Hey, Mr. Station exec, can you get me tickets?

Joe Santiago is a popular guy.

As Station Casinos’ vice president of entertainment, he receives numerous requests from friends, family and even strangers looking for free entry into concerts.

"Not only do I get hit up for tickets for Station Casino events," he said. "I get hit up for entertainment events at venues where I used to work and even requests for tickets to venues where I have never worked. It never ends."

Santiago oversees booking of concerts and comedians for 15 venues at eight properties for Station Casinos.

The 37-year-old father of three books an eclectic mix of talent, ranging from free blues shows at Boulder Station to classic rockers REO Speedwagon and Joe Cocker and modern chart toppers Gnarls Barkley and Nelly Furtado at other venues.

Santiago replaced longtime Station Casino entertainment executive Judy Alberti in March 2006 when Alberti left to become chief executive officer of Dodge Theater in Phoenix.

Santiago surprised some industry watchers by leaving MGM Mirage, with its large venues and Strip presence, to join the neighborhood casino company. One of his first duties was to oversee, and keep quiet, the surprise Sting concert for the opening of Red Rock Resort in April 2006.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas graduate started in sports marketing as an intern before switching to entertainment at the Thomas & Mack Center.

He left concert booking for a couple of years to work on the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority events team through R&R Partners. The position included a stint as the managing director of the Las Vegas Bowl, as well as helping coordinate the Western Athletic Conference Championship and events in Laughlin.

Santiago returned to Thomas & Mack in 1998 when new facility director Daren Libonati offered him the associate director position.

He said he left Thomas & Mack Center in 2005 because the gaming companies were luring concerts and special events, such as the circus, away from the arena.

Although Santiago’s office is at Boulder Station, he spends a lot of his time traveling between venues ensuring things run smoothly for the artists and the property.

Question: How did you come to work for Station Casinos from a similar position at MGM Mirage?

Answer: There was a dinner hosted by Creative Artists Agency out of Los Angeles. All the entertainment people in town were there. Judy Alberti made the announcement she was leaving, and I think Stacy Columbo (Station Casinos’ vice president of marketing) was scouting out people who were in the business. We got to talking and one thing led to another.

Question: Was there a big change from working for a big Strip operator to the neighborhood casino market?

Answer: Working in the smaller venues and being opened up to a whole new segment of the entertainment market which I never really knew about. Before I was booking large shows like Linkin Park, U2 and Metallica. Now I’m booking jazz, classic rock, young country and rhythm and blues.

Question: With whom does Station Casinos compete when booking talent?

Answer: We compete with the Hard Rock Hotel, the Palms, the Cannery and South Point. Obviously, we’re not competing for the arena shows. We compete with the small to midsize venues, 1,500 to 2,500 seats.

Question: How competitive is the Las Vegas concert market?

Answer: It is extremely competitive. Once we have opportunities, we feel can succeed in our venues. We go at them 100 percent as does everybody else.

Question: How did you get started in the entertainment booking industry?

Answer: I had a sports marketing internship at UNLV when a new athletic director, Jim Weaver, came in 1992 and cleaned house.

I heard I was about to lose my position so I went down the hall to a friend running the concert and special events promotions and told him I needed something. I got hired in corporate sales for the Thomas & Mack Center. Then the booking coordinator left and they needed somebody to fulfill all the onuses of the artist agreements during the heyday of the concerts.

Question: What is a typical day for you?

Answer: If it is not a show day, I am on the phone with agents and managers, working on a performance, talking to (the various Station Casino) general managers. On a show day, depending on how many shows we have, I’m hands-on when I have to be. It’s fun to be involved with the guest interaction and working with the band.

Question: Do you have to be at all the big shows?

Answer: We are a pretty small staff. I have four people that report directly to me plus production managers at the different properties. I am around every show day. Once the concert’s over and we finalize our settlement, I leave. They can be long days.

Question: How do you decide which show gets booked for which property?

Answer: Each property has its own philosophy for the shows it likes to book, how much it likes to spend on an act. That’s a function of how many seats are in the room and what the standard ticket price is. It’s a math calculation.

Question: How much input do you receive from the individual properties when booking?

Answer: The general managers are involved. It’s good to have an alliance with the properties because you each have ownership of booking that show. We have great team philosophy.

Question: Is there any artist or event that stands out as the best you’ve been involved with?

Answer: There are so many shows I could say was my favorite. Just having the opportunity to be there and watching Sting open Red Rock was phenomenal. There has been so many I’ve been involved with I’ve been fortunate to see a multitude of talent at all the venues I’ve worked at.

Question: What is the most interesting request you’ve had to deal with from an artist?

Answer: Rose petals in the toilet and baby lambs in the room. I won’t name any names, but that was the most bizarre.

MGM Grand Plans To Add Retail And Dining To Its Strip Facade
MGM Grand President and Chief Operating Officer Scott Sibella said executives are “discussing redeveloping that entire frontage of the building out to the Las Vegas Strip.” (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Boyd Gaming planning new corporate campus
Casino operator Boyd Gaming Corp. has filed plans to build a new corporate campus. The plans call for two 10-story office buildings and a six-level parking garage in the southwest Las Vegas Valley. Boyd Gaming operates The Orleans, the Suncoast, downtown's California Hotel and other properties. The new headquarters would be just a mile from its current main office building.
Bellagio Conservatory transformed to celebrate Year of the Pig
The Bellagio Conservatory Team transformed the 14,000 square foot conservatory to commemorate Chinese New Year, the holiday that marks the end of the coldest days of winter. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Intro uses sound to connect people
Intro, a startup that is part of the Future Worlds Accelerator in the UK, has an app that uses ultrasonic sound to find people and companies nearby.
CES 2019 Video: CES wraps up another year
Time-lapse video of the action at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Create your own beauty products
Beauty Mix by BeautyByMe is a product that lets you create your own cosmetics and beauty products. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Picobrew’s home brew machine
Picobrew brings automation to homebrewing. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Surviving CES
What it's like to spend four days working the mammoth tech convention. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Haier’s smart home
Haier presented smart home technology at CES 2019.
CES 2019 VIDEO: Foldimate makes laundry day easy
Foldimate has created a machine that will fold your laundry for you. Just feed it anything you need folded and it will do the rest. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Opte device corrects skin spots
Opte from Proctor and Gamble is a device for correcting spots and freckles from skin. It analyzes the area for spots and then covers them with a serum of matching skin tone. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Circa hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas unveiled
Derek Stevens reveals Circa hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas. He plans open by the end of 2020. (K.M Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Circa, new casino coming to Fremont Street
Casino owner Derek Stevens announces his new property Circa, coming to Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas in late 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dreenk My Oeno makes wine suggestions
At CES 2019 in Las Vegas, the Dreenk My Oeno tells you all about wine.
Polaroid One Step Plus camera unveiled at CES 2019
Polaroid has moved into the digital age with its One Step Plus camera with Bluetooth. With the connected app, it turns your smartphone into a remote for the camera, along with filters and features.
Amazon is everywhere at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Seemingly everything works with Amazon Alexa
LG Smart Mirror helps you dress snazzy
LG’s Smart Mirror is less of a mirror but more of an assistant to help get you looking snazzy. It takes your image and recommends clothes for you or matches existing clothes with new clothes, which can be purchased right from the mirror. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Underwater robots make waves at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Robosea is a company dedicated to underwater robotics. They produce consumer robots for underwater filming as well as commercial products which can be used for underwater research. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019 - Victrola record players spin in Las Vegas
A new spin on an old favorite, Victrola record players are meeting a demand for retro products. The brand is also making furnitures with built-in speakers.
CES 2019: Slamtec robots ready to serve
Slamtec is a robotics company out of China whose goal is to provide solutions for laser localization mapping and navigation. They have created two autonomous robots that can be used in areas such as bars, restaurants and malls. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mixologiq drink maker appears at CES 2019 in Las Vegas.
This is the Mixologiq drink maker.
CES 2019: Veritable smart garden
Let’s face it; not all of us have green thumbs. And herbs are particularly difficult to grow, considering their constant need for sunshine. Enter the Veritable smart garden from Exky, which does it all for you. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas being sold to developer
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas is being sold to a developer, set to close in March. Bonnie Springs, west of Las Vegas off State Route 159 — next to Spring Mountain Ranch State Park — spans more than 60 acres and was on the market for $31 million. The developer and his project partner are under contract to buy the ranch and plan to chop it up mostly into custom-home lots. The plans includes a 25-room motel, a restaurant and a 5,400-square-foot event barn.
Bone-conduction headphones form Aftershokz
Aftershokz offers bone-conduction headphones - headphones that don’t go in the ear.
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Autonomous Cars and Futuristic Aircraft Rule CES
Day two of CES was dominated by autonomous cars and futuristic aircraft in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
TekNekSavr fights neck problems caused by smart phones
Atiya Syverson invented the TekNekSavr to help fight neck and head problems caused by strains while typing on smart phones. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New eyeglasses know if you fall and call for help
The French company Abeye has created eye glasses that will detect if the wearer falls and call for help. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Company that creates vibrator-like device claims genders bias against CES
Lora DiCarlo is a women-run start-up that creates a vibrator-like device designed for female pleasure called the Osé. This year they were awarded the CES Innovation Award in the Robotics and Drone Category, but a month later the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, rescinded the award and their booth. Haddock and her team believe it is a reflection of gender bias and sexism in an industry with a long history of male domination.
CES-Wagz has new pet products
Wagz has three new products to help create better lives for your pets in a digital world. One is a collar with LTE tracking and an HD camera. Also a smart pet door that only lets your pet in and out. Lastly, a device to humanely keep Fluffy out of certain areas of your home. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like