Throughout his celebrated career, the path Les Garland blazes is fueled by his love of music and entertainment. As co-founder of groundbreaking networks including MTV: Music Television, VH1, The Box Television Network and College Television Networks, his is the DJ voice on a worldwide number one song. Garland’s decades of accomplishments are expansive and diverse as acknowledged at the 38th Annual Mid-America Emmy® Awards where he received the prestigious Governor’s Award for his lifetime achievements. The rare Emmy award was presented to Garland by longtime friend and Eagle, Mr. Glenn Frey. Garland has worn many hats including Radio Personality; Radio Program Director; Record Company Executive; Event Producer; Music Talent Manager; Executive Producer; Brand Marketer; Public Speaker and Entertainment Industry Consultant. An award-winning talent who has been featured in magazines, newspapers, on radio, television, and the net, Garland has resided at the height of pop culture for his entire career.
Prior to his years as a cable television pioneer, Garland cut his chops as Program Director of historic major market radio stations including K-100 Los Angeles, CKLW Detroit, WRKO Boston, and KFRC San Francisco, all during contemporary music’s prime. Discovered by radio legends Bill Drake and Paul Drew, Garland’s storied radio career landed him in Rolling Stonemagazine’s coveted list of the “Music Industry Heavy 100.”
As Garland says, “the audience always comes first.” At KFRC, San Francisco he achieved groundbreaking accomplishments in radio – taking the station to new heights as the top-rated station in the northern California market. Legendary KFRC was named Radio Stationof the Year no less than four times while Garland was being voted Program Director of the Year by his peers. Channeling Orson Welles, Garland created a KFRC promotional spot that has since become a part of radio history. It also netted Garland a Clio. The award-winning promo, titled “Close Encounters”, stunned listeners by announcing that the station would go silent in order to communicate with extraterrestrials.
On the heels of his distinguished stint in radio, Garland was hand-picked by elite label founder Ahmet Ertegun and label chief, Doug Morris,to leap from radio to records, managing West Coast operations for the most venerable brand in music, Atlantic Records. Atlantic was home to many of the most popular artists in history, including Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Genesis, Abba, Aretha Franklin, Foreigner, The Spinners, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and AC/DC.
Garland was one of the original influencers of 80’s culture, bringing about the game-changing development of music television as co-founder of the iconic MTV: Music Television and VH1. MTV, the world’s first 24-hour music channel, was home to the anthemic “I Want My MTV” marketing hook, which Garland played a key role in developing. Along with co-founder, Robert Pittman, serving as MTV Networks Senior Executive Vice President, Garland was Executive Producer of the first six MTV Video Music Awardsand oversaw all elements of MTV’s innovative programming. Hewas on the lead team that globalized the MTV brand with distribution into Europe, Asia and Australia. During his tenure at MTV his humorous and witty nature shined through when he was asked to be the DJvoice embedded in the classic hit “We Built This City On Rock & Roll”by Jefferson Starship. The impromptu stunt immortalized his voice as the things DJ dreams are made of – while Garland, with a smile calls it “his first number one song.”
Following extremely successful and innovative MTV years, Garland and Pittman co-founded Quantum Media, launching popular television shows “The Morton Downey Jr. Show,” “Streets” (TV’s first reality cop show), and the legendary Marvin Hagler/Sugar RayLeonard title fight.
After Quantum Media, he returned to music and television orchestrating a wide national roll-out of The Box Television Network – the world’s first interactive music channel. As Senior Executive Vice President, Garland played an essential role in the channel’s domestic and global rollout, handling programming, promotion, sales and marketing, while simultaneously growing the channel to more than 50 million homes worldwide. Garland moved on to found digital music platform sputnik7.com with music icon Chris Blackwell. While Garland served as the company’s President, the channel won multiple awards, including a Webby for digital innovation. Garland also participated in the launch and roll-out of the College Television Network (CTN) that was ultimately acquired by MTV Networks and later became mtvU. Garland’s entertainment escapade then took him on to produce Pepsi’s multi-format radio campaign, enlisting a superstar line-up including Naughty by Nature, Luscious Jackson, Notorious B.I.G., PM Dawn, Digable Planets and The Rembrandts.
Today, Les Garland continues to lead mass media entertainment at the helm of his company After Play Entertainment, a boutique, multi-disciplinary consulting practice that, in part, matches world famous talent with world-class brands. Internationally, After Play has contributed to the development of music initiatives for Bacardi International while domestically, Garland secured The Eagles to play for a sell-out crowd at the official opening of the John Q. Hammons Arena at Missouri State University. He orchestrated a unique relationship between superstar artist Pitbull and Zumba Fitness. Garland executive produced and was the voice of the 2011 Tom Petty Tour radio, television and media commercials.