(From left-right) Cloves Campbell Jr., the publisher of the Arizona Informant, Jeff Weiland, the CEO of Krankz Audio, and Tony Neal, the CEO Of The Core DJs, pause for a photo during the Core DJs 28th annual retreat in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo Courtesy: Shawn Canon/Arizona Informant)

More than 700 of the nation’s most influential DJs, artists, publicists, models and program directors came together for The Core DJs 28th annual retreat in Phoenix, Ariz. The summit was full of networking, compelling discussions about the industry, showcase performances and club appearances.

“I love it here in Phoenix, we just gotta get people to realize that Phoenix is a viable market,” said Tony Neal, the CEO of The Core DJs, one of the largest coalitions of DJs in the world.

The Core is known for developing partnerships with influential companies in the Southwest. So, it was no surprise that the Arizona Informant, KNRJ 101.1 The Beat’s “Beatlocker Show” and Krankz Audio played major roles in supporting and promoting the conference.

“The Core DJ retreat was a tremendous success, an important win for the state of Arizona and the Southwest, in general. KNRJ 101.1 The Beat’s ‘Beatlocker Show’ couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it,” said Pokafase, a Phoenix radio personality. “The wealth of knowledge and experience brought to the table by such esteemed industry professionals is truly invaluable to any artist, producer, manager, or DJ looking to create a lane for themselves in the music industry.Pokafase continued: “Judging by the engagement, interaction, and overall reception of The Core DJs 28th annual retreat in Phoenix, this won’t be the last Arizona sees of the Core.”

According to industry insiders, one of the biggest challenges for up-and-coming artists is getting airplay on FM radio. Neal has developed a movement that acts as a one-stop shop at these annual retreats in different cities that gives artists access to established DJs, producers and program directors.

During the retreat, there were six DJs inducted into The Core DJs family: the world famous DJ Marvel; DJ Plaz; DJ Webby and DJ Charlie of Phoenix, Ariz.; DJ Law of Wyoming; and DJ Cadence of Wichita, Ks.

One of the most important events during the retreat was the radio panel, which consisted of program directors and on-air personalities. There was a wealth of knowledge and information shared across the board from individuals in different markets throughout the nation.

One of the key points that was mentioned during the panel discussions was the need to build meaningful relationships with industry professionals, which includes the DJs, program directors and radio personalities.

According to one of the panelists, Brandon Hickman, who is the program director for 97.3 WMNX and 98.5 WBAI, many “artists have developed a preconceived notion [about the industry] that has them caught up in the ‘fame’ instead of putting in the important steps that consist of their sound, fan base and, of course, relationships that would make them timeless artists.”

Neal recommended that artists focus on only one or two songs instead of submitting 20 tracks to DJs and industry professionals. He also voiced the importance of having key branding in all products.

Long-time Core DJs member DJ Detroit noticed that some of the artists that were in attendance were taking heed to the knowledge presented by the veterans in the industry.

“One artist in particular approached me and told me that Neal validated everything that I have been saying from the beginning and personally thanked me for mentoring him over the years,” said DJ Detroit.

Veterans like Neal didn’t have the pleasure of growing up on the Internet when pursuing his craft as a DJ; he had to solely rely on relationships that he built through networking and traveling the world.

“You get more out of people when you build meaningful relationships that are not just based off of what they can do for you,” said Dorian Washington, a Core DJ member and consultant.

DJ John Blaze of Ikon Radio expressed his appreciation for the Core for bringing the retreat to Arizona.

“I had the opportunity to connect with so many established DJs and other industry professionals that helped me expand my knowledge in an industry that is changing by the second,” said Blaze.