Open House Party
The Current Open House Party logo
|Running time||5 hours|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Created by||John Garabedian|
|Original release||September 5, 1987 – present|
|Website||Open House Party|
Open House Party (often referred to as OHP) is an American radio show hosted on Saturday and Sunday nights by Kannon. The show promotes itself as "the Biggest Party on the Planet". It focuses on playing contemporary hit radio (CHR) music, also known as Top 40. From its inception in September 1987, OHP quickly became popular with its all-request format, along with a heavy rotation of dance music and remixes that differentiated itself from most Top 40 stations or shows. John Garabedian created and hosted both Saturday and Sunday nights for many years. The show peaked in success from 1998-2002, where it was heard on over 175 stations and became the world's most-listened-to radio program. Today, it is broadcast on less than 40 stations, primarily in small markets.
The show typically airs on most affiliates from 7PM to Midnight Eastern Time and 6PM to 11PM Central Time, while most stations in the western half of the US delay the broadcast by two hours. Many stations rebroadcast OHP from midnight to 5:00 a.m. (in Eastern and Mountain time) or 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. (in Central and Pacific time).
In 1955, the original Open House Party was created as the afternoon show on radio station WORC in Worcester, Massachusetts. Garabedian would often co-host the show, and throughout his career at WORC, he worked many different positions including one of the key people to bring up ratings and create major success for the station. A few years later, then 17-year-old John Garabedian was hired to DJ on Saturdays and Sundays. After the sale of Garabedian's television station V-66 in 1986, he ventured out to find the next opportunity in broadcasting. One night in 1987, Garabedian went to a party in Boston. There he bumped into Sunny Joe White, legendary radio programmer of Boston's WXKS-FM "Kiss 108". White asked Garabedian if he would do the weekend shift. The following week, the two of them met to discuss it at dinner, where Garabedian proposed the idea for a national interactive weekend party show. White loved it, and agreed to put it on Kiss 108 after Garabedian created a studio to do the show. After looking into various office buildings, Garabedian decided to do the show from his basement. He and his friends strapped a 50-foot pole to his chimney to hold up a little microwave antenna aimed at the Prudential Tower, 24 miles (39 km) to the east, in downtown Boston.
On September 5, 1987 at 7 p.m., 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.
By May 1988, stations across the country had heard about Open House Party's success and were signing on. The 50-foot pole was taken down and replaced by a satellite dish. By 1990 over 100 stations were carrying Open House Party in the United States and another 40 in Canada. In the 1990s, during a brief demise of Top 40, and the rise of country and hip-hop in the mainstream, many stations were changing formats, which resulted in OHP losing many of their stations, causing Garabedian's syndication network Superadio to go nearly bankrupt. The Sunday night show underwent a name change to Sunday Night Street Jams, which was a rhythmic oriented show that only lasted a few years until Garabedian decided to put Open House Party back on on Sundays. Sunday Night Street Jams was hosted by Paco Lopez, and distributed by Superadio Networks.
Garabedian continued to DJ on both Saturday and Sunday until March 2004, when WFLZ-FM afternoon DJ Kane took over the Sunday night show from his house in Tampa. Kane later moved to Washington, D.C. and is now a syndicated host through IHeartMedia with his morning show and Sunday nights on Club Kane. In December 2007, Mike Kannon, who was a fan of the show since the early 90s, and previously lived with Garabedian and served as the show's mixer, became the new host of Sunday nights and currently voice tracks the show from his house in Atlanta.
On April 16, 2016, Garabedian announced live on the air that his memoir "The Harmony of Parts", was set to be released on October 3, 2016. The book details his whole life up until that point.
In May 2016, planning and filming had begun for an Open House Party documentary titled, Super Radio FM: The Story of Open House Party. Darren Rockwell was a frequent visitor to the show throughout the late 90s and early 2000s, and serves as the film's producer. The original title of the movie hints at Open House Party's original syndicator, Superadio, which was a company founded by Garabedian in 1988 to distribute the show. Later in its production, the film was renamed "Be Your Dream: The Story of John Garabedian & the Open House Party".
On October 25, 2016, a press release revealed that John Garabedian would not return as the host of Open House Party in 2017. Having hosted the original show since 1987, Garabedian sold the show to United Stations in 2012 and wanted to do something new. Garabedian stated "When I sold 'Open House Party' to United Stations four years ago, they required me to host for four more years. That expires at midnight this New Year's Eve. Though they were surprised I declined to renew, I explained that I had one major life achievement I had yet to accomplish and needed space to do it.” On December 17, 2016, John announced at the closing of the show, that United Stations had not found anybody to take over Saturday nights yet, and wouldn't have anyone for a while. United Stations asked Garabedian if he would stick around until the end of January, to which he agreed. His final show aired on January 28, 2017.
On January 5, 2017, it was announced that Kannon would become the host of Saturday nights, in addition to Sunday which he's hosted for the previous 10 years.
These are a few of the segments that have formerly, or still air on the show each week:
- Make It or Break It? (also called "Rate the Record"): Garabedian plays a new song each week and listeners call in to say what they think of the song. The votes are tabulated and, based upon the final vote tally, the listeners decide to either "Make It...or Break It!" Open House Party fact: Only one song has ever "Made It" by 100%—that was "Friday I'm in Love" by The Cure and was announced on air by Open House Party's Jeff Docherty back in 1992. This segment is no longer featured on Open House Party, except for one occasion, when on September 10, 2016, Garabedian revisited "Rate-Rate-Rate the Record" for the first time in many years. He played "Perfect Illusion" by Lady Gaga, which was her first single in nearly 3 years. Listeners were asked to rate the song on a scale from 1 to 5. 1 being the worst and 5 being the best. The results were announced on air by two phone screeners for OHP, Matt and Alex, and the song finished with a score of 2.8 out of 5.
- Who Sings It?: Always the 4th song of the show, Garabedian plays a "hard to remember" song and listeners call and guess the artist in order to win a prize pack. People who have won must wait another six months before winning again. This segment was only on Saturday, and is no longer featured.
- Lewis Online: Featured on the Sunday night show in the 1990s when Garabedian hosted it, Reed Lewis, the show's tech guy, who is famous for making many of the live broadcasts from national events possible, would go on-air and give listeners tech tips about computers and other technology which was vastly evolving at the time. The exact years of when this segment started and ended is unknown.
- Satellite Mega-Mix: Garabedian talks to one of the world's top club DJs. Then a dance mega-mix of up to three songs is then played. This segment was only on the Saturday show. The last time this segment was aired was on the July 17, 2010 broadcast. On March 28, 2015, OHP talked to dance group Cash Cash and the group made a mix for the show. Garabedian made a minor reference to the old segment, then after the interview, Garabedian played the Mega-Mix Cash Cash had made for the show. This was the only time after the segment was cancelled that Garabedian had made a reference to the Satellite Mega-Mix.
- Research Rich: Mediabase co-founder and former-president Rich Meyer gives a list of the week's top 5 songs (based on Mainstream CHR radio airplay) and then Garabedian plays Meyer's pick for the "Hot New Song of the Week". Kannon continued to do the segment for a short period after taking over as host, but it is no longer featured. Formerly on Saturday nights only.
- The Big 3: Kannon plays the three most requested songs of the night. After this, there is usually one more song played afterwards (almost always "We Own the Night" by The Wanted) and then the show ends. This segment was only on the Saturday show. Long Distance Nighty Nights would be airing at this time on the Sunday show. This segment was removed in May 2020 along with the Purple Chamber of Gold.
- The Purple Chamber of Gold: This segment was on both the Saturday and Sunday show for roughly the first 40–45 minutes of the final hour, where Kannon play "throwbacks" and recurrent hits. In the 1990s, when Open House Party Sunday was Sunday Night Street Jams for a short period, the Purple Chamber was a dedication/shoutout segment where listeners would call in and request a song that has special meaning to them. The Purple Chamber was revived in 2010, with a new concept. It replaced the time slot of the Satellite Mega-Mix. In May 2020, the Purple Chamber was dumped on both Saturday and Sunday nights in favor of a current-based final hour of programming.
- Long Distance Nighty Nights: This segment is always immediately after the Purple Chamber ends. Ed Sheeran's song "Thinking Out Loud" is played with an extended instrumental intro. Over the intro, Kannon plays phone calls from listeners saying a special "Nighty Night" to their loved one. Multiple songs have been used for this segment over the years, such as "Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars, "Heaven" (Candelight Mix) by DJ Sammy, and the original 1988 Nighty Nights song, "Two Occasions" by The Deele. On April 19, 2015, "Heaven" was played again, for the first time in four years, by a listener request. The last time this song was used as the normal Nighty Nights song, was the broadcast on January 9, 2011. After the Nighty Nights play, Kannon makes his final statements of the evening, and the song plays, followed by a final national and local spotset, then the show concludes. This segment is only on Sunday nights.
- Shout-Outs: Listeners call-in and just make a simple shout-out to a friend, family member, or a close acquaintance. About 1–3 minutes are used for this segment. This segment is only on the Sunday show, and currently airs in the fourth hour of the Sunday show directly after the second stopset of the hour.
- Rant Room: Listeners call in and "rant" about something that is bugging them or upsetting them in life, whether it be a person, place, thing etc. This segment used to be called the "Bitch Box", until multiple radio stations began to complain about the name. It was then changed to the "Rant Room". This segment is only on the Sunday show, during its second hour.
- Kannon's Turbo-Mix: Towards the end of 2016, John Garabedian began to play mashups and mixes done by the Sunday night host, Kannon. The first mix was played in October, then the following week. Kannon revived it for the first few weeks after taking over Saturday nights in February 2017. Listeners expressed a strong liking for the segment during its short life, but Kannon never continued to make them.
- Digital Dave: A recently added feature on Saturday nights, and essentially the successor to Research Rich. Dave van Dyke, the President and CEO of Bridge Ratings calls in after the end of the first stopset in the second hour to count down the top 5 most streamed CHR/pop hits.
- "Open House Party's History Page". openhouseparty.com. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
- "Open House Party ~ The Biggest Party on the Planet!". openhouseparty.com. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
- "Open House Party MySpace". myspace.com. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
- "Open House Party ~ The Biggest Party on the Planet!". Open House Party. Retrieved 22 April 2017.