After nearly 50 years of covering music for The Daily Gazette, Mike Hochanadel’s enthusiasm for the job shows no signs of waning.
“At first, I used an Underwood typewriter, then an Epson desktop computer, a Radio Shack laptop, then Macs, but I’ve used the same steno notebooks for decades,” said Hochanadel, who was named Journalist of the Year in the inaugural Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Awards ceremony Sunday night at Proctors.
“While the music business and the technology of reporting on it have changed, I’ve always tried to write about and photograph music with the same purpose, to say, ‘listen to this, it’s cool.’ As the great rocker Willie Nile generously shouted out to me from the stage at WAMC’s The Linda, I try to write about ‘what’s good, what’s true and what’s rockin.’ ”
A Schenectady native, Hochanadel wrote his first piece in 1972 for fellow music writer Don Wilcock, and his local arts newspaper, The Kite. Later that year he was writing for The Gazette, and while he has also produced articles for Metroland and Nippertown, his byline has appeared in the Schenectady newspaper for 48 years now. His column, “Jukebox,” originally called “Electric Music,” has been a weekly feature in The Gazette for more than 40 years.
Hochanadel, whose career has spanned four different arts editors at The Gazette, was one of 39 winners Sunday night. The evening also included the induction of two Capital Region music legends, Kevin McKrell and Ruth Pelham, into the inaugural class of the Thomas Edison Music Awards Hall of Fame.
“I liked how the event showcased music here, from the Hall of Fame winners to rap and country and indie-rock,” said Hochanadel. “The event opened my ears to music I hadn’t heard before and honored the community that nurtures it. A great night.”
Hochanadel called McKrell a “really gifted song writer,” and referred to Pelham, the creator of the Music Mobile, as “a culture hero.”
Sunday’s ceremony was a special night for all the musicians and their fans who attended, according to Hochanadel.
“Folks rose to the occasion, which felt warm and classy,” he said. “I met up with folks I’d seen at shows last week and others I hadn’t seen in years. When I went to my seat in the third row, it made me nervous, imagining it meant I’d win and have to speak.”
To see a complete list of winners, visit https://theeddiesawards.com/index.php/2019winners/