Hello reddit! My name is Terry Lickona, and I'm the executive producer of AUSTIN CITY LIMITS and have been booking talent for the show since 1979. We're celebrating 40 years of AMAZING performances this year, kicking off the new season this weekend with Beck. You can find us on your local PBS station - check your local listings- and check out our national air schedule. We also have a big 2 hour special airing TOMORROW on PBS featuring incredible artists (http://video.pbs.org/video/2365333898/) - so AMAA!

My Proof: http://i.imgur.com/t576luY.jpg

EDIT: Thanks for joining me, thanks for all your questions...but it's time to wrap it up because we do have a taping with the amazing Sam Smith tonight...very exciting! Keep watching and stay tuned for more exciting shows to come. You guys are the reason that Austin City Limits has survived and thrived for 40 years.

Be sure to check out our PBS special tomorrow night, "Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years" at 9 pm Eastern / 8 pm Central. It's an amazing program, if I do say so.


Comments: 104 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

theotherleslie15 karma

Who's your favorite employee?

terrylickona_acltv7 karma

Leslie Nichols, of course!

thesoundoholic2 karma


terrylickona_acltv7 karma

Just kidding...they are ALL my favorites! (what else would you expect me to say??? ;-)

Frajer12 karma

What makes Austin a good town for music ?

terrylickona_acltv18 karma

It helps to have a major university with 50,000 students looking for entertainment, and a warm southern climate - that's for starters! Plus Austin is a very progressive city where people are into all kinds of different things and open to new and adventurous music.

TahoeTweezer11 karma

Very cool job...

  1. What band/musician that's no longer around would you most liked to have booked?

  2. What is the craziest rider demand you've had to fulfill?

  3. Favorite band/musician to interact with? Least favorite?

terrylickona_acltv25 karma

James Brown!! And of course we tried to book him to (not enough $$$).

We're lucky because we're PBS so we can cry poor and say that we can't afford ANYTHING that they typically ask for in their riders. We do provide some basic backstage catering and liquid refreshments. No hookers or blow, though

TahoeTweezer6 karma

Excellent response... Speaking of PBS, were they responsible for not allowing Jon Fishman (drummer for Phish) to wear his normal dress when they appeared on ACL in 2000? It seems the networks always have issue with his usual stage attire.

terrylickona_acltv12 karma

It was entirely up to Jon Fishman to decide what to wear on that Phish show in 2000. Seriously, we never dictate or veto what an artists wears on our show (as long as they wear SOMETHING).

thesoundoholic10 karma

Who have you been trying to book for years, but haven't had the chance to work with yet?

terrylickona_acltv15 karma

It's a long list, but #1 is Bruce Springsteen...don't understand why he's never done it, but we keep trying - year after year after year. Others include Prince and Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and James Taylor. The "classic" artists seem to be the most difficult to pin down. Not sure why.

lurkity_mclurkington9 karma

Hi Terry! Thank you so much for doing this AMA!

  1. Was there a point that you realized the show had "made it".

  2. Do you have big name artists asking YOU to be on the show, now, considering the show's history and reputation?

  3. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced in 2012 that it was digitally archiving every (?) show. Will every episode be available to watch now online?

I've grown up watching Austin City Limits and have always loved seeing great musicians up close and intimate. Stevie Ray Vaughn and Dolly Parton were/are mesmerizing to watch so up close on the show!

terrylickona_acltv13 karma

I think we realized that the show had "made it" in terms of its financial stability around the time of our 25th anniversary (with the launch of ACL Festival). In terms of talent, I think being able to book legendary artists like Ray Charles and B. B. King and Neil Young made it feel like we had been accepted by the artist community and music biz types.

We are digitizing our entire library (a very complicated, expensive and time-consuming task!). Our goal is to some day make everything accessible to anyone who wants to view a particular episode or song, but we still need to figure out how that would work. There are issues with licensing the music, and paying the musicians for any other usage besides PBS.

walkerlover818 karma

Who have you been "starstruck" about?

terrylickona_acltv9 karma

I was also starstruck the first time I met kd lang, because I was so in love with her voice.

BrewerGeo7 karma

When is Willie going to play again??

terrylickona_acltv4 karma

Willie was an important part of our 40th Anniversary special that airs on PBS tomorrow night (9pm ET, 8pm CT). He was also inducted into the first-time ever Austin City Limits Hall of Fame. I'm sure he'll be back on at some point in the not-too-distant future.

_boy7 karma

How/where can I see Townes Van Zandt's appearances on the show?

terrylickona_acltv5 karma

Townes' shows are not available online or on PBS, but one of his earlier shows was released by New West Records on a DVD, and I'll bet you can still order it from Amazon or elsewhere online.

joseandsarah6 karma

What have been some of your favorite performances? Can you link them?

terrylickona_acltv13 karma

The second and last Stevie Ray Vaughan performance ranks as my favorite. He was at the top of his game, and it was one of his last performances ever on TV before he died in the helicopter crash. Others include Tom Waits, Ray Charles, B. B. King, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Esperanza Spalding, Merle Haggard, and the list goes on and on!

Easy_p5 karma

1) How was the frozen banana today?

2) Ever been star-struck from any guest on the show?

3) I heard you tell a story about Ray Charles yelling at his backup singers who weren't even in the studio on KUT a while back and got a good laugh out of it. Any other good stories from backstage?

Huge fan of the show and I attend every chance I can get (even if it means standing in line). I think you have the best job in town!

terrylickona_acltv7 karma

Frozen banana didn't live up to expectations...happens a lot in life.

Star-struck. hmmm. I guess that happened more when I was younger and new at what I did. It happened the first time I met Willie Nelson, and the first time I met Ray Charles, for sure. Especially since he was standing in his dressing room wearing nothing but a bright red pair of boxer shorts!

Easy_p3 karma

You the man, Terry. I hope to thank you in person one day for answering my question.

Couple of softball questions if you feel so inclined:

Mopac traffic or I-35? Who keeps (kept) Austin weirder - Leslie or that dude who rides his bike everywhere wearing a thong? Do you and other Austin celebrities have a secret hangout?

terrylickona_acltv6 karma

I'm lucky enough to live in central Austin so I avoid both Mopac and I-35 whenever possible, but I-35 is definitely the worse. It scares me to drive on it! I miss Leslie and I haven't seen the thong dude on his bike in awhile. I worry about him. Nah, I don't have a regular hangout, but I do spend a lot of time on the east side. Just went to Weather Up 2 nights ago.

the_angry_austinite5 karma

Huge fan of the show, going to tapings are the best way to see a show in my opinion. My question is, are there any bands that have been booked that haven't been announced yet? Could you drop a hint or a nice little clue? Any chance Alt-J tapes while they are in town for Fun Fun Fun?

terrylickona_acltv9 karma

After tonight's taping with Sam Smith, we will have 5 more tapings to go before we wrap up season 40 (not Alt-J, I'm afraid). We're taping the Avett Bros. and Spoon next week, then Ryan Adams on Oct. 22nd. The two final tapings after that will be HUGE, people...so stay tuned. When it comes time to announce who they are, it will be amazing! ;-))

the_angry_austinite4 karma

One more question I have, how are artists selected to design posters? Is it up to the musician or is that a creative/art direction decision within ACL?

terrylickona_acltv4 karma

We have a staff person in our marketing department who is a poster artist himself who coordinates all that. We reach out to as many different poster artists as possible, and sometimes the band has a preference for an artist they've worked with before. If you are one, or know of one, send us a reference or link!

joebob12344 karma

Can I get tickets for Sam Smith tonight?

terrylickona_acltv6 karma

hahaha...you and a few thousand others! I'm afraid they are sold out, as are both his performances at the ACL Fest the next two weekends. We are not live streaming tonight's show, either, unfortunately, so you'll have to wait until Jan. 17th (tentative airdate) to see it on PBS.

AlwaysHoppy4 karma

Have you guys considered doing a show showcasing up and coming local artists. Thoughts on this?

terrylickona_acltv6 karma

We've done that a few times in the past - where we would have 4-5 local Austin artists doing just a couple songs apiece. That never seemed to satisfy anyone (the artists felt like they "weren't good enough" to merit their own, full ACL episode), and the audience was left wanting to hear more. So I think it makes more sense to wait until a local artist or band is "ready" for their full show in "prime time." That being said, we're still open to doing it if it seems like the right thing to do, with the right combo of artists or bands.

liriv4 karma

Any chance we NIN fans will get the entire performance and interview on DVD/BluRay?

terrylickona_acltv3 karma

Don't think so. Trent Reznor pretty much picked the best of what they did that night for our hour show, and I don't think the rest of it will ever appear anywhere.

bamjuggler3 karma

Will there be additional DVD releases from Austin City Limits concerts?

terrylickona_acltv2 karma

There is a deal in the works to release one or more box sets of ACL programs. We hope that'll happen sometime in 2015, but it's too soon to say when or which episodes will be included. I think the music DVD business is going the way of the VCR and audiocassettes, and our best bet in the future will be to find ACL programming online - once we figure out how to do that.

TheHeatWarps3 karma

I've heard that Studio 6A had an unofficial "Willie Nelson" balcony up in the rafters that was available to him anytime he wanted to drop by and catch a taping.

Any truth to that, and if so, is there a similar "hidden" balcony in the new theater?

Thanks for what you do. The show is treasure.

terrylickona_acltv12 karma

It was just a one-time only thing. Willie came to see his pal Roger Miller tape a show, but didn't want to create a scene. So I took him up the stairs to the top catwalk in Studio 6A, so that he was invisible to the audience below and he could enjoy the show looking down from above. Of course, Willie being Willie, about half way through the show he pulled out a doobie and did what Willie does. No, there's nothing quite like that in the new theater, although we did design a "Willie smoking porch" next to the dressing room area where artists can go to enjoy a, ahem, breath of fresh air.

tzotz_choj3 karma

Ever thought of changing the format and doing multiple bands like the Later show from the BBC?

terrylickona_acltv4 karma

Not really...one of the defining characteristics of ACL is the fact that we give an artist or a band the time to really stretch out musically and do more than just their "hit" songs or most recognizable material. Although some acts will get a full hour, most of our shows are still divided between two acts.

shouldbeworking233 karma

Favorite song of all time?

terrylickona_acltv2 karma

Wow, that's really impossible to answer. I like so many different songs but for different reasons. Musically, I like to listen to new stuff much more than old favorites

VulturePiano3 karma

What do you miss most about the old studio on campus at UT?

terrylickona_acltv3 karma

I kinda miss the smaller intimate space, but at the same time, I also enjoy the advantages of having a bigger space which was better designed for what we do. I guess it's more of a sentimental thing, leaving the original studio after 36 years. But it's still there and still looks exactly the same!

tzotz_choj3 karma

Have you ever had a last minute cancellation that resulted in a new band being pulled in?

terrylickona_acltv7 karma

Yes - in fact, my very first year as Producer. I had booked Levon Helm, and he actually did come into town with his band, and the band did come in and rehearse. But Levon stayed in his hotel room and refused to come out...something to do with "Stage Fright," his bass player Duck Dunn said. He never did ever come back to the the show.

tzotz_choj2 karma

Will ACL ever put all their episodes online to view on demand?

terrylickona_acltv2 karma

The most recently broadcast four episodes are always available online. So that also means that when we repeat an episode during our off-season, THAT episode will also be posted online for 4 weeks. I wish we could do more, or even better yet have the whole library available, but it's not possible to do that yet.

happytheman19582 karma

Who (m) was instrumental in your success at Austin City Limits?

terrylickona_acltv2 karma

I should give credit to Charles Vaughan, who was the producer/director of ACL for just one year in Season 3, for allowing me the opportunity to be a volunteer assistant producer. When he left the show the next year to move on to other things, it created the opportunity for me to make my move and pitch myself for the producer's job. Over the years there have been countless others at KLRU who have been very supportive of me and my staff. I've never really thought about leaving ACL!

walkerlover811 karma

Do you think Austin is a separate entity from the rest of Texas?

terrylickona_acltv9 karma

Yes, and I wish Austin could secede from the state of Texas and become a city-state like in the days of ancient Greece!

...I'm only half-joking

[deleted]1 karma


terrylickona_acltv2 karma

No, afraid not...never heard of Terry Francona!

Matador2281 karma


terrylickona_acltv3 karma

I'm afraid tonight's Sam Smith show is sold out. Ya know, there's always a really slim chance that if you just show up without a ticket, you might be able to get in. Showtime is 8 pm, doors open at 7 pm. What have you got to lose! People often do get in at the last minute.

Gettxmas-9 karma

Seriously, when will the show's producers change so it can last another 40years?

terrylickona_acltv3 karma

Well, I'm the oldest dude, my other 4 producers are in their 50's, 40's or 30's, so I think it'll be awhile before there's a major turnover (unless I get hit by a bus). That being said, I really really wish we could produce more than just 13 episodes a year, and if we did, we might want to bring another producer or two onboard.

Gettxmas-5 karma


terrylickona_acltv3 karma

Aren't we all?