10 Questions with ... Ken West
May 17, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Went to Emerson College. Started as a research intern at WZLX. Stayed there for 10 years and did everything from answer phones (listener line and front desk,) van driver, promotions, board-op, production assistant, etc. Became a morning show producer for Ken Shelton, the late GREAT George Taylor Morris, Charles Laquidara, and Tai & Steve Sweeney. Was also Assistant Music Director. Came to Greater Media in 2002 as Assistant PD of WROR. Became PD of WROR in 2006 and PD of WBOS in 2009.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
I always loved music and radio seemed like a good way to make a career out of that.
2. What stands out the most from your first job in radio?
The excitement of working in Boston radio. I always felt lucky to have started here and never left. I like to think my hard work and dedication helped, but I do feel truly blessed to still be here.
3. What has led to the WBOS PPM ratings success?
Two things: 1) We listen to the audience and give them what they want: Lots of music, lots of music variety, fewer commercials, and fewer interruptions. 2) The incredible dedication of our hard-working staff in all departments: Music, Promotions, and Sales. They all know the mission and work hard every day to deliver it. They care about what we do.
4. What are the ratings highlights for the station and what are you most proud of?
We are always Top 5 in 18-34 adults and have been more consistently in the Top 10 25-54 adults. I am proud that we are more than a boutique Alt station. We are a mass-appeal adult rock station that has success in multiple demos and is also gender balanced.
5. How has the PPM impacted the way you program the station?
I think it's taught us to be more brilliant at every moment, but yet make sure we constantly are looking at the brand from the big picture from every angle: on-air, on-line, in the social networking space, on the street, etc. Things we knew before, but were reinforced by PPM. It's also taught us not to cling to binkies. If something is a dog, yank it.
6. What part of your job do you like best? Least?
The best part of my job is the people I work with. The least favorite part is meetings without a point...which happens everywhere, I'm sure.
7. How would you describe the music and imaging on the station?
The music is a mix of familiar rock songs from the '80s, '90s, and 2000s with new music we think is cool but not too hip for the room. It starts with a core of 90's classic alternative and adds a little from Triple A, Hot AC, Classic Rock, to create a vast list of songs and artists. The imaging is quick, straight forward and to the point, hammering the "more music, less blah blah blah" image. We have no DJs, so the imaging represents the "personality" of the station. It is there to move the music along, not clutter it up. We mention music, ways to get music through our website, etc. When local events happen (Bruins, Celtics in the Playoffs, etc) we address these through imaging as well.
8. What may surprise people most about WBOS?
We have over 16,000 likes on Facebook. Not bad for a station with no DJs.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without _______?
10. What would surprise people most about you?
I've always wanted to be a Park Ranger.
What are your hobbies?
I need one.
Last non-industry job?
Filling vending machines.
First record ever purchased?
Paul McCartney & Wings - Band On The Run
J. Geils Band "Love Stinks" Tour 1980, Springfield Civic Center
Favorite band of all-time?