Josh Shepherd tops our XL Fortunate 500 media list
While many of his peers find out about new bands through Web sites, 28-year-old lifelong Austinite Josh Shepherd prefers the old method. He hits clubs such as the Parish, Emo's and the Mohawk three or four nights a week; as the new music director for ME Television on Time Warner Channel 15, Shepherd is always on the guest list. "I just saw Lomita, with Tammany Hall Machine opening, at the Beauty Bar and they both just blew me away," he says with the enthusiasm of someone decades from being burned out of the scene. "Some of my other favorite new bands are Sounds Under Radio and the Everyday People, but far and away my favorite Austin band is Blaze."
It's not surprising that Shepherd would salute a jazz group loaded with virtuosos; he's received musical training from an early age and played in school bands, from Anderson High through the University of Texas, and even taught drumline at Bastrop High School in 2004 and 2005. "Probably the greatest thrill of my life was the first time through the tunnel at a Longhorns football game," says Shepherd, who played snare in the marching band, but keyboards in various garage bands.
Josh Shepherd, the new music director for ME Television and host of 'Tex-Mix,' says he's been hitting the Austin clubs since he was 13.
"My mother used to take me to Steamboat and the Black Cat when I was 13 and 14 years old," he said. "If there was something I was interested in, my parents would go out of their way." Mom would even stay out 'til 2 a.m. so Josh could pick up tips from the keyboardists after the show.
He loved Bob Schneider's '90s funk band the Ugly Americans, but Shepherd also fell in with the Anderson High punk scene, featuring such groups as the Impossibles and Ritalin Kids (before the spelling was changed to Riddlin' Kids).
"I just really liked it all and I still do," says Shepherd, who was working as a reporter for KEYE when a friend told him about ME auditions in 2006. He hosts the show "Tex-Mix" daily, in addition to music director duties. "The thing that appealed to me most about ME was not being on TV every day, hosting my own show," he said. "It was that I would be in a position to help deserving musicians. Sounds corny, but it's the truth." He certainly knows how hard it is for a band to break out, but not all the gigs were losers. For awhile there, Shepherd was playing for 80,000 people every Saturday.
FORTUNATE 500 MEDIA
John Aielli. KUT
Kristin Armstrong. 'Happily Ever After,' Tribeza
Sarah Bird. 'The Flamenco Academy', Texas Monthly
Olga Campos and Kevin Benz. KVUE, News 8 Austin
Fred Cantú. KEYE
Gary Cartwright. Texas Monthly
Elizabeth Christian and Bruce Todd. Elizabeth Christian Associates
Mary Anne Connolly. Austin Woman, Conspirare
Kevin and Melissa Connor. Music & Entertainment Television
Monica Davis. The Davis Group, International Association of Broadcast Monitors
Adrienne Dealy. Backstage Marketing Consultants
Zarghun and Eddaicsa 'Eddy' Dean. Tribeza
Jody Denberg. KGSR
Dale Dudley. KLBJ
Betty Sue Flowers. LBJ Library and Museum
Bob Fonseca. KLBJ
Robert Hadlock. KXAN, CASA, Easter Seals
Michael Hall. Texas Monthly
Stephen Harrigan . 'Challenger Park,' Texas Monthly
Mary Herman. Texas Book Festival
Donna and Steve Hicks. Stockton Hicks Laffey, Capstar Partners
Jim Hornfischer. Hornfischer Literary Management
David Lindsey. 'The Face of the Assassin'
Judy Maggio. KEYE-TV, Blue Santa
Libby and Bruce Malone. Professional Management Group, Austin Parks Foundation
Jill McGuckin. McGuckin Entertainment PR
Lance Avery Morgan. Brilliant
Robert Nash. Backstage Marketing Consultants
Cactus Pryor. KLBJ
Jim Spencer. KXAN, Jerry Lewis Telethon (MDA)
Tom Spencer. KLRU
Tom Staley. UT Ransom Center
Bart Stephens. West Austin News
Bruce Sterling. 'Visionary in Residence'
Bill Stotesbery. KLRU, Hart InterCivic
Maury Sullivan. KLRU
Kerry Tate. TateAustin
Helen Thompson. Tribeza
Michelle Valles. KXAN, Muscular Dystrophy Association, American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, Aguila Awards
Sally and Bill Wittliff. Southwestern Writers Collection and Wittliff Gallery of Southwestern and Mexican Photography at Texas State University
Lawrence Wright. The New Yorker, 'The Looming Tower'