Sean "Hollywood" Hamilton is one of the most listened to radio personalities in the United States. He is the host of the Weekend Top30 Countdown heard in over 200 cities in America and throughout the world. He can also be heard weekday afternoons on WKTU in New York City.
Hamilton was born and raised in Nevada. Both his parents were in show business; his father, Al, was the entertainment director for major Nevada hotels and casinos, and also a comedian who performed in those establishments. In his later years, the father became a professional gambler whose life is being written into a movie script that portrays the ups and downs of being a high roller. Hamilton's mother, April Ames, was a singer for Harry James, Buddy Rich, and others during the "big band" era. Later, during the 1970s, she also performed on the Nevada casino circuit.
The nickname "Hollywood" came to Sean when he was just seven years old and his father would allow him to sit on a backstage stool to watch his show. One night, one of the showgirls came running by, stopped, and said, "look at you, you look like 'Hollywood' all dressed up in that little tuxedo of yours." After that night, all the showgirls continued to call him “Hollywood,” including his family and friends.
Hamilton always dreamed about becoming a disc jockey, and his dream started to come true in 1979. While still in high school, he decided to construct an illegal "pirate" radio station in the basement of his parents’ home. After a short while, the station was pulled off the air by the Federal Communications Commission, but it was because of that experience that he landed his first job in commercial radio in his hometown of Reno, Nevada. In 1990, New Line Cinema released a motion picture called Pump up the Volume, starring Christian Slater, which was loosely based on Hamilton's life.
Hamilton developed a philosophy that "working the phones and being able to talk with people on the air naturally" would lead to success. Using this formula, he delivered the No. 1 rated nighttime radio show at Z-100 in New York City from 1983-1987, starting at the age of 19. He later took his high-energy radio show to Los Angeles and became the night jock at KIIS-FM from 1987-1994.
In 1983, Hamilton and Dr. George Brothers created the enormously popular radio show “Lovelines,” which offered medical and relationship advice to listeners, often with the assistance of guests, including actors and members of popular bands. It became a huge hit in New York and evolved into a 15-year syndicated radio success that helped launch the careers of a few major radio personalities. After Hamilton sold the rights, it developed into a successful, long-running television show on MTV.
Hamilton’s popularity rose quickly and his innovative style generated attention throughout the radio industry. Now, Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton is one of the most recognizable names in radio from coast-to-coast. He established a legion of fans and admirers within the music industry when he hosted nighttime shows at WHTZ/Z-100 in New York and KIIS-FM in Los Angeles, with both becoming No. 1 in the Arbitron ratings in a short period.
From 1989 to 1992, every Sunday night, Hollywood Hamilton hosted a live satellite radio show from Disneyland in Southern California. The four-hour show was called "Hangin' with Hollywood" and featured interviews with major music, television and motion picture celebrities on the Tomorrowland main stage. This live radio show became a Disney attraction for thousands of tourists who could watch their favorite celebrities being interviewed and be part of the program by being "guest DJs" and introducing the music on the air.
However, this show wasn't easy for Disney executives to back. Because of Disney's strict rules and regulations regarding their image, the show was constantly being censored by Disney's "standards & practices" during its live broadcasts across America, making production difficult. Although some material might have been suitable for radio airwaves, it wasn’t acceptable at Disneyland, and executives had problems with everything from the appearance of some of the musical guests to dialog (lyrics) used on stage during the show. The show finally came to an end in the winter 1992 when Disney CEO Michael Eisner was sitting in the back of the audience one Sunday night with his family. Eisner witnessed a young and nervous Céline Dion on stage being interviewed by Hamilton, nervously touching her chest to the point of not realizing what she was doing. Hamilton, in a lighthearted way, began imitating her and "Hangin’ with Hollywood" was canceled the next morning.
Hollywood Hamilton remains an honorary citizen of Disneyland, an accolade that Mickey and friends personally presented to him on March 25, 1989.
Hollywood Hamilton with KTU Co-Host Goumba Johnny
In 1996, WKTU convinced one of radio’s most successful young hosts to relocate back to New York and work his “magic” on its evening slot. It was then that Hamilton convinced station management to consider a then unknown talent by the name of Goumba Johnny to be his sidekick. The chemistry between “Hollywood” & “Goumba” worked well, and the hip, funny and frenetic tag team earned top ratings consistently for two years. They still hold the record for the highest Arbitron ratings when they held the evening slot, garnering a 25-54 share.
The Hollywood & Goumba Show can now be heard every weekday from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m and it has become the second most listened to (Female 25-54) afternoon drivetime show in New York, according to Arbitron PPM rating system.
In 1998 Hollywood Hamilton's Rhythm Top30 Countdown was established nationally and internationally in conjunction with the AM/FM Radio Network. In one year, the show became the fasted growing syndicated program in America, and was the “Nationally Syndicated Radio show of the Year” in 2000 by Radio & Records.
In December 2000 AM/FM Radio Networks were acquired by Clear Channels Premiere Radio Networks. It was then Hamilton chose not to renew his option and decided to produce the show himself where he then transformed it into Hollywood Hamilton's Weekend Top30 Countdown. Premiere Radio Networks decided to combat the Weekend Top30 Countdown with the hiring of KIISFM Los Angeles radio personality Ellen K to host the RCTop30. Ultimately the RCTop30 didn't have the steam to fight and within one year the show was canceled.
Today Hollywood Hamilton's Weekend Top30 Countdown is listened to by approximately 5.4 million people every weekend. Delivering the 30 biggest hits of the week, in-studio and backstage interviews, listener interaction, contests and more. The show is distributed by the United Stations Radio Network and is heard in over 200 cities worldwide.
Sean "Hollywood" Hamilton can currently be heard with co-host Goumba Johnny each weekday afternoon from 3-7pm on WKTU 103.5 in New York City.
Hollywood Hamilton has also been the spokesman and spokes model for many of today’s most successful products, Sprint, Drakkar Cologne, Doritos Chips, M&Ms, Levis 501 Jeans and Diet Pepsi just to name a few.
On his off time away from the radio industry Sean’s production company Mischief Media Entertainment has directed and produced television pilots for Telepictures, Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox and just recently two half hour pilots for Court TV entitled “29 Minutes & Counting”. Mischief Media is currently in development on a reality series based on his life and the broadcasting industry.
In 1991, Sean provided his voice in the cult film Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man as himself on radio.
Invited Guest to fly with the Blue Angels, Los Angeles Air Show.
Sean currently resides in Jersey City New Jersey. His hobbies include auto racing in the Skip Barber formula series, boating, flying, snow skiing and moto cross racing and anything remote control.