Meet the Media – Randy Lewis, Pop Music Reporter at the Los Angeles Times

Meet Randy Lewis, Pop Music Reporter for the Los Angeles Times
la-bio-randy-lewisWhat’s your top story for today?
I recently wrote a feature exploring the release of “The Beatles in Mono” LP box set. I interviewed the lead producing engineer for the project, interviewed multiple other sources including “Breakfast With the Beatles” radio host Chris Carter and relevant people at three record stores to gauge public interest, awareness and excitement about this massive release (14 LPs, list price $375).
Tell us about your dream assignment.
A recent one was covering singer and songwriter Van Morrison performing in a small room before about 400 people near his hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland—one of the greatest artists of the rock era in an intimate show that was relaxed and consequently musically exceptional because of the supportive feeling in the room.
Describe the wackiest story you’ve written.
Wacky isn’t something I do much of. But recently, I wrote a somewhat whimsical (but absolutely true) piece after a Los Angeles City Councilman told me that a pine tree planted locally in memory of Beatle George Harrison had died and would be replanted, because the original tree had been attacked—by beetles. This story went around the world, I was asked for interviews by national and international news outlets (including the BBC), all based on a remark I was told casually backstage at a concert. You never know what’s going to get the public fired up.
What is your PR pet peeve?
PR people who don’t do their homework. I’ve been pitched stories on any number of music artists, phrased something along the line of “We’d like you to do a story on Joe Smith because the show isn’t selling well.” Our mission is not to sell tickets, but to inform our readership of the most significant and newsworthy artists working in popular music. Or “May I arrange an interview for you with Vanessa Bridges, who if you are not familiar with her, has had three top 10 singles…etc.” apparently unaware that I have been writing about this artist for 10 years.
Top trend in the industry you’re currently covering or are interested in.
How musicians are finding new ways to pursue their careers in an ever-shifting business landscape in which it is becoming harder and harder for them to make a living.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been covering pop music at the Los Angeles Times since 1981. Before that, I worked for Cash Box Magazine, a record industry trade publication similar to Billboard, minus a budget. I’ve played and enjoyed music as long as I can remember and still play as often as I can on tenor sax and accordion in a rock band with several friends, all of whom also have real jobs. I play clarinet and piano just for my own enjoyment.
Questions or comments? Shout out in the comment section below or send an email to Randy at [email protected].

5 thoughts on “Meet the Media – Randy Lewis, Pop Music Reporter at the Los Angeles Times

  1. Randy: thanks so much for your blog post. As a trained musician myself, I agree with you that the constantly changing landscape of the music business is making it more and more challenging for artists. Let’s hope that disruption doesn’t equal disintegration, especially for emerging musicians. All the best, David

  2. Randy,
    Your PR advice is so spot on. Reminds me of the show Absolutely Fabulous where the PR agency didn’t even know who their clients were.

  3. Randy — this is great. Thanks for sharing. The Van Morrison show must have been incredible!

  4. Randy,
    Thank you for sharing your insights! The convergence of the media/digital worlds is something I continue to be fascinated by. You’re in the heart of it in LA!

  5. Hi Randy,
    Thanks for sharing your insights! I’m always interested to hear journalists’ PR advice. Agreed that doing your homework is key.
    – Elena

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