When his 12 years with DC101 came to an end in 2011, Kentlands resident Bryan “Flounder” Schlossberg was momentarily stunned. “You lose your identity,” he said of his very public firing from the “Elliot in the Morning” show. Personality differences had caused a rift, exacerbated by DJ Flounder’s rising popularity on air and position as creative services director.
“I was the second most recognized name at the station the entire time I was there,” he said. “Eliot was number one.”
Flounder was the guy who raced Indy driver Hélio Castroneves in 2006 and NASCAR driver Kyle Busch in 2009 in DC101’s “Smell My Face Beltway Race.” Driving some 100 miles per hour on the shoulder of I-495 during rush hour, Flounder actually won both times and was awarded trophies that are still on display at the station.
“It was a fun experience,” he said. “I would never do it again.”
He was tackled by the Secret Service in front of the White House. A stunt crew once set him on fire. And yes, he has been arrested.
“I loved it, though,” Flounder said. “It was one of a kind. There’s no other job like it in the world. I don’t know if there ever will be again. It was a crazy, one-of-a-kind thing that I got to live.”
Broadcast for two hours on DC101 every Saturday night for eight years, “Flounder’s Mashups” formed the soundtrack to a generation’s social life. He brought the mash up genre to the D.C. area, and continues today to artistically weave songs together for his own company, FM Entertainment.
After leaving DC101, Flounder tried working for others. He quickly discovered that he didn’t have the stomach for what the radio and DJ world had become—a bit sleazy as the industry continued its revenue stream decline.
“Radio is not what it used to be,” Flounder said.
Ever since he was five years old, he had dreamed of talking the talk and spinning the tunes on air. Working at DC101, his first job in the radio industry, was a dream come true. “I was starstruck,” he said of his years at the station when he met national acts like Third Eye Blind, Kid Cudi and Paramore. “It was a surreal time.”
And once he had walked the walk? “I knew that I could do better,” he said.
He began reading positive thinking books—Zig Ziglar and Napoleon Hill—and looked for inspiration everywhere. Then he turned the tables and went out on his own.
In some ways, his new business had grown organically. Flounder had always been an entrepreneur, accepting his first professional DJ gig at a community center in Quince Orchard when he was 13 and continuing as a disc jockey for events throughout his school years and his fulltime radio career.
After leaving DC101, Flounder started doing more gigs. He approached each job like the artist that he is, spinning music to create the desired event while also getting in sync with the sentiments of the crowd. Business took off and he brought other artists like Helen John Photography into the mix to better orchestrate events that his clients desired.
Six months ago, he launched FM Entertainment, aided by Raquel Rexach, vice president, and Matt Schuck, chief marketing officer.
Rexach has worked with Flounder for five years. She started as an intern at DC101 and then continued to help produce his “Founder’s Mashups” and to roadie for weddings in his side DJ business. “I like to say I’m the go-to roadie,” she smiled.
“She’s very creative and smart,” Flounder said. “I like to surround myself with people like that.”
Schuck was one of Flounder’s last interns at DC101. “He taught me the creative services side, which is how I was able to get fulltime employment in radio,” Schuck said. Flounder was also the DJ at Schuck’s wedding in Charleston, South Carolina. “He made sure that everything ran smoothly,” Schuck said.
Today, FM Entertainment is a full-scale event production company that offers everything from DJ services to photography, event hosts, musicians, day-of coordinators and design elements like lighting, furniture, pipe and drape, and contemporary décor. “We have a fresh outlook on it,” Flounder observed, noting the many cookie-cutter DJ and events planning companies. “We come from a different world.”
Photographer Helen John echoed his statement. He brings experience and skill to this that other event planners don’t have, she said. John, who specializes in portraits and high-end weddings, manages the photography side of FM Entertainment and works with a big network of local photographers. “He has fun ideas in the works,” she said. John came to know Flounder through working the same events, but then discovered that they had both attended Wootton High School.
So far, FM Entertainment has “done every kind of event that you can imagine,” Flounder said, including weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, police balls, school functions and even a funeral. Each event is unique, and FM Entertainment offers “the best possible to our clients,” said Flounder.
“We specialize in the funky bride,” added Rexach, and Flounder agreed that they appeal to couples with a contemporary outlook. But both emphasized that they have created traditional weddings as well.
Their hope is that FM Entertainment can take the stress out of events, usually acutely felt during wedding planning. “It shouldn’t be that way,” Flounder said. “It should be a fun experience.” Clients bring their dreams and FM Entertainment puts it all together, eliminating clients’ stress of juggling 20 different vendors to create that perfect day.
“I didn’t want a job. I wanted a life,” Flounder said of his decision to launch FM Entertainment. “I always had this vision for running this company.”
He is committed to paying employees what they’re worth, pointing out that DJs are musicians and should be paid accordingly. “DJs are artists and I believe they should be paid for their talents,” Flounder said. “If you’re looking to spend $200 on a DJ, it’s not going to fly. People do it all the time, though, and they regret it later. It’s one of the major regrets people have after an event.” FM Entertainment works with eight DJs now and is looking to expand that number.
He also expects the best of employees, asking them to sign a moral code of conduct for behavior on the job. “We’re here building a strong foundation,” he emphasized. “We want to take care of our clients in the best possible way. We want all the employees, all of the workers, to be happy and professional. We just want to deliver a quality product every single time.
“We’re Apple or Google,” he continued. “We want to offer the best.”
“He quotes Steve Jobs a lot,” Schuck chimed in.
Asked about the future of his fledgling business, Flounder quipped, “Total domination.”
FM Entertainment is on its way. The company landed corporate client Jeep and is currently on a 15-city national tour.