RRFC: Can you describe your current role in radio broadcasting?
I serve as an Executive Producer. The show that I produce for is The Lia Show,
a nationwide country music show, a contemporary country music show. We are on over a hundred radio stations, Houston being our largest station. Lia, she’s been the host of her show for like 15, 17 years, around there. She’s in Seattle, and then I’m back here in Denver with my team, and we work with her every day, and we put the show together…
One of the things that my mentors and teachers have said is that the more that you know, the better of a broadcaster you will be. Okay, so that means if you’re passionate about, I don’t know, making a house and home building, who is to say that there cannot be a radio show, or a show on YouTube about home building? Or obviously, sports is a big one…Us as consumers, we consume YouTube. We consume Hulu. We consume a movie. We consume music on our iPod or on radio…But if we are going to get in this kind of industry, we are the ones generating that content. We are the ones that are responsible for creating that content. So we need to know, as broadcasters, know what’s going on around the world. We create pop culture…So that means paying attention to at least a general overview of what’s going on nationally, what’s going on locally. As an Executive Producer, that’s my role with Lia. As Lia in the country music space, she and I, we talk every day either by phone or by email, because she’s in a remote location. And we’ll come up with an idea of what we want to talk about.
RRFC: It’s interesting that she’s on the West Coast, and you’re in Denver, and you are working with her every day and doing this. We talk with other radio personalities, and some of them are doing broadcasts in multiple major cities from one location, with the broadcasts happening minutes apart. It seems like radio itself is in quite a place of transition. How do you think the changes that are happening affect someone who wants to break into radio?
It’s funny because Lia and I we were just having this conversation the other day. One thing about if someone is going to get in to this industry, the key is to be adaptable. Technology always changes…I think us as broadcasters just need to embrace the change. Some of it’s amazing, and it’s exciting like social media…I’m a big proponent of utilizing social media, whether be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Snapchat as another way to use that as a platform to get your content, get your message across as a broadcaster…
I always hear people saying that radio is dying, this, that, and the other thing. Well, it’s just changing. Back in the day when AM radio ruled the airwaves, people said, “AM radio is dying because of FM.” And now people are saying, “Well, radio is dying because everybody can hear it on their phone.” To me, it’s just a distribution channel. Now, you’ve got an app, or you can listen to radio stations all across the world. To me I think it’s really, really exciting, and it’s fun…I think the opportunities are just probably more so now than ever before. From a business standpoint, because I’m in the radio space, I do have conversations with people: “How can we adapt to this change with your phone and your app or on your tablet, and then as well as with podcasting?” I personally look at it, well, it’s just also another avenue stream of distribution.
RRFC: One of our students actually works here, right? Got hired right here in the studio.
Yeah. His name is Wes [Castillo], and Wes is a graduate of the program. My predecessor was able to hire him for The Lia Show.
And Wes is a wiz. When it comes to technical audio equipment and all that, he supersedes me in a lot of ways in that regard, so I’m able to rely on him. And so our strengths are able to complement each other.
RRFC: Let’s say for a minute that I’m like you when you were listening to radio stations and getting enamored with radio, and I’ve decided I want be the next Ryan Seacrest. I want to be the next Howard Stern, or whoever it is that I admire. Given the landscape now, what are the first steps you would advise me to take to get to the place where I’m working in radio?
I would seek out people that are involved in this industry…Find what area that you’re passionate about. Are you passionate about broadcasting? But you may not necessarily want to be on the air, but you can find a way to understand how promotions and marketing and sales work. Or if you’re very enamored in the technical side, get some engineering background…I would just seek those people out. Easily go online, and just do a Google search and just read everything that you can…One of the things I like about this program is the fact that they connect you with various mentors. This way you can get hands-on training, whether it be in the radio side, whether be in the recording side, whether it be in the film, or even the culinary side. You are going to be getting actual one-on-one, hands-on training. I never had anything like that.
[Also] be teachable. Be very open to what’s going on. My first day, I was asked to build a music shelf. Some people would kind of look at that like, “That’s such a horrible job.” Well, for me, it gave me access to two things. One is that I was able to—Nobody knew where all the CDs were located and where all the music was, [but] because I built that music shelf, I alphabetized everything, so I knew where it was. And then the program director, he wasn’t organized in this particular area. He needed to find where Tupac was…I able to find it, and that created a dialog between me and him. Then I asked him questions of how he programmed the music, and he sat down with me to show where that was. And then he put me in touch with his people. So that’s that.
The other thing is to never burn bridges. This industry is very small, so even if you may not agree with something, try your best not to trash talk people. Try to handle things very diplomatically. It’s okay to fail and make mistakes too, by the way, because if you make a mistake, you can only improve…Treat people with respect, and just have fun.
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