10 Questions with ... John Boyle
April 3, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
WOBL/Oberlin, OH; WHMQ/Findlay, OH; WQMX/Akron, OH; WXXK/Claremont, NH; KGRT/Las Cruces, NM; KKGL/ Boise, ID; WONE/Akron; WWDX/Lansing; WXTM & WNCX/Cleveland; KKXX/Bakersfield; KZOZ/San Luis Obispo; and KRXQ & KKDO. December 26, 2011 marked my 20th anniversary in radio.
1. What stands out the most from your first job in radio?
The excitement of being on-air. And the nightmares I would have about being live on the air and cracking the mic only to realize that for some reason I couldn't speak!
2. What are you most proud from your first five years at Entercom/Sacramento?
The past five years have been a period of incredible growth for me. The thing that originally attracted me to KRXQ in 2007 was the fact that it was a station that was programmed for 2007. I spent too many years of my career working for people who had a "this is how we always do it" mentality and they were stuck in 1987. Today, KRXQ is programmed for 2012. Same with KKDO. We don't spend any time thinking inside the box.
What I am most proud of? Simple. Two things: 1) Being a part of a station that was already incredibly successful in the ratings diary method that just sky rocketed to what the industry referred to as the "#1 of # 1's" and the "crown jewel of the format" once PPM hit the market. It was because we were prepared to adjust to the way the refs were calling the ratings game. 2) Developing my video production skills.
3. Tell us about your role with Radio 94.7 as Artist Performance Video Director & Producer?
I'd always been interested in video but didn't know where or how to get into it. When the company directed us to create exclusive video content for our websites a few years back I jumped at the chance to learn video production. Engineering loaded Premiere Pro on my computer, someone showed me how to import and export a file and I was off and running. From there I taught myself how to edit video.
All those years watching MTV videos back in the '80s are finally paying off! I'd worked with digital audio editing programs for years and looked at video production as an extension of audio editing only with a visual element. Then in the summer of 2009 we built a video production studio complete with a lighting rig right here in our building. Now we're talking! Let's get some bands in here! We've got room for 35 listeners. The stage isn't huge. It's like 15ft wide by 12ft deep. People walk in and say "wow it looks so much bigger on video." I can put a 6 piece band and gear on it and make it look big. We make the most of every square inch. We even have a drum riser. Now if I could just get that thing to levitate and blow fog. The room will never be complete until we get a disco ball in there!
Production is a major undertaking. I like to say that, "it ain't an intern shooting a band in a conference room with a flip cam." The production consists of: video (5-6 cams...you could shoot a TV show with these suckers!), we record pro quality audio in pro tools and many times the final audio is mixed & mastered by the band's producer, then there's lighting, band hospitality and winners. I have a Production Crew of 12 people. We have production meetings so everyone knows their responsibility. The success of each gig depends on everyone getting their job done. We build the set the day prior to show. I knew we hit the mark on set design when a sales girl walked in one day before a gig and said "this looks like a rock star's bedroom." Sexy & intimate vibes accomplished! I should say "sets" because I had to design a set for KKDO and totally different one for KRXQ. The set is clean and prepared for the band to come in the following day to do their thing.
We pride ourselves on the high level of professionalism and quality standards of our video productions. We need all involved to walk away feeling like they were treated like a rock star whether they are in a band, a listener, guest or a client.
The listener experience is exciting. Just imagine having BUSH, CAKE, THE AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT, THE SMASHING PUMPKINS, PANIC AT THE DISCO, MIDDLE CLASS RUT, PAPA ROACH, SEETHER playing in your living room and you're THIS CLOSE to the band with the amps turned up to 10! Throw that acoustic rider out...let's plug in and GO! Then post performance is the Meet & Greet with pictures shot by a pro photographer that we bring in for every gig. Each winner receives a custom autograph flat. They look sweet. The band is featured but also includes station logo and the client's logo. I got tired of flats that were folded, torn, beaten and worn. L listeners walk out of here with a one of a kind collectible that is a very nice looking, silver sharpie signed piece. You walk away with one in hand and want to go straight to a framing shop.
The bands love performing in our video studio. It's fun to watch a band entering the studio for the first time. They light up. You can see that the room turns them on and that gets reflected in their performance. I've had bands tell me post performance that they are "done doing in-studio performances at radio stations unless they do it like you do." Managers send links of our performances to other radio stations telling them they need to throw it down like KKDO does if they want the band to perform at their station. We've had a bunch of bands make their only radio in-studio appearance of a tour be at Entercom Sacramento. Those are huge compliments.
It's opened up some new NTR platforms for sales. They've sold sponsorships for the video studio and our website's media players. It's exclusively our thing. The general public can't buy their way into one of our private performances. The only way to get in is to win passes from the station.
Oh yeah, it's pretty cool when MTV calls and asks if they can use one of your videos in a feature they are producing!
4. How has your job changed in the past year?
We're more focused than ever on social networking. As a result, I'm constantly monitoring our activity. Social networking goes beyond facebook. It also includes our website, our "Rock MOB" email database, our text to win "Ticket MOB" & "Movie MOB" databases, on the street and on the air.
5. What part of your job do you like best? Least?
I get to line up and go into battle every day with our Station Manager Jim Fox, amazing air talents like Pat Martin and Dog & Joe, Mike Dezego, our Marketing Director Joe Nelson, Promotions Assistant Dana Thompson, and KKDO's Cooper & Casey.
Least? Sitting in a staff meeting and wondering, "Where'd everyone go?" I miss the old days when we had a load of characters on staff. Now we're down to the bare bones just like most stations.
6. How are you using Social Media?
First and foremost our signals are the very most important social media platform we have. If we ever lose sight of that....it's over!
We're very active on Facebook. While we do use it a marketing tool, we treat it as a hang out. It cracks me up when I see stations posting live liners disguised as a post from their talent. Or worse yet, the talent posting in liner form. Instead of the DJ simply saying, "Hey man let's drink a few cold Buds tonight at The Cave. I'm rolling in at 8 and I'm bringing a pocket full of Van Halen tickets" they post some silly commercial complete with the station's positioning statement. Really? That's the way you communicate with people? There's zero viral potential to a live liner posted on Facebook. Who's going to re-post a live liner on any social media platform? Again, it's that 1987 mentality. We want every post to have hundreds of comments, likes, and shares. Doesn't happen every time but that is the goal. It's exciting to see a post blow up virally.
Our text to win clubs are off to a very successful start. In less than a year the TICKET MOB is at 25,000+ members. The Movie MOB is at 10,000+ members. We can make 35,000+ cell phones ring and set an appoint to listen for the on-air codeword to win. And that's exactly what we do. Stations pay tens of thousands of dollars for direct mail campaigns to 35,000+ people. I can set up a text to win campaign in five minutes and it doesn't cost us a nickel! It's proven to be a successful PPM winner. But we are respectful about it. We don't send a bunch of clutter and crap to the MOBs or people will opt.
7. What are you most passionate about?
I've always loved radio. Sometimes I dream about a video career but know in my heart I could never leave radio. I'm looking forward to programming again when the time is right. But who knows when that will be? Right now I'm in a special place.
8. What do you like best about living in Sacramento?
Sacramento feels like home to me. It feels like the Midwest minus the snow. Oh wait a minute; I did see one snowflake here in Sac last winter! When our kids want to play in the snow we drive up to the snow line in the Sierra Mountains, still in our shorts and throw some snowballs then get back to the sunshine by the end of the CD playing on the car stereo. I've lived at the beach and it bored me OUT OF MY MIND! There's culture here. The people of NorCal are cool. San Francisco is 90 minutes from my front door. So is Lake Tahoe. Plus, I get to BBQ in shorts and a t-shirt year round.
9. What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Change is inevitable.
10. What would surprise people most about you?
- I still pray every day for a full blown Led Zeppelin reunion tour. Come on guys just give us one more round!
- And this is probably the hardest one for anyone to believe including myself but it is 100% true....That I have finally settled down. Yep, it's true!
When you're away from work, what are your music listening habits to the radio, iPod, online, etc.?
I've always got music playing on the radio, CDs, iPod, performances on TV & video. I'm an Izzy Stradlin freak and listen to his stuff constantly. Can't get enough Izzy. His entire solo collection is just incredible. It's rock n roll at its purest which is a mixture of rock, reggae, blues, country, jazz, punk, funk, gospel, ska, plugged in, acoustic, soft n' sweet and blowin' your face off. If it's possible to OD on an artist, Izzy might just do me in!