10 Questions with ... Matt Lee
November 8, 2011
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Did some college radio, got a job at a Top 40 station, snagged a weekend shift, eventually became a swing jock, the PD that believed in me moved on. His replacement (who shall remain nameless) told me that I had no talent and I'd never amount to anything in radio. I think he's actually out of the biz now. Anyhow, I transferred to a rock station within the company. Moved my way into programming and ended up down in SC at WARQ.
1. What stands out the most from when you first started at WARQ?
I'd have to say my personal life. When I got here, while I considered myself to be a dedicated, hard working radio professional, I always found myself at the parties, bars, etc. I've mellowed out big time. I found an incredible wife, adopted THREE more dogs, and while I still throw down on occasion, a quiet evening at home is much more appreciated.
2. What is the most challenging part of the job?
Lately, we've been trying to find that good balance between the bands/artists that have been successful for the station for many years; while doing our part to help break some of the new and exciting music that's out there. The format seems to change so much, at least from the music that is serviced by the labels. The important thing to remember is to program the station not by personal preference, but by what will gain the most listenership within our target demo regardless if I like it or not.
3. What has been your biggest accomplishment at the station?
Mine and Rock 93.5's involvement in the success and signing of Weaving The Fate to Universal Republic. My gut tells me that if the rest of the nation follows suit, this band will be the next big thing. They are very much loved in this part of the country.
4. What is most important to you when championing new music for the station?
I've got to see something real to back up my passion. As much as we hate to admit it, everyone has that band that they like and no one else seems to. So if I think a band is great, I gotta see that I'm not alone. Facts and figures such as ticket sales, album sales, and downloads are a must. And every once in a while we get that gem that has the phones going berserk and they never seem to stop. When AWOLNATION - Sail first came out, I liked it a lot but I wasn't sure if the listeners would feel the same. When we played it, the phones lit up instantly...and that trend continued for months. That and the fact that we couldn't cram one more person into a 1000+ venue when they performed is the reason that song is the front runner for WARQ's most played song of 2011.
5. What song surprised you the most this year?
AWOLNATION - Sail.
6. What makes Rock 93.5 unique?
The fact that we can play so many different "types" of music and still be successful. When you can get away with playing everything from Coldplay to Five Finger Death Punch and not sound weird or like a train wreck, you've got something special. That and the fact that we still are live and local almost all the time makes us pretty unique.
7. What may surprise people the most about the station?
Unfortunately, word has gotten out to the general population that many stations are not live and local. They also know that many are not even programmed locally. When I meet someone and tell them that WARQ is programmed right here, and is almost always live, they seem surprised. That's a shame.
8. How are you using social media at the station?
All of us are VERY active in promoting ourselves and the station via Facebook. All jocks and techs have access to the Rock 93.5 page. But I've found that using social media is very useful in getting listeners more involved than simply requesting songs. They have no qualms about stating opinions... positive or negative. If they love or hate a song, they'll tell us. And they can chime in on things that are discussed on the air at a time when it's convenient for them. For example, I do a segment on occasion called 'Only In South Carolina'...which is simply me relaying a story about something weird, silly, stupid or absurd that happened in our state. And there's rarely a shortage of those things. So in addition to having fun with it on air, I'll post a link on Facebook and let the listeners have a crack at it. Everyone wants to be heard...and social media provides that opportunity. I'll probably put a link to this '10 Questions' article ... who knows? Using social media to only say things like 'Joe Schmo will be out at Fred's Bar with t-shirts and bumper stickers' is not using it for all of its potential benefits. However, I am resisting Twitter.
9. What concert impressed you the most this year?
That's a toss up between Cage The Elephant and The Parlor Mob. Both performed at our station shows this year. And both were awesome. However, I'll be seeing the Foo Fighters soon... I'm expecting that to take the prize.
10. What are you most passionate about?
My wife (a smart man always puts that first), family, my dogs, my job, music, animal rights, local news, The Dallas Cowboys, East Carolina Football, and a cold beer on a night off.
When you're away from work, what are your music listening habits to the radio, online, etc.?
Very rarely do I listen to 'work music' if I'm relaxing. I do check the station frequently to make sure everything is functioning as it should, but I hear it all day. When I REALLY like a song that we play, I try to resist listening to it except when it's on air. I tend to burn out on it. I have a love for sports talk radio, but not local sports. You can only take so much discussion about the South Carolina Gamecocks. I love listening to 'The Herd' on ESPN Radio which we are fortunate to have in our cluster. When I'm casually listening to music around the house, I usually pop on my computer and play iTunes on shuffle. I have loaded all my CDs, old and new on there. Everything that I'm sent ends up there.
Eventually, something I've never heard comes up randomly and if I like it, it goes straight to the iPod. If I don't, it gets deleted.