We were here first, when everyone else was oblivious to the importance and potential of regional and student press. And we're still here, leading from the front, working the best bands, getting the most coverage, proud to be an institution. But not a stuffy, full-of-itself one. Oh no. We're still warm and friendly and dead-shot keen.
Pomona was set up in 1993 by Mark Hodkinson who, at the time, was a pop writer on a provincial evening paper. Dissatisfied with the service he received from record companies, which was often condescending or indifferent - and sometimes both - he saw a niche for a company that concentrated solely on regional press and treated writers in the provinces respectfully and professionally.
An alliance lasting several years was formed with the much-lamented Coalition PR whereby Pomona represented its acts to the regions. This was a major leg-up and eventually led to stand-alone deals for Pomona with several major and independent labels. We have maintained an unrivalled roster, embracing both established and up-and-coming acts.
Regional PR from the regions
Pomona was purposely located outside the capital to make a statement and develop kinship with regional publications that often take a sceptical view of London-centred PR. We've bounced around from Rochdale to Hebden Bridge and now Keighley in West Yorkshire, where we're close to Leeds, Bradford and Manchester, roughly in the centre of the UK.
From the outset Pomona has been well staffed and resourced. We don't work 'remotely', we don't have part-timers - the office is properly manned with a small team drawn from formal journalistic backgrounds. As well as a deep love and knowledge of music, they each have empathy for the publications they serve, talk the same language.
Throughout our history the target publications have remained: mainstream daily and weekly newspapers; style and listings magazines; websites and student magazines. Basically, we aim to take our artists into any publication or website initiated outside London.
We have fostered especially good relations with publications in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Quite rightly, they consider themselves 'national' entities and we respect this distinction and also understand the highly competitive nature of the Scottish press in particular.
We do not specialise in a particular music genre because most regional publications require a cross-range of acts to fill their pages. Pomona is one-stop call for everything they d need. This means we have an unrivalled experience in representing label rosters (and partial rosters). Down the years we have had such deals with Warners, Polydor, RCA, Mute, Heavenly, Memphis Industries, Sony, Arista, Epic, Skint, Wall of Sound and EMI - many lasting several years.
We have worked many acts from their earliest records to household name status and handled press campaigns for legends such as Elvis Presley, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams, Kate Bush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iron Maiden and Neil Young. We have the know-how to orchestrate any campaign, whether a slow-build via fanzines and web sites to brokering internationally famous artists with very limited access.
Although our roster is wide and eclectic we ensure we can deliver on each and every act. To this end, we concentrate solely on regional press. There are no distractions - no management companies or record labels run from the office or time-consuming side projects. We recognise that regional press is about hard graft - constant enthusiastic and friendly contact with journalists, getting the music out on time, liaising with record company staff and dealing with the small but vital elements.
The real deal
We believe we have the best mailing list in the UK. We know the real-deal from the time wasters; where to place the big names and the new ones; which web sites actually count; who likes what music and who doesn't; who does interviews and who doesn't; who responds to gentle coercion and who works to their own agenda.
We have met most of our major contacts, often at gigs in the city where these journalists are based. While we always make a point of returning emails and phone calls quickly, having personal relationships with journalists brings best results.
We know how the music industry works, the inner working and hierarchy of different record company departments etc; that some managers are more sensitive than others!; that acts can shift in priority. In short, we know our business inside out.
On the road
Touring is our ultimate currency. We have seen the growth in importance of regional press as many national music magazines have folded and the live scene has burgeoned. We know how to maximise press for touring bands, both in terms of previews before the concerts and getting journalists along on the night.
Pomona is a particular type of company. We have never advertised for work or gone out of our way to promote ourselves above the labels and artists we represent.