then a local community afternoon hangout and hosts a pretty serious dinner crowd. The combined expertise of French chef Thomas Deville and Senior Executive Fusion chef Michael Borassi creates an effortlessly magnificent array of soups, salads, chicken and steak dishes. When Royal Claytons transforms later in the evening into a tavern atmosphere, they’re there with the fun foods like pizza; their signature dessert is fresh-baked cookies with shots of milk. The dining experience transcends the average neighborhood fare via an artistic interpretation of classic American cuisine.

A variety of draft beers, an extensive wine list, and a full line of alcohol beverages will compliment meal service. As an added benefit and convenience, Royal Claytons will provide a strong menu selection for delivery to nearby residents.

Those post 10:30 p.m., late night social outings at the bar (formally referred to by principal owners Tony Gower, Elizabeth Peterson and architect George Kelly as “Royal Clayton’s After Dark”) and games of hardcore pool are punctuated—but never overwhelmed--by a powerful variety of eclectic music created by local DJs each night. One night, they may spin the latest Euro vibing grooves from Berlin and the Spanish Mediterranean island of Ibiza, the next house music or everyone’s favorite, 80s music. Management is also working on launching a comedy night.

            While catering to a very diverse clientele, artsy and otherwise, a few musical celebrities have been spotted over the past few months, including members of The Black Eyed Peas and soul singer Macy Gray.

The interior design of the space provides a unique template for local artists’ work, merging with the “toy lofts” concept to produce a changing restaurant ambience. The playful spirit of the restaurant in all of its transformations is in keeping with the Royal Claytons location in a building that was once a famous toy company.

Among the unique touches created by interior designer to the stars Dana Hollister are 17th century gothic original mirroring that runs 14 feet high; 200 year old stained glass windows; original columns taken from an 18th century country house. Some of the doors at Royal Claytons are recreations of actual doors that were in the lobby of the toy company where the restaurant now stands.

“We’re tapping into the energy of the surrounding neighborhood and becoming a central focus for the many residents who live here,” says Peterson. “There have been famous painters and artists in this area since the 70s, and there’s been a whole new influx since the area started renovation. It’s really exciting to be part of the growing community.”