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).
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 private pilot. 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 formerly 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.
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 music, 800 call-in lines, superstar guests, and beat-to-beat music mixing of hot party music and remixes lit Sunny Joe up.
“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.
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).
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.
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.