1) What Got You Interested In Radio?
Hearing the magic that came out of a radio speaker. It was bigger than life. I discovered it when I was 7 years old so I’m lucky to be living my life-long dream.
2) WBEB (B-101) Philadelphia has received 12 NAB Marconi Awards. Please tell us about the thrill of receiving this honor and how your staff achieved this accomplishment?
It all started at the top with owner Jerry Lee. His commitment to doing radio the right way is well documented. We were all honored to be part of the B101 team. It carried a big responsibility to continue the success that others before us built. We worked smart, hard and never rested. Marconi awards are a huge honor because they come from your peers. Winning is a great feeling. But I think we were all happiest for Jerry when we won these.
3) What do you view as the most important issue facing radio today?
First, it’s being proud of our vibrant industry which reaches 82% of the population every week. Secondarily, we need to educate Madison Avenue and Wall Street that there are demos below and above 25-54 that advertisers need to reach. Third, we have a talent shortage.
4) How did you use social media to market your radio station?
We put more emphasis on engaging our followers rather than building big numbers that never pay any attention to what we were sending out.
5) What marketing techniques were the most effective for your station?
Use anything that's worked. Leave no weapon undrawn. Digital, TV, outdoor, social, events, appearances and good old fashion thanking people for listening.
6) How do you stay in tune with your audience?
Commit research resources to keeping our finger on the pulse of what listeners want, need and desire from you. Over the years, be the station that has done the most audience research in your market.
7) Describe your weekly music meetings and how you selected your new music. What percentage is gut, research, sales, video play, and chart position when determining the status of a record?
Research and gut guides us on new music adds. AC isn’t an out-of-the-box format so we’re picking up on things that the market has already made somewhat familiar.
8) How often did your airstaff front and back-sell songs?
I've programmed a couple of stations that do pre-recorded title and artist announcements on the end of every song. We call them Song Tags. The Radio people who know more than listeners are the only ones who don't like them. Listener Song Tag research is undeniably through the roof positive.
9) Apple, Amazon, Spotify, and many others have music. What effect do these services have on the radio and music industries?
Radio is a free music service that listeners can count on to introduce them to new things and still play the songs from the past years they like. With our content we provide localism, relatability and companionship. Radio will continue to be a driving force.
10) What is the one truth that has held constant in your career?
Honesty. If we have honesty in our relationships, we can work our way through anything. If we don’t have honesty, we have nothing upon which to build trust and a relationship.
What's the best piece of advice anyone's ever given you?
Steve Rivers was the VP of Programming when I was working in Pyramid Broadcasting in the 90's. He asked Scott Shannon speak at one of our PD meetings. Scott said there are three words that will take every on-air break to success… Preparation, Concentration, Moderation. That’s so true. I use those words almost daily to help make us better.
As you look back over your career... any regrets? Missed opportunities?
Absolutely no regrets but a wider perspective today. Get a college degree in another area of interest other than Mass Communications. Your passion will take you where you want to go in this business. Also, we're all pushing forward every day but maybe we should enjoy the moment a bit more.
What advice would you give people new to the business?
Radio is like baseball. Baseball players start in Class A ball, working on their pitching, hitting, fielding. Then they move up to Class AA. If they’re good enough they move up to Class AAA. If they’re really, really good they move up to the Major Leagues. Radio’s the same.
Besides your own, what format would you like to program and why?
Great question. Two answers. I started my career in CHR. I like teaching. By its nature, the CHR format always has young people who are eager to learn. And Classic Hits is now playing the CHR library of when I was programming it.