10 Questions with ... Mark Nason
January 22, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Attend New England School of Communications for Radio Broadcasting (www.nescom.edu) and after a few years working in NH radio, found my way back to Bangor, ME as an employee of NESCom. Started teaching courses and 14 years later I now run the station where I first experienced radio.
1. How did you become interested in radio?
Wanted to be a chef in high school until I worked in a kitchen...it was too damn hot. I figured I loved music and I got in trouble a lot for talking in class, so radio seemed like the natural choice!
2. What part of your job do you like best? Least?
It's a tie between introducing new music to our listeners and seeing the positive impact WHSN can have on the community. WHSN has created great relationships over the years with non-profits and community organizations. For instance, this April we will celebrate our 10th annual AS4MS Acoustic Showcase that benefits the Greater New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
There's very little I dislike about my job. I'm very fortunate to love coming to work every day.
3. How would you describe the music and imaging on the station?
Alternative Rock is a tough format to classify as it's always evolving but to put WHSN into a nutshell, we are 75% driven by Alternative Rock trends while 25% of our daily rotation is dedicated to introducing new artists/bands and starting our own trends.
4. What is most important to you when championing new music for the station?
Supporting the Maine-made music is key for us. Whenever possible, we make sure the local scene is supported. For any music submitted to the station, it's important for us to keep an open mind (and ear). A good example is the new John Legend track "Who Did That To You" from the Django Unchained soundtrack. Legend isn't the first artist you think of when you hear Alternative but when you play The Black Keys and The Heavy, it's not that far of a jump to the gritty soul of "Who Did That To You."
5. What makes the station unique?
I've always said that WHSN is not a college radio station; we are a radio station that happens to be owned by a college (in our case, Husson University). The key phrase is extra-curricular. Our student's staff is not here as a club or activity group. This is their training lab. On the programming side, we are a non-commercial/educational station that had become a dependable source for something different in a radio market that otherwise mostly textbook radio formats.
6. Tell us about WHSN being the training ground for students interested in a career in radio broadcasting?
Radio was one of the original training departments when NESCom started in 1981, and still exists because of the human connection element. Students are introduced to the technology aspect of the medium within their first week in classes and although technology is vital in the field, we always ALWAYS stress the value of the human element. It's the human element that keeps radio vibrant in today's world of endless sources of content.
The curriculum is centered around real world training that goes beyond personality development, technology and production to public affairs, news and social media relationships with our listeners and community.
WHSN student staff are fortunate to have a great work environment including a newly rebuilt on-air studio centered around Wide Orbit Radio Automation and a Wheatstone E1 console. We do our remote broadcasts with the Comrex ACCESS Portable.
7. What is the most challenging part of the job?
Forward momentum taking WHSN to the next level each year while also starting from scratch with every incoming class of students. It's a challenge but I seem to pull it off every year!
8. What do you like best about living in Bangor, Maine?
Bangor is a large city (for Maine) but no matter where you are in the city, it feels like a small town. I live here and I can't imagine ever calling another place home.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ______________?
About seven or eight cups of coffee and hugs from my children at the end of day.
10. What would surprise people most about you?
I am pretty skilled at making birthday cakes. I learned from my Mother as a boy and I've created some pretty cool birthday cakes for my children (Ali, 9 and Max, 4) including a three dimensional owl covered with NECCO wafer "feathers" for my Daughter's recent 9th birthday....I'm also a Photoshop Ninja.
What are your hobbies?
Last non-industry job?
I worked in a photo lab processing film (remember that stuff?!)
First record ever purchased?
Don't remember the very first but knowing the young me, it was probably a Weird Al cassette at Zayres.
The Lemonheads and Buffalo Tom in '93/'94 at Salem State College in MA
Favorite band of all-time?
No such thing but I will say I'm a huge Neko Case fan.