Carrying the flame for classic rock

Summer 2016
Greg Brodsky ’79 with recording artist Graham Parker

Greg Brodsky ’79 (left) reunited with recording artist Graham Parker backstage at City Winery (New York City) in April. Brodsky was Parker’s product manager when they were both with RCA

Greg Brodsky ’79

The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, The Who — when naming his favorite musicians, Greg Brodsky ’79 reeled off the names like the WRCU deejay and campus record co-op manager that he once was. Now, as founder and CEO of the digital start-up (BCB), Brodsky is enabling legions of classic rock fans to continue to enjoy these artists and many others.

A veteran entertainment industry executive who splits his time between Manhattan and Woodstock, N.Y., Brodsky spent much of his career at such blue-chip companies as RCA Records, Atlantic Records, and Warner Bros. It was while employed as the marketing director for ESPN Radio and, however, that he found his next opportunity. “I was angry,” he recalled. “I’d just learned that Burton Cummings (the former singer, principal songwriter, and co-founder of the Guess Who), had performed in the city and I’d missed it. I thought, ‘I can’t be the only one who’d like this sort of information — why not create an online source for news and features devoted entirely to classic rock?’” And with that, the idea for BCB was born.

Brodsky’s goal was simple: provide fans with a comprehensive source of information covering the artists, music, and spirit of the classic rock era as well as the newer artists recording and performing in that style. His next step was to hire an editor to lead his new digital publication. “I interviewed several candidates and wasn’t finding a good fit. Then, a friend recommended I speak to Rob Patterson.” Brodsky quickly discovered that Patterson, himself an industry veteran with a nearly 40-year career in music journalism, shared not only his love of music, but also his alma mater — Patterson graduated from Colgate in 1975. Brodsky had his editor.

The two began kicking around ideas, putting together a comprehensive plan, and reaching out to potential contributors across the industry. In June of 2015, they flipped the switch. “In the beginning, it was a bit like a tree falling in the forest. You wondered if anybody had heard, but happily, we gained a large following in a short time. Word spread via social media and our page views really took off. Our Facebook ‘likes’ quickly climbed to 10,000, then 20,000. By last January, we had more than 30,000,” recalled Brodsky.

In the days since, Brodsky and Patterson have devoted themselves to building BCB into an authoritative online community offering everything a classic rock aficionado could desire, from features on rock veterans like Gregg Allman and the Doobie Brothers, to breaking news such as the Rolling Stones’ free concert in Havana, Cuba, last March, to reviews of rock-related films, TV shows, and books.

Brodsky and Patterson curate content created by a host of veteran rock journalists, including former Rolling Stone editor John Swenson and longtime Boston Globe music columnist Jim Sullivan. They occasionally write for the site themselves, as well. Brodsky recently interviewed legendary British singer-songwriter Graham Parker, a contemporary of Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, for a feature. “So many legacy artists are still viable acts today,” he concluded. “Two of my all-time favorite acts are The Who, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I first saw The Who in 1974 and Petty in 1979, and it’s wild to have been able to enjoy them with my kids numerous times over the years as well. This music is actively creative and timeless.”

— Lori Ferguson