Joel Denver (born Joel Reuben Levinson on June 9, 1952) is best known as the President, Publisher, and Co-Founder of the All Access Music Group, Inc. (AllAccess.com), which he established and launched in 1995.
Early life and career
Joel Denver was born in High Point, NC in 1952. In 1958, at the age of six, Joel moved with his mother and father to Washington, D.C. His father, Albert Joseph Levinson, passed away when he was 10. While recovering from leg surgery at age 14, Joel developed an interest in the radio and music industry. His mother (Lenore) supported his efforts to break into the radio business, driving him to his first job in Rockville Maryland at the radio station WASH in July of 1967 where he worked closely with a friend Bob Fish. Joel worked for free in the evenings filing record albums in exchange for Bob teaching him how to operate a control board.
On Sunday January 21, 1968, Joel made his first appearance on the air as "Rick Price" for the radio station WINX in Rockville Maryland. As "Rick Price", Joel worked on public service announcements (PSA) shows, news, and was introduced to his first disc jockey (DJ) work. Shortly, Joel was promoted to regular music programming weekend shifts.
During Joel's stay at WINX, Joel organized the radio station's first union and brought in the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). In 1970, Joel was let go from WINX due to his union activity. He later collected a settlement with the help of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Joel graduated high school in 1970 and went on to spend one year at the University of Maryland. Friend and mentor Davey Jones opened a door for Joel to work at the radio station WPGC in Washington, D.C., where his name was changed to the notorious "Jim Madison", one of the station's house names. Joel maintained the on-the-air name of "Jim Madison" from 1970 - 1973 through which he spent at radio stations WNOR AM in Norfolk, Virginia, and WAYS AM in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he did the afternoon drive.
In 1973, at the age of 21, Joel joined WFIL in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There he was given the name "Joel Denver" because John Denver was popular at the time. After the departure of George Michael, Denver was given the title of music director for the radio station WFIL, making Joel a new member of WFIL's Famous 56.
In 1977, Charley Lake, a friend of Denver's from their days working together at WINX and WPGC, offered him a promotion to Program Director (PD) at radio station WMJX (96X) in Miami, Florida (known today as Power 96). Denver then worked at the radio station KCBQ-A in San Diego, California, as program director (PD) in 1978 and KSLQ in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1979.
In May of 1980, Denver went back to Baltimore, Maryland, to assist in the launch of then new radio station WBSB as their first program director (PD). After assisting in the launch of WBSB, Denver joined Radio & Records Newspaper (R&R) in September 1980 as Assistant Editor in the Washington, D.C., office.
In 1981, Denver was promoted to Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) Editor for Radio & Records Newspaper (R&R) in Los Angeles, California, and maintained the position for 13 years. During Denver's stay at R&R he also hosted two national syndicated radio shows. Denver hosted Westwood One's "Future Hits" show from 1984 - 1995 and "Earth News" from 1982 - 1987. Denver left Radio & Records Newspaper (R&R) in November 1994 and assisted in the amicable transition of Tony Novia into the Contemporary Hit Radio (CHR) Editor position.
On January 1, 1995, Denver and wife Ria created All Access Music Group, Inc. On October 3, 1995, they launched AllAccess.com located in Malibu, California, where Joel holds the position of President, Publisher, and Co-Founder today.
Denver is married to his wife Ria Denver, who is also the VP, CFO, and Co-Founder of AllAccess.com. They have three cats—Beeky, Ace, and Lily—that they enjoy spending spare time with. Mr. Denver is a certified scuba diver and skier. He enjoys social gatherings, working out, listening to music, sailing, laying in the sun, reading, and cooking. Ria Denver died of a heart attack on June 11, 2015
Denver and his peer Bill Tanner (who was PD at crosstown competitor WHYI Y100) were each named "Large Market Program Director of the Year" by the Bobby Poe Pop Music Survey from WHYI Y100 Miami, Florida, in 1974.
In 2003, The Conclave awarded Denver the "Rockwell Award" for contributions to the radio industry.
Joel Denver is also a member of the advisory board at The Conclave.
- All Access Mourns The Passing Of Co-Founder Ria Denver All Access Music Group, June 11, 2015