10 Questions with ... Nerf
April 16, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I started out driving the van for KROQ in February of 1998, and dabbled a little in Pirate Radio (KBLT) at the same time. In June of 1999 I got a gig as a board-op and promo assistant at KTCL in my hometown of Denver. I worked my way up through the ranks stopping at just about every title along the way until they gave me the PD title in April of 2006.
1. Congrats on leading KTCL to #1 overall in Denver in the PPM Ratings for February 2013. Tell us about this amazing accomplishment and the impact it carries for the station?
Thank you! It's really affirming. We're a pretty humble group of people so it's hard for us to "shine our own apple," but it's nice to see we're not ruining the station. The 6+ numbers are a bit of a jump for us, but it's not all that far from the norm in the 18-34 and 25-54 demos. We've been enjoying some consistency and stability there, but somehow pulling these numbers outside of those demos is great! It's one off our collective bucket list. Now we can come clean to our parents about what we do for a living.
2. KTCL is the only Alternative station to currently be #1 overall in their market. What's the secret to your success Nerf?
Take your vitamins and STAY IN SCHOOL! Then hyper-focus on your market. Mean something to your audience. Your station is "the one that _______." Your station is their favorite "because of _____ and ______!" Your station is the one that "I once heard ________ an intern right in the ______ at a medium pace while calling the GM ___ ______ to file a "D" grade and then he _____ all over the ______." AT the same time, do what you're known for in every single quarter hour. Our plan is based on a loveable smartass attitude, while introducing local and national artists to our audience before anyone else.
3. A few years ago KTCL ranked #1 18-34 for first time ever, so what has taken the station to its latest level of success?
PPM loves us. That was the reason for the first jump 18-34. Since then there have been a lot of factors, but the one that sticks out most to me is the state of American Music tastes. Just as we swerved to get out of our Active Rock sister station's way... rock died. It left us exactly in the right place. Alternative music is now so diverse in what it sounds like, that we can get away with playing almost anything, as long as we're early and it's a good song.
4. Where has the station shown the biggest ratings growth?
In the older demos. Stuff that's really edgy and young skewing isn't that big right now. My parents listen to the station and love it. Hell, if everybody loves The Lumineers young and old, who am I to stand in their way.
5. What has been the biggest change at the station in the past year?
The only thing that the public would notice is that our night jock left and now B-Large (our overnight guy who's also a manager in our digital division) took over nights. He's great! Like me he's got an atypical voice, but he's a killer up and coming personality!
6. What stands out the most from when you joined the station almost 14 years ago?
Everything! More things have changed, than haven't. Nick Cage, our specialty guy Alf and I are the only people left from back then. We've seen the station go from one that wasn't taken seriously, and really only used to defend sister stations, to a ratings powerhouse. I think the biggest thing for me looking back is the impact we've had on the Colorado music scene and music in general. Introducing people to music they like is what gets me out of bed. We've had the good fortune to do a lot of that.
7. What do you feel the impact has been from the added exposure from the increasing number of alternative artists' syncs on TV?
It's awesome for the artists. It gives them a revenue stream outside of sales and gives them exposure at the same time. It helps familiarize songs too. We see them start testing earlier when they're on TV for sure.
8. Tell us about all the music you and your staff listen to each week in the music meeting and how a song gets into pre-testing and graduates for airplay consideration?
If it's sent to the station I (at least) listen to every single song. If it's got the SLIGHTEST chance of going on the air, I bring it to the meeting. We listen to 15-20 songs a week in the meeting and pick 3-5 to test. Unlike the old days, we'll play something without testing it first if it's an event record or one we're just crazy about. Then we get a read on it through Test All Media, and if it's favorable we put it on the "on-deck" board to wait for an opening.
9. What are you most proud of from Keggs And Eggs 2013?
Keggs And Eggs is an example of doing things the hard way, but the effort is recognized. We build a bar into a venue, buy "A-list" bands and (gasp)... broadcast the whole thing on the air! It's REAL. It's not just a show. People feel that something big is happening at Keggs And Eggs, and somehow the next morning they (vaguely) remember that feeling. There are people out there that have been to all eight! It's a part of the culture in Denver now.
10. What do you love most about your job?
I love being part of getting music to the people that fall in love with it. It's like matchmaking. When a song you discovered becomes a big hit nationwide it's like a couple you introduced getting married, it just feels great! Like this band The Oh Hello's out of Texas. A friend of mine introduced me to them and said "I don't know why a song like this isn't on the radio." It was really cool to be able to say... "Buddy, it IS NOW!" Now that song (Hello My Old Heart) is the #1 testing song on the station and is selling 700+ downloads a week in Denver. People are falling in love out here, and it makes my gig meaningful to have made the introduction. People forget ratings, a lot faster than they forget songs.
What music are you excited about when you're away from station?
All-time favorite (no matter how far underground punk rock goes) Bad Religion. Current faves: Death Grips, Pissed Jeans, Big Chocolate and Metz.
What have you been listening to lately in the car with your family?
Ajax, my son (4), is big into Run DMC. Jillian, my girl (2) is into Frank Turner and Passion Pit. I have a second son due in early June, and I'm hoping for a punker (fingers crossed).