rockford illinois entertainment guide
Date: 03/14/2006
Tom Leu - A Rockford Success Story
by Gary Hill

While the name may not be quite a household one, with as many high profile ventures as he's been involved with, you should know it. Whether you are into the local music scene, watch local access cable TV or find your interest in motivational (he prefers the term inspirational) speakers, chances are you've come across the man. From playing drums in the group Suite Oblivion to managing Anavox to working as a public speaker, this guy is seemingly everywhere. It would be easy to do a whole series of articles if you included all the endeavors with which Leu is involved. The areas we're going to focus on, though, are his syndicated column (turned book career) and his role as the host of the local television show "Ground Level."

The column writing started in 2001 as a weekly feature in a Rockford paper. Since that time Leu has turned it into a book (with companion CD) and a whole series of syndicated columns on over 200 indie music websites. The title, "Musician's CorneR" is even a registered trademark. If that wasn't enough the musicians' resource has also been made into a radio feature that currently runs on over 50 stations in 18 states. It is an invaluable source of information for the local and regional acts looking to advance their career. Leu explains this focus in this way. "You see, 95% of all bands, artists, and musicians are working at the local & regional levels...This is where I have spent the majority of my time and made a good living and career...I will teach you everything I know to do the same!  Is it rocket science?  No.  Is it smart marketing & hard work? - Absolutely!"

 Leu's website ( says that what you will find in the book (and obviously the column, too) is "real-world indie music promotion, strategies, motivation, and inspiration for independent musicians written in a concise, easy-to-understand style!  You need to know how to promote and sell your music better than your competition. The Musician's Corner reveals the secrets from a professional musician's and manager's perspective. No pie-in-the-sky scenarios, just effective tips, techniques, and insights that deliver results right away!" With such a focus it is certainly easy to see that Leu's knowledge and experience (20 years in the music business can certainly give you both) will be of use to musicians, promoters, managers, and virtually anyone in the music business.

The other Tom Leu venture that we're going to talk about in this article is the TV show "Ground Level." The show is described by Leu as "a local Jay Leno." It's produced in association with Rock Valley College and as such is done by semesters. They are currently in their 9th semester with over 80 episodes filmed. Each episodes feature four segments. One segment is a talk show type format. In this section a guest from the Rockford area comes in to talk about their particular venture. The types of people included are representatives from businesses, not for profits and members of the entertainment community. They sit and discuss what they have going with Leu on the air.  Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey has been a guest, as has Cheap Trick drummer Bun. E. Carlos.

Another section of the show is a musician's corner portion where Leu shares the same type of advice that is given in his book, columns and radio spots. It is, of course, sound advice for anyone in the local music industry. They also include a segment on a local business (restaurants, clubs, etc.). This portion is shot from the establishment and gives more information about that place. The final element to each episode is a live performance (usually "un-plugged") from a local music act. 

Ground Level can be seen on Insight cable's local access channel 20 and is run 7 days a week at 9 PM and 11:30 PM. If you feel you have something to bring to the show in terms of being a musical guest or a talk show guest, be sure to email Tom at  For more information about any of Leu's ventures (including his motivational speaking which we really haven't addressed here) check out his website at There you will find links to all of his other endeavors and much more useful information. There is even an Internet radio station run by Leu. Also, Tom Leu is available for speaking engagements, seminars, and to emcee
special events by calling (815) 397-2022 or by visiting that same site. With this much going on with the man, it is obvious that an article of this type can only hit the tip of the iceberg. Do yourself a favor and dig to find more.

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